Guinea Pigs - The Herd

While guinea pigs are relatively easy to take care of, many owners don't know much about it. Proper care involves adequate clean cage space, fresh hay and vegetables every day. Even when owners can't provide that level of basic care, many surrender the piggies to a shelter or unload them via sites like Craigslist. Guinea pigs are not good pets for kids, despite popular conception and despite what pet stores tell you. When kids get tired of guinea pigs after a few months, they invariably get ushered out of the house in favor of a cat, dog or more human spawn.

On August 18, 2007, Kay and I adopted a guinea pig named Snickers. When visiting the shelter, we saw that she wasn't in the best of shape. It was also clear that she not going to be adopted by anyone given her appearance, and the low rate of guinea pig adoptions from shelters. She only enjoyed three wonderful weeks with us before her health complications caught up with her. Her adoption lead to a what is now a new tradition of rescuing guinea pigs as space permits.

Since Snickers, my herd has grown to be as large as eight piggies (the most their habitat will comfortably support). They are an active bunch who get to be free range piggies and roam the living room on a near weekly basis. Much to their dismay, some of them need bathing which makes everyone else in the room happy.

waffle Waffle is a female Abyssinian personal adoption taken in on November 16, 2007. Hands down the most distinct color we have seen, a great blend of white, grey and black, giving a 'peppered' appearance. Her black feet are also quite distinct and make her stand out in the herd. Approximately five weeks old when adopted, she seems to live for fresh hay more than anything else. When she isn't bouncing around her home she is laying in one of the hay lofts for easy access to her precious. [Pictures]

tater Tater is a female Peruvian Abyssinian Silky (mangle-poof) personal adoption taken in on April 11, 2008. The runt of a five-pig litter, she was taken from a family that had pigs living in poor conditions and mostly neglected as they "didn't have time for them any more". If left in those conditions, she certainly would have been housed with mom, dad and any brothers in her litter leading to a very early pregnancy. Said to be four weeks old, we believe she was much closer to two weeks old when we got her. It only took her a few days to become extremely lively, eat any veggie she was given and develop a great personality. She is currently living with the herd and integrated faster than any other pig has. She now receives monthly hair cuts as her coat is too long and bulky. While she whines during the trimming, she becomes considerably more energetic and seems much happier afterwards. [Pictures]

Previous Pigs

About: Our guinea pigs live in a custom "C & C cage" built into two adjoining Wide 5-Tier Wire Shelves. Each floor is made of a coroplast base (with sides) for easy removal and cleaning. Rubber coated wooden ramps allow easy access between the levels. One set of outdoor wire lights provide subdued lightning on evenings when they are not in the play pen. Detailed pictures of the mansion are available. The play pen is built from three collapsable MidWest Homes for Pets' Small Pet Playpen fences surrounding beach towels. Our guinea pigs get annual examinations and treatment from Dr. Sharyn Esposito at the Aurora Animal + Hospital, a superior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), referred by the excellent Cavy Care Inc. Guinea Pig Shelter & Sanctuary, who I support with yearly financial and material donations.

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