Life with guinea pigs

We’ve had our guinea pigs for a few weeks now. So how is it going?

Very well, I would say! I am pleased with how the kids have taken to being pet owners, and pleased with how I have embraced it myself. Guinea pigs are a lot more fun than I imagined. They are cute, funny and very entertaining, and also reasonably happy to be handled. Having been a life-long rabbit fan, I think I might actually (whispers) prefer guinea pigs to rabbits.

We all love the guinea pigs in our own way. My eldest and I are probably their biggest fans. As soon as my eldest gets in from anywhere, he will be straight out to the hutch to grab a guinea pig to hold. I make sure I pick them up a couple of times a day too. My daughter isn’t brave enough (or quick enough) to catch one herself, so she will ask me or her brother to pick one up for her to hold. At first she had ‘her’ guinea pig – Daisy, the light brown one, and the boys had theirs – Eric, the longer-haired, patchy one. But now there is no distinction – both guinea pigs belong to everyone.

An unexpected advantage of the guinea pigs has been the tenuous bond which has built up between my eldest and my daughter. My eldest, who is always niggling my daughter and being mean to her, will happily pass her a guinea pig, sit with her stroking the guinea pig and then put the guinea pig back in the hutch.

When we’re playing with the guinea pigs, there is usually one person absent – my younger son. He is afraid to hold them, afraid that he will drop them or hurt them or that they will run away. But, put the guinea pigs in the run, and he will sit talking to them and playing with them through the bars (or even climb into the run with them) for hours.

I was worried that we wouldn’t hold them enough or give them enough attention, or clean them properly, as happened with my rabbits back in the day. I loved my rabbits, but I never held them once they’d grown up – they were just too hard to catch. I didn’t want that to happen with the guinea pigs.

I know people are anti-pet shops, but I am very grateful for all the advice the pet shop gave us. They told us what to feed them (hay, nuggets and a little bit of fresh veg – they can eat loads of types) and how often to clean them. They told us they needed to play outside, needed toys to keep them amused and also to keep their teeth and claws at a healthy length. They told us we needed to pick them up regularly and handle them. And we’ve followed this advice to the letter. It’s really working.

PicMonkey guineapigs2Collage

There’s a feeding and cleaning rota, which gets done with only a minimum of nagging. We give them a weekly clean, with a small ‘poo remove and sawdust change’ every couple of days. The kids, remarkably, do this without complaining. They are learning some responsibility and their reward is pets to cuddle and make them laugh as they chase around the cage and climb on things.

We are enjoying having the guinea pigs and they are clean, happy and healthy. I’m hoping the enthusiasm can continue as we move into autumn and winter and there is less time to spend outside with our pets.

I always thought life was too short for pets, but now I’m starting to think we’ve missing out for all these years by not having them. I actually can’t believe I’ve said that.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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36 Comments

  1. What a lovely post! Your new friends are adorable, and it’s lovely to read about how caring for them is positively affecting your children’s relationships with each other. Having pets is pretty ace. 🙂

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    • Thanks very much! I never would have guessed they would help my kids get on better. That’s been a brilliant bonus.

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  2. Fascinating to hear how the guinea pigs have helped your children to bond and interesting to hear how they connect with the pets differently. They look so sweet.

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    • Thanks! If I’d realised how magical they could be in helping my kids get along better I would have given in to the pet demands a lot sooner!

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  3. They are SO cute! I am a big fan of pets, sadly we cant have any where we live at the moment- we tried fish for a while but the kids soon got bored and left me cleaning them for the next couple of years until they met their end- it just isn’t the same if you cant cuddle them! We have an occasional dog, that has to do for now, my ex kept our dog when we split up, but he comes to stay for a visit every now and then! The dog, not the ex…. 😉

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    • An occasional dog sounds like fun! I agree – fish are boring and far more trouble than they’re worth! We had some, but they only lasted 16 days!

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  4. I know me and my sister had guinea pigs as a child but I was a bit small to really remember them. They got killed by a cat when my aunt babysat them whilst we were on holiday. Again, not really a problem as can’t really remember them. Mr B is very anti pets and I am a bit worried about the tie when we want to go away etc. Am I being selfish? I probably am.

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    • That was my opinion all along. My kids are 13, 10 and 8 and I’ve only just caved in on pets. I always thought life was too short for pets, then one day I wondered if life was too short NOT to have pets and maybe I was being unfair to the kids by not having them?

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  5. I’m totally not a guinea pig person. I was poo’ed on when I was 6 and a petting zoo came to our primary school and that’s when my fascination with them was over 😀

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    • I can totally understand why you would think that! I’ve been impressed that our guinea pigs haven’t pooed on us – we’ve held them a lot and they seem to poo a lot, but not on us yet!

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  6. I love that they are helping your kiddos to bond with each other! Those are precious moments.

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    • It is amazing that they’re doing that, long may it continue! It’s a shame the winter is coming and they will have less time to play with them as it will be dark.

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    • Thanks very much, Lesley. They certainly are!

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  7. Cute piggies! We had a couple years ago who hated being handled and getting out of their cage. Now we’ve got two boys from a guinea pig rescue place near us and they’re *so* different. Very inquisitive, friendly and cheeky. They’ve worked out that if they ping on the bars of their cage, someone will arrive with hay/food/veggies.

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    • That’s so sweet! I’m pleased to say that ours sound more like your new pair than your old pair. Long may it continue! Thanks very much for commenting.

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  8. This post couldn’t have come at a better time as the husband and I were discussing just the other day that the time will come soon when we need to get a pet for the little people. My concern is what we would do with them when we go on holiday – unlike a dog or cat you can’t really ‘board’ a guinea pig can you? Still they look so cute and cuddly… great post x

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    • Thanks, they’re lovely! The best thing you can do is to get friends/ family to feed them if that’s possible.

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    • I can totally see how that would happen!

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  9. What a lovely post. We have an amazing, super tame bunny, but my husband has always fancied a guinea pig

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    • That’s cute, I love rabbits! Guinea pigs are great pets though.

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  10. We have two guinea pigs and my daughter loves them so much, and sits brushing their hair, while watching a bit of telly,
    You took some lovely photos of them

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    • That’s so cute! Ours seem to like watching the telly too – and we have to brush the fluffy one!

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  11. They look like a fabulous addition to the family! Soooo cute!!
    I was always dubious about having a pet, but was persuaded to buy a kitten when my daughters were 7. She has been a delight to share the house with and I’ve never regretted the decision for a minute.

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    • That’s reassuring, Izzie! So far, so good – no regrets yet!

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  12. They look SO cute and look like they’ve gotten really big really quickly. They sound a bit like a no fuss pet. Might have to consider it when Z is much older.

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    • They really are very cute! They’re not totally fuss-free, but they’re fairly easy to look after. I’d definitely recommend them as a pet!

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  13. Aww they looks so sweet, my daughter likes the idea of owning a pet guinea pig or a rabbit nut I’m sure it would be me doing all the work after a few days ..

    Thanks for sharing #weekendbloghop

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    • That’s why I didn’t get them pets when they were any younger! The kids have been good so far and have really done their bit with the guinea pigs, which I’m pleased about.

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  14. ahh so sweet. We used to have guinea pigs when I was growing up. I loved them. So cuddly and cute. We also had rabbits so win win loved them both. Guinea pigs are easier to have though in terms of care etc. So lovely that your kids are doing well with them and being responsible. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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  15. I’ve been meaning to blog about pest as I grew up with lots but my kids have never had any.I had guinea pigs as a kid and I loved them but I don’t remember having much to do with the cleaning out.

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    • I know I didn’t clean out our rabbits as a kid either!

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  16. I’ve been trying to decide for ages whether to get guinea pigs or not. I’ve never had them before, but I was put off rabbits too, because they kick so hard and you can never catch them. I want the guinea pigs with the really long hair! I don’t think Bunny would help to clean them out, so I think I will wait until the twins are older and they can all help to care for them. I still don’t know if I’m responsible enough for guinea pigs, so I’ve put the decision off. I was also comtemplating a bearded dragon. The biggest problem I have with pets, is that they don’t live very long and it’s heartbreaking when they die. Maybe I just need to grow up!!! x

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    • I’ve been really impressed with how my kids have taken to cleaning them out – I know we never did it as kids ourselves! We’re already struggling with the hair on Eric, who is medium-haired – it’s got a bit matted, so he had to have a bath and a little bit cut. I know what you mean about them dying – my younger son decided at the last minute he didn’t want them because he was so worried about how he would feel when the time came. Apparently they live 6-8 years, which isn’t bad, and they’re a bit more resilient than rabbits, so fingers crossed! x

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