My daughter has been dying to get a pet. She did pretty well with the hamster she ‘shared’ with some of her cousins, but let’s be honest and admit that a hamster is barely a pet, and the chances of taming one so that he won’t follow his natural urges to bite the heck out of you are almost nil — especially when it’s a transient hamster who changes homes every couple of months. (If anyone had asked me, I’d have recommended a mouse or rat — they are much more playful and friendly. But no one asked me.) So after PC the hamster met his mortal fate, I began to hatch a plan to talk my wife into allowing another pet into the home.
One that doesn’t bite and is unlikely to escape its cage.
One that actually like to handled.
One that has a life expectancy of more than two years.
And most importantly one that will not aggravate her allergies and general fear of animals.
A guinea pig. It took some convincing but I’ve had a guinea pig before. So finally everyone was sold on the idea.
But guinea pigs are social animals and it is better to get a pair.
Also: pet stores don’t tell you this, but guinea pigs need a lot more room than the glorified litter boxes they sell.
So I did a little research and built a “C&C” cage:
That’s more than 8 square feet. 10 square feet would be better but was not practical. I think we’ll eventually add a “loft” for more room to roam, but I was able to build this in a couple of hours. (It is still about 3 times as big as where they were living before.) Difficulty: I could not find corrugated plastic larger than 30″x36″ locally so I had to splice several sheets together. That added a lot of cutting and taping. Also I made the ‘walls’ extra-high to reduce mess & drafts, and to keep them from getting their heads near the openings in the mesh. That’s just me being over-protective though.
Then we drove down to Amish country to buy a couple of guinea pigs from a guy who needed to find a home for his g.p.s. Sadly they’d grown up in one of those cramped little commercial cages.
I got their new home ready, and they seemed pretty happy in it, but I’ve read they really some time to settle in and should be given a chance to acclimate, so we’ll to leave them alone for a day or so to get used to their new digs before handling them too much.
We haven’t had time yet to make fleece bedding so for now we’re using the pet store shredded paper. Ideally they will also get another hiding place so they feel more secure. And I need to build a little hay feeder, since g.p.s really ought to have some access to hay as well the usual pellets and fresh veggies.