Guinea Pig
Upstate Small Animal
Association
Counter
Monthly meetings
are open to the
public.

Anyone  interested
are invited to
attend.

Membership is
beneficial, not
mandatory.

Please view the
Calendar for
Times and Locations
CHEW - O - METER
         
mild
severe
These are some home made cages
used out of doors for guinea pigs with
water bottles, hides and covers. The
cages can be moved around the yard. If
you notice the cat, he and the others
normally get along well with the piggies
and actually lay in the cage with them
when they get a chance.
Fruits and
Vegetables that
your pet may enjoy

Carrots
Apples
Cantaloupe
Zucchini
Dark Green Leafy
Turnip
Endive
Romaine
Kale
Mustard
Collard
Tomato
Pumpkin
Kiwi
Bell Pepper
Green Beans
Banana
Oranges
Cucumbers
Squash
Chopped Celery
Spinach
Strawberries
Yams
Yucca
Snap Peas
Water Cress
Parsnip
Okra
Mango
Chicory
Spinach
Papaya
Guinea Pigs are a great pet for all ages. They are calm, not too messy, and love to be loved.
They require a large cage for a home with a hide, heavy food bowl so it doesn't get dumped
over & a water bottle. That is your bare minimum. I would add some toys for the piggy to play
with. Chewable items of various types; safe branches, hay cubes, calcium/mineral blocks,
treats, etc. Loose hay helps to keep the rear teeth in growth check as well as their digestive
tract healthy.
The hide can be made of wood, plastic or a cardboard box. Just remember they will chew on it
& urinate in it. Lining the bottom of the cage with a thick layer of newspaper is beneficial to
helping keep the cage clean. Put a layer of aspen shavings over the top of the paper.
A bowl of Guinea Pig pellets should be available at all times. Fresh fruits and vegetables
need to be given on a daily basis. Please leave the stems and leaves on the food as this is
an extra treat for the piggy.  Since guinea pigs do not make their own vitamin C, it is very
important to include this in their foods or to give a vitamin supplement.
Guinea Pigs should not be allowed to run in wheels or balls. This can be dangerous for their
backs as their long, low fat little bodies are not made to be in that position.   
Piggies are social animals so having 2 or more is a good idea. They will keep each other
company when you are not available to play with them. No, they will not bond with each other
and not like you. You want to get two of the same sex. Male/male or female/female. If you get
one of each you will either have to keep them separated which defeats your purpose, or you
will have lots & lots  & lots of babies.
The average lifespan is 6 to 8 years, but 10 years can be reached.
The absolute minimum size cage for a guinea pig is 24" x 15". Once you put in a hide & food
bowl, the piggy barely has room to move. A 30" x 18" is more appropriate for one pig & the
absolute minimum for two. Bigger is always better. Stay away from cages with wire bottoms,
they can cut off the toes. Solid ramps are OK to use.
All sorts of fresh fruits & vegetables can be fed to piggies. From kiwi to cantaloupe, tomatoes
to sweet potatoes, carrots & bananas, greens & oranges. Do not feed avocados due to
toxins. Stay away from iceberg lettuce as it has no nutritional value. If you feed celery, cut it
into pieces, as the "strings" will be eaten like spaghetti noodles & it could bind in their tracts.
If you put your piggie outside for some exercise, make sure they are never in direct sunlight.
They will die rapidly of heat stroke. Grass clippings from your lawn are a great treat if your
guinea cannot go outside, just make sure that no chemicals have been put on the lawn.
Being fairly sedentary animals, they do not feel the need to run around very much. A little
jumping & hopping is more than enough for them. Whistling, squeaking, squealing, chittering,
chattering, grunting & chuffing on the other hand.... You'll get lots of that! Guinea Pigs are
very vocal & will make noise for many reasons. A loud whistle might mean "I heard you open
that refrigerator door! Don't forget about me while you are in there!" Teeth chattering is the
sound of aggression or irritation, especially in males. Soft chuttering is a happy piggy. You will
probably get a bubbly purring sound when you pet their sides. (i believe this is their "tickle
spot") They also frequently wiggle when you pet them there.!
As an odd note.... Guinea pigs are supposed to have
4 toes on the front feet and 3 toes on
the back. They also normally do have a bald spot behind their ears.
KUDZU

Were you aware that
kudzu has a very
high fiber content?
A use for this
nonsense that
spreads across our
land is to eat it.
Guinea pigs will
gobble up the leaves
and it is actually a
pretty healthy diet for
tortoises also.
Yes, the kudzu
cookbook is for real!
Unless you are selling
them for food, there is no
way you will be able to
out flux all of your babies
breeding will produce. A
female will get pregnant
by the time she is 8
weeks old. (as early as 4
weeks) In about 63-64
days, she will not only
give birth, but also get
pregnant again if she is
still with the male! The
process repeats itself.
Oops, the little girl babies
were left in with their
father or brothers ....
Guess who's pregnant
now, and so on. An
average litter is 4-6, but
anywhere from 2 to 8 is
possible. Not only is this
heavy reproductive rate
hard on the females, it
makes them more open
to illnesses and
shortens their life span.
Inbreeding creates a
whole new set of
problems. Birth
deformities being  the
number one and most
obvious. Hidden
personality changes
become apparent and
problematic later.  Yes,
the animal shelter will
take them in and
yes, the
animal shelter
will put
them down if they don't
get adopted. In an
average shelter,
3/4 of all
animals are euthanized.

Although a harsh
analogy, this is very
accurate:
2-4 months old guinea
pig = 8-9 year old girl
getting pregnant.
4 months = 16 year old
5 months = 18 year old
6 months = 23 year old

If you do intend to breed
your guinea pig, she
needs to be bred by the
time she is nine months
old or there may be
serious birthing
problems that can be
fatal to both mommy and
babies.
This link is to
Himalayan  Show
Guinea Pigs.
They are located in
Spartanburg County.

Eteretcetera
Caviary
Do's and Dont's from  Eteretcetera Caviary

Congratulations on your new Guinea Pig! Sometimes called a cavy.

We have listed a few do's and don'ts so you can get started off together in a fun and healthy
adventure.

Do put your friend in a cage inside your home out of drafts and away from loud noises. Make
sure you use a wire sided cage and not an aquarium. And make sure the bottom is thick with
shavings and not a wire bottom since that can hurt feet.
Do always supply a hut made from either a box, paper bag, or a PVC pipe.
Do use shavings from kiln dried pine or Aspen.
Do give fresh water everyday from a ball tipped dispenser, not a bowl.
Do feed as much Timothy hay as your piggie will eat. Alfalfa is OK up to 4 months old but not
after that.
Do make sure your new friend has vitamin C everyday in pellets and in fresh vegetables and
some fruits. They will die without vitamin C everyday.
Do feed fresh veggies every day. Piggies love a leaf of Kale, Romaine lettuce, a slice of
cucumber, tomato slices, a quarter orange, a small cube of apple, a little bit of parsley, cilantro
or basil leafs are good. A quarter bell pepper, one small baby carrot, a tiny slice of banana,
maybe a grape or a slice of cantaloupe is also OK in small and not as often.
Do feed fresh grass as much as possible. They love dandelion leaves and plantain leaves but
make sure they do not have pesticides on them or animal droppings.
Do clean the cage once a week and clean out the water bottle with some long cooking rice
kernels or a bottle brush.
Do take your new friend out at least once a day for a few minutes to let him/her know how much
you love him/her.
Do watch your piggie very carefully - if you put him/her on the floor, they can run fast and will
look for a place to hide.

Don't put your piggie's cage in a place where a dog or cat will knock it over or reach into it.
Don't let your piggie run loose in the house or outside. Piggies chew on everything and can get
into all kinds of trouble. Electrical wires, wood and materials can be hazardous.
Don't put you piggie in a dark or airless room. They need plenty of air circulation but do not
tolerate hot or extreme cold very well.
Don't use corn cob bedding or pine that isn't kiln dried. It is not safe for them and may cause
death.
Do NOT use cedar shavings.
Don't forget piggies need fresh hay at all times. Make sure it does not smell or look moldy.
Don't feed Alfalfa after 4 months old.
Don't feed an excess of fruits. They do love them but it can cause tummy upset the same as
yours and it contains too much sugar for every day feeding.
Don't forget to feed fresh veggies every day. Good nutrition plays just as an important part in
their life as it does yours. Pellets only would be like you eating cereal at every meal.
Don't feed bird seed or nuts. Celery can be bad as it is very stringy. No beans or potatoes, no
milk products or iceberg lettuce. Dark greens are best but limit spinach.
Don't forget to clean the cage, food bowl and water bowl every week. Piggies do not have
much odor unless you forget to clean their cage or it is too small.
Don't forget to play with your piggie every day.
Don't take your pet outside and set it down. S/He can run off very quickly or an animal can
quickly snatch it up and be gone.
Don't set your piggie where it could fall off of something and get hurt. Piggies don't see as well
as they can hear.
Don't bathe your piggie unless s/he has a bad odor. Find out where the odor is coming from
and find an experienced piggie owner to help you.
Do Not put your piggie in one of those round exercise balls. They are not made like Hamsters
or Gerbils. They can hurt their spine or back muscles.

We have used many different cages in our caviary. Search the Internet for some great ideas
and plans. There are some made from kiddie wading pools, Coroplast and wire stackable
shelves.

Some very good web sites on the Internet to visit are
Guinealynx, Cavycages and Cavy
Compendium
. I am sure there are others.

There are many good books for Guinea Pig owners. Find one that lists some useful information
or ask an experienced cavy owner which they think would be good.

Please consider carefully before you breed. There are many piggies needing homes from
dedicated breeders that have studied the genetics and breed for temperaments of the breeds.
It is not so easy to sell the pups and certainly not a money maker.

For photos of the different breeds you can visit The American Cavy Breeders Association.

Email us anytime at eteretcetera@hotmail.com       
The girls : Wilma, Chico & Tinkerbell are all
rescue.
The boys: Pablo & Fritz are rescue piggies.
In memory of Jelly Bean

He came to me as a rescue only 5 weeks ago, but in that
short time he proved what a wonderful piggy he was. After
being purchased at a flea market <I'm guessing already at
least a  couple of years old> from a family that didn't want
him any more, he went to live with a new family. They
gave him a huge cage, hide, salt lick and all the necessities
except a proper diet and corrective health care. After some
time, they too, got tired of Jelly Bean.

A neighbor lady who loved animals felt sorry for him and
so gave him his next home for a year or so. From her his
story goes:
"They fed him iceberg lettuce, three heads a week because
romaine will kill him. I only feed him two heads of iceberg
a week, but I added cucumbers and carrots to his vegetable
menu. I tried other fruits and vegetables and grass, but he
didn't like them. I give him this good, fancy guinea pig
food because he really likes all the extra treats in it. He had
the tumor on his back when I got him and the vet said it
probably was a tumor. His missing and broken toes were
like that also. I think something bit him. The vet said they
could not trim his toenails any more than they did. He likes
to drink coca cola from my mouth and if he likes you, he
will give you kisses."
She cried when she gave him to me, but was worried he was
going to die and was also experiencing the financial pinch
we all are finding ourselves in.

  • As I accepted Jelly Bean, I took my nail clippers
    from my pants pocket and immediately trimmed his
    toenails. Many were working on their second curve
    around. I chopped every one off so he could walk as
    close to properly as possible. I did not quick him.
  • Jelly Bean had an extra toe on each foot! The rear
    ones were just hanging there flopping with that
    long, long toenail. The front ones were growing
    right out of the center of the palms! Again, the
    toenail was curved around and trying to grow
    through the top of the foot.
  • His ears were caked with nasty, waxy dirt, but i just
    cleaned them out enough to touch them up. This
    was one of his minor conditions.
  • He was one of the fattest guinea pigs I had ever seen.
    <She said he had lost weight since she had him>
    This was a major concern, but one I would have to
    work on slowly.
  • The "tumor" on his back was a severely rotted
    abscess about one and a half inches in diameter. I
    pulled away matted hair & pus & dirt as gently as I
    could. Later I washed the wound and trimmed the
    hair around it. I wanted to bathe him because his
    hair was so greasy and ingrained with dirt, but did
    not want to exacerbate his wound by doing so.
  • The skin around the abscess had actually healed
    away from the body. I could stick the entire head of
    a Q-tip underneath the skin flaps.
  • There was also a second, smaller abscess. I put this
    issue on the back burner as well. Putting medicine on
    the outside of the wounds and giving him oral
    medicine to help heal the infections from the inside.
  • After watching him with suspicion for a while and
    learning his habits and giving him some tests, I
    discovered he was also blind.

I did not want to stress this big old boy out any more than
he already was with the turmoil of change by barraging
him with pokes, digs, diets & what else he needed, so I
slowly added new foods that would help him heal and lose
weight. Tomatoes became a favorite food. I cuddled with
him, but did not feed him coca cola. I got kisses anyway.
When his abscess was not raw anymore and healing, I gave
him a bath. He became a lot cleaner at least although I still
tried to avoid his wounds. The ears cleaned out nicely. I
had to help him express his anal area a few times as with his
diet, sedentary habit and old dirt, he would frequently
become impacted. The second, smaller abscess started
healing up also.
Eventually, I would let him go outside in the cooler parts
of the day. He would stay still at first, but then started to
move around searching out dandelions and clover in the
grass to eat first.
He met the girls and was a perfect gentleman. <Although
he had already lost some weight, I believe he was still too
chunky to chase them, even if he could see them> He
enjoyed their company because even though they would
run around the 3' x 5' cages I use outside, they would come
up to him and nuzzle him and lay beside him, one on each
side. The girls benefited from his presence also as he helped
them to calm down.

Jelly Bean was special and so loving. I will never learn how
old he was, although I believe he was at least five years old,
probably older, and with so much weight on him, that
aged him before his time. Even though he was healing and
never seemed in undue stress, I cannot help but to wonder
could he have been saved to live a longer life if better care
had come sooner?
He was happy at the end and surrounded by friends.

In loving memory.
Yard Plants that may
be fed

Hibiscus
Cactus Leaves
Dahlia
Dandelion
Nasturtiums