Many of our adopters and followers ask what it’s like to run a guinea pig rescue. While it is incredibly rewarding and something we wouldn’t trade for the world, it is not alway easy. Sleepless nights, packed weekends and and messy medical care are all part of this whirlwind adventure. 

Beyond the complicated paperwork and start-up expense, the thing you will have to sacrifice most is your time. Guinea pigs require a good amount of care normally, and sick piggies are VERY high maintenance. To provide a peek into the life of rescue, here is a typical “day-in-the-life” for us and our little furry friends: 

5:15am: 

The day starts before the sun come up with a critical care feeding. I mix some dry critical care food, filtered water and vitamin c for one of our medical hold piggies Robin. Robin needs to be fed every 3-6 hours depending on his current weight gain due to chronic tooth issues. But he is such a cuddle bug! I feed him in the dark and slip back to bed for a little bit. 

 

8:30am: 

The day really begins, in earnest, 30 minutes prior to my report time for my 9-5 job. In this time I check water bottles, cut up veggies and feed all the pigs breakfast, top off everyone’s hay and weigh Robin. I also give out morning meds including vitamin c and treatment for ringworm for one of our younger pigs. This includes getting on some rubber gloves and applying fungal cream on her patches, then changing my entire outfit and scrubbing down. I also have to give AM antibiotics to our longer term medical sanctuary and again put on a fresh shirt (we do a LOT of laundry). 

 

9:00am: 

Robin gets another critical care feeding 🙂 

 

9:15am – 2:15pm: 

My day job! 

 

2:15pm: Robin gets another critical care feeding 🙂 But this time tragedy hits (j/k) and we spill critical care all over the floor and clean fleeces. Time for a clean up job! 

 

7:00pm: 

After my day job is completed, it’s time for PM laundry and cage cleaning. Guinea pigs poop a TON and sick piggies can have not so pleasant movements. We spot clean and vacuum all of the cages, changing pads and fleeces as necessary. This is also the moment I take to check a FOUL smell coming from our long term medical’s cage. Guess what?? It’s boar cleaning time! (If you know, you know) 

Also, Robin gets more critical care! 

 

8:30pm: 

It’s bath time for our piggie with ringworm. This is a PROCESS that includes giving the pig a bath with fungal shampoo, blowdrying, applying more fungal cream and yet another wardrobe change 🙂 The bathroom and tools also need to be disinfected with no-scent spray and wiped down to prevent spread. We also need to cut veggies for dinner for all the pigs at this time. 

 

11:00pm: 

It’s PM cleaning and feeding time! Pellets are topped off, hay is freshened and the bedding boxes in kitchens are turned over. We also provide more vitamin c as needed and gas drops for our bloat cases. Our long term medical also get his last antibiotic dose (and yet ANOTHER shirt change). Finally pea flakes for all as a treat 🙂 

 

12:00am: 

Robin gets his last critical care feeding, some extra veggies and some goodnight cuddles before we all go to bed! 

 

I don’t share this to complain, try to dissuade a future rescuer or scare prospective piggie owners. We thought, however, it was vital to show the true face of rescue! Add to this the late night transport runs, the vet visits on lunch breaks and the heartbreaking rescues and you start to get a clear picture of the experience. But…what this doesn’t show is the joy it brings into my life.

I wouldn’t trade one late night feeding, one difficult rescue or one early morning ringworm bath. The unconditional love our piggies show, even in the face of abuse and neglect, makes it all worth while. 

Want to help us care for our piggies? Donate today or sign up to foster! 

 

Skinny pigs, or hairless pigs, are adorable but they require specialized care that many new owners don’t anticipate! Skinny pigs have a higher metabolism to keep warm and will drink, eat and poop/pee more than their hairy counterparts. Here are some other highlights:

 

Health
Skinny pigs tend to encounter a few more health problems than the haired variety.
Due to their history and breeding complications, immune systems can sometimes be weaker to that of a haired Guinea pig. However, a well-bred skinny pig should have the same resilience as a haired Guinea pig.
Skinny pigs need to be kept warm, due to the fact that they do not have any natural insulation in the form of hair. This means you cannot keep them outside and should be kept indoors in a snug and warm environment.
If you are considering letting your Skinny pig have a trip outside, be sure to apply a high factor sunblock to protect their skin from burning and skin cancers.
Lacking that extra protective layer of fur can also lead to an increase of bumps and scrapes. Be sure to keep your Skinny Pig in a safe environment and consider selecting bedding and substrate that is not too abrasive on their delicate skin.
Skinny Pigs and allergies
A common misconception is that pet allergies are always caused by the animal’s hair or dander. Quite often it is, in fact, the skin or saliva of the animal causing the allergy.
It is also much more common to be allergic to your pets bedding materials or foodstuff than it is your actual pet, so be sure to rule any of this out by changing the bedding type and food before you declare yourself allergic to your little buddy!
Oily skin
Some skinny pigs suffer from oily skin ,which is caused by an over production of natural oils and can cause blockages in the pores of the skin. Symptoms may include scratching and itching on the back, and around glands. Be sure to keep an eye out for this and remedy by wiping with a warm cloth to remove excess oily residue.
Dry Skin
On the other hand, skinny pigs may suffer from dry skin, caused by a lack of natural oil production. this can lead to irritation, scratching and itching. if you suspect your piggy has dry skin, use a small amount of a natural unscented moisturizer, free from chemicals to relieve the dryness. This could be a natural moisturizer such as coconut oil, or a delicate baby lotion. The key here is too use sparringly as Skinny pigs have very sensitive skin. As always, consult your local friendly vet for further skin care advice.
Skinny Pig Temperature
Because of the Skinny pigs lack of fur, it is important to keep your piggy in warm conditions and provide ample bedding and borrowing materials. Skinnes will be very happy in a room temperature environment, which is usually around 23°C or around 70°f.
Guinea pigs are herd animals, and should always live with others if their species. Our piggies love us, but we cannot replace pig to pig interaction. In the wild, a single male will live with many females. In captivity, however, we change that natural order to prevent babies!
While females can still be kept in herds ranging in size, males do best in bonded pairs or as the only boar (male guinea pig) with a group of females when neutered. Since males can be much more territorial, there is normally only about a 20% – 30% chance of a bond working. Male owners will need to be patient and plan well to find their baby a buddy.

 

Let’s look at some of the bonding options and tips/tricks:
What’s the best way to bond boys?
We recommend one bonding session in neutral territory (kitchen or bathroom floors penned off work great). Add some hay and veggies to try and keep the pigs calm. Here is a great video to start with:
Can I bond more than 2 males?
While it is possible for more than one boar to live together, it is rare and the possibility of fighting and breakups is higher. We recommend keeping males in bonded pairs and adding additional bonded pairs in seperste cages.
Note that each pig is different, and experienced piggie owners can make a larger group work with gentle natured males.
Can a male live next to a female/group of females?
Boars have been known to impregnate female through cage bars and climb out of cages to get to their “neighbors”. If you have females and males in the same room, do the following:
* Ensure there is space between cages and a cover on the male’s cage
* Its not recommended to keep multiple males in the same cage near females as this may cause them to fight
Should I neuter?
Neutering a boar will NOT change aggressive or dominant behavior, but it can prevent pregnancy when living with a female. Here is a video with more info: