Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Little Bit About Us

Sometimes, especially on some New Year's Eve when I'm looking back on the last 6+ years we've been living on our farm, I think to myself how I never expected to be where I am today. I have a B.A. in English writing from St. Lawrence University. A few years after graduation, I decided I wanted to try culinary school, and went to Paul Smiths' College in the Adirondacks for one semester. Ryan and I were married in 1999, when I was 8 months pregnant with Amanda. We moved out here when our kids were 4 and 2, and not only did we expand the guinea pig rescue, we started taking in farm animals as well. If you'd told me six years ago we'd own 12 goats, a llama, a donkey and nearly 30 guinea pigs, I think Ryan and I would have laughed.
Most of the animals we've taken in have been abused or neglected. I think what we've learned above anything else is to have patience; that applies to all our animals, no matter where they've come from. With love and patience, we've seen many of them blossom, and become the wonderful companions they are today.
So, in the spirit of the New Year and new beginnings, let love and compassion be our constant, guiding light, even in these not-so-great times. Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Naming Your Guinea Pig

Naming guinea pigs is one of my absolute FAVORITE things about having them! If they already have cool names, I keep them (Pork Chop and Gravy were two of my favorites, as well as Martini, who arrived today). For a while, because I work in a bakery, I was on a "sugar kick,"
using names like Brownie, Cookie, Oreo, and Caramel. On a few rare occasions, I do get piggies whose names have been "forgotten," were not named at all, or were just called "Piggy." Sometimes I ask my kids to help with names (they've chosen Moe and Joe, Tootsie and Trixie, Sweet and Sour), or I start getting creative (Taco and Chili, Salty, Wooly and Willy). For some strange reason, I do not like to repeat names, so I have changed a few to accomodate this weird quirk of mine.
So, when choosing a name for your guinea pig, watch it for a while and see what its personality is like. Find out what its favorite foods are, whether or not it chews a lot, if it "popcorns" frequently. Get to know your little friend, and you'll find a great name in no time!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who Stays,Who Goes? Part Two

After reading over my last post, I realized I didn't completely answer the "who stays, who goes" question. Long story short, a guinea pig MAY be adopted out if:
1. It is relatively friendly (although some jumpiness can be worked around with time)
2. It is healthy.
3. It is NOT pregnant.
4. It is not a chronic biter.
5. It is not too old. (I consider 3 to be pushing it.)
As far as the "who stays" part, long-haired piggies are an additional concern for me. I have adopted out some silkies to people who have had prior experience, or who have done their research and know they will need to be brushed/trimmed on a regular basis. As for Peruvians, I've taken in two, and they have remained here because 1. They do require more grooming and are often subject to neglect, and 2. Anyone who knows me knows I have a MASSIVE weakness for Peruvians. I may be getting another one soon..will keep you posted!

Who Stays, Who Goes?

My job (for lack of a better term) here at the rescue is to find permanent homes for some of the guinea pigs I take in. My goal is not to be a "revolving door" and get as many guinea pigs in and out of here as possible; my goal is to make sure that candidates for adoption are going to be compatible with their new families.
When I take in new guinea pigs, I like to take quite a bit of time getting to know them. I want to see what they do when I pick them up, how they're eating and drinking, whether or not they jump or hide at any little noise, and how they are around my kids and dogs. Obviously, they are treated if there are any health issues, and will not be adopted out until they have fully recovered, assuming their temperament is good. I take note of what foods they like and dislike. When I hold them, I watch to see if they nibble a lot (and I warn potential adopters if they do!). When I get pairs, I usually find that one is more shy than the other. I do keep pairs or groups together unless there is fighting to the point that could cause injury. Sometimes I am able to place single guinea pigs together, but in most cases (especially with males) this doesn't work. Single pigs can live side by side in their own cages, though, so everyone has plenty of "neighbors" to chat with!
I have a LOT of piggies to get acquainted with right now...Taco and Chili are very calm when held, although Chili's coat is a little drab and coarse. I need to handle Duff more so he is less jumpy, and Poppy needs a little extra care as we are going to assume she is pregnant. I want to handle her enough to make sure she is used to it, but she needs to be handled carefully to prevent injury to her or the pups. And of course, if pups are born in February, they will go fast! As with most animals, people like to adopt babies. Guinea pig babies will bond quickly with humans if they are handled well!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow Sucks!

As they say, if you want to make Mother Nature laugh, make plans...
Due to the very (for lack of a better word) CRAPPY weather today, almost all of my guinea pig related plans have been put on the back burner for now. I'm off work all week, and none of these things were urgent, so in due time, we will get back to business as usual.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I warned my husband, Ryan, about the upcoming "flood." Although many guinea pigs went out as Christmas presents, more will be arriving here soon...for example...
Monday at 11 am, I am meeting someone all the way in Canastota to adopt out Duff, and in return I am taking a guinea pig who is a chronic biter. I guess he's so bad, his young owner can't handle him, but the boy still wants a guinea pig, so he will be taking Duff, and I will get "Fang," who will become a permanent resident here.
At 1 pm, Buttercup is going to her new home.
At 2 pm, I am driving to Oswego to pick up two more male guinea pigs from someone who is severely allergic to them (they were a gift).
In addition, I may be getting yet another guinea pig, but more on that as information arrives. I will post pictures tomorrow evening when I get settled in!

To Bathe or Not to Bathe?

I've had a lot of people ask if you need to give guinea pigs a bath. My answer is, only if they are exceptionally dirty! Guinea pigs (from my own experiences) are not crazy about being in water. Because I take in a lot of abused or neglected piggies, I find that giving them a bath would only add to their trauma. If you keep the cage clean and keep your guinea pig groomed (which you only really need to do if it has long hair), you shouldn' t have to give it a bath.
However, if you decide you would like to do so, make sure you have everything you need. Pet stores sell Bunny Bath and Squeaky Clean, which are shampoos made just for rabbits and guinea pigs. Have a nice fluffy towel ready for when you're done, and make sure the room isn't drafty or cold. Use warm water, and if you're putting your pig in a sink or tub, put something in the bottom to make it less slippery. Your guinea pig will most likely struggle (unless it gets bathed very frequently and is used to it), so just be gentle, but make sure your little friend doesn't squirm away and end up getting hurt.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

First of all, let me wish a warm Happy Holidays to everyone! Right now I'm wondering how all the kids whose parents adopted guinea pigs from me are enjoying their new little friends. I know a lot of them had to keep the adoption a secret, so I hope everything worked out!
I cannot say thank you enough to a whole host of people who have adopted guinea pigs, contributed supplies, or just said a few kind words about the rescue and the website. This was a stellar year for adoptions, with a total of 55 guinea pigs finding new homes in 2009 alone! I have met many wonderful folks on this amazing journey as the rescue has grown. I also received my first Christmas guinea pig card/'s so cute, I want to frame it and keep it up all year long! (Thanks to Patty and her family for that.) I have had so many people help out when I was stuck taking piggies without cages, water bottles, etc. and no words can truly express how deeply I appreciate everything that's been done for me and the animals.
And because all 26 of my remaining piggies were so good this year, they all got treats! Santa brought them bags of snacks and carrot sticks, which my kids found on top of some of the cages this morning. On the downside, our well pump died and we are having it replaced right now, but we have no running water! I had to melt some snow and ice cubes to fill water bottles today. Hopefully things will be fixed before we have our Christmas dinner!
So hopefully you guys who follow the blog are doing something ELSE right now, but when you come back, you can be sure I'll keep everyone posted on all our furries. Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Great news...all five of my new babies are being adopted in the next few days! That will give us a little extra time to get them socialized. My daughters have been playing with them nonstop the last couple days, so they are getting used to being (gently) handled. As cute as they are, and as much as my kids will hate to see them go, they have all found good homes, and we'll see if there are more babies in another month or so!
We are also trying to arrange for another guinea pig to come all the way from Corning...just need to find a good time and day! More news on that later...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Family of Seven

I was planning on taking five of these guys, and ended up with the whole family! After checking everyone out, it seems we have three females and four males (including the parents). The girls are in the bottom pic; I tried to get a pic of the boys all together but they're SO fast! Someone is already interested in taking the three baby boys. The dad will stay here; the mom cannot be adopted right now as there is a good chance she is pregnant again, so we will have to wait until February to find that out. I never expected to be THIS busy with piggies right before Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Ok, here is my schedule for the week:
Today: Met someone to pick up two guinea pigs I wasn't expecting (but they did come with cages!).
Tomorrow: Buy used cage for less than half price because I'm going to need it by the end of the week.
Thursday: Hopefully get my five little babies, because...
Friday: Someone is coming out to meet Rodney and Buttons, but may want some of the babies..not sure yet..and then...
Saturday: Early afternoon, a family is coming out to pick out 1-2 guinea pigs.
SO, the rest of my week is pretty much full of guinea pig related activities! (Not including feeding, cage cleaning, cuddles, and the rest of the stuff we already do around here!)
AND, with the arrival of "Bert and Ernie" tonight, we have officially reached the 100 guinea pig mark! It wasn't a "goal," I just knew at the rate we were going that we would definitely reach this point by or before the end of the year. I am blessed to have had the chance to help out so many animals. My goal for 2010 is to FINALLY get my nonprofit paperwork filed; in fact, I'd like to do it before December 31.
I will post pictures of Bert and Ernie after they have some time to settle in; they will most likely not be put up for adoption because their original owners sent them to a shelter where they got stuck for two months before a friend of mine took them and then passed them on to me. They are both adorable and very calm, despite the circumstances, and I wouldn't feel right bouncing them on to yet another home.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Look Back at 2009

I realize the holidays are a busy time, so for the next few weeks, I will probably post every other day, and although I still have some young guinea pigs for adoption, I feel it's better to wait until everyone has more time and is more relaxed before I start the adoption "push" again!
Going over my records, I see that 2009 was a fantastic year for adoptions. In 2008, when we became a rescue, we adopted out 11 guinea pigs; this year, we adopted out 48! In the last six years we have taken in 98 total, and when our babies arrive next week, that will push us well over the 100 mark, which is pretty much what I expected. Although many people wanted to get guinea pigs for their families this holiday season, many others gave them up. I've seen quite a few on Craigslist lately, and I usually contact folks who need new homes for their guinea pigs, but in the last couple weeks I haven't heard anything. All I can hope is that these animals find their new forever homes, whether or not they end up here.
Also in 2009, we only said one final farewell when Wally suddenly passed away. I have some real old-timers here, and fortunately they continue to hang in there. My two oldest, Moe and Joe (a father/son pair of teddies) are losing more of their hair as they age. These days they just like to hang out in their igloo and chat with their "neighbors," Buttercup and Prescott. Prescott went through another 8-day round of foot-soaking, and it will be at least another week or two before his second foot heals completely. He's a real trooper and accepts his treaments pretty calmly. Rodney and Buttons are getting along wonderfully after being placed together; I haven't heard any fighting, though they are both still pretty shy.
So, I will continue to post pics of new arrivals and keep everyone updated on our goings-on here. My Christmas shopping is all done (my husband Ryan's, however, is not..ha ha!), so I am going to give all my furries some extra love and gear up for Christmas Day!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Arrivals Next Week!

Guess what? We're expecting! Well, not exactly...someone got two guinea pigs from a pet store, and were told they were both females, and they weren't, soooooo...the five babies are now almost two weeks old, and all five will be coming here next Friday. The owners decided to keep the mom and dad, BUT there is a possibility the mom is pregnant AGAIN, so more pups may be in our future. (See why I posted that previous thing about gestation, mating, etc.?)
Anyway, if someone is out there looking for baby guinea pigs, I will have some soon...and possibly more in February. Of course, any that do not get adopted from me will stay here, but after I post pics of these cute little guys, who can resist??? :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guinea Pig Babies

If you house a male and female guinea pig together, they WILL breed. A female's gestation period is about 70 days; babies ("pups") come out ready to go, with all their fur and the ability to eat solid food from day one. They are usually weaned at 4-5 weeks, but male offspring can impregnate the mom at THREE weeks of age. In addition, if the father and mother are not separated when you know she is pregnant, she will go into "postpartum estrus" for 2-14 hours IMMEDIATELY after birth, and if she is with a male there is an 80 percent chance she will get pregnant AGAIN.
Never take the word of a pet store if that's where you get your piggies. I learned to tell the difference between male vs. female at (see link at left). ALWAYS sex two guinea pigs before putting them together, or you will have more than you counted on!
Why do I bring this up? Might be getting some babies soon...details later! :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why Do People Give Up Their Guinea Pigs?

Someone once asked me, "Do guinea pigs need rescuing?" Well, sometimes. Just as with cats or dogs, there are situations in which the life of the animal is in danger, and it must be given a safe home. And again, as with dogs and cats, the reasons people give up their guinea pigs are the same. They include (but are not limited to) the following:
1. Not enough time.
2. Not enough money/lost job, etc.
3. Kids won't take care of them.
4. Too messy.
5. Too loud.
6. Bit someone.
7. Moving.
8. Allergies.
9. Accidental litter.
Because I am a rescue, I often ask people for a specific reason as to WHY they are getting rid of their pet. I need to know this so that if the guinea pig is still adoptable, I can explain everything to potential new owners and provide any information that will make the adoption and transition into a new home as easy as possible.

Coming Under Fire

Every once in a while, I get negative comments about what I do as a guinea pig rescue. This usually happens when I find someone looking to rehome their guinea pig(s), and I offer the rescue as a "last resort," in case they DON'T find a good home. Some folks are actually offended by this, saying their pets don't need to be "rescued." What they don't understand is that "rescue" is an alternative to placing a pet in a shelter. The vast majority of my guinea pigs came from people who were just trying to find them a new home; most of them were well-cared for before they came here. They were given up because of a lack of time, money, attention, etc.
Anyway, I wanted to let everyone who sees this site know what I am NOT.
1. First and foremost, I am NOT a breeder, period. There are plenty of guinea pigs out there who need homes without me having to breed more to adopt out.
2. I am not a guinea pig "seller." I do not even ATTEMPT to make money on my adoptions.
3. I am not a guinea pig "collector." Collectors (or hoarders) scoop up animals from anywhere and anyone, then keep them because it's "cool" to keep exotic animals, or untold numbers of cats or dogs. My greatest concern is always the welfare of the animal. I do not "collect" them. I DO adopt some to new homes, but many of my current guinea pigs are too old, sick or traumatized to go to new homes.
I am always open to questions, and anyone who wants to see my farm or my animals can make an appointment to come out and do so. I also have a VERY long list of references, both personal and via the rescue, which I am willing to provide at any time. And anytime you wonder what I "do" with my guinea pigs, go to the top of the website and read my mission statement.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Website/Online Store!

I just heard from Amy Chase, who just opened an online store that sells snuggly products that guinea pigs love! It's at Amy has seven rescue piggies of her own, so I told her that I would post the name of her site here.
I am still slowly figuring out the blog thing, so I will try to post a section with links to sites like Amy's. Cavy Spirit is excellent, but there are soooo many more out there with all kinds of products and information.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Adopted! Sweet and Sour

Sweet and Sour, my two youngest girls, just left for their new home, as a birthday present for a little girl. The family had been discussing getting a guinea pig for months, and they did their research before coming to me to adopt.
Several more people are coming out this weekend to see who's still here, so more adoptions are in the near future! I will keep everyone posted!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Adoption Process

A lot of people have questions about our adoption process, so here it is...
I do require all adopters to sign a contract and pay an adoption fee, to ensure the guinea pig is going to a good home and can be returned to me at anytime instead of being passed on to someone else (in fact, I would prefer that they come back to me, even if I have a lot). Females are not adopted out if we know they are pregnant; all guinea pigs are adopted out healthy, and upon adoption the adopter becomes responsible for all subsequent medical care. I am always available to answer any questions at anytime about guinea pig care and behavior, so I welcome any communication after adoption. And of course, we love to get pictures!
I try to make the adoption process as simple and pleasant as possible. Some people have adopted guinea pigs without first meeting them, but I do like to have folks come out to our farm and see which piggies "click" with them. They all have different personalities and quirks. I always make a follow-up call or e-mail one week after adoption to see how things are going. Most people who adopt from us have already done research and know what they are getting into; many have built their own large CC cages.
Adoption fees are generally $30 for a single pig (cage/accessories included), $40 for two, $15 if you already have a cage. These fees may vary depending on how old the guinea pig is and the size/condition of the cage.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Good News!

I have just returned from New Jersey...seems like every time I go there, someone calls me about a guinea pig! This time it was someone interested in adopting, so by the time Christmas rolls around, five of my piggies will be going to new homes! Sweet and Sour are lined up to go this Tuesday, and the others will be going closer to Christmas. The even better news is that the man who wants to adopt a single guinea pig was referred to our website, so we know the word is getting around!
Ever since I got home an hour ago I've been cleaning cages and going through my e-mails, so time to get back to work! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Wish List

Wanted to write a quick note before I leave later this the last few months I've had to take in quite a few guinea pigs who did not come with cages and certain other things I like them to have, so if anyone has any of these items they'd like to donate to the rescue, it would be much appreciated! They don't even have to be new or clean; we can fix them up here.
Medium to large cages (big enough for two guinea pigs)
Igloos (or chewable huts or anything else they can hide in)
Large water bottle holders (I have bottles but no holders for them)
Heavy crock dishes
We're close to a feed store that sells food and bedding, so we can get those anytime, but I like the new arrivals to have all they need to feel comfortable when they first get here!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Hi everyone! I couldn't wait to get my computer fixed so I could update the blog, as I haven't been on here in almost a week. I've barely had time to recover from our vacation, and now I have to turn around and drive to New Jersey for Thanksgiving, leaving my (wonderful) husband to care for our piggy herd. Not only did I take in Sweet, Sour and Salty, but I got Uncle Fester and Wilbur this evening. They didn't come with a cage, so I had to do some "rearranging" with everyone and I filled up my last emergency cage. As of now, we have had 96 guinea pigs pass through our doors in the last six years. I'm sure we will reach 100 by the end of 2009!
So, although I will be gone for a few more days, I will still check my Gmail, and I will add more updates to the blog as soon as I return!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Taking a Break

I am going out of town from Thursday to next Monday, so if anyone contacts me through my Gmail account, I won't be able to answer you right away. I always try to be prompt in responding to people, so please be patient..if you do write to me, I will get back to you as soon as I'm home!
In the meantime, since the holidays are approaching, why not consider making a donation to one of your favorite charities? Don't have one? You can find thousands of them on the Internet! While national charities are fine, I tend to support those who are local. Some great local animal welfare groups are the Oswego County Humane Society, Oswego County Animal Welfare League/SPCA, Paws Across Oswego County, and Wayward Paws. Or, check out The Hunger Site, which will also connect you to a few other sites where you can make a free click daily that will donate food, health care, books and more! If you order gifts through these sites, your giving goes even further! And believe it or not, food pantries can always use donations of pet food as well as regular food. People who can't feed themselves certainly can't feed their pets!
Times are tough this year, but every little bit helps. If you're able, please make sure to help someone who's less fortunate this holiday season.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Should You Spay/Neuter Your Guinea Pig(s)?

One question I was asked at the adoption fair was whether or not I have my guinea pigs fixed, or whether it was even possible. Yes, it is possible, but doing so is expensive and risky for these little guys. Guinea pigs do not take well to anesthesia, and it is nearly impossible to give them an IV (it usually has to go into a bone in the leg), so ANY surgery on a guinea pig is difficult to begin with. The only time you would need to spay or neuter is if you plan on keeping a male and female together. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it. You can learn how to tell males and females apart (like I did!) at; the link is to the left of the blog. As far as explaining to everyone why you're looking at guinea pigs' nether regions on the computer...well, you're on your own! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home 4 the Holidays!

Wow, I wish I had gotten involved in this thing earlier! Home 4 the Holidays was a HUGE event, which not only featured a lot of adoptable animals, but also some great crafts! I also had someone contact me about some issues with her two adopted piggies; I will be trimming nails tomorrow evening!
I'm hoping to hear from several people I met at the event today. Everyone enjoyed meeting the pigs; they got lots of attention and even some baby carrots!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gearing Up for the Holidays

Well, I got a bunch of my Christmas shopping done tonight (and I'm still amazed it didn't take me MUCH longer!), and I'm getting excited about the Home 4 the Holidays adoption event in Oswego this Sunday. Pork Chop and Gravy will be going with me, as well as one of my boys, but I haven't decided who yet. Aaron is available for adoption, but Jabbie and Giorgio are just soooo beautiful that I may take them just to show them off! Many people have not seen Peruvian guinea pigs before, so this may be a good chance to introduce the boys to the public and teach people about their care, and about the many different breeds of guinea pigs. However, I am still looking for a home for Aaron, and if I take him, he may get adopted that very day. I have so many piggies I can't decide! If you want to cast a vote, write it in the comments section and I'll read them over Saturday. Just click on a guinea pig's name at left to view pictures and read each one's history/description. Thanks!
P.S. Santa is bringing gifts for all my piggies again this year! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Too Many Guinea Pigs?

I started this rescue with a father/son pair six years ago. Since then, 91 guinea pigs have come and gone from our farm. Right now I have 27, and many people are shocked when they hear that number. I've had as many as 34 at a time. I never expected there would be such a need for this type of rescue. It's hard work, and at times heartbreaking, but I'm proud of our little rescue and how it has grown.
I have to thank my friend Charlotte, who used to take in guinea pigs for the CNYSPCA. I adopted several from her before joining her in the rescue movement. Together we've taken in untold numbers of guinea pigs. In turn, I also got another person named Carole involved. I think Carole was surprised at how many people wanted to give up their guinea pigs, and she may have gotten a bit overwhelmed, but she has a good heart and jumped into this with both feet right from the start.
Twenty seven guinea pigs is a lot, yes, but I'd rather keep taking as many as I can than see them go to shelters or be abandoned. I realize that times are hard, and people are giving up all sorts of pets because they can't afford to care for them anymore for whatever reason. I am always able to take in any guinea pigs that need a home, so feel free to refer people in need to this site.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another Guinea Pig Rescue Site

Last night I was surfing through guinea pig sites and stumbled across Have a Heart Rescue in Florence, NJ. Apparently, this is not too far from my relatives' house in Cherry Hill. After looking at some of their available guinea pigs on, I found that they have a female Peruvian (Yoshi) up for adoption, who is in a foster home in Philadelphia. Anyone who knows me knows I have a MAJOR weakness for long-haired guinea pigs (my two males, Jabbie and Giorgio, are not up for adoption because of said weakness!). I'm hoping that when I go down to Cherry Hill for Thanksgiving, I will be bringing back a new guinea pig!
If you get a chance to check out the website, it's amazing. Last year they took in about 140 guinea pigs that were being given away for free by a breeder. The pictures are not pretty. These animals were very badly neglected, leading to skin, eye and respiratory conditions. I'm sure there were many more health issues; fortunately, ALL of them found loving new homes! I know I've taken in a lot of guinea pigs over the years, but I can't imagine rescuing over one hundred! If you know anyone in the NJ/PA area looking for a new pet, please refer them to this site.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Home 4 the Holidays, November 15

I have been invited to participate in the Oswego County Humane Society's annual "Home 4 the Holidays" Adoption Celebration and Craft Fair on Sunday, November 15 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Oswego YMCA Armory (265 W. First St.). I was in an adoption fair with these guys over the summer, at Satimore's Landscaping in Fulton with Rodney; this time I'm thinking of taking Pork Chop and Gravy (click on their names at left to see their pictures), because they are young shorthairs, which seem to be one of the most popular types of guinea pigs I adopt out! I am looking forward to being part of this event for the very first time, and I hope some of you can make it! (And it's not just about guinea pigs; many cats and dogs will be on display and will hopefully going to new homes in time for Christmas!) For more information or to contact OCHS, please visit their site at
Right now Buttercup, Aaron, Pork Chop & Gravy, Foxy & Roxy, and Bruce & Charlie are still looking for homes! I also have exciting news...the woman who gave me Frosted, Wally and Chet is going to give me her remaining two guinea pigs, and one is a hairless (or "skinny pig"). I've never owned one before (in fact, I've never seen a live one!) so we are VERY excited about adding this new member to our family in a couple weeks! His name is Uncle Fester, and his cage-mate is Wilbur. As soon as I get them, I will post pictures!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Can male guinea pigs be housed together?

The short answer to this question is that it depends. If two (or more) males have grown up together in the same family, they can usually live together with no problems, provided they have enough space, and possibly a couple separate food dishes. On rare occasions, you can place two unrelated males together; this is best done when they are very young, or when one is much older and one is very young. Even then, there is no guarantee they will get along. I have had successes and failures with all different breeds and ages of male guinea pigs. It takes a lot of trial and error. I prefer that guinea pigs be housed in groups of at least two, but if one shows too much aggression toward other males, then he must be kept separate.
Right now I have been very slowly introducing some of my single males to each other in a neutral area. I was concerned that Frosted, who lost his cagemate two days ago, would show signs of depression, but so far he has been doing well and seems in good spirits. Because Rodney and Buttons are both extremely timid, I introduced them tonight, and there was nearly zero aggression (Rodney was interested in the tag in Buttons' ear and nibbled on it, but that was pretty much it). I have a very large cage waiting in the wings, so after putting them together for a playdate tomorrow, I may end up having them live together, under close supervision. They will each have their own original igloos, and I will keep their cages ready in case things don't work out. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

R.I.P. Wally

Hi everyone..wanted to let you know that although he wasn't posted on here, we lost our little friend Wally today. Wally came to me with Chet (adopted yesterday) and Frosted. I'm not always sure of a guinea pig's age when they come to me; I assumed Wally was around 3, and he had pea-eye, but this is a harmless, untreatable fatty deposit inside the eye. He always had a good appetite, and didn't show any signs of illness before his sudden death. My main concern now is for his cagemate, Frosted, who was the less shy of the two. I will keep an eye on Frosted, and hopefully we can place him with a new friend, as he is not used to being alone. Wally will be buried tomorrow at our farm. He was much loved, and will be missed. (I could not find a good picture of him; he was a short-haired tri-color American.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Progress (or, Blog-ress, haha!)

I'm still figuring out how to use the new blog/website, and I didn't realize that so many people had written to my new Gmail address, so last night I went through and found not only people interested in adopting, but people who had already adopted from me and wanted to send pictures of their piggies to show me how they're doing. Everyone I saw looks great, and I wanted to thank everyone for their support and interest. I always love to hear from folks who have adopted from me, and it's even better when they want to get another piggie to add to their family!
I am happy to say that one family is coming out Sunday to look at a pair, and another person is interested in Truffle and Biscuit, so our "herd" may be shrinking a bit in the next few weeks, but that means I will have more room to take in guinea pigs as needed. A few people have also offered cages for donation, which is much appreciated! In case anyone was wondering, I keep most of my guinea pigs in one room. My wonderful husband built me multiple shelves, so no one is sitting on top of anyone else. Two years ago the entire room was gutted and re-insulated so it is much warmer during the winter. A few cages spilled out onto my dining room floor, but again, it's warm and safe, and all the new piggies are getting into the "breakfast routine" in the morning, all squeaking for their food!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What can I feed my guinea pig(s)?

There are foods you can and cannot feed your guinea pig. It is fine to feed them Romaine lettuce, red or green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, sweet peppers, carrots, watermelon, apples, strawberries, oranges, kale, escarole, endive, etc. They also need timothy hay and pellet food that is made for guinea pigs, NOT for rabbits. Rabbit food lacks the vitamin C guinea pigs need. DO NOT feed your guinea pig onions, garlic, spinach, potatoes or their peels, or iceberg lettuce. Don't feed too much fruit; the sugar can lead to weight gain. Guinea pigs love to eat, but some may be picky about their food, so you may have to experiment to see what your little friend likes!
Most guinea pigs do not like the taste of liquid vitamins in their water. These vitamins aren't necessary if you already feed a good staple food and supplement it with fresh produce.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Why do people give up guinea pigs?

People give up guinea pigs for most of the same reasons they give up cats and dogs. They cite allergies, not having enough time, kids have lost interest, can't afford it, moving, etc. After purchasing guinea pigs, most people realize within a few months whether or not the pet was a good fit for their family. Unfortunately, most of these guinea pigs are still young, some only a few months old. Guinea pigs live between 4-8 years, so giving up a young guinea pig means you will have to find a home willing to care for them until they pass away.

Now that the movie "G-Force" has come and gone, so have many guinea pigs. We have taken in many young cavies that were no doubt part of the movie's fallout. Before anyone decides to either buy or adopt a guinea pig, they need to do the research to make sure the animal is a good fit for the family. Like dogs and cats, every guinea pig has its own individual personality. It's best to take the time to get acquainted with your new pet BEFORE you decide to make a purchase or go through with an adoption.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Ever since we moved to our farm six years ago, we have been taking in guinea pigs, so I decided to make it "official" in January of 2008. After meeting others who do rescue in other counties, I found that Oswego County had a need for guinea pig rescue; most shelters do NOT take guinea pigs, as they are busy dealing with dogs and cats. I have drawn up my nonprofit paperwork, but my husband has received a potential job offer at Duke University in North Carolina, so right now I'm in "nonprofit limbo," waiting to see if I should file the paperwork. We do not solicit donations, and any donations we do get are appreciated, but at this time are not tax-deductible. Our main concern is caring for guinea pigs that are being given up for any number of reasons, from allergies to moving to financial distress. These animals deserve a loving home, and any guinea pig that does not get adopted will live out his/her days at our residence. We evaluate every animal that comes in for temperament, illness, age, etc. to determine if it will be available for adoption or not.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome to the OCGPR blog/website!

Hi everyone! I just got this set up a couple days ago, so please bear with me as I (slowly) figure out how this all works. I just uploaded some new pictures, with brief stories about the guinea pigs. As of this writing, I have 28 guinea pigs (also called cavies). It's hard to believe this rescue started with only two...a father/son pair given to us in 2003 by a former neighbor. Since then, we have had 86 guinea pigs come and go. Some of my little guys are getting pretty old...too old to adopt out, so they will remain here for the time they have left. They will enjoy fresh produce several times a day, clean cages, full water bottles, and love from myself and my younger daughter, Morgan, who is my guinea pig helper!

I am always here to answer any questions you may have about guinea pig care, adoption, etc. I check e-mail several times a day, and I can be reached on my cell phone. I'm hoping to hear from people as the blog gets more notice...I will also be linked with the Oswego County Humane Society, Kritter Kronickles Magazine, and the Oswego County Animal Welfare League/SPCA.

Thank you all for your support so far! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Meet "Prescott" curently not for adoption due to illness

I wanted to post this on the website because Prescott was in such bad shape when he came here. The first picture is of his front foot, which was swollen up like a balloon and had a hole going right through the middle. The second pic is of him shortly after he came here; he also has a skin condition, and a bunch of his hair had fallen out. He is a two year old American crested, not yet available for adoption because his foot is still badly swollen, and he still needs medication for the skin condition.