Monday, May 31, 2010

Garden is Growing!

Hooray! Our carrots and cucumbers have sprouted, earlier than expected. The only problem is that it's been so dry, we've had to haul water from our collection tank in the barn across the yard to water everything. Here's hoping it rains soon!
In other news, the girl who adopted Carl (formerly Casey) came by to find him a buddy, and she decided to take Phoenix, so he now has a new home where I know he will be even MORE spoiled. Her other choice was Marley, my new silkie, but I'm glad he's still here cuz he's really cute!
I've been wanting to use our outdoor playpen, but it's been way too hot lately, so today everyone got a cold piece of watermelon to help cool down!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Da Rules

It's been slow here now that four of my piggies have left, so I wanted to reiterate what we do here at the rescue. Here are the most important points of operation:
1. NO UNAUTHORIZED BREEDING, just like Jurassic Park. In seven years, we have only had two litters of newborns, both from females who were pregnant before they came to us. I am absolutely paranoid about checking sexes when new guinea pigs arrive!
2. Vet care if needed. If a guinea pig arrives and is obviously sick, we will take it to a vet. However, I am now requiring that anyone who wants to surrender a guinea pig MUST take it to a vet if it is seriously ill or injured. It's not just a matter of finances, it's a matter of suffering. If your dog broke its leg, would you take it to the SPCA and let them deal with it? Didn't think so.
3. Proper diet. Guinea pigs need guinea pig pellets, not rabbit food. They also need timothy hay and a variety of fresh produce, which we provide.
4. Cleanliness. Fleeces are washed about every four days; cages with shavings are cleaned completely at least once a week, more often if needed. Keeping cages clean not only reduces the smell, it keeps the guinea pigs free of disease.
5. Space. All guinea pigs or groups are given the most space available. Trust me, I do not like putting even one guinea pig in a small cage, but once in a while I have to on an emergency basis. I always keep a few spare cages around, just in case. As soon as a larger cage is available, I upgrade piggies in smaller cages to larger ones.
6. Last but not least, love and respect. Some guinea pigs arrive here terrified. I give them space and don't try to startle them; I put food in the cage and leave them alone to eat when they feel comfortable. I try to meet their individual needs, as every guinea pig is an individual. They each have their own personality, and I try to respect that as much as possible by getting to know them and providing what they need. Sometimes, this takes months. All I want is for the animal to feel comfortable in our home, and be socialized and ready enough to be adopted if possible.
7. Sorry, one more--permanency. Some guinea pigs are just not able to be adopted out again. Reasons can vary from age, health, temperament, etc. Again, it's about each individual animal. Most of the piggies I have right now will have this farm as their forever home, where they will receive all the love and care they need for the rest of their lives.
All I want is to care for these little guys who have no voice; just because they live in cages and can be put in a basement, garage or other room does not mean they don't feel pain, fear, or loneliness. They deserve to be treated with the same respect as any other living being.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Ryan and I got our garden planted last night...we decided to build a raised bed, fill it with topsoil, and plant there instead of tilling our fenced-in "garden" this year. Our soil out here is mostly clay, or sand..not the greatest for planting, so hopefully this will make things a lot easier. We planted tomatoes, blueberries, and of course, cucumbers and carrots for our piggies!
Since we don't qualify for a loan to build a pig house next to ours, I've been doing some thinking, and I've decided that what I need to do is get some bigger cages and put some of my single guinea pigs together. I have a couple of females who are not going to be adopted out, so they can become permanent cage-mates, and this will free up their current cages in case there is an emergency and I need to take in more. It will also get a couple of cages off my dining room floor! I have already ordered a 2x3 C&C plus two custom-made fleeces. They won't be ready for a couple weeks, but it will be worth the wait. I would also like to place some of my single boys together, but I'm not sure if the whole buddy-bath thing works for males as well as for females. If it does, I'm willing to do it. A lot of guinea pigs who arrive here are singles, but placing them together when possible not only will save space, it will give everyone more company.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

News and Blues This Week

Ok, so the news is that Juan will be fostered by a friend of mine (who may convince her husband to keep him, but we'll see!). She makes the Piggy Bed Spreads, so I know he would be well-taken care of and will probably even get a bigger cage. Franky and Doug are going to their new home Saturday afternoon; right now they are in my gym, as I didn't have any other place for them. I know I tell people that when I start putting guinea pigs in my gym, I will need an intervention, but this is TEMPORARY!
On the blues side, someone called me very early yesterday morning, asking if I had any space in the rescue (right now, I don't). She told me her guinea pig was injured, and her husband didn't want her to take him to the vet because it would "cost money." Well, of COURSE it will cost money! But that's what you do when your pet is hurt...I told her she HAD to take him to the vet. I'm afraid to think what happened to him, I just hope she did the right thing and he isn't suffering.
I just want to remind anyone who comes across this blog that just because I am a rescue does not mean I receive funding from anyone, nor am I a vet. I cannot give emergency medical treatment, nor can I always afford to do so. This is why I rewrote my application; anyone who wants to surrender a guinea pig MUST have it taken to a vet if it is severely ill or injured. If you have the money to buy an animal and its supplies, you must also be willing to pay for its medical care if needed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Duff Finds a Home!!!

Ok, so this REALLY BIG dude came by the table while we were at Tractor Supply yesterday, and he fell in LOVE with Duff! So, at last, Duff has found a loving home! (Seriously, this guy Jason was taking pics of Duff on his phone, calling his family members, etc.) We had a great day..we made enough money to buy a bag of food, but then when I went to get it, they were completely out! I did buy some fresh produce at a farm stand this evening as a special treat for all the piggies.
We had a great time at the adoption event, and saw all kinds of interesting animals. Hopefully this will help spread the word and we can get some of our younger piggies into new homes!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Two (or More) Guinea Pigs are Better than One

It seems that when most people decide to get a guinea pig as a pet for the first time, they decide to get one, thinking that one is "all they can handle." The thing is, guinea pigs are social rodents who enjoy the company of a buddy, especially if you're going to be out of the house a lot. I find that many people get one guinea pig, only to decide much later on that they would like another, but by that time, adding another guinea pig might lead to fighting or injury if one has been used to living alone.
It is best to keep guinea pigs in groups of 2-5, in a cage that is large enough for them to run around in freely. It is possible to place two unrelated pigs together as adults, but it needs to be a careful process. They must be introduced on neutral ground, not simply thrown together in a cage, even if the cage is clean. Females are more likely to get along than males, but even pairs that have been together their whole lives will still "fuss" (tooth chatter, butt wiggle, hump, chase, etc.). This happens with both males and females and is perfectly normal; as long as no one is getting hurt, it's fine.
When pairs or groups of guinea pigs arrive at our rescue, we keep them together, and try to adopt them out together. I realize that this results in fewer adoptions, since again, most people want only one, but I will not separate pairs or groups that have always been together, as this can be traumatic. On the flip side, I will not force two unrelated, same-sex, single guinea pigs to live together as cagemates. I have far more failures than successes in this arena. If, after the second or third introduction, the guinea pigs aren't getting along splendidly, I will not put them together. Every guinea pig has a different personality, and if one is more dominant, it will only lead to problems if you make introductions recklessly.
So, if you are considering adopting, it would be best to adopt a pair, even if it means a little more cage-cleaning, etc. In the long run, it will be much better for your pet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Ryan and I are going away for a bit for our anniversary, so I've been busy all day washing fleeces, etc. to make sure everyone will be clean for the next couple days. Also, against my better judgment, I am taking in one more male. His owner is moving, and the guinea pig is visually impaired, so I'm concerned that he may end up somewhere that would not be able to care for him properly. His name is Steve, and we are picking him up on our way back home Sunday. Because he is partially blind, Steve will be a permanent resident not available for adoption. This will be the first time I've had a semi-blind guinea pig, so I want to make sure he is comfortable and doesn't continue to get moved around.
However, I am hoping that next weekend, I will find a home or two for a couple guinea pigs going to Tractor Supply with me. I called Pinot's new owners, and he is doing very well, and probably getting more attention than he was here with so many other piggies.
I was also very blessed today to receive a small donation of fleece and a check from a person who has been reading my articles in Kritter Kronickles, and after checking out this site, she wanted to help. I sincerely appreciate everything everyone has done for our little donation is ever too small!
So, I will update the blog again when we return, and post pics of our new resident!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring Has Arrived!

I have been woefully behind in updating the blog, mostly because there really is nothing going on here. The biggest development has been the explosion of dandelion growth, which means FRESH GREENS for all the piggies! I refer to dandelion leaves as "guinea pig crack," since they can't seem to get enough of them! Every time we go in or out the door now, everyone starts squeaking for a treat!
Fortunately, I have a very big yard, so I gather greens twice a day (weather permitting), and everyone is enjoying the spoils. I took Indigo and Gobbles out for some cuddles this evening, sitting on the back deck and getting some fresh air. I'm looking forward to using my outdoor enclosure soon, when the weather starts getting more consistent.
Again, I will post more on this as the date gets closer, but we will be back at Tractor Supply in Clay on Rts. 31 and 57 on Saturday, May 15. This time I am bringing several guinea pigs available for adoption, and I am going to type up some informational sheets to bring along with me to get the word out about our rescue and about guinea pig care.