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What do guinea pigs need?

Guinea pigs are relatively easy to care for, but they do have some basic needs that need to be met.

I have been asked by lots of people about the specifics I have bought for settling in Coco & George (they are my 2 year old rescue boars, who have been with me for just less than one month). I will list them below – and will edit this post with more details in the next few days. Please email me at hello@aliwade.com or contact me via social media if you have any questions.

As I am keeping them in my craft room and wanted to be able to interact with them easily, I decided to try a C&C pen this time (always had either the traditional wood hutches or the cages with plastic bottoms before). I am not able to cut the Correx base myself, so ordered a complete kit from a company – click HERE. They are offering a £10 discount for having seconds Correx, so I went with that option (there are literally a few very minor scratches on it and I couldn’t choose the colour).

If I was extending this pen, or building another, I would go with the DIY option from Amazon (and buy the base material from a DIY store or separate website). This one seems to be highly recommended.

SONGMICS 2-Floor Metal Pet Playpen, 36 Grid Panels, Customisable Cage Enclosure for Small Animals, Guinea Pigs, Rabbit Hutches, Includes Mallet, Indoor Use 143 x 73 x 71 cm, Black LPI02H

There are various different pack sizes from this company, so take a look at them all. You will need a suitable ramp (as shallow an angle as possible; guinea pigs cannot jump like rabbits – nonslip), if you do have a loft area.

More links coming, as I do more research – I will only recommend products that other people are using successfully and safely.

The other essentials are –

Water Bottles (I have always used these and they are excellent – one per guinea pig).

CLASSIC Bottle Guinea Pig Colortone, 320 ml

The metal coil springs to attach the water bottles to your cage/hutch are better than the plastic covered wires that come with the bottles. I get mine from Ebay.

Food Bowls (again, one per guinea pig). These ones are lovely, but slightly more expensive.

HAYPIGS Guinea Pig Toys and Accessories – Circus Themed FOOD CRAVING TAMER Guinea Pig Bowl – Guinea Pig Food Bowl – Hedgehog Bowl – Rabbit Bowl – Small Animal Food Bowl

A cheaper option is –

Trixie Ceramic Bowl with Motif for Guinea Pig, 250 ml

What to use for bedding is partially personal choice. I started with using Megazorb (a wood pulp bedding), as I have always used a form of wood shavings or other wood bedding before (but this was outside or in stables). Megazorb is excellent – very absorbent, feels warm and easy to keep clean – but there is a bit of dust, of course, and that was making me sneeze whilst working in my craft room. Also, George was running around and kicking it into Coco’s eyes.

Megazorb Animal Bedding 85 Litres

Other ‘natural’ options are paper litter, particularly in a litter tray with hay –

Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding – 30 L

Soft paper bedding (I am tempted to try this) -this is for the largest pack size to make it more economical, but take a look at the other options.

Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent Paper Bedding for Cages, Hamster, Gerbil, Mice, Rabbit, Guinea Pig, 85 Litre, White

I had said that I would try both main methods of bedding anyway, so on Sunday I swapped over to using bath mats over washable bed mats. I was recommended to try the soft bobble microfibre mats from Home Bargains (which are £5 each). They are excellent. Very soft, absorbent, easy to wash and dry. Wilko also do them – and in more colours – but £6 each. I will not put a link to the Amazon ones, as they are £9 each – but if anyone wants any help in sourcing bath mats, then just get in touch.

I bought washable bed mats to go underneath to soak up any extreme liquids! However, so far the bath mats are doing an excellent job and the mats do not seem to get damp at all. I am thinking of getting some soft paper bedding to try on top of the bed mats, so will report back on Instagram how that is going.

The best mats I found are these. I need 3 for my size of C&C, but please measure your guinea pig housing and see how many you will need. I haven’t washed these yet, but they are meant to be easy and quick to dry.

Washable Bed Protector/Pad without Tucks – Pack of 2

(Many people are using cheap disposable puppy pads under fleece etc, but I did not want to contribute to the landfill problem and there are reports that they are dangerous if the guinea pigs nibble on them.)

There is a huge range of fleece liners to use with guinea pigs – and many people just buy fleece or Vet Bed in sections themselves. I am probably going to try out a specific cage liner – Guineadad is a recommended one – which has a waterproof backing, so no need for the bed mats, or just a good quality fleece liner (which are cheaper and available from Amazon and Etsy).

(I will come back and edit this when I have tried out some fleece. In the meantime, any of the excellent groups on Facebook will be able to give recommendations.)

If you are going to use fleece or bath mats in outside housing, then make sure it never gets damp. Lots and lots of hay for them to burrow into, and perhaps consider soft paper bedding or Megazorb.

If you use fleece or bath mats, then you will need a large laundry bag to save the hay etc getting into your washing machine (and I tumble dry afterwards to get all the extra bits off – after shaking it out well outside before washing).

There are cheaper options on Amazon now, but I have used this specific one for over 10 years and it is still working well.

Horsewear Wash Bag, Filters Horse Hair and Protects Washing Machines, Jumbo Size, Orange

I will talk about hay/feed/treats and accessories/extras in other blog posts (again email me if you have any questions).

Sorry for this being a bit of a long list – but I am getting questions on social media every day about what I have bought, so have promised specific links!

Join my email community for the password to my Freebies page – Printable PDF on Winter Care and my first wallpaper design for your phone/tablet/pc.

If you are in Pembrokeshire, then I have started to sell essentials for your small pets. Hay is £2 per black bag.

Autumn Guinea Pig Wallpaper

My first guinea pig wallpaper for your phone/tablet/desktop screen is now available as a freebie in my Resource Library. Sign up via the below form to get the password for access.

The wallpaper is in autumnal colours, and comes in 9 different sizes so you can get the best fit for your screen(s). I love having custom wallpapers on my devices and change them regularly.

More freebies will be added regularly, and my first newsletter will be sent out by the end of this month.

Introducing Coco & George – my pair of rescue guinea pigs

The boys! I collected them from Nibbles Rodent & Rabbit Rescue on Friday (23rd October 2020). Thank you to Siobhan & her team for looking after them so well for the past year.

They are both just over 2 years old (approximate birthday was August 2018) and are a well-bonded pair.

It is wonderful having some company in my craft room again – definitely not quiet anymore!

Coco is the large dark brindle with a white stripe on his face. He has an interesting hairdo, and is probably part-Abyssinian (with perhaps Peruvian somewhere in his history).

George is the Tri-Colour with the small black wig on his head!

They are slowly getting more confident around me, but definitely like to run to a safe place if I startle them. If I have any food, or rustle a plastic bag, then they will approach. I am taking part in a 5 Day Taming Challenge on Facebook (link on my Home Page), and that is helping already.

It is important to be patient when new piggies join your household, even if they are adults that have been well-handled in their former home. Do not grab them, let them become accustomed to their new home and spend as much time around them as possible.

More tips on settling guinea pigs into your household soon, but please email me at hello@aliwade.com if you have any questions.

I am posting photos and videos on Instagram every day. Go over there and follow me. I would love to see photos of your guinea pigs.

Ali x

Christmas Gifts for Guinea Pig Lovers

Here are 15 gift ideas for guinea pig lovers – great for Christmas, but suitable any time of the year (birthdays, anniversary of getting a specific guinea pig …). 2020 Holiday Gift Guide. These are all affordable and are definitely for the humans. I will write another blog post with gift ideas for your guinea pigs.

I want all of these!

Please note these are all affiliate links, so you will not pay any more, but I will get a small payment to help support this blog.

Amazon

Etsy UK

Not On The High Street

The Book Depository

Zazzle

I will have my own designs listed on Zazzle by 2021, but for now here are three really gorgeous designs (remember that you will be able to choose many different items for each design).

Guinea Pigs – change of focus

I am leaving my older blog posts on here, but please note that the focus of this blog is changing to Guinea Pigs.

I will be adding regular blog posts, new pages and affiliate links.

Join my ‘Guinea Pig Geeks’ community to receive a regular newsletter – with care tips, craft ideas, shopping and planners.

Photo by Alvin Engler on Unsplash

Sad News – Pet Bereavement is hard

Yesterday, after a gradual worsening of his dementia and then a sudden illness , Buzz the Jack Russell Terrier went over Rainbow Bridge. It is always a horrible decision to make, even though I knew it would be needed sooner rather than later.

He had been part of our family for over 12 years and was a huge character in a small body. Our house is now very quiet. I haven’t been out for a walk today, apart from in a field on another farm near the coast (whilst delivering packed lunch and phone charging cable to hubby!). It definitely doesn’t seem right walking without a small dog to talk to.

I have already been asked when we will be getting another dog. I had made the decision last year that Buzz would probably be my last dog (I have had at least one continuously for 25 years, and had other dogs in the years prior to that). I was struggling with the care involved, the stress of having an older dog with health problems and the worry when we had to leave him (either for a few hours, or when he went to the kennels). Our life will not be totally settled for the next few years – perhaps we will be spending most of the year in Spain, but who knows right now. It is time now for me to have more freedom to craft/blog/design, and I hope to cycle more now that I am not doing 3 dog walks per day.

I have had many dogs in my life and it doesn’t get any easier to say good bye.

This is the last photo I took of Buzz (take a look at my Instagram @iamaliwade for lots of photos featuring him over the years). It was on Sunday in our garden, which he loved. He would walk around, inspecting the flowers, several times per day with my hubby.

I am not sure if I will be continuing with this blog long-term, as crafting/design is taking up so much of my days now. However, I will leave it up for now – and my range of printables for pet owners.

My main piece of advice for any pet owners is – GO AND TAKE TAKE PHOTOS/VIDEOS OF YOUR PETS TODAY!! You never know when they will be gone.

Crying again now!

Please comment below or send me an email – hello@aliwade.com – if you need any support over the loss of a pet.

Ali x

Four Steps to ensure that your pets are cared for in an emergency

  • Firstly, carry a card in your wallet notifying any emergency personnel that you have pets at home, and display a card in your door/window at home to show that there are pets in the home (or garden/yard/fields).

    I have designed a printable that has these (plus a keychain tag) on one A4 sheet. Lots of different options for your non-human family, including the most popular dog breeds, and I will be adding many more in the next few weeks. I can also do a custom order, with perhaps photos of your pets. Click HERE to visit my Etsy Shop.

  • Ensure that at least two separate people you trust have access to your home – sets of keys, knowledge of where keys are hidden, alarm codes …

    Try to choose people who live close to your home, are around when you are at work, know your pets and are happy to care for your pets temporarily.

  • Prepare an emergency kit for your pets (so one per animal).

    These could contain, for example,
    – Any pet insurance details
    – Vet and vaccination records
    – Information about any medication your pet needs, and where these are in the home
    – A carrier for a small pet
    – A slip lead for a dog
    – Information about any behaviour problems/habits, feeding routine etc.

    Ensure your ‘Emergency Guardians’ know where these emergency kits are (which should be in waterproof containers). Also, always have enough food/medication for at least two weeks.

  • Put into writing permanent arrangements for your pets.

    This could detail the permanent caregiver(s) for your pets, permission for pets to be put to sleep if this is the best thing for them (only you can decide on that), and either a trust or other financial arrangement to ensure they are cared for. This could be in your will or another formal written arrangement.

    However, keep in mind that you need to ensure that there are written instructions to ensure your pets are cared for immediately, as a will for instance will take some time to come into effect.

  • Organisations in the UK that will ensure your pet is cared for if you die or are unable to provide long-term care

    Dogs Trust
    Blue Cross
    RSPCA
    Wood Green Animal Charity

  • This is a lot to think about, but once done (and updated regularly) will give you some peace of mind knowing that in the case of an emergency your pets will be cared for appropriately.

    This is just a very basic guide. Every pet family will be different and your circumstances will vary a lot as well.

    Think about the extra arrangements needed for animals kept outside, particularly large animals such as equines/cattle/sheep/alpacas etc. I will be writing a separate blog post with information for owners of such animals. In the meantime, if you need any guidance, please contact me at hello@aliwade.com.

  • One final tip – take lots of photos and videos of your pets. These will be a huge comfort if you are unable to care for your pets anymore.

  • Take at look at my Pets Page, with some affiliate links for shopping and pet care.

  • If you need some advice on Moving House with Pets, take a look at this guide from GoCompare.

Dog Friendly AirBnB’s in North Pembrokeshire

I will receive a percentage of the AirBnB Service Fee when you make a booking via any of the following links.

If you click on the map on my Home Page showing AirBnB’s in the area surrounding our farm, there is a lot of choice. I am showcasing a few of the properties, which all welcome dogs and one can also provide holiday livery for your equine friends. They vary in size, location and style.

It makes me so proud to be a resident of this beautiful county when I see the wonderful range of holiday accommodation – in truly stunning locations and such fabulous quality.

I have worked in managing and cleaning holiday properties in the past, and it makes me happy to see people providing top level customer service for their guests.


Glenside cottage with hot tub, solva

The first property is only a few miles from our farm (I drive past it whenever I am on my way to Solva). Glenside Cottage is a one bedroom cottage, with views over the fields and its own private hot tub (fantastic after walking the coast path, going out cycling, horse riding or even just a day of sightseeing). Holiday livery for your horse(s) is available, so load up the horsebox and enjoy a holiday with your equine friends.


Cosy sea view apartment near porthgain

Another one bed property – this time a ground floor apartment with fantastic sea views, close to one of my favourite Pembrokeshire villages, Porthgain (with a pub serving food and a seafood bistro/takeaway).


ty llawen, berea (between croesgoch & st davids)

Now to a fantastic property for large groups. Ty Llawen (Welsh for Joyful House) is a 5 bed property, which sleeps 9. Perfect for a group of cyclists or triathletes looking for a comfortable base for training, or several generations of family needing space to spread out. Close to the coast and St Davids. Abereiddy (and the Blue Lagoon) is just down the road. The lanes around this area are one of my favourite places to cycle (get in touch if you would like recommendations for routes – suitable for all).

There are a few nights available in October and dates in November. I would recommend booking well ahead if you want a specific week in 2021.


the watch cottage, porthgain

The Watch Cottage is a truly unique property. Over 300 years old, Grade 2 Listed, loved by artists and photographers. Tiny – one bedroom, perfect for one or two adults (with well behaved dog – please say if you want to bring more than one). Close to Porthgain, down a secret narrow lane, and with 180 degree sea views. No central heating (2 woodburners and storage heaters), no tv. Get away from the stress of modern life, walk on the coast path, shop in St Davids and try out the many pubs/restaurants/cafes in the area.


Best Beach in Wales?

In the recent Sunday Times Beach Guide, Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire was named as the No.1 beach in Wales. We visited there last in October 2019, on a cold but sunny day. I took a lot of photographs (it is, like the whole of Pembrokeshire, very photogenic!) and show a few below.

There are 2 other Pembrokeshire beaches in the Top 10 – Whitesands near St Davids and Druidston Haven.

Which is your favourite Pembrokeshire beach? Comment below or over on my Instagram (@iamaliwade).

Mine is Abermawr, although obviously I love Barafundle (especially if you are lucky enough to go when it is quiet – not very often!) and our ‘local’, Newgale.

Check out my Holiday Accommodation page if you are looking to come and stay in Pembrokeshire this year or next.

If you are specifically looking for an Airbnb, click HERE to search on the map around Marloe Sands.

The closest Youth Hostel to Marloes Sands is Broad Haven, which has a fantastic beach itself, plus shops/restaurants/chippy etc. Click on the YHA Link on my Holiday Accommodation page.

About Ali

Hi, my name is Ali Wade. I am 49 at the time of typing, and live in rural Pembrokeshire with my semi-retired/dairy farmer/cycling addict hubby! I have been blogging since 2012 over on Blogger, and in 2019 I transferred over to WordPress (which is definitely a steep learning curve!).

What started as a simple blog, mainly about crafting, is now progressing into a website that concentrates on one of my big addictions – guinea pigs! I have Fibromyalgia, Hyper Mobility Syndrome and Psoriasis, and have not been able to work outside the home for many years. We are planning to move away from our dairy farm business – both in terms of the actual physical running of it (we have a contractor providing the labour and machinery now) and also spending more of the year in Spain. Therefore, we are looking at other ways of providing income for our later years (we are far too young to retire!).

I am an affiliate – for several companies that I have been learning/shopping with for years.

I am concentrating mainly on developing Passive Income, as that fits best with my chronic health conditions.

Due to my health, I cannot promise a lot of blog posts each week. I will be publishing a weekly blog post over at my blog for Multi-Crafters – click HERE to take a look.

My Etsy shop is still open (with a range of printables that any pet owner needs), so please click HERE to check that out. Lots of new digital products coming in 2021.

My health has to come first, so I am simplifying my life and reducing commitments. Since the horrible shock of losing Buzz the Jack Russell Terrier (read my blog post about this), I am taking the time to be creative and record memories (getting some digital scrapbooking projects started/completed). I am also learning more about using Procreate and Affinity Designer to produce my own designs for Print On Demand Stationery.

17th October 2020