Viewing 33 posts - 1 through 33 (of 33 total)
  • OT: What pet for a 10 year old? (Guinea pig content)
  • Premier Icon drdjpower
    Full Member

    Parenting advice needed, please, from the animal lovers on here. My 10 year old daughter is desperate for a pet. It’s not a fad, she’s been on about it for years, she’s read lots of books, and she’s patiently been a member of the Dogs Trust for a couple of years (including raising cash for them). So I’m proud of her and want to make her happy.

    Now I quite like animals. I don’t eat them, I try not to hurt them, and large parts of my job involve studying them in the wild. But I have absolutely no interest in owning one, and still less in manhandling its turds and paying for its diseases.

    So… what to get? We need something independent enough that we can go on holidays, strong enough to withstand younger siblings, and inexpensive. Guinea pigs are looking the best bet. Anything we ought to know, or to avoid, that they don’t mention in the books? Or other options? Parenting-based experiences welcomed!

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
    Free Member

    Yes , the child will get fed up with chores, such as cleaning it out etc. However I think it’s a good first pet.

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    Bunnyhop speaks the truth. My three girls have to be dragged out to the GP’s to clean them out – although I think most of the problem is that the hutch is kept outside in a stable. nothing wrong with GP’s though.
    Seriously, if you’re anywhere near Chester and want two GP’s for free (or £35 including a nice two storey hutch) – let me know as they’re on Gumtree right now.
    Amazingly we haven’t learnt our lesson and are getting a hamster for them at Xmas. Actually I really like hamsters as they’re cute and live inside so you can play with them.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Full Member

    Guinea pigs are remarkably good pets, I was sceptical at first when my gf got some but they have turned out to be very good fun. They are active when you are active and enjoy human interaction, unlike nocturnal hamsters etc. The first ones we got were taken off a friend who’s daughters got bored of them after a few weeks though…

    You can’t just leave them alone when you go on holiday, you will need to get someone to come in every day to feed and water them or find someone willing and able to look after them properly in their own house.

    They are pretty robust but won’t handle being dropped/abused.

    You need to bear in mind they can be noisy, smelly, and can distribute their bedding over a remarkably wide area around their cage. You’ll need to clean them out every few days which can be messy. Our living room looked more like a farm yard a lot of the time. Male GPs are extra smelly and can fight which can be quite alarming (and expensive), but we certainly didn’t have any problems more than the noise, mess and a bit of biting, so don’t discount males. Siblings are usually safest with males but we introduced a new male to another after the death of the other sibling with no problems.

    If you do get them, get them from a rescue centre/adoption centre, not from somewhere like pets at home. There are enough animals looking for a good home without pets at home flogging more of them to a life of being ignored and mistreated – our local rescue centre was bursting with rabbits and GPs that people’s kids had got from pets at home and got fed up of, bit sad really. It might be worth taking your daughter to a rescue centre to see what they look like as an adult, instead of as a cute baby, which doesn’t last long!

    Premier Icon restless
    Free Member

    Hamsters are good as they are not kept outside in the cold and they don’t smell. They don’t live too long either, but they are nocturnal.

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    Another vote for Guinea Pigs. As above, they’re small enough not to need walking or too much space, but they’re big enough that you can’t exactly lose them down the back of the sofa.

    And they can be quite sociable if you bring them up that way (letting them run around in the living room, sitting with them on your lap etc), and aren’t too messy.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    A friend of mine has a degu which is a delightful little animal, like a cross between a guinea pig and a gerbil. Very friendly and clever little chap!

    Premier Icon FarmersChoice
    Free Member

    We have kept GP’s for the daughters for a number of years now and I reckon they are the perfect pet. Cute, lots of character and quite vocal!

    Ours stay outside in a good hutch all year apart from deep winter if it goes below freezing. They have the run of the garden as it is now pug proofed.

    Poo is compacted pellets so not particularly unpleasant to deal with.

    Premier Icon RustySpanner
    Full Member

    How about a cat?

    Bit radical I know, but honestly they’re less hassle and so much more entertaining than something you have to keep locked in a cage half the time.

    Yes, you’ll have to get someone in when you go away, but you will with any pet, apart from fish.

    Rabbits are lovely but destroy your house and smell a bit.
    Not fair to keep them outside in a hutch all year so you have to protect all your cables and accept that your wallpaper will be shredded.

    Seriously, just get an ickle kitten.
    They’re ace.

    Premier Icon drdjpower
    Full Member

    Thanks for these replies, this is all very helpful. I am starting to believe we can do it. Even better, it’s starting to sound like fun. She’ll be over the moon.

    Sharkbait, that’s very kind but we’re in York. I hope you find somewhere good for them. I like bigjim’s suggestion of a rescued one (or two), we’ll check out the local options.

    I’ve already tried Mrs Djpower on the dog and cat ideas. She’s not impressed yet, and for fairly good reasons, but there’s no harm in trying!

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Full Member

    We have a great little rabbit (called Snaggletooth) He sleeps in his hutch all year round, spends the day in his run and in the evenings he comes in hangs out in the house. He is litter trained and mostly just explores the living room and lounging around on the sofa waiting to get his ears stroked. Great little fella.

    Premier Icon druidh
    Free Member

    We have two piggies. They live indoors for 6 months, outdoors for 6. Both males. We read up loads of stuff about what to feed them/ how to look after them but pretty much ignored it all (2nd cutting Timothy Grass – eh??). They get some nuggets in the morning, some fresh veg in the evening and a bit of hay at night-time.

    The cage needs cleaned out once a week or so. We use wood shavings.

    You’ll need to cut their nails/claws occasionally.

    That’s about it. They definitely have two distinct characters. One is very inquisitive, the other more reserved and nervous. We’ve not had any problems of them fighting, though they’ll do a wee growl at each other occasionally.

    They know when there is food on the go and will squeal when hungry. I’ve also seem them ignore a full bowl of food until we sit down to eat and then they tuck in 😆

    Premier Icon lambchop
    Free Member

    In our first week of GP ownership here. My daughter(8)is also an animal lover. Couldn’t have a cat/dog as my son is allergic and he has no plans going anywhere near the pigs. So far they’ve been very easy to keep (2, 8 week old females). Did lots of reading on the net and decided to keep them indoors. Keeping them in a cage on fleece rather than wood chips/newspaper and there’s no real smell at all. After the first day or so the pigs have lost all their shyness and like being handled and cuddled. At night we keep the light on on the room they’re in until bedtime then turn the light off and cover the cage with a fleece. Can hardly hear then nibbling food or whatever until morning.

    Premier Icon Zulu-Eleven
    Free Member

    Rats are fantastic pets, very interactive and, I think, the best of all as house cage pets.

    Premier Icon RustySpanner
    Full Member

    But rats and mice smell of wee, all the time.

    And when you handle them, you smell of wee as well.

    Premier Icon stox
    Full Member

    Friends of mine their kids have rats but I’m with rusty spanner on the kitten front.
    I’d never had cats, the mrs had. We couldn’t get a dog at the time so we got two kittens.
    I was always a bit wary of cats but I’m a convert now. Think they are ace. Easy to look after. Not very needy like a dog
    Got 2 labs now but wouldn’t be without the cats 😉

    Premier Icon druidh
    Free Member

    Yep – get a cat, then you don’t have to clean up its shit.

    Just leave that to your neighbours.

    Premier Icon stox
    Full Member

    Yep – get a cat, then you don’t have to clean up its shit.
    Just leave that to your neighbours.

    Unless its an indoor cat

    Premier Icon druidh
    Free Member

    drdjpower wrote:

    Now I quite like animals. I don’t eat them, I try not to hurt them, and large parts of my job involve studying them in the wild. But I have absolutely no interest in owning one, and still less in manhandling its turds

    Premier Icon Shackleton
    Full Member

    Mrs Shackleton here – Guinea pigs make great pets – I had them when I was younger living with my parents and they lived outside in the garden. But we now keep our two inside which I think is much better as they are very social animals and become part of the family. They come out and eat when we do and greet you every morning (I try to tell myself that it is out of love and not just for food….). They love a good scamper round as well. I would recommend handling them a lot when they are young as they are likely to become tamer and less timid/shy. The two we have at the moment were rescue piggies and one of them is particularly timid. Have fun – and post some pictures!

    Premier Icon bradley
    Free Member

    SNAKE!

    Feed it once a week, clean its poop up once a week (unless it’s an adult and dependant on species, could be only twice a month) and that’s about it.

    Premier Icon Shackleton
    Full Member

    Oh and I don’t find they smell either as long as their cage is cleaned regularly. Also if we go away at the weekends as long as you leave them with enough water (we leave two water bottles) and enough food they will be fine.

    Premier Icon carlosg
    Free Member

    http://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/forum.php?s=1a3d0d2ed42a3c21c61682714125f9a3

    Have a look on here see if there’s a rescue centre near you.

    We rescued a mother and daughter 4 years ago , our pigs lived in the house (only 1 left now,she seems happier on her own than she did with her daughter)they make great pets.

    However I can also reccomend a house rabbit . We had ours from 7 weeks old till he died at 13.5 years old , he was house trained and rarely made toilet on the carpet and would jump onto your knee for a love/fuss. We had to get him chopped as while he was a whole buck he loved mrscarlos a bit too much 😆 .

    Premier Icon sparrowlegs78
    Free Member

    Guinea pigs are fab :D, but they do better in same sex pairs, boars are actually a bit more friendly that PMT ridden sows!
    As long as they are kept clean and dry and fed dry food and veggies (as guinea pigs can’t make their own vitamin C, so very prone to getting scurvy!)
    They must have hay to eat at all times as they are grazing animals, so need food going through the digestive system at all times.
    They cope well outside if they are out of damp and draughts and have lots of hay to snuggle into.
    Handle them daily and they soon become freindly.
    I have over 70 of them as I breed to show them (go on, laugh away lol )They are like pringles, you can’t have just one
    Caz xx

    Premier Icon sparrowlegs78
    Free Member

    Theguineapigforum is good, if you can stand the airy fairy views and neurotic frustrated folk on there lol.
    They do have good advice about rescues though.

    Caz xx

    Premier Icon ciderinsport
    Free Member

    Had guinea pigs for my kids, they loved them except the ‘looking after’ bit!

    Mrs CIS had to do that as I was allergic to them!

    I am a dog person…. Dogs are great, guinea pigs are far easier & cheaper 🙂

    All pets need care and cash!

    Enjoy 🙂

    Premier Icon drdjpower
    Full Member

    Thanks, everyone. I’m slightly embarrassed that I never thought of a guinea pig forum (on there they’d think it peculiar to have a forum about bikes). I’m learning lots, and searching for rescue animals if possible.

    Yes, dogs are great, but we don’t have the time or space to look after one properly. I know the pigs will need time and space and cash, but not on a dog scale.

    Premier Icon fruitbat
    Full Member

    The Guinea Pigs we had were awful pets all the good stuff we were told about them (much of it repeated above) was apparently nonsense. Maybe ours were not typical though.

    My vote for easy care pets goes to Stick Insects. The ones we had (possibly Indian Stick Insects) were able to breed without mating so there was an endless supply of the things.

    Care regime consists of adding a fresh bit of Privet Hedge into their tank occasionally.

    Some information here – Stick Insects thing

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    Our GP’s are easy. They squeak at the merest rustle of cellophane (for the spinach), handle easily, and when kept in a cage, can be changed in about 10min per week.

    We also have Land snails, not exactly the most giving of pets, but cool. And huge!

    Premier Icon qwerty
    Free Member

    Chickens are cool.

    Premier Icon nukeproofriding
    Free Member

    ^^^ That’s a good idea. My mums family always had a chicken or two in a pen in the garden. Children love them, especially if you allow them to have a few chicks which you can then look after. They do become good pets and your kid will probably like playing with them, but also learning the responsibility of making sure they are watered, fed and kept dry and warm without you having to worry about the house. They’re dead easy to look after and cheap if done properly.

    Premier Icon howellj1
    Free Member

    GPs are a great pet for a 10 year old; much better than bunnies or blood-drawing hamsters. Easily handled; make cute noises; eat bits of veg peelings; can be bathed occasionaly for extra ‘fun’. Droppings are also dry and not very smelly so cleaning out is easy and woodshavings go great in the compost.
    Also make a tasty snack if you get bored of them 😉

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Full Member

    Yeah definitely worth handling the GPs often when you get them, makes a big difference and when they are used to it they do like to come out and sit on your lap for a bit. One of ours even lifted himself up higher so you could get your hand underneath to be picked up. In contrast we had a grown up rescue pig who hadn’t been handled or handled abusively, was a bag of nerves and would get into a real state when you tried to pick him up. He’s a bit better now though and likes being stroked. One of our others loved being handled and would curl up in a ball in your clothes or arms and sleep away.

    If you have a secure garden an outside run or hutch would be good, and they will love the grass, but stoats, foxes and a variety of other animals will find GPs a tasty treat. No harm in having them indoors in a good sized run though. We had a big run we would set out on the carpet for them to race around popcorning and being daft for an hour or two.

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