This Little Piggy

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In order to adopt guinea pigs from us we need to establish that you are ready for the commitment and will be able to give them the love and care they deserve.

What we look for in a new home

We know there is a lot of different advice out there about how to care for guinea pigs but our adoption policy is based on our own experience of what makes a happy and healthy piggy.

We look for indoor homes which are 10 square foot in size for a pair of guinea pigs. Larger groups of guinea pigs will need more space accordingly. We understand that this is slightly larger than the minimum guidelines set out by the RSPCA but through experience we know that providing guinea pigs with this extra space improves their health and happiness. Please note that a two storey cage must still have a single story which meets this minimum size requirement.

Some cages that pass our adoption criteria are:

  • A 4 by 2 C and C cage - you can purchase these here or build them yourself
  • A Ferplast140 - you can purchase direct here or from many online or physical pet shops

The guinea pig's home needs to be kept warm and dry, and we ask that new homes do not line the cage with wood shavings or sawdust. Some good alternatives are fitch, carefresh, back2nature, newspaper, megazorb or fleece/vetbed/puppypads. 

The guinea pigs will need constant access to plenty of fresh hay and water, and the guinea pigs will need to be fed a diet which comprises of 5% extruded nuggets, 15% fresh vegetables and 80% hay. Some good brands of food we can recommend are Burgess Excel, Science Selective and Harringtons.

Guinea pigs adopted from us must never be bred from and must always live in groups of 2 or more. Guinea pigs are sociable animals are require guinea pig companionship to be happy and healthy.

If you have children it must be understood that the guinea pigs are a family pet and not the responsibility of a child. While we encourage you to involve your children in the care of your guinea pigs, young children must never be left unsupervised together with the piggies as your guinea pig can easily be accidentally injured or scared.

Most importantly we ask for a loving home that is prepared to care for the piggies for their whole life! Most guinea pigs live for between 5 and 8 years

What you can expect from us

All our guinea pigs are vet checked and healthy to the best of our knowledge before adoption.

If a guinea pigs falls unwell while they are at the rescue they will always receive full veterinary attention and will never be put to sleep unless we feel that their quality of life is being impacted by their health. If a guinea pig has a serious ongoing illness they will stay with us or one of our foster carers as sanctuary piggies and we will love and care for them for as long as they are with us.

We support all our adopters with advice and support to help them look after their guinea pigs throughout their lifetime. We are always happy for the piggies to come back for nail trims or health checks while you are building up your confidence.

If, for any reason, your circumstances change and you are no longer able to care for your guinea pigs we will always take our guinea pigs back into the rescue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I'm interested in adopting - what do I need to do next?

A. Please contact us to register your interest in adopting a guinea pig from the rescue. In order to reduce the number of face to face interactions we have with different households we are currently asking adopters to provide us with a video tour of your guinea pig setup at home before visiting the rescue to meet us and the guinea pigs. We use this video tour as an opportunity to offer advice on anything else you might need to put in place before you take any guinea pigs home with you.

Q. What time are you open?

A. We run the rescue from our family home so all visits need to be by appointment. We can accommodate visits almost any time during the weekends but visits during the week can also be arranged if necessary.

Q. How much do you suggest for an adoption fee?

A. The size of donation is up to you but we would usually suggest a £20 donation for a single guinea pig and £35 for a pair. Every guinea pig is checked by our experienced vet prior to adoption and the adoption fee goes towards this initial expense as well as food and bedding to ensure we can continue to run This Little Piggy.

Q. What happens when you introduce guinea pigs to one another and do I need to do this myself?

A. We always undertake all initial introductions of guinea pigs at the rescue so your guinea pig(s) will need to stay with us overnight for us to supervise. This is because the first 24 hours are often the most difficult but are also the most important to understand if the guinea pigs are going to be a good match. We have bonded hundreds of guinea pigs and so have lots of experience understanding their body language during introductions. Often there will be some chasing at first as the guinea pigs figure out who is boss in the new relationship, but not all guinea pigs are good matches and we will always separate if we see that they are going to fight as this can result in injuries.

Once newly bonded guinea pigs are back home with you it is really important that you follow our advice and guidance to ensure the bond continues to mature and strengthen, but if for any reason the bond does not work out we will always take our guinea pig back into the rescue.

Q. Are a pair of girls better than a pair of boys?

A. We do not find boys any more difficult to keep clean or handle and, once they have found a friend, they do not fall out any more frequently than a pair of girls. In fact, a stroppy girl can be more difficult to bond in our experience! It is a bit of a myth that boys are smellier/less friendly/have to live alone and we regularly undertake boar dating here at 'This Little Piggy' if you have a single boar looking for a friend.

Please note that castrating male guinea pigs will not affect their behaviour and so does not aid in bonding male guinea pigs.

Q. How often do I need to clean out their home?

A. At 'This Little Piggy' we gut out the cages every week. On top of this we would recommend a spot clean of the wet areas once or twice a week to keep their home clean and fresh. Guinea pigs tend to toilet under hideys, water bottles and near where they eat.

Q. My guinea pig has been alone for a long time, can they still be bonded with a new friend?

A. Guinea pigs are social animals and should not be kept alone. Although some guinea pigs are able to cope with being alone, they will always be happier and healthier with another guinea pig for company. Depending on the personality of your piggy it might take more than one attempt to find them the perfect companion for them but it is important to be patient and remember that there is a piggy out there for them! 

Please note that we do not condone keeping a guinea pig with a pet rabbit for numerous reasons but the most important being that a rabbit can easily fatally hurt a guinea pig accidentally or even on purpose. These two species do not have the same dietary requirements and rabbits can carry the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica which causes respiratory problems in guinea pigs and can be lethal. Although this partnership sometimes works out fine we don't believe the risk is worth it and both animals will be happier and healthier with partners of their own species. If you need to find a companion for your pet rabbit please get in touch with a rabbit rescue, most will do the bonding for you and there are lots of different ages and breeds in rescues waiting for their forever home.

Q. Do guinea pigs need vaccinations or regular check ups?

A. Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs do not need vaccinations. The only regular medical care they require is to get their nails trimmed - it is not difficult to do this at home once you are confident that you know what you are doing! We are always happy to clip a piggies nails for a small donation if you arrange to bring them over to the rescue. You should regularly check your guinea pigs eyes, ears, nose and coat for any signs of illness and we recommend weighing them on a weekly basis. Consistent weight loss is often the only sign you will get of your piggy being unwell.

If you notice any signs of illness it is essential to take your guinea pig to the vet as soon as possible as guinea pigs are known to hide their illnesses so they could already be quite unwell by the time they exhibit any symptoms and can deteriorate quickly. The earlier you catch an illness the better the chance your guinea pig has to recover.