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Guinea Pigs As Classroom Pets - Ive got some!!

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I've decided that the children in our school would benefit from having some pets to care for. I'd love to get some chickens but we have reached the conclusion that we have no where safe enough for them as there is a real possibility of theft or anti social behaviour.


So, I've decided to get some guinea pigs as these seem to be a child friendly classroom pet. I've bought a large indoor cage and an outdoor run. I will be taking care of them, and overseeing their care and well being. 


Does anyone else have some class guinea pigs? I'm thinking of 2 girls as in the past when I've had males they don't get on very well. 


I was wondering about getting some rescue ones. Does anyone know of any rescue homes for guinea pigs in Bristol/Somerset areas?


Does anyone have these as a class pet? Any tips?


I'm quite excited about it :D


Ps: not sure which part of forum to put this in!

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In my limited experience with guineas as classroom pets, they make good pets. The only things that I would mention is that they don't fall well, so children should handle them seated on the floor and secondly they do live a long time so there needs to be a long term commitment. The guineas that we had it our primary school were tired of after a year or so but we had a member of staff who agreed to take them at the beginning should they need homes. She also took them during the holidays rather than having a child take them home.

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I don't have any experience of guinea pigs as a classroom pet, but I kept guinea pigs a number of years ago and they really are lovely, sweet little animals.

They are very,very friendly and easy to handle so perfect for children (much better than rabbits as a child's pet IMO). As CM said, they can reach quite a good age - ours lived to 5 years old - and also we had two boys who got on very well, in fact they were inseperable. When the first one died, the other pined away not long after :( However I don't know if this is normal or whether we were just lucky.

They are easy to keep with little by way of special care or attention needed. The only thing to be aware of is that they may need claws and teeth clipping periodically so keep an eye on those.

Being originally from the mountains, guinea pigs can happily live outside all year round as they grow very thick, waxy coats. However I appreciate you may want them inside so that the children can see and handle them easily. I just thought I would mention it though.

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Thanks :)


I'm fully anticipating that they'll be based in my room so I'll be able to monitor handling. I can't seem to find anywhere that has guineas for rescue. Although they might not consider a class of 45 nursery children as being rescued!

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I have to disagree with some of the other comments.

Guineas are not good outside, they come from hot climates so are not prepared for the cold winters we have here. They have hair rather than fur (which shouldn't be waxy) so indoors is best. If it's too cold for us, it's too cold for them!


You will need a min cage size of 120cm for 2 guinea pigs. Avoid sawdust or straw, both can irritate their delicate respiratory systems. Use fleece of megazorb/hay as a bedding. Don't let the children go upto the cage as this will frighten the piggies.


They shouldn't have their teeth clipped AT ALL. If they are provided with enough hay (should be available 24/7) then their back molars will wear down. Provide wooden chew toys for them to knaw to keep their front teeth down. Sometimes the back molars or front incisors may need to be seen to if they are getting too long (usually due to misaligned teeth) but this should be done by a vet with a burr, not at home!


You will get loads of correct advice over at The Guinea Pig Forum, so I would really recommend going over there for advice before you go ahead and get the piggies.

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I agree with the previous post about guinea pigs outdoor care. We have had guinea pigs over the years. Ours absolutely adored being outside, so my philosophy on it was I would rather they lived shorter and happy lives being outside even in the cooler weather than being cooped up in an indoor run which they never got really excited about like they did going outside. Providing the weather was above freezing, they were outside in the day, if below that they were inside. I know this is on the harsh side for gps, but ours did soooooo enjoy outside! In the end they lived long and happy lives until 5 and half years old...the first died from a stroke and the second just 6 weeks later from a heart attack. They were sisters, so I guessed their time was up. They were fab pets for my children, far better than our rabbit as so much more easily handled. We were told to sit the children on the floor to give them to hold, so if they dropped them, no broken legs (of the guinea pigs :lol: ) And all of this comes from someone who detested guinea pigs and vowed she would never ever get one! But what you do when you have children and one bored bunny!

On the vetinerary care, our vet advised us we needed to do nothing on a regular basis, apart from lots of hay and veg, greens etc to chomp on to keep their teeth down. Apart from one initial check, they never visited the vets again. The vet was quite frank with us and said there realistically is little they can do for these small animals if they get ill. Fortunately ours were always well (it makes a change from the rest of our pets which have cost thousands!) Good luck, I hope your nursery children enjoy them. Just one thought, our local petting farm hands the animals round in a little basket at animal handling time....you could do this if all of the children want to have a touch.

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Hi there


Thanks for the replies. I have actually bought them an indoor cage and an outdoor run, so hopefully they will have the best of both worlds. When they come home to stay with me, I can either keep them in the house or in an outbuilding, so I think they will have lots of fresh air, but still be warm at night. 


I like the idea of a basket to hold them in. We would definitely only be holding them on the floor. In the past when we have had pets to visit we sit the pet on a carpet sample square on the child with its legs outstretched - less wriggling from child and nowhere for pet to fall.


I have purchased a cage which is 119cm long and was described as xxl (below, but I didn't get the gift set). I plan to get 2. The run is an open toped octagonal one but the pets will never be left unsupervised with the children and the sides are too high for them to reach over. I might peg it to the ground if it seems unstable.




Hopefully they will enjoy caring for them. I feel sure they will love them as they have loved all the other pets we have had to visit, especially the cats and the hens!

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Good luck with your piggies and I hope the kids enjoy them.

I agree with some of the comments above and disagree with others.

Guinea pigs' teeth should NOT be routinely clipped. If they need clipped it's because there's something wrong. They do grow continuously, so they need to be kept worn down - but their hard food, veggies and hay will do that. These are staple parts of their diet anyway, so they should always have these. They will need daily fresh vegetables as they need the Vitamin C in them - because they can't make their own.

Claws will certainly need regularly clipping, particularly if they're not being worn down on hard ground. This can be tricky as you have to avoid the 'quick' and is sometimes best done by a vet if you're not confident in doing it.

If they're kept mostly indoors, they certainly won't fare well if they're suddenly put outside in extreme weather. Now and again in their run is fine, but they will not survive outside for long periods if they've been kept inside in a heated building.

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Well, I'm very excited to announce that I now have 2 female guinea pigs! I got them from a rescue centre. They are mother & daughter & had been rescued from being used for breeding. At the moment they are hiding inside a big ball of hay in their new cage. I will leave them alone for a few days to settle in. 


Any tips on getting them to be friends with me? I'm guessing carrots or other tasty veg?! 


The lady was very nice & said she would visit to clip their claws if needed.

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My rescue boys were very unsettled when they first arrived, and I found tasty parsley or coriander was a good way to coax them out of hiding. They seem to love those herbs above all other vegetables!

Good luck with your new girlies, I hope they settle soon. What are their names?

Best wishes,

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They are called Donna & Daisy! That's the names they came with. I will post a pic later. We will choose new names with the children, but I'm not going to take them to school until January as they need time to tame & their arrival would be swallowed up by Christmas!!


Although very timid still, I've started to pick them up now. I think we are making progress as they have stopped vibrating (sign of fear I discovered) when I pick them up, so I'm happy.


Really surprised by how much they love their veggies. They adore red pepper, broccoli & carrot.


I found a great website which suggested different toys to try. These included paper bags & filled toilet rolls. I put a large paper carrier bag in for them & I could hear them exploring it!


I think they are really cute! This is a picture of them in the rescue centre as I have not managed to get a picture of them myself yet.


I hope they love for that long Princess Leia!




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We have two girlie pigs in our Nursery class which I am responsible for. They are so sweet and the children love them and all their antics. We keep them indoors but they too have an outdoor run. They are used to being handled and are really very calm and friendly. The way to their hearts is through food so feed them when petting. :D

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