Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pet Shop will lie...

I just adopt a sick piggy from pet shop. I don't even know if it is proper for the pet shop to call "adoption" because adoption suppose to be free of charge. But then again, Adoption centre also charge management fee per adoption but the money will be used to buy necessities for the adoption centre which make it ok. There is no guinea pigs available for adoption in my area so I bought a guinea pig from a pet shop... but it turns out that they give wrong piggy. I ask for a female piggy but they gave me male. After taking care of it for 2 weeks, I return to the shop and demand to change it. The only female piggy in the shop is sick. She has crusty eyes, runny nose, anorexic and bleeding from its genital. It is up for adoption for discounted payment. The male piggy that I had is fat, clean and healthy so I could not imagine how cruel I am if I leave him in the pet shop so I did not change the piggy but adopted the sick female piggy. To tell you the truth I feel hurt when I see the sick piggy. The pet shop owner insist that the piggy is not sick but it is simply tired? What more lies the pet shop can give me... but I know for sure that the piggy should be rush to a vet or it will suffer slow death because I can see the poor piggy is anorexic. I did bring it to the vet after I adopted it. I clean her everyday and after 2 weeks, I see her getting better, her weight is increasing. It weight 190g when I adopted it and after 2 weeks her weight increased to 250g. Even so, 250g is still considered underweight for 2 months piggy so I keep giving her multivitamin from the vet and give her proper food to get her back normal. I would be relieve if her weight reach 400g.

The day I adopted her, I decided it will be my last time adopting piggy from the pet shop... They do not care about the piggies.. they only care about profit. I have 3 piggies which adopted from private breeder and their piggies are well taken care of. All of the 3 piggies come without health issues. So, if you decide to adopt, choose from private breeder. Private breeder are usually guinea pig lover and they will offer better advice on how take care of a piggy.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Smelly guinea pig in the room?

Someone asked me how I keep my room from smelling like hay and pellets? My room smell like pellets and hay because there are hay and pellets!

Cage type?
I posted in this blog before on how I build my guinea pig cage which makes a big difference to the smell issue in my room. Refer back to the link...

Bedding and absorption?
The cage has a net layer underneath the fleece and underneath the net there is a 3-4 layers of newspapers. The fleece only absorb about 10% of the urine and most of it will fall and absorbed by the newspaper. I change the newspaper everyday so, the newspaper will not get smelly. I put one guinea pig in each of my cage because I separate the male and female so maybe the newspaper method is applicable. If you place more than 1 guinea pig in a cage, newspaper tends to smell faster than 24 hours. I suggest you use unscented cat litter( I prefer clumping cat litter but not the sand type) and Pet pad will work too but it cost more. I prefer using newspaper because it works for me and I want to reduce my laundry every week. If you want to remove the fleece and let the net filter the poops and urine... it is also acceptable but you might want to check if the net is hurting your piggies leg.

Smell control?
I use Ambi Pur Gel Fresh Rose fragrance in my room. you can also control the smell from going too strong by closing the lid. It does not eliminate the smell from hay or pellets but it combine better with rose fragrance. Hay, pellet and rose smells together like a garden. Be careful when choosing fragrance for your room, you might make the smell worse. I would stay away from citrus smell or anything smells like acid because it will enhance the bad smell. If you use floral fragrance, it will balance the smell from hay and pellet. Different brands will give different notes of floral fragrance so experimenting with fragrance will give you more ideas which one works well for you. It all depends on one's preference... 

Keep the room aerated. Don't close the windows 24 hours. It will trapped the smell and makes you feel suffocated. open the windows for as long as you can. keep the air flowing so fresh air can come into the room.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Vitamin C for guinea pig: How much is enough?

This post might get handy when you are lost when shopping for your piggies' veggies...

I had been doing research from some website about Vitamin C requirement in guinea pig and how to make sure that we give and meet enough daily requirement of Vitamin C in our piggies. I read from a veterinary website  that adult guinea pig needs 20-25 mg of vitamin C per day and up to 30-40 mg for pregnant guinea pig while other recommends 10-15 mg per day under normal condition guinea pig which suggest the guinea pig is healthy and not pregnant or weaning pups; 15-25 mg for pregnant, lactating and growing piggies.

Now, I know that different website would suggest different number of vitamin C requirement but it would not deviate further from 10-40mg per day and you should also choose reliable website for vitamin c content in vegetables and fruits. My rule of thumb for vitamin C is to prepare their fresh vegetables and fruits to meet 30mg vitamin C per day for normal guinea pig and pregnant, lactating or growing guinea pig is 40 mg/day. 

Pic 1: Vegetables and fruits

I made WHFoods as my reference to calculate approximate amount of vegetables to give my piggies to meet their daily vitamin C requirement. The website state one cup of raw bell peppers contains 117.48 mg of  vitamin C. One cup measurement is approximately 240g (or ml). I tried the 1 cup measurement, it is approximately half of big capsicum. One cup of capsicum can meet about 4 guinea pigs daily vitamin C requirement. So, you might want to make capsicum as your compulsory vegetable. Of course, 1/4 cup of capsicum would not make a piggy full so, add other vegetable that can add vitamin C such as carrot, cabbage, cucumber, and many more you can choose from the table. The table will help you to determine the vegetable proportion to feed your piggies. I suggest that you feed your piggies with 3 different types of veggies/fruits so they will not get bored with their food.

Let me share with you how my shopping for piggies' veggies gets easier... I made a table that consist of the vegetables most available in my store and group the vegetables in 'compulsory', 'supporting', 'additional' group. The compulsory group will contribute about 80% of the vitamin C; the supporting group contribute about 15 % of the vitamin C and additional group contribute about 5% of the vitamin C. Regardless the small amount of vitamin C in the additional group, the group is actually important to satisfy the hunger of the piggies and balance the meal.

Pic 2: Example of vitamin C vegetable

The compulsory group will provide most of the vitamin C requirement in a piggies meal. 

Take an example a kiwifruit, tomatoes and carrot measurement for 4 piggies.

1 1/2 kiwifruit     = 108g
1 cup tomatoes   = 32.4g
1 cup carrot        = 7.20g 

total vitamin C     = 147.6g
vitamin C/cavy    = 36.9g

The calculation above shows that if you distribute the veggies to four piggies, each piggy will receive approximately 36.9g vitamin C from fresh veggies or fruits. So, from this method you can can get a rough idea how much vitamin C do you provide your piggies and does it meet with the standard. Don't worry if you can't get it right for the first time, you will get better at it when you do it often and you might not needing calculator and the tables anymore to do the veggies propotion.

Good luck and please feel free to drop a comment :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Easy to clean, reduced smell C&C cage (Part 2.)

The C&C cage using fleece is wonderful but some guinea pig pee and poop a lot.. depends in how many guinea pigs sharing the same cage. The reason C&C fleece cage did not work in reducing the smell problem is the towel under the fleece is saturated with pee and remain wet (and maybe the water bottle drip also), humidity etc. The poops can be clean everyday but the towel absorbing the pee will become saturated after a few days using it. My cage will smell in 2 days... so I was desperate to find a new way to reduce the smell... I know the source of the smell is the towel underneath saturated with urine so I decided to put a net underneath the fleece and let the urine fall to the newspaper below...So..I can change the newspaper everyday without taking off the fleece! I can do it in 10 minutes top!

So, I promised that I will post steps to make the modified C&C cage and this is it.

Thing that you will need:
1. 5mm plastic net (the net hole is 5mmx5mm- hardware shop)
2. Cable wire (2mm size or up to your preference)
3. Scissors
4. 62cm x 33cm mesh wire (or you can improvise)


Step 1:
Measure the net wire needed to cover the base of the cage. leave 2 cm extra at each sides of the net.

Picture 1

Step 2:
Join the 2 mesh wire and secure it using cable wire at the middle (Picture 2)

Step 3:

Fold the net at the edge of the mesh wire and secure it with cable wire. (Picture 3) and keep the cable wire short. (Picture 4)

 Picture 3

Picture 4

Step 4:
When you finish folding and secure the fold with cable wire, it will look like this (Picture 5). Dont forget to trim the cable wire after you finish. Becareful handling it because the cable wire will be sharp after you cut it short.

Picture 5

Step 5: 
Make sure the folded net is at the backside. Now, you may attach the other four mesh wire to the sides of the base like the picture below (Picture 6)

Picture 6

Step 6:
You may put coroplast as tray below the cage (Picture 7). I am using newspaper to absorb the urine but I might try cat litter later. My friend tried it and she say it will not smell in a week.

Picture 7

Step 7:
Put the fleece on the net like the picture below and secure with paper clips. This step is optional but it can save you doing a lot of laundry.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Easy-to-clean, smell reduced C&C cage with or without fleece

Does anyone have the same opinion that C&C cage with fleece is troublesome and consume a lot of time to clean?

Well, In my opinion C&C cage is too much work, take a lot of my time during weekend as I usually change the bedding once a week but I remove the poo twice a day, It stinks in 3 days after I change a new fleece, AND I found the mites multiply faster when I use fleece. I don't know if anyone experience the same but I just want to share my experience. 

I have 3 C&C cages in my pet room and it takes a lot of my time washing, disinfecting used bedding and mopping the floor every week. I use 2 layer of towel with 1 fleece for each cage. washing 6 towels and 3 fleece using hand is no fun. It is very time consuming and tiring. I don't think anyone would enjoy washing towels and fleece full of pee and poo poo...

Pic 1: C&C cage with net bottom

Pic 1 is the net bottom C&C cage (I had not prepare the proper tray for this cage). My guinea pigs did not display any discomfort during in the cage but the net must be secure well and no sharp edges around the cage. The net can be slippery because it was made from plastic net so things like plastic bowl can move easily in the cage. Paper clips can be used to secure the food bowl and igloo.

Pic 2: Base of the cage and the floor space

As you can see from pic 2, there are space between the floor and the cage bottom. This will prevent the piggies to wet their fur if they sleep on the place they pee. Coroplast can be used as a tray under the cage. If you are using newspaper as the absorbent, then you will have to replace the newspaper everyday. my friend is using cat litter as absorbent. this type of cage is suitable to use cat litter because the piggies does not have direct contact with it. just make sure to use safe cat litter without fragrance (guinea pig nose is very sensitive) and the sand type is not good neither because your piggies might inhale the sand.

If you couldn't shake the thoughts of your piggies leg will stuck in the net hole, just add a layer of fleece on top of the net! any liquid spills on the fleece will fall directly to the newspaper and prevent your piggies to soak in their own pee. Some of the poo will also fall to the newspaper and some big poo cant get through the net. Once a day sweeping is all it takes to clean the cage.

I will make a new post in this blog soon on how to make net bottom C&C cage and how to secure fleece on the cage.

the objective of this cage:
1. Improve cleanliness of the cage
2. Reduce bad smell in C&C cage
3. Easy to clean