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Guinea pigs
Old 11-30-2006, 06:51 PM
 
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What do you think of guinea pigs as classroom pets? I love animals and a friend of a friend is trying to give away her guinea pigs because of a growing family and not enough time. I'm single with a dog and while I'm busy, my time is not as strained. I did talk with her and she offered me 2 guinea pigs, a bag of cedar chips, food for a month and a big cage. It seems like too good a deal to pass up, since getting all this from the store would be SO expensive!

What I am wondering is how easy are they to take care of?
Can you leave them on the weekends?
Do they cause allergies? (I am allergic to rabbits but I'm not sure what else!)
What should I do during summer vacation?

I would appreciate some tips. Thanks!

Lisa


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I love guinea pigs.
Old 11-30-2006, 07:51 PM
 
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I had one a long time ago. They are pretty easy to take care of if you don't mind cleaning the cage every couple of days. It gets really stinky if you don't. You can leave them on the weekend as long as you clean the cage on Friday and again on Monday and leave plenty of food. They love fresh vegetables along with their dry food, but they'll settle for dry food and one of those sticks with seeds and stuff for the weekend. Mine liked fresh carrots and he would squeal until you put carrots in his cage. I always wanted to have lots of carrots on hand, especially when I expected the principal to come in for an observation. Our school cooks were good about saving leftover carrots for him.
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Old 11-30-2006, 09:25 PM
 
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I have had a guinea pig in my class for years. The kids love to play with it at recess and are responsible for its care. Mine have always been tame and friendly. The kids sign up to take it home on weekends, vacations, and summer if you are lucky! I have a journal they write in when he goes home and a collection of guinea pig related books that travel with him too. The best cage I have found is a deep plastic blanket box. I poked air holes in the side and top and all the shavings etc. stay right inside---no mess!
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guinea pigs
Old 12-01-2006, 06:39 AM
 
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I have a guinea pig in my classroom and the students love it!! As to allergies, they do cause allergies. I thought I wasn't allergic to anything but when I cleaned the cage for the first time I had an allergic reaction. I can handle the guinea pig no problem and my student with asthma does not have any problems either, but when I clean the cage I wear a mask so that I don't react.
Guinea pigs get lonely as they are social creatures so it is probably good if you get 2 if you are not taking it home on the weekend. I take mine in a little cage home everyweekend. I have a big cage at school and at home that he stays in. But he is sort of more my pet than the students I guess. You definately have to consider what to do with them over the summer if you are away. My husband is a highschool biology teacher and he has lots of pets so we bring them all home in the summer if we are away and hire a student to feed them, a trustworthy one!

Also from what I have read you are not supposed to use cedar chips in their cage.
There are also some good websites that you can check out as to what types of fresh food to give them.

I am sure that I sound like I go over board but I have always been the sucker for animals and believe that if you are going to have a pet you should get lots of information on it and do the best you can to care for it.

Good luck with your decision!!!
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plastic pools
Old 12-01-2006, 07:42 AM
 
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I donated my son's plastic pool for my friend's guinea pigs. They just run around there and they love it. You have to have a decent sized space though for the pool. I can't have one because I am allergic...I do think they are cute!

Amy


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Great pets
Old 12-02-2006, 08:26 AM
 
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My guinea pig Tigger is 6 now (very old) He stays at school now most weekends because as he's gotten older, riding in the car seems to upset him. He used to go home with the kids on weekends, but now I'm afraid he'll die while at their house & traumatize them, as well as having the rep of being the kid that killed the class pet in 2nd grade.

He squeaks like crazy when he hears the little fridge being opened, because he wants carrots. He loves green bell pepper & cucumber slices, too.
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Great pets
Old 12-02-2006, 03:40 PM
 
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I had a guinea pig in my classroom for about 6 years. The kids LOVED him. Actually I went through two, one died. I had a ceremony out by the playground and buried him. The kids would often sit by his grave at recess time......ANYWAY, on a happier note they made a great classroom pet. I left mine at school on weekends, and for long weekends kids would sign up to take him home. I would drop him off at their house. (Gave me a chance to meet the family and see where they came from.) Often families would help bring in supplies so the cost was less for me. I kept Rodney in a big Tupperware box, the kind you might store sweaters in. One recommendation, DON'T USE CEDAR CHIPS. I was informed by a reputable pet store that cedar causes guinea pigs to get sick and die. Also, keep them away from open windows, drafts also make them sick. (that is what brought ours to an untimely death). Besides that, they are easy pets, and gives kids a great responsibility.

Have fun!
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Old 12-02-2006, 05:35 PM
 
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Thanks for all the replies! And Toni, Tigger is so cute!!

After reading these and looking up care information, I decided to go for it. I also stopped at Petsmart to handle a few and make sure I was allergic. No problems there! I might go with the shredded paper because I have a feeling the wood chips will make me sneeze.
Thanks for all the helpful info! I'll post a picture once I have him :-)

Lisa
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Guinea Pigs
Old 12-02-2006, 06:00 PM
 
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When I first started teaching, there was a teacher across the hall who had a guinea pig that she had had for a long time. Knowing the life span of guinea pigs, she began to worry that he would die and her first graders would not be able to handle it. So she gave him to a fourth grade teacher. They both thought it could be used as a life lesson for fourth graders if it should happen. Well, the guinea pig was quite a Houdini. He use to get out of his cage and go back home to first grade. The first grade teacher would come in in the mornings to find the guinea pig waiting patiently by her classroom door. The bad thing was, he was black and white (his name was Flower), and one morning when the janitor came in early, he saw him sitting by her door, and thought a skunk had gotten in. He did find out it was a guinea pig before he did anything drastic.
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