Guinea Pigs - Checklist

Morning Routine

Feed Fresh Veggies [2 minutes]

  1. Wash hands. We don't want to expose the guinea pigs to germs, especially those from other small animals.
  2. Remove any uneaten veggies from cage (and throw them away). You can do this as part of the cage cleaning, as long as you don't put fresh veggies on top of the old ones.
  3. Put veggie dish in cage. You can wipe it out first if it's dirty.
  4. Get fresh veggies (red pepper, mixed greens) from fridge.
  5. Check quality of fresh veggies. If they're smelly or slimy, throw them away. Veggies are treats rather than essential, and tend to go bad in a few days.
  6. Put 3 or 4 quarter-sized chunks of red pepper in veggie dish.
  7. Toss a large handful of mixed greens onto the veggie dish. It's ok if some veggies miss the dish, because the guinea pigs will make a mess anyway.
  8. Put remaining fresh veggies back in fridge.

Clear Out Cage [5 minutes]

  1. Put on 1 or 2 rubber gloves. This is easiest with dry hands. I just use one glove.
  2. Remove houses and cardboard from cage.
  3. Dump the two big plastic hay trays into trash. Wipe out any yucky spots.
  4. Dump any uneaten pellets from bowls into trash.
  5. Remove all droppings, wet spots, and easy-to-grab bits of hay. It's okay if you miss some bits of hay, as long as they're away from the soiled areas.
  6. When you've finished clearing out the cage, you can remove the gloves (and throw them away).

Restock Cage [5 minutes]

  1. Put bedding (Carefresh) in any bare spots. The Carefresh is in a bag near the window.
  2. Lightly cover bottom of hay trays with Carefresh.
  3. Move hay from metal hay racks to hay trays. The racks' hay is always clean (since it's elevated), so it's okay to reuse it.
  4. Grab a handful of fresh hay from the hay box. Shake out any hay dust, and make sure there are no briars or dead bugs.
  5. Fill the hay trays with fresh hay. I usually make piles 3-4 inches talls, so the pigs can crawl inside. Hay is their staple, so make sure they have a lot. They'll eat their favorite bits and leave the rest for you to throw away tomorrow. Don't be afraid to waste hay.
  6. Fill the hay racks with fresh hay.
  7. Fill the pellet bowls with fresh pellets, about 1/2 inch deep. Pellets are in the big tupperware container; I use the lidded bowl as a scoop.
  8. Put cardboard in right side of cage. We want hay on the left and houses on the right, so that the pigs don't sleep (and poop) near their hay.
  9. Put houses in right side of cage. Be careful not to bump the pigs. This is often hard, since the pigs are eager to get inside the houses. It helps to have the cardboard in there first so the pigs have somewhere to hide. Make sure houses do not block water bottles.
  10. Remove water bottles from cage.
  11. Rinse and refill water bottles in sink, filling them with at least 3-4 inches.
  12. Replace water bottles. Make sure the nozzles stick out far enough for the pigs to drink.
  13. Sweep floor near cage with broom and dustbin.
  14. Replace lid on trash bin.

Check Thermostat [a few seconds]

  1. Make sure the thermostat (on wall near right of cage) says the temperature is between 65 and 70 (degrees F).
  2. If temperature is above 70, the air conditioner is probably not working. Make sure the thermostat is set to "cool". Please call Travis.
  3. If temperature is above 75, the guinea pigs could die. They need to be cooled off. Pet stores place bottles of frozen water in the cage. Rabbits like to lean against those bottles. I've never seen a guinea pig do it, so I don't know if it works. Regardless, please call Travis immediately!
  4. If temperature is below 65, and the outside temperature is supposed to stay less than 70 for the next day or so, switch the thermostat to "heat". Please call Travis.

Final Look-over [1 minute]

  1. Do the guinea pigs have lots of hay?
  2. Do they have pellets?
  3. Do they have water?
  4. Is the lid on the trash bin?
  5. Is the fridge shut (sometimes it sticks open)?
  6. Are the lights off?