How can u tell guinea/skinny pig's age?

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Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:43 pm

I got my skinny pigs from a pet store and of course they don't usually know much about the animals (especially exotics), which is one reason I feel pet stores are just as much "rescue" places as actual rescue shelters.
Anyways, i was wondering how you can tell round about ages of piggies? The only thing I've ever heard was color of nails. If translucent, they are under 6 months and black means adult. But is there a better/more accurate way?

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:37 pm

The nails are about the only way to guess a guinea pig's age, but it's not very accurate. Once a pig is much older, their eyes change a little bit, they start losing weight, the hair may thin, etc.

But I'd dispute that you're rescuing a pig when you get one from a pet store. Yes, you're taking that pig out of the store, but to the store, they're just merchandise to be sold. So you buy a pig, and they order another one to take its place to be sold. Pigs that go to stores are bred and raised in horrible conditions, and they're often sold sick, mis-sexed, with parasites, and the baby sows are pregnant. The sows that produce the pups are kept continually pregnant until they're too old, and then they're killed. When they're shipped to the stores, they're in large plastic containers, several animals deep, and there are almost always dead ones in the bottom of the boxes.

So when you buy a pet store pig, you're participating in that whole breeding mill operation. Yes, you saved one pig, but you caused to be bred to replace it, and some poor sow to be continually pregnant producing those pigs.

If you want a good look at the practices, see Recognize that all big box pet stores operate the same way, and that Rainbow Exotics is still in business.

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Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:28 pm

We can easily identify only three ages of guinea pigs: babies, adults, and seniors. Young adults have straight nails (their color depends on the color of the skin, not age), and good muscle tone. Seniors have crooked, thickened nails, if the nails were white, might be yellowish. Their whole front paws might be slightly turned in, muscle tone is lessened, so the pigs have sagging bellies and necks, but bony backs. They don't get grey with age, neither do they lose their teeth, but the may have cataracts or osseous metaplasia in their eyes. When they are very old, they usually have problems with walking, either due to arthritis or stroke.


Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:28 pm

Bpatters, i appreciate the guilt, lol, but what you said is actually the reason of why i don't mind buying from a pet store. Anyone can adopt free animals but I'm willing to spend the money to get them out of their horrible conditions at those pet stores. Adoption shelters from everything I've heard, take good care and know more about the animals, where as the employees in pet stores (especially chains) know little to nothing about exotics and they don't get what they need. And they get things they shouldn't. Thry are going to sell snd replace the animals with or without me, that's for sure! Lol....So i feel good knowing that i helped multiple animals 😆


Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:30 pm

Kimera, thanks for your reply. So, how would one tell the difference between a baby and young adult/adult? Mine are definitely not seniors and they run around the house like a tornado coming through lol! I'm just not sure on their age, as in how far from the 6 month age (and off alfalfa) they are.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:08 pm

And condemned others. Don't forget that.

And if you don't buy one, they don't have to order one to replace it.

You can play all the mental gymnastics you want to, but if you buy a pig from a pet store, you're part of the breeding mill chain.


Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:20 pm

I'm sorry but your thinking of pet stores is quite ignorant. There are a ton of guinea pigs being surrendered at humane societies and shelters all over the country and not enough homes being offered for them. So when you bought your pig under the guise of "saving" it, a pig actually died (the fancy name is "euthanize") because no one came forward to provide it a home. What actual rescues do is to take in pigs FROM the humane societies and shelters, get them healthy and work to find them a home. And they are not ever offered for free. Free pets are often seen as being worthless by their owners and they are the ones found abandoned in parks and dumpsters or they die when they get sick because their owners don't think they are worth enough to pay for medical care for them.

You are right about one thing. The people who sell pigs in pet stores are generally clueless about their needs and don't care about the welfare of the animals. What they make their money on is from the crappy cage that they sold you and any toys/treats/bedding. I don't know how long you have had your new pigs, but if it's been a short time, you may find your new pets are infested with lice or mites, may be harboring an upper respiratory infection, or are NOT the gender that the pet store employees have said. You may even have a male/female pair and find that your female is pregnant (You would be surprised how often this happens to the unsuspecting customer). You may even find that you have two females...who are both already pregnant. So you may have wanted only two pigs but may find yourself with 8 to 12 in 70 days or so. Then you may not be feeling so happy about having "saved" a pet store pig.

As to your question, it is very difficult to determine the age of a pig. They usually reach their final weight within the first 4-6 months if fed a decent diet. A young pig is usually very energetic and has crisp, clean looking nails. Because pigs have individual differences in regard to weight, shape, hair length and personality, it is really impossible to know for sure just going by looks. If the pet store employees had taken any type of responsibility for these pigs, they should have told you EXACTLY when they were born.

I hope you will stick around and read a lot here on this forum to educate yourself. When I say that you are ignorant, it's not to put you down but to point out that you really don't know how pet stores and mass breeding works. You are not alone in that. Many of our members here started out buying their first pigs in a pet store before they know anything about the glut of homeless animals waiting and dying in local shelters.


Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:30 pm

Sorry but you people sre rude jerkoffs!! Except kimera. No my pigs are the correct sexes, hsve been perfectly healthy for the more than "a short time" I've had them and i think i would know if after having them for many months if they have nuts or not lol. I am not even dignifying any of your ignorant comments with a further response. Screw off and you should be ashamed of yourself to be so rude!


Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:33 pm

Oh and mental gymnastics? You couldn't even play mental CHECKERS! Lol

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:42 pm

It's been nice knowing you, Sherry1978. I fear you're not long for this board.


Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:47 pm

1. I'm guessing you are about 19-20 years old?

2. Many of us have spent years being involved in guinea pig rescue and are trying to EDUCATE you in order to help you and your pigs. We have seen first hand the abuse and neglect that people have put these animals through and many of us have stayed up nights trying to keep a sick pig alive after someone dumped it at a shelter and then we have cried tears after it has died in our arms (and we quickly whisper to it that we have taken it on as our own baby and will remember it). So yeah, no shame here.

3. It is often very difficult for people to tell the difference between male and female pigs, especially when they under a year old. They are sexed wrong ALL THE TIME by all kinds of people which is why people end up with unwanted litters.

4. Read. And learn. And if you haven't done so already, go replace your pet store cage with a C&C cage that you can learn how to make at this website:


Post   » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:36 pm

Just because your skinnies are running thru the house like a tornado coming thru doesn't mean they are young. Skinnies' metabolism rate is way higher then haired pigs. They scream louder, run faster, eat faster, poop more and bigger as a matter of course. I just took a skinny in for what I thought was a back injury. The damned pig was in heart failure, but being a skinny it didn't occur to her to just lie down and be floppy. No, she had to keep running around at top speed which turned out to be a high speed wobble. She's fine now after lasix injection, oxygen and upping of the heart meds she was already on. And it took her longer to recover from heart failure than my haired pigs. I believe she is 3-3 1/2 years old. Skinnies age faster than haired pigs and have shorter life spans - 3-5 is considered senior rather than 5-7 years.

Weight is a better way to check your pigs age. Weight them weekly. If they keep gaining steadily and quickly they are very young. If they gain steadily but at a gradual rate they are probably between 6 months and1 year. At 6 months, most pigs have reached their skeletal size and then they start putting on weight. Someone correct me if I am off!

If you have a fastidious pig who is into self manicures, the nails will always look young. The frenetic action of skinnies also keeps their nails trimmer as they get more wear and tear.

but I'm willing to spend the money to get them out of their horrible conditions at those pet stores.

No, you are willing to reward a pet store with money encouraging them to buy more animals to replace the ones you bought. Nice try on the justification, though. But it's one we've heard many a time and only encourages "eye rolls" from forum readers.

Much information on this site. Vets even check into our med pages. You would be wise to stick around and grow a thicker skin. Those of us who have been members of this forum from the beginning have skin like callused elephants.


Post   » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:31 am

Oh and if you are really rescuing a pig from a pet store, the pig will be in poor shape and you will buy it while telling the manager he/she will be contacted by the SPCA as you will be lodging a complaint against them re cruelty to animals. Then you will document the condition of the pig on social media along with the vet bills and full details of where you bought it.

THAT's willing to spend money to rescue a pig from a pet store.

By the way, I have four skinnies, all of them rescues. And a possible other two in the works if a crazy woman can be convinced to take her 6 month old pigs off the Buy and Sell and give them to a rescue instead. The rescue has arranged for me to be the potential landing pad as I know skinnies and their health issues.


Post   » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:08 am

pinta, that's excellent information to know about skinnies. I never fostered a skinny in our rescue when it was going so I never had the opportunity to observe their differences from haired pigs. You should start an informational thread to gather this kind of info together for people who want/have skinnies.


Post   » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:54 pm

That was my first skinny in heart failure. I figured her to be a heart pig as she became more and more "shy" and was losing weight. My vet has retired but I got a hold of another pig savvy vet(primarily a rabbit vet) who freelances and caught up with him at the SPCA hospital. Since she was my first skinny with what I suspected was heart issues I wanted to have a vet check her out in case it may be something else.

She got every test up the yahoo including ultrasound(the vet snuck her in and we got one for free). The only test we couldn't do was blood as she refused to give up a drop. Looked absolutely fine and in perfect health. Vet said he was of the type that didn't want to prescribe meds unless there was a scientific reason. I pointed out the most definitive test would be to cut her open and send her heart to the lab. On that basis he agreed to put her on Fortekor but his dose(based on the books) was very low - 1/3 the amount I would normally give.

I dutifully tried her on the lower dose for 3 days and then upped it to the dose I normally gave pigs 0.5cc per kg *(1mg/1ml). She turned around within 48 hours. I emailed the vet an update and that was what she was on(she regained her weight and activity level) until her heart failure 6 months later.

After the heart failure episode, she's went to double the Fortekor dose(in twice daily doses) + vetmedin and Lasix as needed

In short, this was my experience with ONE skinny heart pig so I don't know if it's an anomaly though I suspect it may be the norm for that breed.

A couple of months later I got a call from the vet asking me for detailed symptoms. He had a pig patient who was coming up roses on all the diagnostics but was inexplicably losing weight so at least another vet was won over to "diagnostics via meds" in the case of heart issues in pigs.


Post   » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:09 pm

I'm kind of sad about all the hate in some of these forums. I just had a little girl guinea pig thrown into my lap . I'm doing the best I can for her. She is healthy but came from a terrible owner. Sometimes people don't have the choice but to go to a pet store. You people make it sound like anybody who goes to a pet store is committing animal abuse. The only places around me who have a guinea pigs are pet stores. I've gone to the shelters there Are no piggie there. I'm trying to find a friend for this poor little pig… And now I don't want to go to a pet store.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:38 pm

It's not hate. It's protection of the guinea pigs. The people abusing those pigs are the people who breed them and sell them to the stores. The sows are kept continually pregnant until they're too old to breed, and then they're killed. There's no attempt to separate pups from adults, so they're very inbred. The baby sows are often pregnant.

They're shipped in large plastic containers, several layers deep. The ones on the bottom are trampled and often suffocate. They're stored in horrible conditions in the warehouses and in transit. If you want a good look at how they're bred and raised, see One of the rescuers who used to be a member here took in over 200 animals when Rainbow Exotics was raided. It's still in business.

To a pet store, a guinea pig is a product to be sold, just like dog food or cat beds. When the stock runs low because people are buying them, they order some more. So when you buy one of those pigs, you're participating in that breeding mill/pet store business. Every pig you buy means another one will get bred to take its place.

People do have a choice not to go to a pet store. There are rescues and shelters, some of which will arrange piggy trains to get a pig to an owner who wants one. There are private sales listed on places like Craigslist and in the newspaper. If there are pet stores around you selling guinea pigs, there are guinea pigs that need to be rescued. You might have to wait a few weeks to get one, but that's still better than buying from a pet store.

Owning a guinea pig is not an absolute right.

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Post   » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:56 pm

Pet store breeders are the worst of the worst, especially where Skinnies are concerned. Proper breeding of Skinnies requires frequent out crosses to haired pigs, which is something that "for profit" breeders do not do, because it cuts down on their ratio of sell-able hairless pigs, which bring the higher price. They do not care if your pet later becomes ill, or if it lives a shorter life, as long as they get their money. The Skinny and you, are the ones who pay the price.

My first Skinny (Rufus) came from a pet store and only lived about 3 - 4 years and had health issues. I never knew his true age, since I did get him from a store. I later got in touch with the rescue that took on all of the breeder's stock, who supplied the store where I got Rufus. I learned about the hideous conditions and random breeding that took place there. That man was only after money and didn't care if my Rufus or I suffered any pain, financial loss (for vet bills), or heartache, because of his actions. When his stock all got ringworm and were no longer sell-able, he sought to dump them all, and some were killed at the shelter before the rescue people were able get there. This is not the type of thing I wish to support.

To answer your question regarding age: If your Skinnies are still growing, chances are they were under one year when you got them. Nails often get wider as they age, but not always. I had one smaller fellow who had "young" nails for his entire life. As Skinnies age, you will see more bones on the top and more saggy skin on the bottom, especially under their necks. If it is a black Skinny, the skin will develop white spots. If it is a fuzzy Skinny, they usually become more smooth as they age. The lower lip will sag a bit as well. Hope this helps!

Good luck with your Skinnies. I hope they live long with few health issues, but be sure to educate yourself and be prepared for any problems that may arise.


Post   » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:21 pm

Wow! It seems like there has been a run on posters who want to breed guineas or rabbits and now a pro-pet store person. I wish they had taken the time to do some research before posting on this forum. If they did, they would know better than to say they want to breed or that they "rescued" a pig from a pet store. My little one was thrown away like a piece of trash. She was most likely purchased for a child who lost interest in her very quickly. She was a tiny baby when she was found and brought to my Vet's office. Sadly, this is how many pet store pigs end up. It just breaks my heart to think of these loving little creatures being so horribly mistreated.

The highest compliment I ever received was from my Vet. She said she wanted to be one of my pets in her next life. At that time I had a rescue dog, a rescue parrot, rescue pig and even a rescue fish.

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