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All throughout my childhood, my brother and I kept guinea pigs. We had four in total and one year, we even bred them and kept one of the babies.
Many people think of guinea pigs as ideal pets. This is not surprising as they are endearing, affectionate animals that easily attract us with their charm and their cute little noises. But just like any other pet they are a big commitment. So, please take a moment to read my review and find out exactly what is involved in providing care for your guinea pig and how your hard work can be rewarded with a devoted and happy pet.
There are two ways which you can house your guinea pig, indoors and outdoors.
If you want a closer relationship with your guinea pig then why not keep him/her in a hutch indoors? To be honest, indoor hutches are much harder to come across and I consider some of the indoor hutches to be too small.
Two guinea pigs sharing a hutch will be very content if you lead a busy lifestyle with less time to devote to them.
Remember though, that if you plan of keeping your guinea pigs indoors, then they can occasionally smell. This smell should never really get bad as long as you clean then out regularly but this is something that you need to bare in mind. The other thing you need to bare in mind is that the guinea pigs can cause a bit of mess when they are running around in their hutches, they can knock their food out through the hutch doors and onto the floor.
Guinea pigs can also live in a hutch in the garden with suitable shelter, such as an enclosed bedded area, as well as a run to allow exercise
By choosing this option, you can enjoy watching your guinea pigs behave in a natural way in their run while at the same time, providing them with a safe and warm bedroom area.
My family compromised with our guinea pigs and during the cold winter, ours were kept indoors with a small hutch in our sunroom. Then, in the summer, they had their outdoor hutch where they could sleep in the bedded area at night-time and go out to their run during the day and nibble on some grass.
Hutches made of wood are the most common form of keeping your guinea pigs warm and dry. They should be weatherproof and at the same time, well ventilated. If the hutch is outside as opposed to indoors, extra weatherproofing is necessary, such as a cover for the front of the hutch after dark and during wet weather. Guinea pigs can withstand cold, but not the wet.
The hutch should be of a large enough size to enable your guinea pigs to move around freely. A aft or preferably aft hutch on legs is recommended so the hutch is raised from the ground where it may get damp. Ideally the hutch should have a separate bedding compartment where your guinea pigs can take shade from the sun and also shelter from the cold and wet. Both compartments of the hutch should have hinged or lift off doors, to enable you easy access to handle your pet, change their food and water and for cleaning purposes. Hutches can be very expensive. My Dad built all our hutches so we were every lucky in that respect. Second hand cages are always advertised in my local paper and I would advise anyone to consider buying a second hand run, as they are nearly always in good condition and more than half the price of a shop bought one.
We line the hutch with clean newspaper, laid flat. We then cover that with a layer of sawdust (not too fine as it can irritate their eyes) You can also use soft shredded paper for this. Straw, hay and soft shredded paper can be used as bedding in the sleeping compartment, providing comfort and warmth for your pet.
Cleaning out should be done on a regular basis, once a week should be sufficient, but more frequently in warm weather.
Buying A Guinea Pig
I have always liked the idea of getting guinea pigs from a rescue centre, Britain is flooded with a whole array of unwanted pets and you will find guinea pigs at lots of rescue centres.
On the other hand, many pet shops sell young guinea pigs but if you want a particular type or colour, locate a reputable breeder who will be able to give you advice about your guinea pig.
Choosing A Guinea Pig
Visit the breeder / pet shop and if possible, ask to see the guinea pigs parents, which is a good way of seeing how your guinea pig will look as it reaches maturity.
Always check the guinea pigs behaviour; you want one that is alert and not too nervous with nice bright eyes.
Cost Of Keeping A Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are usually inexpensive to buy. Guinea Pigs in my local pet shop range from £10 - £25. The main cost of keeping a guinea pig is the equipment you will need for them. Building a safe, attractive outdoor enclosure can cost quite a lot, as do indoor cages. Then there is the extra bits you will needs such as food bowls, water bottles, food etc.
Your guinea pigs will need regular supplies of food, hay, and bedding throughout its life. You will also need to keep an eye on your Guinea pigs teeth and these can overgrow and cause problems, and may even have to be taken to the vet to have them clipped. One way of making sure their teeth do not grow too long is by giving them something hard to chew on - we always use the branch of a fruit tree such as an apple or plum tree and leave it in the hutch for them to chew on.
A heavy weight ceramic dish is the popular choice with guinea pigs as the lighter bowls can be easily knocked over by a guinea pig.
Water Drinking Bottle
You will need a water bottle, with a drip feed which can be easily attached to the wire mesh on the side of the cage.
You can buy various toys for your guinea pig (although there are hundreds more for rabbits). Just make sure you ask at the pet shop whether the toy is suitable for your guinea pig. Our guinea pigs had tubes which they used to love running though.
Guinea pigs are not particularly fast movers but they do still need plenty of exercise. They should be able to have an adequate amount of exercise from their run. We always make sure that the run is on grass as they love to graze. If you have a run that is separate from the hutch, always make sure that your guinea pig has somewhere to hide in case they are scared. We have a run and a hutch as one unit so the guinea pig can always hide in their bedroom section if they become too warm or something scares them.
There are many dried mixed foods available for guinea pigs such as Gertie Guinea Pig as well as shops own brand. My local Pet Shop does guinea pig food and a bad which lasts a month costs £7.00 which is very reasonable considering this lasts a month. Don't overfeed your pet.
Your guinea pig would appreciate an occasional carrot and a small amount of green food. Not too much green food through as it will give them a funny tummy.
You will need to check their food and water daily and replace as necessary.
Many treats are available for rabbits. Not only are they very tasty for your pet, they also help to keep teeth from overgrowing as I mentioned earlier.
There are many different types of guinea pigs including long haired ones. The long haired varieties will need regular grooming and any knots will need to be removed. You will also need to check their coat to ensure that no dropping have got tangled up in their fur.
Long haired guinea pigs will also need to occasional bath as their coats can get dirty and greasy. Bathing them is fairly easy as long as you ensure you use a product that is suitable to be used on a guinea pig.
The average life span of a rabbit is 3-4 years but some have been known to live up to 7-8 years and our Guinea Pig Daisy lived until she was 6.
Keeping Guinea Pigs Together
Guinea Pigs are social animals so I always think that it is nice to keep more than one so they actually have some company. You can keep two females together or one female with a male (although the male must be neutered if you don't want them to breed). Believe me, if you have a female and an un-neutered male then they WILL breed!
Keeping Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Together
You should not house rabbits and guinea pigs together as rabbits have very strong legs and may accidentally kick your guinea pig causing serious injuries. We used to let our guinea pigs out with out rabbit but we used to supervise them and make sure nothing bad happened to the guinea pig. They were actually good friends but we still decided not the house them together to stop any accidents happening.
I think Guinea Pigs make great pets. Guinea pigs tend to be quite shy by nature but as long as you dedicate some time to handling them, they will soon become familiar with this. They like to be handled to a certain degree but probably not as much as rabbits do. They are fairly clean animals and do not tend to smell as long as they are cleaned out regularly. They are interesting to watch and the little noise they make are just gorgeous.
People seem to be in two minds about Guinea Pigs. They either love them, as I do or they simply don't like them for reasons I have yet to understand. Whilst I do not currently have any guinea pigs, I did during all my childhood and early adult life have at least two at all times, until I moved out of my parents home and the complications of daily life and work commitments took over.
Guinea Pigs in General ~
The guinea pig is a small species of rodent which originated in South America. These animals are typically between 20cm - 25cm long in adulthood and enjoy a vegetarian diet, the staples of which are grass and dry mix generally found in a pet shop. These animals display a wide variety of coat colours, which include browns, blacks, whites, creams, gingers and a tortoiseshell mix. These coats can be long haired, short or smooth haired and the most interesting of all being the rosette guinea who proudly displays a coat with a number of tufts. These animals typically live between 4 and 8 years in captivity, however in all my time of having guinea pigs I have never had one that has survived less than 5 years.
Unlike other small rodents like rabbits and hamsters, guinea pigs will 'talk' to you and this is generally in a range of high pitched squeaks. When separated they will also omit these noises to each other to locate their missing friend. In my experience, guinea pigs are individual both in their likes and dislikes and in their individual 'personalities'. I have had some who have been incredibly quiet and not at all interested in human contact whilst others will squeak loudly the minute you open the door and are happy being held.
These pets are not limited to a certain age group. Indeed I loved having mine as a child and still love them now. They do not bite as other rodents do and are usually quite sedentary when sitting in your lap although they do have a tendency to occasionally wee. They love being amongst other guinea pigs and so I have always had them as a pair rather than a single animal.
Living Quarters ~
The beauty of these small pets is that they can be housed both indoors and outside. Inside it is possible to buy a large cage rather like a large hamster cage which should be positioned away form direct sunlight and direct heat sources. Outside, it is possible to house these creatures in a large hutch which is fine directly outside during the summer months but should really be positioned under shelter such as a garage during the winter months.
Both the indoor or outdoor cage should be supplied laid with a thick layer of newspaper covered with an ample sprinkling of sawdust. This floor will prevent the bottom of the cage being damaged and will give sufficient absorbency for all the guinea pigs toilet needs. For bedding it is best to use a mix of hay and straw. I generally find that a mix of both works best as they enjoy eating the hay overnight whilst the straw provides a sound bedding that will not be eaten. In the hutch should be placed a solid feeding bowl usually ceramic works best and a large drinking bottle which can be clipped to the cage wire.
The cage or hutch does not require daily cleaning and I always did a thorough clean stripping out all the old newspaper and bedding before disinfecting about once a week. Although it is advised to top up bedding and sawdust and clean up large areas of droppings several times throughout the week.
During the summer it is well worth investing in a large outdoor run which is strongly wired to prevent a fox getting in. The guinea pig will happily run around this outdoor space all day enjoying feasting on the grass beneath. However it is worth moving this run around at intervals otherwise the grass will become highly grazed and littered in droppings.
Eating Habits ~
The guinea pig is quite happy if left with a large bowl of dry food which can be purchased in any pet shop or supermarket, and this should be topped up daily. However, they also enjoy a very varied diet and this should be encouraged using such items as carrots, cabbage, dandelions, grass, apples and believe it or not bananas. They also love any off cuts or peelings of vegetables and we used to love giving ours all the vegetables trimmings from our Christmas lunch as a special treat.
Guinea pigs are highly robust and stocky animals and therefore do not suffer with many ailments. Indeed the only problems that some of my guinea pigs had during their adult life were mites, which are a horrible parasite causing the guinea pig to scratch and lose their fur in the process. There are a number of medications including shampoos that can be bought to relieve this problem and a trip to the vets can also resolve the problem with a highly toxic smelling powder to sprinkle over the guinea pigs coat.
Additionally they have nails on their toes which grow and can get quite long without trimming. Their nails can painlessly be trimmed with a standard set of nail trimmers whilst putting the run on a hard surface during part of the day will ensure that the nails are worn down and prevent such frequent trimming.
My Experience ~
My first pair of female guinea pigs namely 'Pinky' and 'Purky' were bought for me when I was a child and I enjoyed looking after them and handling them until they died at the ripe old age of 8 years old. Following them I bought a pair or male guinea pigs which got on for most of the time until one died. I then housed the remaining male with a rabbit which he hated as the rabbit continually sat on him and ate his food so I decided to buy some more to keep him company.
At the age of 15 feeling quite experienced in the world of guinea pigs I decided to breed my new pair of females with the existing male. Initially I built two large hutches to house the two females when they gave birth and extended my outdoor run to create a large guinea pig environment. I introduced the females one by one to my male guinea pig called Chuckie. Chuckie was quite overwhelmed with his new cohort and immediately resorted to a soft purring noise and a variety of prancing movements on his hind legs. However, when the females were not in the mood for affection they simply stopped mid flight and did a stream of wee into the face of the male leaving him coughing and spluttering but still resilient. I left both females one at a time in his hutch and removed them after two days to see whether they had indeed got pregnant.
Both females to my joy were pregnant. You cannot tell if a guinea pig is pregnant initially, however after a month they do grow a slightly pronounced and hard tummy which only continues to grow. As the gestation continues, which is in the region of 59 - 72 days you begin to see the flickering of the tiny babies in the mothers tummy and can feel their tiny movements through her skin.
Both females gave birth within a week of one another after an average of 68 days. Unlike other rodents, guinea pig babies are born with a full coat of fur and with their eyes open. They can be picked up therefore almost immediately without stressing the mother of course. Within a couple of days these mini pigs are happily eating a small amount of dried food whilst the majority of their food is milk from mum. To my relief all the babies were born healthy, the first mother produced 8 offspring whilst the second gave birth to 4 so I had my hands full feeding and looking after such a large brood. The babies can be weaned after 6-8 weeks and I was fortunate, all of my babies were bought and taken to homes where I knew they would be loved.
Overall these are a wonderful pet which do not require a lot of maintenance and so are much easier to keep than larger pets such as cats and dogs. They are very attentive with their squeaks and will suit both children and adults alike. I have therefore scored these amazing creatures 5 stars out of 5 for all the joy they have bought me over the years.
Thank-you for reading my review.
This review is also posted on Ciao under the same user name.
I couldn't be without my guinea pigs. It's amazing how addictive they are. Most people will melt when they hold one. As with all animals though, they take some work and you should never buy one without considering the implications. I have kept guinea pigs since I was ten years old, 18 years in total, so I definitely speak from experience here. The most I've kept at one time was 13 - practically the whole back garden was devoted to them. Guinea pigs don't have the longest lifespan, about four years, and as old age carried my herd off, I wasn't allowed to replace the numbers due to my imminent leaving home and going off to university. I had four relatively pig-free years at university (save my trips home - my mother loves them as much as me and still kept a couple) then I returned home and immediately purchased a couple of long haired guinea pigs to keep me company. Since then, I've added a third. Now I'm in my own home, I don't have the space I once did so I'm unable to return to a garden full and sadly, I think three piggies are my current limit.
The thing about guinea pigs is that they are so loving. A lot of people find that small animals don't 'love you back' like a dog or cat (being a small animal fan, I dispute that) but with guinea pigs, it's different. My guinea pigs can certainly tell the difference between me (the bringer of cucumber) and other people. I have one guinea pig that will actually take flying leaps out of guest's arms to get to me: the highest compliment! Guinea pigs are particularly recommended as a first pet for small children due to their size being larger than other small animals (making them easier to hold and less fragile) but mainly because they rarely, if ever, bite. In 18 years, I've only ever had one 'biter' and that's because she was poorly and in pain: after we fixed that, no more bites.
Guinea pigs love to be picked up and will demand your attention! Unlike other small animals, they're very 'vocal' and have a variety of different squeaks and rumbling noises which they will use constantly to talk to you and other pigs. Don't buy one expecting a quiet animal - they don't shut up! I find the noises cute though, as do most people, and they are not overly loud, like a dog barking for example. The other thing to mention here is my comment about them talking to each other: yes, that's right, you will need at least two. You can not just buy one - it's cruel. Although unscrupulous outlets may sell single guinea pigs, reputable breeders will only let single pigs go if you already have others to keep them company. Guinea pigs are extremely social animals, living in large 'herds' in the wild. They need company and will be absolutely miserable alone, even if you handle and play with them everyday. You should not go into guinea pig ownership unless you can house at least two.
So, you've decided to get two or more. What should you expect now? Well first of all, stock up on supplies. You're going to need a large enough cage for your pigs. The standard size hutches sold in pet shops will only house two; any more and you're going to need more hutches or a proper run. This is the most expensive initial outlay. I purchased my last standard size cage five years ago. It cost me £50.00 and I'm sure prices will have risen since then. Your guinea pigs cost will vary depending on where you buy from. For various reasons, I have concerns about buying animals from pet shops and recommend you find a reputable breeder, or rescue. Pet shops will charge around £15.00 a pig and breeders the same, although breeders usually give heavy discounts on pairs or trios to encourage you to keep your pigs in groups. You may see guinea pigs housed with rabbits in pet shops but don't even think about it! A rabbit will not fulfil a guinea pig's social needs and sharing can be downright dangerous. One good kick from a rabbit's hind legs and your piggy's going to heaven. Aside from the immediate danger, guinea pigs have very special dietary requirements that differ from rabbits. Sharing food runs the risk of the guinea pig becoming malnourished.
So you have your hutch/cage and your guinea pigs. Now you need to get them comfy. You'll need: a good supply of newspapers to line the cage, chunky wood shavings (not fine wood shavings/sawdust and no cedarwood or pine, all of which cause respiratory problems and massive vet's bills in guinea pigs), hay (not straw, which is too hard and sharp for delicate eyes and mouths), guinea pig dry food, a food bowl, a water bottle and some nice wooden toys to chew on. All this could easily run up to another £30.00. You should purchase a decent ceramic food bowl. As with all rodents, guinea pigs are chewers and will shred plastic bowls in a matter of days (not to mention electrical wires, fabrics and anything else within mouth-range). This is also why you need to buy plenty of wooden toys. Rodents need to chew constantly to wear down their teeth. Problems with teeth can result in vet's bills and even death if the guinea pig's eating is affected. The newspapers, hay, dried food and wood shavings will be ongoing for the lives of your animals. Hay is required daily - guinea pigs need hay to 'process' their poop (sorry!). Stocking up on hay, food, wood shavings and paper each week costs me about £10.00 for my three piggies. You will need to clean your piggies twice a week and scoop out their 'poop corner' every day.
Aside from these basic costs are other expenses. The guinea pig's dietary needs are specialist mainly because they cannot produce or store Vitamin C and require a good dose every day to stay in optimum health. Some owners crush Vitamin C tablets into the water supply but the best and most stimulating way is fresh veg. Unlike rabbits who can get by on the humble carrot, guinea pigs need their veg to be dark, leafy and full of Vitamin C. Kale and cabbage greens are particular good for this but most pigs love cucumber and salad leaves too. My guinea pigs get fresh veg every day, this probably costs me about £5.00 a week, and you should be prepared to do the same. It is important to note that your dry food should be especially for guinea pigs: rabbit food just doesn't contain the required Vitamin C.
As for other expenses, well - VET BILLS! When I purchased my very first guinea pig, insurance just wasn't available for them. It is now, but only through two or three specialist companies (you can find them on the internet). If you decide to purchase insurance though, you have to weigh it up. Most guinea pigs I've kept have only ever needed one visit to the vet in their lifetime, costing about £20.00 a time, usually for mites they caught outside or in a bad batch of hay. A quick injection and they were good as new, never seeing a vet again for as long as they lived. Some piggies of mine have never seen a vet. So when you get your insurance quote for £6.00 a month, you have to wonder if it's worth it. I would insure a dog or cat no questions asked, but a guinea pig? Well, you have to make your own choice about that I'm afraid.
On the other hand, that average four year lifespan can stretch to eight years and the older your animal gets, the more likely it is to need a visit to the vet. When you buy your guinea pig, you should prepare yourself for an eight year lifespan, not four. Can you devote eight to ten years? My oldest piggy is six and early last year, at five years old, she finally needed to see a vet. One morning we woke up to find her back legs completely paralysed. Thank goodness it was only a temporarily slipped disc but it took £100 of x-rays and £200 of steroid and antibiotic treatment to clear (no insurance remember!). She's now happily running around on all fours again and showing no signs of letting old age slow her down.
The final point to make about vets and guinea pigs is that believe it or not, guinea pigs are classed as 'exotic pets'. Finding a vet that has the specialist knowledge to treat a guinea pig properly is like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. I've had some great vets but also some who were clearly uncomfortable with exotics. My poor pig with the slipped disc was threatened with being put to sleep by the first vet we saw, simply because he didn't know what else to do. Thank God for his brighter colleague who seemed to love her as much me. Most experienced guinea pig owners will warn you to brush up on basic vet care before you buy. Learning how to clip your guinea pig's nails and in the case of boys, how to remove impacted poop (sorry again!) is a must. For the love of God, please don't venture into breeding without a good vet on speed dial. For my last litter, I had to help my girl give birth (this is quite common) then hand rear a pup she rejected. As in the human world, not all girls make good mothers. My advice: don't breed unless you know what you're doing and already have good homes lined up.
In summary, guinea pigs are beautiful, sweet little animals that (unless you want to breed from them) generally need the minimum of veterinary care. They are excellent with even small children. As with all animals though, it pays to remember you're buying a living being that needs as much attention as any other member of your family.
I used to have Guinea Pigs and would recommend them as a family pet. They are good to teach children responsibility and I think they are a better pet than Rabbits they rarely bite or scratch - making them ideal pets for young children.
They usually live between 4 and 8 years.
They are active during the daytime, They communicate vocally, making them fun to watch and play with.
Although you do need to keep them in pairs as they are sociable animals and can get lonely.
Guinea pigs will love and appreciate the love you give them, they like to be held and played with. They can be kept inside as long as they have space to run around or outside in a hutch and run protected from the elements.
My Guinea Pigs were indoor pets although I used to put them in a run outside daily for exercise. They will not jump or dig. They are very clean animals and don't smell if you keep their living areas clean. One of my Guinea Pigs- Dill was toilet trained and used to use a litter tray.
Guinea Pigs need lots of vitamin C otherwise they suffer from scurvy so it's important to feed them with fresh fruit and vegetables carrots, dark green leafy vegetables as well as a good Guinea Pig food you can get supplements to put in their water but this should not be necessary.
Basically a guinea pig is a low maintenance pet suitable for children.
I'm quite new to keeping Guinea Pigs but decided to take the plunge in October 2009. I am now the proud owner of two rex cross boars who will be celebrating their first birthday in September!
After my cat and parrot had to be put to sleep within months of each other I wanted some more pets but something different so as not to replace the ones I'd lost. My friend has had guinea pigs and rabbits for years and I'd always loved guineas especially, I was attracted to their loving nature. So I began researching online and read that they made great pets for adults and children alike, it was after this that I decided to get mine.
I have discovered that guineas make fabulous little pets who rarely bite. They're such adorable little things but although they do make great pets for children I'd still recommend adult supervision.
For two guinea pigs the minimum amount of space they need is around 7.5 sq ft, the cages you see in pet shops really aren't big enough. As well as their hutch/cage, guineas do require exercise every day. Mine are content for at least two hours in their run per day. Although mine prefer to nibble on their veggies than run around!
When keeping guinea pigs as pets you must have two! Guineas are very social animals and like the company, they may become depressed if housed on their own. They are also a long-term commitment with an expected life span of 5-7 years, it's been known for guineas to live to ten years or longer.
When you first get your pigs it's usual for them to be a bit nervous at first, it took mine a few days to settle in and even longer to become used to people. With regular handling they become very tame little chaps and although I've had a few nibbled fingers in the past I've never been properly bitten.
When feeding your guinea pigs you must feed them on a food with added vitamin C as they are unable to make their own. Fresh hay must also be available at all times, this is natural roughage for your guinea and will also help to keep their teeth from overgrowing, it's a staple of their diet.
You should offer your guinea pigs a selection of fresh vegetables and some fruit daily, although take care when introducing new foods as this could give your pig a tummy upset if he's not used to it. Leafy greens should be the bulk of the vegetables, good choices include:
* turnip greens,
* romaine lettuce,
* dandelion greens.
Avoid or limit cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, pok choy as they can lead to gas production in the digestive tract. You should also avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes. Carrots, carrot tops, green and red bell peppers, apple, apricots, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes can also be fed. My boys adore parsley especially.
I wouldn't be without my two boys now. But remember, they will need their nails trimmed regularly as well as baths, flea treatment etc. Don't forget to also keep an eye on your pigs teeth as they can become overgrown and cause problems, always give them something to chew on. Mine love to chew on cardboard and wood.
I would recommend them as pets, they're gorgeous creatures but do require looking after. If you look after them right they will become your friend for years to come.
Guinea Pigs are very good pets, especially for young children as they are not vicious, they are very friendly and quite timid too - so try not to give them too much attention when you first buy them and give them a chance to let them settle in their new home.
A female guinea pig is called a sow, and male, a boar - just like pigs!
Guinea pigs home can be in a hutch or cage (best to get both - hutch for summer seasons and cage for winter seasons) It's best to put newspaper down and they like to chew it - but it's good for them as it stops their teeth from growing long. Wood shavings must be used as a base bedding, and hay if you wish, but guinea pigs love hay and they even eat it as a tasty treat! But don't use straw as the sharp ends could hurt the guinea pig.
You must give the guinea pig fresh water and food every day, It is important for your guinea pigs to eat vitamin C - they like apples, pears, cucumber, grapes, lettuce, carrots, celery, cauliflower leaves.
Guinea pigs also love plants too such as dadelions, chickweed and grousel and they even love a munch on the grass and nibble at some daisies.
But beware some plants are poisonous for guinea pigs these include:
- bind weed
So these plants mentioned above DO NOT FEED your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are really easy to keep, and you must handle them and give them excercise as much as possible, to keep them happy and healthy.
Guinea Pigs has run through my family, almost everyone on my mum's side have kept guinea pigs, I had two but sadly one died, a couple of years ago and now I have one, but she's getting old but still cute as anything! My cousin had one, but sadly it died recently.
As long as you follow my tips above I'm sure you'll be happy, and so will your guinea pig!
I have a guinea pig and my sister has a guinea pig and we have had them for about two to three years and we bought them from pets at home when they were 10 weeks old. The have grew so much since we got them, when I go in pets at home to get their natural salad feast, wood shavings, hay and shampoo I always look at the little guinea pigs they have and I can't imagine my guinea pigs when they were that small, probably because they are so big and fat now.
My guinea pigs love to eat as do all guinea pigs, they will eat you out of house and home. But my guinea pigs are also a bit fussy about what they eat, for example, they really love spinich (even though they only should have a bit of it, but they like it but they are only allowed a bit very day). They also like the naturals dry food in the plastic bags at pets at home - they really like the salad feast one.
Guinea pigs can't manufacture their own vitamin C so it has to be incorperated into their diet, this can be done easily with the guinea pig nuggets also from pets at home. And you have to make sure that they have a fresh daily supply of dry nuggets, new water every day or every other day and fresh food such as vegetables everyday - I probably feed my piggies too much but they are always weeking for food so I have to feed them. I feed them about 4 to 5 times a day with about one of their feeding bowl size portions.
They also make really good pets as they are big enough to hold and not little enough to squish. They are also good for older children as they don't bite. We did have them outside but they didn't like the cold even though we spend about £300 on a hutch and on a cover to keep them warm - which is really good by scratch and newton. So they live in medium/large sized plastic cages inside now and they love it and me and my sister don't have to go outside in the cold/rain/snow at like 7 in the morning to feed them!
One really good thing to have if you haven't had guinea pigs before is a guinea pig care booket/book, wehen we bough out piggies we received a FREE guinea pig started kit which contain a small packet of dry nuggets, vitamin drops and a book (and some other things I just can't remember them and I don't know if they still do this though). I have two guinea pig books and they are really useful as they can get cold and illnesses just like we do and it is really important to know what you are looking for to keep your piggies happy and healthy!
Also they are not allowed some types of food such as tomatoes, potatoes, some lettuces and many more. I would really recommend looking up on the foods first before you give it to them and they are not allowed and processed food.
*A great family pet
*They make different noises and you can look up online what they mean, for example, the week (high pitched squeeking) when they are happy or when the smell food. Mine also do this when I rustle a bag or close the fridge door!
*Need to be looked after really well as they can get ill and have colds just like us
*It is best to keep them indoors as the can die of the cold or if they are too hot
*Be very careful about what you feed them - check online before hand
*A clean sturdy plastic indoor cage is best - don't get the ones with wire floors as it can cut your guinea pigs feet
*The hutches/cages need to be cleaned out well every other day to avoid infections and illness
*You can get dry shampoo to stop your piggy from getting smelly but read the instructions carefully
*They are not expensive to buy but the need a constant daily supply of dry food, fresh food, hay, water and they also need time out of their hutches
*Never leave your piggies out of its cage with out an adult in the room as they could hurt them selves or chew on wires which is not good
*Look after them well by making sure they have something quite hard to chew on as their teeth continuously grow and so do their nails so you have to go to the vet to get them cut - but I am very careful and I cut them my self with special guinea pig nail cutters (not human ones) and be careful to avoid cutting through the big vein they have running though each nail
*Guinea pigs don't like loud noises
*Guinea pigs get frightened and scared quite easily so don't make loud noises when with them - my piggies don't mind the tv though
*Diet is really important
*The love places that they can hide in such as big cardboard tubes and boxes and tunnels
Thank you for reading my review
Guinea pigs can interact with humans but ideally are best kept indoors surprisingly but they love to also have a safe hutch/run with access to clean, pesticide free grass.
Females are called sows and males are called boars. The male is slightly larger than the female. They are fully ready to go from birth and covered in fur with open eyes and eating unlike most young animals. They are sexually active from 3-4 weeks of age so be careful if you take them on from someone who has not separated them early enough as even very young pigs can get pregnant which can be dangerous.
There are many different breeds in both short and long haired and include abyssinian, rex, peruvian, sheltie etc. Only experienced owners should get the longer haired varieties as they can need extra grooming or washing.
Although it is good for them to go out on grass in the summer, they need to be well protected from predators and the sun/heat. They can get heatstroke in temperatures over 28 degrees. In the winter they really shouldn't be kept in hutches outside and should be in a heated shed or indoors. Far too many guinea pigs unnecessarily die in cold or damp winters in unsheltered hutches sadly.
I personally keep mine indoors all year round where they are safe and get a lot of attention. They call me for breakfast and dinner of veg and eat a variety of vegetables such as greens, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, sweetcorn plus herbs such as dill. Vegetables high in calcium are best avoided as guinea pigs often suffer from bladder stones.
Guinea pigs like humans need an intake of vitamin C - it is often added to dry feed but also important that fresh vegetables (never cooked/frozen) are provided for this as well.
A good vet is vital but in the UK a lot of vets are still not very knowledgeable. A guinea pig savvy vet will be able to do dentistry and xrays without anaesthetic as anaesthetic can cause a fatality during an operation although it is getting safer.
Never give guinea pigs penicillin based antibiotics as they can be fatal, although safe antibiotics to use are Septrin or Baytril as prescribed from a vet.
I currently keep 6 guinea pigs, 3 of my own and 3 foster pigs and my eldest pig is 6.5 years old. Guinea pigs kept outside do not generally live as long as indoor pigs and when pigs get elderly are more susceptible to the cold. They can get arthritis and when older are more comfortable lying on products such as vetbed.
Last year I had 5 of my own and the cost was £1700 as this included a couple of pigs who were older and had some ongoing vet treatment. This cost included hay and a new cage and feed.
For my pigs indoors I use a product called Megazorb which absorbs dampness and urine smells. I use this product underneath hay in sleeping areas. I line the cage with newspaper. Sawdust is not recommended as it can cause respiratory problems.
Avoid feeds such as Gerty which contain additives. Go for a more natural feed such as Dodson & Horrell. This comes in sacks of 15kg from horse feed merchants and can work out much cheaper than the sub standard feed sold in supermarkets and has low protein levels. Avoid feeds high in protein.
Guinea pigs need a constant and large supply of hay which should be sweet smelling and not musty. Plus fresh water should be available at all times. It is best kept in a bottle which should be changed daily to avoid bacteria build up.
They also need a large area and if indoors the best type of cage is a cubes and corroplast/correx one as these can be made as large as you like - most pet shop cages are actually far too small as guinea pigs like to run about. If you google C&C or cubes and corroplast or cavy cages you will see how to make these great home made cages. Correx is corrugated plastic which you can buy from sign shops or online as is used as the cage base. The grids are metal based shelving units which clip together. I currently have a 10ft cage in my living room made out of this. They are cheap, long lasting and can be made into amazing sizes and spaces for them to play in.
Guinea pigs like toys to play in and safe toys are cardboard tubes, paper bags or boxes with exit holes cut in. Towel tents and soft guinea pig specific bedding ranges to sleep on are also very popular plus big piles of hay to hide under. Avoid anything plastic which can be chewed.
Contrary to popular belief, guinea pigs are not great pets for children - they can and do get a wide variety of illnesses and these can be complex. If they are shoved in the garden in a hutch they can be neglected and early signs of illness by inexperienced owners can be missed. They need a lot of cleaning as they pee constantly and children often get bored of them. If they are outside they are not as tame. Sadly the guinea pig often gets the blame and loads end up in rehoming centres as people don't like the cleaning and don't bother to interact with them - please buy your children a toy instead!
People with little knowledge often say their guinea pig has died suddenly but that is usually simply because they are kept outside and they haven't noticed all the symptoms of illness first. Guinea pigs often hide illness as they are prey animals so you really have to study them and know about them indepth before owning.
Having studied guinea pigs at the CCT (Cambridge Cavy Trust guinea pig hospital) I have a reasonably good knowledge of them and their illnesses and have owned them for nearly 20 years - but there are always new things to learn.
Breeding should not be undertaken ideally - the female pigs can often have complications and die due to pregnancy despite how cute the babies look, don't risk your pets life or add to the unwanted amount of them in rehoming centres.
Female pigs can be kept in large groups or with one neutered male to a group of females and rescue centres often have ready neutered males up for rehoming. If you get males they should really only be kept in pairs as they can fight in groups. Guinea pig personalities are complex and they don't always get on but a good rescue centre will help you pair up a lonely pig and can do the matchmaking for you. Sometimes an older pig with a younger pig works well. A male female pair often works but please only do this if the male is neutered.
Please, please think if you have the time and patience to look after these complex animals before taking one on and do consider a rehoming centre rather than pet shops or breeders.
The guinea pig is getting more and more popular as housepet. It originally came from South America, where they used to (they also still do it) eat guinea pigs. The latin name for the guineapig is Cavia porcellus (a little pig looking thing). Now back to the history; the guineapig was brought to Europe by spanish explorers, and then the selling of them began. In old days only rich people could afford guineapigs, but luckily they have become cheaper by years.
If you wanna buy a guinea pig, you should make sure that you got space for it. And also, if you got kids tell them not to yell or make loud noises, because the guineapig got sensitive ears and they easy get scared like hell. You should have atleast 100 £. The guineapig itself costs 10-15£. A small / medium cage costs around 30-40 £. You will also need a drinking bottle, a bowl for food and a saltstone (a little round thingy the guineapigs licks on). You can get all these things for around 10-20£. You will also need hay and wood shavings for changing the cage. Thats around 6 £. Im usually buying lots of wood shavings from a woodcutter company, because they sell them for cheap prices. You can use the rest of the money for accesories.
The guineapig will also need some food. you can usually give it any kind of vegetables, and some guineapigs like fruits. Also, remeber to always keep their food bowl full with the mixed food packs you can buy in the stores. Some people say that the guineapig need Vitamin-C, so if you dont give you guineapig any food with Vitamin-C, you should buy some in the stores. Its like powder; just put a bit of it on their food. Actually my guineapigs have never gotten any Vitamin-C, and theyre doing fine!
In the summer halfyear the guineapigs can have a outside cage. Remember if you buy one; make sure its high above the ground. Then you piggies will be safe. You can also make your own home made grass cage, or you can buy one. Put the piggies in the grass cage and let them go around and explore for as long as you wish. IMPORTANT: Remeber to keep eye on them while they are outside. Also, make sure they got some shaodws to stay in or else they will die of heat.
In the winter halfyear, the guineapigs must NOT be outside. Its simply to cold for them.
Keep your pig healthy by taking it up atleast 1 day every week. Sit with it, let it calm down, massage it and talk with it. If it grow to long nails you will need to cut them. If you dont like to cut them by yourself, go to the vet and let him do it. Also, if you got a long-haired piggie make sure to cut the hair, when its too long. You can also brush their hair. If you wanna bath you guineapig, make sure to use shampoo without additives. Make sure that the pig dont get water in its ears; you will have trouble getting it out again.
Guinea Pigs are traditionally a children's pet, but I know of large numbers of adults who keep them as pets. I'm 28 and I have 3! They make fantastic pets for anyone - they're sociable, easy to feed and look after and full of character. My 3 all have very different personalities. Bridie is just like a grumpy old human, Coco looks like she's on another planet most of the time and Honey looks like she wants to take over the world - if only she had opposable thumbs! They also make lots of different noises and will almost seem to talk to you. You'll quickly come to know what most of their sounds mean - particularly the loud 'wheek! wheek!' at dinnertime!
Pigs need to live in groups of 2 or more. You can keep single sex groups of sows (females) or boars (males), but boars should be neutered or they'll usually fight, especially if they can smell sows. You can also keep a sow and a boar together, but they will breed unless they're neutered.
Most people keep pigs in a wooden hutch outside, but mine are indoor pigs and live in large cages all year. Guinea pigs can live outside during Spring and Summer, but should be brought indoors or into a heated shed or outbuilding during late Autumn and Winter. They originate from South America and just don't cope with the cold.
A hutch or cage should be lined with newspaper and a thick layer of proper pet bed wood-shavings. Don't use sawdust as it's really bad for their lungs and don't just get stuff from a sawmill as it can contain harmful wood preservatives and chemicals. Some people suggest using vet-bed or hemp horse bedding as those are virtually dust-free.
The easiest thing to feed your pigs is a ready-made guinea pig pellet or mix - I prefer to use a pelleted feed which stops them picking out their favourite bits and leaving what they don't want. They also need plenty of good quality hay and fresh water, either from a drinking bottle or bowl. Any bowls you use should be nice and sturdy as they tend to balance on them to eat or drink - they only have short little legs! They also enjoy vegetables such as carrots and broccoli, fruits such as bananas, grapes and apples and green leaves like lettuce. Be warned - only feed them small amounts of these as too much green stuff will affect their digestion and could make them poorly. Also, some pigs are allergic to apples, so go sparingly.
Taming your guinea pig is reasonably easy - spend lots of time talking to, stroking them and hand-feeding before you attempt to pick them up for the first time. When you do handle a pig, make sure to have firm (but not crushing) hold as they will wriggle as first. Always make sure you support them with one hand under their rump and the other around their chest. Try to sit down when you handle them - they don't like heights and will be quite nervous at first. Always supervise a child when they handle a guinea pig. Again, lots of stroking, calm talking and treats will soothe them.
There a quite a few toys you can buy for your piggies, but I find the things they like best are things to chew such as wood blocks - again, they must be made specifically for pets as some woods are poisonous. They need to keep their teeth at a suitable length as they are constantly growing. You can also give them cardboard tubes (perhaps stuffed with hay) and paper bags to play with, but only do this occasionally as they may eat them. Also, remember to cut down one side of any tubes as they can get stuck in them.
A world on health - pigs are generally pretty healthy pets, but when they get ill, they do so quickly and may die without swift veterinary attention. If your pig looks at all ill, you must ring a knowledgeable vet for advice and treatment, if needed. It's best to register with a suitable vet before the need for treatment arises. Not all vets are knowledgeable about guinea pigs (which are classed as exotic pets), so do your research before you join a practice.
There are lots of very good guide books on the market, but I would recommend any by Peter Gurney, who was considered an expert on guinea pigs and their care.
Most of all, they are friendly, cuddly and lively little animals that can't fail to win your heart. As soon as you bring pigs into your home, you'll be hooked!
Guinea-pigs are the perfect first pet for children but are also well-loved by adults. They're perfect because they don't require a lot of care and are very hardy animals. They have less medical bills then rabbits and are bigger, calmer, and more cuddly then hamsters. The distinctive thing about most guinea-pigs is just how lazy they usually are - their activities basically consist of lying around and munching! It's so easy to just pick up a guinea pig and sit it in your lap for hours just stroking and hand-feeding it, whereas hamsters and rabbits will always want to be running around.
You have a wide choice when you select a guinea pig. They come in different sizes, colours, fur types and different personalities. You can buy supersoft long-haired ones to ones with coarse, wirey hair. The most low maintenance fur type is the short haired ones with a smooth coat. Long hair needs frequent brushing and we actually trim one of our guinea pigs to stop it dragging though the bedding and mess. Wirey haired guinea pigs also need brushing because saw dust can get caught easily within the fur. Guinea-pigs can be given baths using either a baby shampoo or one specially formulated for small animals.
The annoyance people have with guinea-pigs is their squeaking. However, most guinea-pigs only really squeak when they're hungry, thirsty (with no water available), scared or being hurt. They make some random murmurs as they walk around their cage and to communicate with others. When aggressive, a guinea pig will most often chatter their teeth.
Guinea-pigs are happiest living with at least one other pig but males tend to fight. We used to have two males living together but as they grew older they began violently attacking each other so had to be separated. Not only this but males are considerably larger and have more muscle than females so females are the better choice especially for young children. Don't get me wrong, males are still excellent pets but due to their strength and size they're unsuitable for children.
It's always best to get your guinea pigs from rescue shelters but they are also available in pet shops. On average they cost between 10 and 20 pounds per guinea pig.
The basic things you need for your guinea pig;
- a cage, run or something similar to keep them in: Outside areas are only ever suitable during the warmer weather as being cold can cause medical problems in guinea pigs. Because they're a bit more out of the way it can also be harder to notice behaviour changes which can indicate health problems. Outside areas need to be very secure to protect them against local predators such as foxes. Wire cages can damage their feet. You can place towels on the bottom of the cage but these need to be changed and washed frequently. Sawdust is the more popular alternative because its more absorbent. Some people also use newspaper shreddings because the guinea pigs can hide in it, but it's not good if they eat it!
- a water bottle: to be attached to the side of the cage so water is always available to the guinea pig. The water should be changed frequently.
- a food dish: obviously to keep food off the floor!
It's also great if you buy a hiding place for your guinea pig. You can find things like plastic igloos and bendable woodsticks (you can shape them into a dome) for them to hide under. You can also buy things like wooden blocks for them to chew on.
- Guinea pigs need to have fresh hay available at all times as it provides necessary fibre. Alfalfa hay should only be used as a treat, though! Hay is also extremely important in wearing down their teeth because their teeth don't stop growing.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables should also be fed once or twice a day. The amount depends on the size and age of the guinea-pig.
- A dry food also needs to be provided for necessary vitamins. Pellet foods are the best because mixes can lead to selective feeding, where the guinea pig will only pick out the things they like and avoid some of the necessary nutrients.
- Another good addition to their diet is a salt lick. I'm not completely sure why but most guinea pigs love them! You can also buy mineral licks.
- There's also variety of treats available which can be fed occasionally but make sure they are suitable for guinea pigs.
The average lifespan for a guinea-pig is 5 to 8 years but you should always observe them any changes in behaviour which could indicate illness. You should mainly check their droppings to see if their normal and that they're eating all their food.
I in my opinion Guinea Pigs are one of the best small pets to keep (especially for children) due to their good nature and hardiness.
As a young child my parents mainly allowed me to have rabbits and hamsters. The rabbits were plagued by health problems and proved to be very expensive for my parents and were almost impossible for me as a small child to handle them due to their strong hind legs and fragile backs. In the case of hamsters despite all our best efforts turned out to be inhabited by the devil so bit me on a regular basis and kept me up all night on their wheel, then after two years they would die and I would be distraught!
Guinea Pigs on the other hand are generally very friendly and easy for a child to handle, we never once had to take our Guinea Pigs to the vets and they were very rewarding pets who would always greet you with the cutest squeak at dinner time and put up with endless cuddles!
Guinea pigs are a very sociable animal and hate be alone, so if you decide to go down the guinea pig route then make sure you get at least two. I've had two guinea pigs in my time, although one after the other. This was fine though as they each lived with my rabbit and they kept each other company. I don't know if this is 'acceptable' to do anymore, but it worked just fine for us.
The cutest thing about guinea pigs is the squeaking noise they make. I don't know why they do this (ours seemed to do it constantly) but it's very endearing, although it can be really loud! They are great for keeping as indoor or outdoor pets, although access to grassy areas is obviously preferable. The trouble with keeping them indoors is obviously going to be the smell, but that is true of any animal kept inside.
I know a lot of people would be tempted to buy a from a pet shop, but I would suggest phoning round some pet rescue places first as they do sometimes come up for rehoming (although not as often as cats and dogs). They can be timid creatures, but are very friendly and I have never known one to bite. Great pets to have when you have children.
On average a guinea pig will live for about 4-6 years, so it is quite a lenthy commitment, but you will get plenty of pleasure from keeping these lovely creatures and the time will fly by.
Many people may take an instant dislike to guinea pigs because they are rodents, however...they are not the equivalent to rats and I think that they make a really loving family pet. They are originally from South America and there are many different breeds of guinea pig.
I have two female short haired guinea pigs, called scrap and sooty. I got them when they were babies and they are black with ginger stripes on them. When I first got them, I brought them home in a cardboard box and I felt guilty for trying to pick them up because they were so scared. They would shake when I held them. However, I advise that you feed them when you first get them because as soon as they associate you with food, they become much more comfortable when they around you.
When I first got them, they lived inside in a cage because it was February and freezing outside...however looking back they would of been fine outside as long as they had plenty of hay and bedding to keep them warm. They are now a year and a half old and they live outside in a hutch. They are really friendly guinea pigs because they are regularly handled....which i advise if you want your guinea pig to be confident around you. They are very vocal and squeak when excited...normally when i open the patio door because they know they are going to get grass. They come up to the hutch door and allow me to stroke them and also happyily eat out of my hands.
Guinea pigs normally live 5-6 years however i have had one that lived until 7 and a half before. I would recommend that you keep them in pairs of the same sex so that they do not become lonely... the best advice is to buy them together from the same group so that they get on... if you introduce a guinea pig into and existing guinea pigs cage they may become territorial and fight. They cost very little to keep as bedding and food is cheap. They need feeding plenty of veg and regular exercise in a run. I would recommend them as a family pet as they are very loving and the more you handle them, the more loving and confident they become.
Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus if you want to be posh about it) is a kind of rodent originating from South America, especially Ecaudor, Peru, and Bolivia. Now, I say rodent, but don't go imagining a rat or a mouse - they're much sweeter and fluffier . They don't look a lot like pigs either really, and their only similarity with pigs is that males are called Boars and females Sows. That's where the similarity ends though - you can't use guinea pigs to hunt for truffles for example, and although many indigenous South American communities regard them as a food source, I doubt they'd produce decent crackling .
In fact, I came across some research online that in some South American countries, pictures of the last supper depict Jesus and the twelve disciples eating a feast of ---- roasted Guinea Pig.
I also found a few recipes, but I'm going to assume that the credit crunch hasn't affected you so much as to cause you to eat your pets, and that you are instead interested in perhaps keeping Guinea Pigs as a pet, or already do so and want a little more information .
In the wild, Guinea pigs usually live in a community with several females to one male, together with their offspring . They also prefer to use another animals shelter or burrow rather than making the effort to dig their own . Now, while that set up may work in the wild, I don't recommend keeping several females with one male in a pet situation, and I'll explain why .
A little over two years ago, my dad decided he would quite like some guinea pigs . He went to the local petshop, purchased a run and accessories, and two guinea pigs, Megan and Maisie . Maisie was a smooth haired ginger colour, very friendly from the start, particularly when there was a chance of food about . Megan was a punk, with a great big sticky up bit of hair, and a real mix of colours .
Time went by, and my dad began to feel that maybe he should get another guinea pig to keep them company - after all, having fallen completely in love with the first two, he had taken his bed to bits and made them a massive run! So, into the mix came Molly, a chocolate brown guinea pig who would go up and nibble at anyone . What my dad didn't know, upon purchasing Molly, was that Molly wasn't as innocent as her big brown eyes would lead you to believe!
Oh no, Molly had certainly had more than her fair share of carnal knowledge. But we didn't know that . My dad panicked as she grew bigger - he thought she was eating too much, so sought advice from the vet on a good diet for guinea pigs. Still she grew .
Maybe she was taking all the food and the others were not getting enough - so he purchased another cage so he could feed her seperately . But still, she grew.
Maybe she was really ill - so he took her to the vets . Where he learned that she was pregnant.
Molly went on to have 3 babies . Pip, Squeak, and Milly . My dad really didn't know how to sex them, and they didn't seem to have any visible erections or anything, so after several sessions of looking at them and scratching his head, he decided they were all girls .
Within a few months, Megan, Maisie, Molly, and Millie all started to look a little plump. A little rounder in the bum area . A little ...pregnant . Before he knew it, there were more babies .
Which is how I come to have my own Guinea pigs, Florence and Dotty/Mary/Susie. I named one, and my daughter named the other . Except she can't decide on a name , so it changes every few minutes. Good thing I'm not expecting these guinea pigs to fetch sticks or do tricks, cause one of them is perfectly entitled to an identity crisis.
Both mine are black with ginger patches, looking as though they have been slung on by the random flicking of a paintbrush! I love them, and find them utterly adorable and incredibly easy to look after, but before you take on a guinea pig as a pet, there is stuff you should know .
They were introduced to Europe in the 16th century, but rather than seeing them as the food source they were previously considered to be, we went 'Aaaaaaw, they're so cute!' and adopted them as pets instead .
There are many different terms for different colour combinations on guinea pigs , as well as for different hair types and textures. The information can be found in plenty on the internet, and is really rather technical . I can't pretend to know it off by heart myself, so I won't include it .
Guinea pigs ideally (unless you intend to breed and welcome babies) should be kept in same sex pairs , or larger groups provided you have plenty of space and they are all same sex . They like company, and someone else to squeak at . If you do keep a mixed pair, be aware they breed like rabbits.
Speaking of Rabbits, its generally considered not the greatest idea to house them with rabbits for various reasons . Firstly, rabbits do like to stretch and kick, and have quite strong hind legs, whereas guinea pigs have pretty weak bones in general, so could sustain some injury from a rabbits kick . Also rabbits do carry some diseases which are particularly evil if a guinea pig gets them , as well as having very different dietary requirements .
Guinea Pigs can happily live outside during warmer months, although you will need to make their hutch or run secure against foxes and cats, which both like a nice nibble of guinea pig if they have a chance . If you lay your run on the grass where they can nibble, guinea pigs will very quickly strip the patch bare, and need to be either moved on, or supplied with straw bedding . You also need to make sure guinea pigs are sheltered from rain and excessive heat if kept outside, and they will need to be moved indoors during colder months .
Personally, I prefer to keep mine inside year round, but to place them outside to nibble for a couple of hours each day . They have a large cage with a solid plastic bottom and a wire top, lined with plenty of hay. I do kee them out of direct sunlight though, I have a nice little alcove in my room which keeps them nice and cool .
Guinea pigs are not particularly fond of social niceties . They will often poop in their food bowl, and scatter their food all over their cage . For this reason, you should clean their cage quickly once a day, and give it a thorough clean once a week . You should not use ordinary household cleaners as the fumes and ingredients in these may cause problems for your guinea pigs. Hot water is fine, or many pet shops sell specialised cleaning products . You should also bear in mind the you'll need somewhere to put your guinea pigs safely while you clean their home - my dad and I both use wicker baskets .
Guinea Pigs like to be handled regularly, they love the attention ...and they even make purring noises when you stroke them just right . They also squeak and pip a lot, especially when they know food is on the way - and believe me, they learn to recognise the sound of you coming up the stairs with food!
Speaking of food, guinea pigs are herbivores, and love a diet of vegetables and garden leaves . Dandelions and clover are particular guinea pig favourites, but it's also good to give them some vegetables and fruits , such as cabbage, broccoli, carrots, parsley, and cucumber . They should not be given much spinach or lettuce, as this gives them indigestion, and they shouldn't be given too much fruit, as the acidity can cause teeth problems . However, an occasional bit of apple, melon, or grape is fine, but stay away from the more acidic citrus fruits . The occasional dog biscuit is also good for grinding down their teeth.
Some people recommend adding chocolate or honeyed items into their diet - personally I don't like this, as they wouldn't come across these foods in a wild situation and are not designed to digest large amounts of sugar .
Guinea Pigs need grooming to stop their fur matting at least once a week, and will occasionally need their nails trimmed . I'm a little squeamish about cutting their nails, so I get the vet to do it every so often, which costs me about 5 quid .
Its also a good idea to give them a small amount of guinea pig food in pellet form each day, as this is usually tailored to guinea pigs specific dietary needs. I personally reccomend Wagg . And, if course, they need a clean filled water bottle each day .
They also like to play, and I suggest lengths of plastic piping as excellent tunnels for them, and these are easily obtained from any DIY store . You can use empty pringles tubes washed out, but be aware that guinea pigs will chew through these pretty fast .
The average lifespan for a well looked after guinea pig is between 5 and 8 years, so only take on on as a pet if you can give it love and attention for that long . They do need to be handled, groomed, and cleaned out regularly.
I haven't covered breeding in this review - I have no experience as a breeder, but I'm sure the information is readily available through a quick google search.
Overall, I recommend guinea pigs as pets - they are incredibly friendly when well handled, easy to feed, take very little energy , and are cute fluffy and lovely!