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How could you eat them??
Member Name: herbie1977
Advantages: They won't bite
Disadvantages: They can be a bit shy
I have kept guinea pigs for the last 10 years. They are a fantastic small pet & very entertaining to watch. In this review I will try to cover all aspects of owning a guinea pig.
**WHAT IS A GUINEA PIG?**
Well to start with it is not a pig at all, although they do squeal like pigs. It is a rodent & it's proper name is a cavy. Rodents have two upper & two lower incisors that never stop growing, they are used for gnawing.
A guinea pig has a plump body & short legs which means they are not very good at running a long way or climbing. It's neck is also short & it's mouth is near to the ground so that it doesn't have to bend too far to nibble grass. They have a great sense of hearing & keen sense of smell.
In certain countries wild guinea pigs are eaten as we would eat a roast chicken. I prefer not to dwell on this :-(
You can keep your guinea pig outside in a hutch or inside in a cage. I personally prefer the outside option as hutches are much bigger than cages.
Guinea pigs like company, they get lonely when kept alone so it's usual to keep at least two together. Rabbits & guinea pigs should never be homed together as rabbits have very strong back legs that could kill a guinea pig. That said I let my rabbit share the hutch with the guinea pigs at night when he's shut away & always have done with no problems.
The hutch should be situated in a sheltered place, out of direct sunlight, it must also be kept safe from other animals. A hutch should really be at least 4ft long & 2 ft deep. Ideally on tall legs so its away from the wet ground & out of reach of other animals.
A basic hutch should be made of wood & have a sloping roof covered in roofing felt to keep it waterproof. The hutch has two rooms, the run/living area which is covered with wire mesh to let in fresh air & the bedroom compartment which has a wooden door.
Inside the hutch we line it with newspaper. I then cover the floor with sawdust but you can also use shredded paper. In the bedroom area I fill it with either straw or hay. The guinea pigs like to eat the hay. A gnawing log is also a great idea as they can nibble on this to keep their teeth healthy. You will also need a small bowl to put their food in & a water bottle which clips onto the wire mesh.
We also have a 5ft long run which we place on the grass & the guinea pigs go out into the run on dry days.They are great at cutting the grass!
**FEEDING YOUR PIGGIES**
Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means that they only eat grass & plants.
Even if your guinea pigs are out on grass all day you still need to feed them other food. Ready mixed foods which you can buy from pet shops contain dried plants, seeds & vegetables. Guinea pigs need vitamin C in their diets to keep them healthy & most good ready made mixes do contain this.
Other fresh foods that guinea pigs love are dandelions, pear, apple, grapes, tomato, orange, melon, cucumber, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, peas, beans, celery & even peppers.
I fill their food bowl once a day, they will only eat as much as they need. I've yet to see an overweight guinea pig!
Fresh water should always be available.
The hutch should be cleaned out regularly. If it's not cleaned then it will smell of ammonia & your pets could become ill. Ideally you should clean dirty areas of your hutch on a daily basis & give it a through clean once a week. During the summer my two spend most of their time in the run so don't need cleaning out as much.
If your guinea pig has long hair then it should be groomed daily. They enjoy being groomed & even bathed, it's also a great way to get them used to being handled.
**COLOURS & PATTERNS**
As with all animals there are lots of different patterns/colours of guinea pigs. Firstly you have single coloured ones which are known as 'self' types, then there are 'non self' types which have up to three colours in their coats. Guinea pigs also have different hair - short, wiry, tufty & long.
There are so many different coloured guinea pigs, some colours are tortoiseshell, dutch, ruby, orange, dalmation, golden, grey, black etc
Hair types are - Abyssinian - where the hair has lots of crowns so the pig can look quite scruffy.
Agouti - the hair on these changes from root to tip making them looked speckled.
Rexes - short thick hair, they feel quite rough to the touch (but have great personalities, my favourite type)
Satins - these have very short & shiny hair.
Shelties - These are the guinea pigs with the really long hair but short hair on their faces.
Peruvians - Silky hair that grows down to the ground, their hair grows over their faces.
Crests - Crests have a crown on the top of their heads.
**INTRODUCING MY GUINEA PIGS**
As I said before I have kept guinea pigs for 10 years. My first two guinea pigs were so fasinating that I ended up buying more & more & eventually had 10 females all living in a big enclosure. I would spend many an hour sat outside their enclosure watching them, after a while you got to understand their body language & sort of what they were all talking about :-)
My last two guinea pigs died a year ago from old age, they were five years old. So I went to my pet shop & bought two more for £10.00. They were females aged six weeks. My daughters have named them so they are Pippin & Auntie Mabel! Pippin is a creamy coloured agouti which means she has lots of crowns & looks scruffy. Auntie Mabel is a crested piggie with a black coat & a white crown.
They are very chatty. They seem to know what time of day it is, they make different squeals for different things. I shut them into their hutch before it gets dark, if I'm late then they both squeal to get my attention.
I would reccommend guinea pigs as a great pet for a child. They do tend to be shy but with plenty of handling they soon overcome that & won't run away as soon as they see you. They never bite unlike rabbits & are also quite clean in their hutches. That said I would never buy a guinea pig for a child. Children more than often get fed up with all the work involved & soon looking after the pet becomes the parents job or they end up as unwanted pets. Think very carefully before buying a guinea pig as a pet for your child. All my pets are 'my' pets, my children enjoy them but I look after them.
Thanks for reading. Vicki x
Summary: They make wonderful lawnmowers!
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