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Guinea Pigs-Not Really As Simple To Care For As Their Cost Would Suggest
Member Name: Machair1
Date: 10/10/08, updated on 29/01/09 (130 review reads)
Advantages: Very very cute animals.May live 10 years.
Disadvantages: Need a lot of care if they are to be looked after properly
Here is my review which is the product of 20 years of keeping and breeding guinea pigs.
In this review I want to do something to help the widespread abuse of these little creatures which comes about through a general lack of knowledge. The problem is they are cheap to buy so many are encouraged by this but did you know they can out live your dog? I have the 10 most important things you should be aware of before you purchase.
GUINEA PIG RULES
1. They can live for 10 years. I have had many wonderful guineas celebrating a decade of health so please do not buy them for young children on impulse as unlike hamsters they live a very long life if cared for properly. Please ask yourself a million times over if you really want to buy them for a young child. They can be suitable but you must not leave them alone with the animals as they are very delicate. I would not do so until the child is at least 7 and then only with adult supervision.
2. Please do not put them outside in hutches. The risks are many from cats, foxes, the cold, and in summer fly strike which is a potentially fatal condition where flies lay their eggs on the guinea and the maggots bury themselves into the skin leading to death if not treated quickly. The summer also causes heat stroke in guineas which can be fatal. They have no sweat glands and they do not pant so fluid builds up on the lungs when they overheat. A nice clean garage or shed is perfect. You can buy a run for the summer and you can put them out for short periods under supervision on warm but not hot days. Please do not do this in the early summer as there is too much nitrogen in the new grass for them and it can be fatal.
3. Put them on hay but never ever straw it can damage their eyes really badly and sawdust is deadly as it causes respiratory disease. You can line the cage with newspaper to aid cleaning.Clean them out as often as you can at least 3 times a week and always give them fresh hay for food and shelter.
4. Make sure that you remove any food from the cage such a fruit and veg promptly- don't let it go mouldy and wash out the drinking water bottles daily and clean with a bottle brush. If you don't do this they may get diarrhoea which can be fatal.
5. Remember they must be fed vitamin c every day or they will die. Dry food alone is not enough. A small amount of green foods like cabbage/celery is perfect. The dry mix should be either a mix for guinea pigs or goat mix is fine too.
6. Never ever ever put them in with rabbits it is not safe. They are not compatible. Rabbits cause injuries every year to guinea pigs in their cages so please keep them apart.
7 If they are not eating always check their teeth to make sure they are not overgrown.
8.You will need to keep an eye on their coats and watch for signs of fungal infection/mites.
9. Two baby boys in together are fine but an adult male and a baby sometimes fight. Girls are usually very tolerant.
10 If you can do all the above and you wish to breed them it is one of the greatest joys in life. The babies are born after 63 days fully formed little bundles and they can suckle and follow mum around within moments. There is a lot to this subject though so buy a good book first. Anything by Peter Gurney is top class.
We had guinea pigs breeding for many years and my daughter loved them. She is now in her final year at vet school and has given me confirmation of what I already knew that they receive only 1 day of training on "exotics" of which guinea pigs are one of the species covered. Therefore please think very carefully before you take your guinea pig to a vet unless they have an exotic specialist.
There is a charity in Cambridge run by Vedra Stanley-Spatcher who have devoted their time to creating a new course in rodentology and they have graduates from the course now in many areas and in many vet surgeries. If you contact them they should be able to give you details of where your local expert is,
CCT (Cambridge Cavy Trust)
1 Splash Lane
Cambs PE28 2AF
If you live within travelling distance you can join
Surgery hours are by appointment only: Call or text Vedra on:
CCT is a charity and relies heavily on donations and volunteers. Membership is £25 a year, there is no consultation fee for rodents and dental work and routine nail clipping is done FREE OF CHARGE.
There is never a need to give a general anaesthetic for routine dental work on guineas as they do not cope well at all with this.
So if you can give them all the care they need I think you will be rewarded by adorable little creatures who will brighten up your day!
This review is also posted on Ciao by myself under the user name Violet1278
Summary: If you are prepared for hard work and dedication they are lovely!.
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