Everything you need to know about guinea pigs
Posted by faessi1 on July 21st, 2019
General information about guinea pigs
They are sociable and live in groups in their South American homeland. Without contact to other guinea pigs they do not feel comfortable, therefore at least two guinea pigs should be kept together. Two females will get along well with each other, it is also possible to hold a castrated buck together with two or more females. Think about whether you have the space and time to take good care of several animals. Usually it is children who want guinea pigs. Please consider whether your children are old enough to understand what they are not allowed to do. Guinea pigs don't defend themselves, they don't evade too rough treatment and have an innate bite inhibition against non-species members. This makes them peaceful and friendly, but there is a danger of overlooking what they do not like or even harm. Nor are they cuddly animals!
Their children should be big enough to take responsibility. For the next eight years, because guinea pigs can become that old. Do you trust your children to do that? Even if you do, remember that initial interest in pets doesn't always last. Consider that you may be the one who ends up holding guinea pigs. Only if you can and want to, can rodents move in with you.
Also with a false information, which holds itself stubbornly, must be cleared up: Guinea pigs and rabbits cannot become friends. They get along, but they live past each other. They can't do anything with each other, although both are sociable. Their body language and needs are too different. For more informations about guinea pigs visit Meerschweinchen-Haltung.com.
Guinea pig keeping
For a species-appropriate guinea pig attitude it applies to consider some. The commercial guinea pig cages are clearly too small. 1.5 sqm floor space, better 2 sqm, need two animals, so that the attitude is species-appropriate. One does not need much technical skill for an enclosure; if one has none at all: There are shelf plug-in systems from China with grids or plastic walls in the online trade, which are very easy to assemble. Then all you need is a washable surface: pond liner, PVC, linoleum or an oilcloth tablecloth.
Sawdust is the usual bedding. You can also use fleece blankets, which of course have to be washed frequently.
In an enclosure, as it has just been described, guinea pigs can be kept unproblematically in the apartment. Attention: Do not place too close to the heating! It could get too warm for them. And also, if the enclosure is large, they need run.
It is more demanding and labour-intensive, but also possible all year round. The enclosure must be well secured so that the piglets do not fall victim to predators and cannot escape. There must be enough warm places in winter, especially sleeping houses with heat-insulating padding. The animals need fresh water several times a day so that they do not only have ice in the worst case.
Guinea pig nutrition
The teeths grow steadily. Rodents need food that helps wear them out. Fresh grasses, herbs and leafy vegetables are the staple food. Guinea pigs eat up to 30 small meals a day. Always enough food must be available, they divide it themselves. Hay is only a substitute for fresh green fodder and should not be the main component of the diet, just as neither should commercially available dry fodder.
A few words on the subject of tooth abrasion: the longer the guinea pig chews, the better, and it does that when food tastes good and is not very satisfying. The hardness of the food is not decisive. So again: grasses, (leaf) vegetables, herbs, in moderation also hay.
Guinea pig care
The animals keep themselves clean and require little maintenance. The teeth are checked by the vet, who will also show you how to cut claws. You can do this yourself on a regular basis. Brushing and bathing are unnecessary and stress the piglets.
Conculsion: Actually it is not so complicated - species-appropriate attitude is one, which comes as close as possible to the natural living conditions. If you imagine how guinea pigs live in nature, you have a good basis for a species-appropriate keeping.