Guinea Pigs are the most adorable of all rodents! They are very sociable pets who will chatter excitedly when they hear you bringing their tea! They will eeeeeeeeeeeek with delight as they anticipate the arrival of their cabbages, broccoli, carrots etc....
Guinea Pigs can live indoors or outside. We have most of them at RoSAH Rescue out during the nice warm weather and inside once the weather turns cold and damp. Should your cavies live outdoors, please ensure they are within the view of your house so you can see regularly that no predators such as foxes or rats have tried to access your piggies home. Also ensure the cage is watertight and you put plenty of bedding in to keep them warm. However, it is much better for them that they are indoors during the winter months as they will not be neglected then! After all....who wants to traispe down the garden on a cold winters day?? A few years ago, guinea pigs ALWAYS lived outdoors. Peoples attitudes are now changing and this can only be for the benefit of the guinea pigs. Even if you just move your hutch into a shed during winter...it is better than being outside.
Gone are the days of keeping a rabbit and a guinea pig together as companions. It is very much frowned upon these days as guinea pigs are so vulnerable to the hefty kick of a rabbit. By rights, a rabbit should be with it's own kind, as should a guinea pig. The guinea pigs love the company of their own species as they are such chatterboxes! What could a rabbit possibly reply with??
There are some fantastic indoor cages available on eBay as well as quality hutches and runs. We recommend the Happy Hutch Company as they make quality good-sized cages. Ferplast and similar type indoor cages are great for a pair of cavies too.
I emailed one particular seller (CardiffFC) on eBay as the hutch he was selling as suitable for ONE guinea pig was no bigger than a shoebox. What a sad lonely life any unfortunate guinea pig would have should its owner have bought one. The seller was extremely arrogant and insisted it WAS suitable. However, I run a rescue and know that it was not. DO NOT BUY ONE OF THESE HUTCHES! I feel very strongly that the animals welfare is paramount importance. A "shoebox" with a wire window is cruel beyond belief. I would not have printed his details had he not been very abusive to me and threatened me with legal action for daring to complain about his item! Nasty horrid man!!
One of the latest things are the homemade Cube and Correx pens (C&C). These consist of grid panels to make the sides of the run and Correx sheeting (available on eBay) as a base. Correx is corrugated plastic rather like what is used to make "For Sale" boards. Some people make fantastic C&C pens for their cavies which are multi-storey. You are limited only by your imagination.
I find it satisfying to know that i've designed and brought all individual equipment for my cavy cages to suit their needs and built up the "insides" of the cage myself. I find that guinea pigs LOVE tubes and the easiest and cheapest way is to ask at a carpet store for the rolls out of the middle of the carpets. They are very long so you may need to take a handsaw along to chop them small enough to fit in your car!! Also, AVOID wheels! Some sellers (and even manufacturers) sell large wheels (like giant hamster running wheels) more suited to female rats but they market them as also for guinea pigs. This is highly dangerous as guinea pigs cannot use these and will only end up in excruciating pain from broken limbs. If ever you see them being sold on ebay for guinea pigs-please politely email the seller and ask that they state they are for RATS not guinea pigs! The more people we educate on this, the less injuries will occur to guinea pigs.
Guinea Pigs are prone to respiratory disease and problems as it is, and keeping them in a poorly ventilated environment can trigger these problems as can using dusty bedding such as sawdust. Our cavies cages have newspapers on the base of their cages and a layer of woodshavings which have had the dust extracted from them. This coupled with good housekeeping means we never have any of our animals with respiratory infections.
If you've never kept guinea pigs before, or are new to guinea pig keeping and are firstly weighing up the options, these are all things that you need to keep in mind. Ideally if you haven't done so already, purchase a book and read a little more on the subject, or check out the internet for lots of great sites and talk to other piggy enthusiasts who'll be more than happy to help and steer you in the right direction, after all, the welfare of every guinea pig is important and giving them the best life possible is a top priority. Most sellers do not realise that the hamster cages they are selling as a guinea pig cage are really too small, as they have perhaps themselves kept hamsters only in the past and presumed that the cage is suitable for guinea pigs as a "small rodent", when this is clearly not the case at all.
I hope that this short guide has been of help, and remember if you're not sure about anything, check out some of the online specialist sites for help and you may also follow the links from my ME page.
Oh yes, and one last thing, please remember guinea pigs are sociable animals and need to be kept in at least pairs, it's unfair to buy one and keep it on it's own all it's life. The best combination is 2 compatible boars or 2 or more sows. Whatever you do, DO NOT mix the sexes as this will result in a litter and the world is populated with too many neglected, unloved animals already and also many who will live out their days in rescues
Please consider getting your pets from a rescue as these animals have often had an unsatisfactory start in life and would love to find a lifelong loving home. Just because they are in rescue DOES NOT mean they have problems.
We ALWAYS have guinea pigs awaiting new homes at RoSAH Rescue.
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