Guinea Pigs (Cavies)

Guinea Pigs are docile, gentle and curious and make lovely pets for children.

About Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs are small enough for young children to handle, so make an ideal first pet. Guinea Pigs can live up to seven years of age, so bear this commitment in mind when buying.

There are 3 main groups: Smooth Shorthaired, Rough Haired and Silky long-haired and within these groups are a large variety of colours including red, cream, black, lilac, gold, albino, chocolate and further variegated varieties. Crossbred cavies, which are not ideal for showing, can however make ideal pets.

Guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea, they are rodents originally from the Andes in South America. Guinea Pigs are fairly easy to care for, but there are a few important points to remember to keep your Guinea Pig healthy.

Guinea Pigs’ need for companionship

A single Guinea Pig will be lonely. Keep at least two Guinea Pigs together. A number of females (sows) can be kept together. Males (boars) are best kept in pairs. Introduce them as soon as they have been weaned. A male and female Guinea Pig will live happily as a breading pair though keeping a single sex pair instead will prevent unwanted offspring.

Feeding your Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs, like humans, cannot make vitamin c, so it is best to buy food from your pet shop specifically for guinea pigs to ensure adequate amounts of vitamins. Rabbit food is not suitable as it does not contain enough vitamin c. Guinea Pig’s teeth grow continually so your pet  will need something suitable to chew on to keep them in shape, such as a gnawing block.

Housing your Guinea Pigs

The minimum size for a cage or hutch for a single cavy should be no less than 45 x30 x 30 cms, although the larger the cage the better. Hutches need to be cleaned daily. There should be a grassy area available for the Guinea Pigs to take their exercise. Make sure the hutch is secure and safe from predators.

Fresh drinking water should be available at all times. Sweet meadow hay, also excellent as a dietary supplement, will make very good bedding too.