Guinea Pig Care

Guinea pigs are very enjoyable pets & have fantastic personalities when taken care of well & with all their basic needs met. A basic guide to their needs can be found on the RWAF website here.

 

Here is a breakdown of everything a guinea pig needs.

 

Guinea Pigs are Social Animals

Guinea pigs are incredibly social animals. Two guinea pigs together is the minimum in terms of meeting their social requirements. Males tend to be best within a pair. Females can live in larger groups quite harmously depending on personalities. A neutered male can also live with a female or group of females.

 

If a guinea pig is kept on their own they will exhibit depressed & lonely behaviours, such as sleeping a lot, not being active & being very quiet, because their social needs are not being met.

Safe & Spacious Accommodation

Unfortunately for piggies, there are no specifically defined minimum legal requirements for their housing. Frustrastingly for new owners, this means that the requirements often vary between individual rescues. We understand that this may be disheartening for some, but please understand that our standards have been chosen to offer our pigs the best possible future.

 

Guinea pigs are tropical animals that do not like the cold, so we ask that all outdoor pigs are kept in a shed or garage through the winter. Photos of both summer and winter housing must be provided when making an adoption enquiry for outdoor pigs.

 

Our minimum housing size for 2 piggies is 6x2ft, with access to a 6x4ft run. If this set-up is outdoors, we ask that these spaces are permanently connected so that the pigs can choose on a daily basis if they prefer to be inside or out. Indoor pigs should also have access to the larger run space for the majority of the day. Larger groups, and some male pairs may need additional space.  There's nothing cuter than seeing a guinea pig run around their cage (called zoomies) or jumping around with joy (called popcorning) so the more space you can give them the better!

 

Please note that it is not appropriate for rabbits and guinea pigs to be housed together. This is non-negotiable. Further information can be found here.

 

If you have any other pets within your home, you will need to also ensure that your guinea pig's home has a roof to protect them fully from the other animals in their environment.

Housing ideas

Indoor and outdoor housing suggestions!  Whatever you create, it really needs to be about 6 ft x 2 ft with a 6ft x 4ft run available most of the time.

C&C cages

These can be purchased as complete sets online or you can buy the bits separately. They are great indoor cages & can be easily cleaned. They also offer great flexibility for shaping into your own shape or adding more space in the future.

 

Custom cages

Whether made out of wood or even ikea furniture, custom cages can become part of the furnture within your home.

 

Custom shed

Sheds are great to help protect your guineas pigs from the cold during the UK winters.

 

Shed or garage housing

Contained within part of your existing shed or garage.

Enclosed outdoor runs

What guinea pig wouldn't love to run around this safe & protected enclosure?

 

A guinea pig's diet

The quickest way to a guinea pig's heart & gaining their trust is through food. A guinea pig loves food!


80% of their diet is hay, typically meadow or timothy hay is best. The greener the better too.

Hay is important to keep their digestive system moving & healthy as well as keeps their teeth short because they continue to grow throughout their life.

 

5% is healthy pellets. Not museli or mix of any kind. Healthy pellets should be mainly hay based with some added nutrients. Avoid grains or soya which are fillers within pellets & are not needed within your guinea pig's diet.

 

The last 15% is fresh vegetables. Typically lettuce (not iceberg), sweet pepper, tomato & small pieces of carrot & cucumber. Vegetables should provide Vitamin C within your guinea pig's diet as, just like humans, they do not produce this needed vitamin naturally & require it for their health.

 

Your guinea pig also needs to have fresh water everyday, this is typically provided within a water bottle that attaches to the side of their cage. This should be kept out of direct sunlight, protected in winter to ensure it doesn't freeze & cleaned regularly.

Enrichment & Fun

Guinea pigs living in pairs will already have a large amount of fun as they interact with their cage mate but there are some other elements that will further provide your pet with hours of fun.

 

Guinea pigs love to nap, laze & feel safe. A house or shelter of some kind per the number of guinea pigs you have is important & provides hours of fun deciding which one to sleep in and when. There's no need to spend lots of money on houses, most guinea pigs seem to prefer leftover cardboard boxes over any store bought hidey.

Tunnels are also a key to any guinea pig cage. Guinea pigs seem to have an inability to avoiding using a tunnel of any kind - there is some kind of magnetic pull :-)

 

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