Bunny Camp

Guinea Pig Care

Guinea pigs are one of the most popular pets to keep and it’s easy to understand why…they have lovely characters. Mine keep me amused for hours just watching their little comical habits. They become quite tame if handled regularly and rarely scratch or bite, mine know breakfast and tea time down to within ten minutes. They are ideal pets for children. If looked after properly they usually live till around 5 years old but some have lived a lot longer. Mine are now 4 and still going strong.

Experts say a 48”x 16”x18” hutch is ok for guinea pigs but I wouldn’t keep mine in anything less than 60”x18”x24”, though they do live in much bigger with my rabbits. The hutch needs to be protected from the elements…especially wind, rain and frost. I use shavings and plenty of hay and straw for bedding. They will also need a fully enclosed run, (preferably on grass) so they can exercise and enjoy their favourite pastime…eating grass! A tunnel to run through and wooden chews for their teeth I find are much appreciated. I’ve adapted my run so it fits on to their hutch and they can get in and out whenever they like. I usually attach this early morning till nearly dark…they are very happy little piggies.

All guinea pigs should have access to hay and water 24/7. A good quality dry food is also essential. There are 2 types of food on the market…muesli and nugget. I feed mine the nugget type as they tend to just pick out their favourite bits from the muesli and so don’t always get all the essential ingredients. I use Burgess Excel Guinea Pig Nuggets. Guinea pigs, like humans can’t produce their own vitamin c so need a good amount of fruit and vegetables a day to keep them healthy. Mine are very greedy with their carrot, spinach and kale but also love cucumber, celery and swede in small amounts. Fruits they adore are apple, pear, strawberry and melon. As with all foods these should be given a little at a time until they are used to having them in their diet. Don’t feed lettuce as this can make them ill.

In the wild Guinea pigs live in groups so unless you can spend a lot of time with yours I would recommend having 2 or 3, all of the same sex, otherwise you will end up with dozens. They will get lonely and depressed if on their own for long periods of time. Some experts say 2 boys will fight but I have 2 and they have never even remotely argued. You can hear them talking and cooing to each other all the time, they’re like two gossiping old women!

Guinea pigs aren’t difficult to handle that is why I think they are much more suitable to young children than rabbits. I find if you lift them with one hand under their chest and the other supporting their rear end they are easy to handle and don’t put up a struggle. If you handle them every day they will look forward to the attention…even more so if you combine this with grooming, using a nice soft brush…they love the sensation on their skin and become very relaxed.

Guinea pigs don’t require any vaccinations I’ve found them to be quite hardy little animals. Just keep an eye on their eyes and noses…if runny they may have a cold. Also drooling, as this could mean they have a problem with their teeth. A soiled matted coat near their bottom could mean diarrhoea, in which case you will need to bathe them. Avoid giving them any greens for a day but give plenty of hay and water. If this persists take them to a guinea pig friendly vet.

I hope this page has been of help. I’m no great expert and all the knowledge I have has been through the experience of having these lovely pets over the years and reading. I can’t emphasise enough…read about your pets and how best to look after them…books, websites anything so long as you have the vital information needed to look after them as well as they truly deserve. We at Bunny Camp will always try and help whenever possible.