The guinea pig in brief
Posted by CHICANIMAUX, 02/2020, Advisor, Animal Care Auxiliary.
The name of this rodent is highly confusing since it is neither related to pigs nor native to India. The guinea pig is native to South America and is a herbivorous rodent. Her diet consists mainly of all kinds of herbs, flowers and fruits and vegetables. The guinea pigs are gregarious animals (they live in groups), they are not solitary animals in certain countries like Switzerland, it is illegal to have only one specimen.
This law interests you go here
Before adopting, one of these little furballs it is important to learn about your needs. Many people think that adopting these little animals is inexpensive and yet they have specific needs. We must take into account their food needs first. Guinea pigs need vegetables and grass daily as well as hay. You can of course go to the picking but for that you will need to inform yourself about edible herbs and flowers. Please note that guinea pigs are not granivores! Do not hesitate to ask as many questions as possible to the farms where you adopt.
Important point :
Adopt in a "human size" breeding is to be able to visit the breeding place, meet the specimens present, the parents ... See and observe good animal handling. At a time when industrial farming is showing its "true face", it seems important to me to support small breeders who are passionate about their profession.
The guinea pig needs floor space, he is not a climber. It is recommended to have a minimum of one meter twenty of floor space for two specimens. But the more you can make available to them, the better. There are different types of cages like the ordinary and the cellar (modular cage). It's up to you to define your preference. For litter, this is also everyone's taste: corn cob, hemp, fabric litter ... The variances are endless. It all depends on your budget and the time you spend on it.
Good to know :
A guinea pig's habitat must be kept clean and will need to be changed regularly. From my own experience and having opted for the fabric litter, my guinea pigs are changed every two to three days. Budget level it has no impact and the remains of hay and excrement make an excellent compost. In the air of zero waste this has great advantages.
The guinea pig an animal prey in its instinct, so it needs a hiding place to feel safe. The best is to provide one hiding place per animal. When you set up the cage, don't forget the essentials, easy-care ceramic bowls that are difficult to return. You can very well opt for other types of bowl, just check that they are suitable for guinea pigs.
There are also enrichments of the hay tunnel type which will encourage them to seek their food. This can be a perfect play accessory as well as the snack ball in which you can insert extrusions. It seems important to me to bring enrichment to your companions. This keeps them alert and in good health.
You will understand that having guinea pigs takes time and an investment. But let's be honest their little faces will bring you a lot of unforgettable moments.