How To Care For Guinea Pigs
How To Care For Guinea Pigs
This video describes how to care for guinea pigs as required.
Hi. My name's Marie. I'm the deputy manager of the Small Animal Department of Wood Green Animal Shelters in Cambridge here.
I'm going to advise you how to care for guinea pigs. I'm going to tell you how to care for guinea pigs. First of all, you'll need to choose suitable bedding accommodation of them.
Guinea pigs can be housed indoors or outdoors, however, they will still need a large run for the garden. You can choose large indoor cages or even grid cages and make them as big and different shapes as you want to. The other option is a good quality hutch that's housed in the garden.
Ideally, they should be kept in a shed all year round, protected from predators and from poor weather. Hutches should be around 6 to 7 feet in length. Bear in mind that your guinea pigs are going to be housed inside for a long time during the winter months so the bigger accommodation that you can provide, the better for them.
Also, you will then need to consider a good quality diet for them. Guinea pigs should be fed with lots and lots of variety of fresh foods. They should be able to grace out in the grass for at least 4 to 6 hours a day and you can pick and grow all sorts of vegetables and herbs from your garden as well.
They will also need lots and lots of hay. Hay should be green and it should be smelling quite sweet and a mixture of different types of grasses in there. When choosing it, be fussy.
Make sure it's not really yellow and really brown and it doesn't smell moldy because this could lead to various health issues such as skin problems. Hay should make up around 80% of the guinea pig's diet so it should be everywhere in the hutch. Newspaper on the base of your hutch or your indoor cage and then hay completely stuffed in there and piles of hay on top of their little houses, tunnels and the run.
You'll also need to choose a good quality dry mix. This should be a plain pellet. There are various mueslis on the market that are suitable but the majority of them are really high in colorants and these can lead to various health issues so it's best if you can stick to a good quality brand of plain pellet mix.
You'll only want a small handful of this a day so it's just literally making around 15% of their diet for each day for the guinea pig. Companionship is also vital for guinea pigs. They naturally need companionship of their own kind, they are primary animals and they depend on other guinea pigs for security and for comfort as well.
Guinea pigs should be kept in minimums of two but ideally, at least 3 or to sort of 5 guinea pigs kept in a small herd and you have really happy and confident guinea pigs that way. Bedding materials for your guinea pigs, newspaper should be place on the base of your cage or some towels or more pet bedding and good quality hay. Never use wood shavings or straw for guinea pigs or for any small animals.
Wood shavings will often contain parasites and can also be a leading for allergies and breathing issues such as asthma. Straw has no nutritional value for guinea pigs either and it can often be really quite coarse and sharp so it can poke the guinea pig's eyes and cause damage or even scratch their sides and their skin. So, avoid straw and wood shavings for your guinea pigs.
You'll then also need to consider a suitable bowl and a water bottle. You will want to ideally have at least 2 or 3 bottles in your home just in case you ever break one, you've got one straightaway to repair. Also, during the winter months, makes sure you do get some sort of water bottle protector to keep them warm, and water bottles can freeze in the winter and crack so make sure they are protected especially if your guinea pigs are housed outside in a shed.
You'll also need a water bottle cleaner. Make sure you are cleaning your bottles at least once a week. They can build up quite a lot of algae so make sure you are just really thoroughly cleaning these out and the lid as well.
Enrichment is re