pigs are very easy to care for. A guinea pig's cage
should contain a layer of newspapers at the bottom,
and then a layer of sawdust. The filling should be changed
about once a week, though covering the sawdust with
straw can reduce it to once in several weeks.
pig's cage should have a grain bowl (best if it's
ceramic, so the guinea pigs can't turn it over),
two hanging baskets for green food
a water bowl or bottle (see the 'Feeding' page),
straw for the guinea pigs to sleep in, and something
to nibble, like a piece of cardboard (like the card
containers for milk, juice, and other drinks), a
special nibble object sold in pet-stores, or a thin
tree branch (of birches, carnefous trees, and other.)
If the cage is big enough, you can have a small
wooden house for the guinea pig to sleep in. But
it' not a good idea at all to buy a house for the guinea
pig that's new in your family, as it would hide
in the house all the time, and only come out when
it's sure no one is watching him.
guinea pig's claws should not be allowed to get
too long, they need to be cut from the side
where they were growing originally, so that the
cut side is pointing inward. It's easier with a
guinea pig with white paws, as then you can see
where the blood veins are in the claw, and don't
cut where the claw is pinkish. With a black-pawed
guinea pig, just cut off a little at a time. Another
way is for one person cutting, and the other lighting
the paw with a flashlight. If
you don't cut the claws at all, then they might
get all spiraled, curled, and it can cause paw
fail and cut the claw in the wrong place, you need
to disinfect the bleeding cut right away. Most stores
sell special powders for that purpose, but if you
don't have powder, just use iodine. Generally
guinea pigs rarely hurt themselves, only during
mating periods, when males fight each other.
you have only one guinea pig, then you must pay
extra attention to the pet, to keep it from feeling lonely.
But still, it's not a real substitute for the company of another
guinea pig, so it's best if you buy another animal. If you have a female, you can buy a guinea
pig of any gender. Two females usually get along well.
If you have a male guinea pig, you can buy him a
female, but it's not recommended to have two males.
Male guinea pigs usually fight even if no female
is or was around. If you're determined you want
two males, it's best if buy them at the same time,
at an early age, (but not as suckling,) so
they can get used to each other before they fully
you want to breed your guinea pigs, you should know
the following: Males become ready to mate about
a month old, and females at about two months. The
pregnancy lasts about two months in average. It's
better not to breed a female more than a year old
that has never given birth before. You can
tell if the animal becomes pregnant by their
large, round sides. Soon you might even start to
feel the babies inside. Take good care of the mother,
handle her gently, if you do, but generally let
her rest and don't disturb her. When it is about
time for the litter to be born, put the mother in
a separate cage, or a container (like a big
box), supplying her with sawdust, straw, and food
objects. She should be separated before birth because
she can be mated again right after birth, and moreover,
the male might trample the babies in excitement.
Constant birthing can be fatal for the guinea pig,
so make sure the female gets at least two months
of rest after the birthing, away from the male.
If you want your guinea pigs to live a long
life, only allow the female to be mated twice a
year. Repeat: the male has to be separated about
a week before the estimated date of birth.
If you witness the birth, do not interfere. When
the female is ready to give birth, she will sit
back and help the baby out with her teeth. She will
remove the amniotic sac, and lick the baby dry.
Otherwise the baby might get overcooled and fall
ill. However, sometimes the litter is too big (of
more than five babies) and the guinea pig doesn't
have enough time to lick out all of the babies. In that
case, gently wipe the babies with a piece of
soft cloth (like a bathroom towel). Remember
that the baby's bones are very soft, and it can
get hurt easily. Unlike other animals, guinea pigs
don't mind a human helping out with the young.
not disturb the mother and the litter for at least
a day. Baby guinea pigs are very lively, they start
running around within an hour after birth. Baby
guinea pigs are born with open eyes, developed claws
and teeth, and a complete set of fur.
pigs, when living in groups, also have certain rules.
One of the guinea pigs (usually a male) becomes
the leader. When the guinea pigs have a walk in
the house, the move in a single file, with the leader
at the front. Conflicts between guinea pigs start if
a male (who is not the leader) attempts to mate
a female in the presence of a leader. The leader
will challenge the offender to a fight by hitting
his own teeth continuously to prouduce a threatening
sound. The offender might raise
his head high showing that he doesn't want to fight,
and decline the challenge, or take it. The losing
guinea pig will be cast away from the group, which means not allowing
it to eat, sleep, and communicate with
the guinea pigs in that group. It is always best
not to let the guinea pig fight and to permanently move the
obviously weaker guinea pig to another cage. Interfering
during a fight is not recommended, as the guinea
pigs will be highly tense, and can bite you if they
take your hand for an opponent.