Thinking of buying a new pet? Want a pet that is quite small and quite easy to take care of? Well look no further as a guinea pig is a perfect choice. The cute little balls of fur are enough to put a smile on anybody’s face and will not require daily walks or a hole in your door where they can come in and out. So are you sold yet? If not then read on further where you can really get to know these furry little friends and how they should be kept and fed.
Firstly, it is important to know that in a guinea pig’s natural habitat, they do in fact prefer to live in colonies because of their sociable nature, meaning they will be happiest when they have company. So it is advisable that if you do choose to buy your own guinea pig that you do also buy them a friend too as the last thing you want is an unhappy and lonely guinea pig.
Guinea pigs can be kept outdoors or indoors, so the choice is yours but here are some tips that you should know before making your decision. If you keep your guinea pigs outdoors it is recommended that during the winter they are brought into a shed or an unused garage. Remember that the garage should not have a car in it as the fumes from your car can be very dangerous. During the months you do keep them outdoors make sure you have chosen a hutch which is draught free and fully weatherproof. A hutch shield is perfect for extra protection from bad weather. On the bottom of the hutch make sure there is an absorbent surface such as wood shavings. The bedding area should then be filled with hay as this will provide a nice feeling of cosiness for your guinea pig and make sure they are comfortable when asleep.
The next option is keeping them indoors, which many people prefer. The piece of advice given with this is to make sure they have a nice amount of space in their hutch and that the hutch is positioned away from radiators and draughts. Sometimes keeping them in the house is a lot better, especially for the first few months when they are settling in as you can keep a regular eye on them.
Now we will look at a guinea pig’s diet. Guinea pigs require extra fibre in their diet which helps to aid digestion. As well as providing comfortable bedding, hay also helps to grind guinea pigs’ teeth down which prevent them from becoming too long and painful. Aside from hay, there are two other varieties of food which are muesli and nuggets. Muesli is very nutritional for your guinea pig however you may find that they pick out the parts which they prefer the taste of which means they will be missing out on those vital nutrients. This is why nuggets are a better choice as they are extruded, meaning all of the muesli ingredients are crushed and then shaped into nuggets. This means your guinea pig will not be able to be picky and choosy and will get all of the nutrients they require. You can also feed your guinea pig small quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and apple; however it is important to introduce new food such as this gradually so that they can digest it properly.
These of course are just basic starter facts which everyone should know about keeping a guinea pig. If after reading this, you feel a guinea pig is for you, then go on down to your nearest pet store to see them in person. Ask as many questions as you need to know and remember it is important to make a decision such as this properly, as the last thing you want to see is a lonely, neglected guinea pig. So go on, why not make a new friend or two this year with these adorable little creatures?