Make the Most of Your Furry Little Friends
Adopting a new guinea pig could be a big and quite challenging process, and is even more overwhelming when you are getting not just one pet, but two or more. You’d be needing to dedicate a whole lot of time and resources to them, and if you have never tried it before, you might find yourself in need of some help, which is exactly what this blog post offers. Here are a few tips on how to properly care for multiple guinea pigs.
Getting the Perfect Cage
One of the first steps to properly caring for your guinea pigs is getting a cage that is safe and comfortable for them. Finding a cage that meets the exact needs of your pigs, in terms of size, maintenance and structure is very important to their general upkeep. Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs are social animals and thrive better in the company of one another. Here are a few cage tips:
Ensure that whatever guinea pig cage you get is very spacious, enough to comfortably accommodate the number of pigs you want to put in. These are cage dimensions that you could work with:
- For two guinea pigs, 76 cm × 127 cm cage.
- Three guinea pigs, 76 cm × 157 cm cage.
- Four guinea pigs, 76 cm × 193 cm cage.
The cage should contain enough food bowls and water troughs. Ideally, you should have as many food bowls as animals to promote better feeding.
The cage should have a lined, and not a wired bottom as a result of the of the tender feet that guinea pigs have.
Noise and Heat
The cage should be placed in an area with as little noise as possible because guinea pigs have sensitive ears. It should also be placed away from places with high heat levels such as kitchens or fireplaces. This is because guinea pigs cannot sweat and so need to stay away from heat to keep healthy.
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Finally, you should place comfortable beddings in your guinea pig’s cage to increase their comfort levels. This could either be newspapers or any other soft papers which should be changed regularly or as soon as they are soiled.
Your guinea pigs should always be provided with sufficient fresh water. The water could be placed in bowls or in water bottles and placed in strategic places inside of the cage. You should make sure that you change their water every day to keep it fresh and hygienic.
Your pets should have access to good food, which include store-bought guinea pig food, fresh hay and vegetables.
Number of Bowls
As mentioned above, you should ensure that there are enough water and food bowls in the cages to prevent squabbles during meal time and to ensure no animal is left out in feeding.
Finally, ensure that you clean up their food and water bowls at least once every three days to prevent bacterial growth that could get them ill.
Introduction and Socialization
This is one major factor to be considered when adding a new pig to the crew. It is advisable that you keep just one male per group of females to prevent fights for dominance. If you have several males, you could get another one that is way younger than the current ones.
For the first couple of weeks after getting another guinea pig, you might want to keep it away from the rest of the crew for a while. This is to prevent the spread of diseases from the new one to others. When you’re quite confident of the state of the newbie’s health, you could then introduce it to the others.
After the period of quarantine, you could slowly begin to introduce the new guinea pig to the others. Create avenues outside their cages for them to interact and make sure you are present to oversee all proceedings. If there are any hostilities, you should give them a little break and try to socialize them another day, and if otherwise, you could go ahead and place them together.