Guinea Pig Basics
Guinea pigs are available in a variety of breeds, colors, coats, and textures. Twelve different
breeds are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Within these breeds, four different coats
patterns can be seen : agouti, marked, self, and solid. Nineteen coat colors are found among these coat patterns.
Because both male and female guinea pigs tend to be preoccupied with breeding when they reach adulthood,
so spayed and neutered cavies make the best pets. They also get along better with members of their own sex and are
less likely to have an odor or unire-mark their territory.
Indoor cages need to be large enough to allow the pet to stretch and move around, while also accommodating
a nest box, food bowl, water bottle, hay rack, and a toy or two. The cage must be high enough to allow the guinea pig
to stand up on its hind legs without touching its head on the top.
Hutches made from wood or metal are suitable homes for outdoor guinea pigs, if they provide plenty of
ventilation and protection from hot, cold, or damp weather. The roof should be covered with a waterproof substance,
such as heavy-duty plastic roofing material.
Wire cage flooring must be small enough to prevent a guinea pigs legs from slipping through. A solid
platform covering at least 1/3 of the wire bottom must be provides to prevent sore hocks.
Adult cavies should be fed 2 tablespoons per day of guinea pig pellets, while cavies under 3 months
of age can have as much pelleted food as they will eat. Pelleted products sold as "nutritionally complete" are
the best foods for guinea pigs.
Timothy hay and fresh greens should be fed daily. Guinea pigs are unable to manufacture vitamin C,
so to prevent health problems, supplement their diet daily with vitamin C. This supplement can be added to the
water supply or offered in chewable tablets.
Guinea pigs are social animals that need plenty of companionship, either from humans or another guinea
pig. Daily exercise is vital for a guinea pigs physical and emotional health.