These days people are domesticating exotic pets as they are much easier and economical to manage and maintain. Guinea pig is emerging as a most common pet because of their friendly and loving nature but mostly owners are unaware about how to raise them?
- Buy a pair: Guinea pigs always live in a group so its better to purchase a pair of male and female or two female pigs or a male and two females but avoid buying two males as there are chances of fighting and hurting each other.
- Get a cage: Buy a big cage and use sawdust or newspaper shredding as their bedding, its always better to cage your guinea pigs rather than leaving them free as they might end of injuring themselves by chewing wires, going in unwanted places or may be harmed by predators. Clean the cage at least once or may be twice a week. One guinea pig need a cage size of 30" x 36" (75 cm x 100 cm) and for 2 guinea pigs a cage of 30" x 50" (75 cm x 125 cm) is advised.
- Feeding: Guinea pigs loves to munch on carrots, apples, corn cobs, crushed oats, lettuce, celery leaves, spinach, tomatoes, green grass, etc. Just keep in mind guinea pigs require a good amount of Vitamin C for normal body functioning, which either can be fulfilled by giving vitamin C rich food items or by mixing vitamin C tablet along with food. Also they require water all the time so instead of using a bowl use a plastic water dispenser with its metallic nozzle positioned inside the cage.
- Bathing: Avoid bathing your guinea pigs frequently as bathing them upsets their natural body processes, so baths should be limited to a few times a year. But do clean the cage and bedding after frequent intervals as contaminated surroundings may make them sick.
- Breeding: they reach sexual maturity at age of 10 weeks and breed on their own. Pregnancy lasts for 60-70 days during which her belly gets enlarged and water and food intake increases. The litter size is 2-4. Also there's a problem called pregnancy toxemia noticed in pregnant females so if any complication noticed during pregnancy consult a vet.
- Babies: Offspring's rely on their mother for warmth and food until 14-21 days of age after which the owners need to separate them from their parents (especially male to avoid breeding) and take full care of them in terms of feeding, housing, etc.