Guinea pigs - all about keeping and breeding
Some think that guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are named so because they like to swim, which is not true. These domesticated rodents came to Europe from South America in the 16th century. Since they arrived "from across the sea", they began to call them "sea". Other names for this world-famous pet are Guinea pig, kevi, or cavi. Interestingly, guinea pigs were domesticated as early as 5 thousand years BC. e. Their charming appearance causes emotion not only in children but also in adults. It is very interesting to watch them! I raised guinea pigs for two years. I will share the experience of keeping and breeding these pets in my article.
Guinea pig breeds
It is possible to choose an animal of a certain color or to combine several colors at once in one animal. There are smooth-haired pigs with lush hair or no hair at all.
Guinea pigs with increased "shaggy"
Abyssinian. Our first pig was of this breed. These animals have thick hair, on which hair sockets are clearly visible. In some places, the hair is distributed in the form of round flowers, hairs grow from the center to the periphery. These rodents can be of one color or several. We had a redhead.
Alpaca. This breed of hair is even more magnificent, so such a pig was named by analogy with a llama.
Coronet. The front outlet really resembles a crown. These pigs have a very long silky coat.
Lunkaria also boasts its hair. The hair of this pig curls, so this guinea pig looks very elegant.
Sheltie. This long-haired pig seems to have specially grown a long bang, which clearly stands out against the background of a smooth-haired muzzle.
Peruvian. This animal is a bit like a hippie, as long hair in the head area hangs in loose strands.
Mini york. Representatives of this breed of guinea pigs not only have long hair, but even have sideburns.
If you want a pig whose weight can reach 4 kg, then purchase Kui. The males are so weighty.
Himalayan, English selfie, Argent, American cross, Agouti, Panda, Rex, Satin, Ridgeback, California, Tan - This is also a smooth-haired breed.
If someone in the family is allergic to animal hair, then you can buy guinea pigs, which completely lack fur. it Skinny and Baldwin.
What to buy for a guinea pig?
After you have purchased your favorite animal, you need to equip its habitat. Here is a list of the most necessary things:
- feeding trough;
- roller drinker;
- brush for baby bottles;
- food for guinea pigs;
- wood or corn granules as bedding.
It is highly advisable to purchase for a guinea pig "house"Or do it yourself. Then the animal will be able to rest here or warm up if it becomes cold. The house is installed in a cage, which should be spacious so that the pig can run there if desired.
It is possible for a "house" to put together shelter from branches, fastening them together. Still making "houses" for guinea pigs from plywood. To do this, cut out all the necessary details, then glue them or fix using self-tapping screws.
These animals love soft tunnelsthat can serve as a "house". You can use a sleeve from an old warm fabric sweater, having processed its edges. This accessory you sew on one side. The pig will enter this soft tunnel from the free edge and rest here.
You can also sew sleeping bag for the rodent do it yourself. For this, two identical rectangular parts are cut out of a fabric, layered with a synthetic winterizer and stitched. It turns out a soft bag. You can also make a hammock from a dense fabric for a rodent and fix it on the upper parts of the cage.
For pigs, there are leashesTherefore, you can sometimes walk your pets in warm weather in a nearby park. But you need to be very careful, as dogs and cats can cause a lot of trouble to these rodents and their owners.
Roller drinker It is hung on the rods of the cage with a wire at such a height that the rodent reaches the nipple. It is necessary to change the water on time, and wash the drinking bowl with a small brush for bottles.
When do you start to purchase feeding trough for a guinea pig, take one that will stand stably on the surface. It is better to use metal or heavy ceramic. This rodent sometimes turns over its “dining room” to find a tidbit there. You can buy a feeder, suspended from the rods of the cage or make it with your own hands.
To do this, take a 5-liter capacity from durable plastic, cut it across into two halves, use the lower part. In the latter, you need to make several cutouts with a knife so that the animal can stick its head in and enjoy the proper food. Holes are made in the rear wall to secure the feeder with four pieces of wire.
How to feed guinea pigs?
It is convenient to put fodder hay in such containers so that guinea pigs do not trample it. It is sold in pet stores. Guinea pigs should always have hay, like water. Dry food is given to them two to three times a day. It is better to feed rodents with such basic food at the same time, so that they get used to the regimen. Also in the diet of animals should be succulent feed and green feed.
You can purchase special dry food for these rodents at any pet store. It consists of everything you need for pigs. But still in their diet should include fresh vegetables and fruits. Cut a slice of apple or pear, fasten it between the bars of the cage. It will be interesting to see how rodents regale themselves with such treats. They need solid food to grind down ever-growing front teeth.
They also love carrots. But white cabbage is not given to pigs, since it has a bad effect on their intestinal tract. Still it is impossible to include light green and red leafy salads, cauliflower, radishes, potatoes, citrus fruits and beet tops in their diet.
Guinea pigs need to be given plant foods with a sufficient vitamin C content. For this purpose, pepper, broccoli, and dark green leafy vegetables are added to their diet.
Guinea pigs in the country
If you have a summer cottage, then in the summer rodents will really like it there. Here an aviary is arranged for them, in which these rodents can be in the warm time of the day. You need to take a metal mesh, to make from it a semblance of a cage with an open top. To do this, cut a rectangle from this material, wrap pegs driven into the ground with it. Then, from the large mesh, you need to make the floor and fix it on the lower parts of the sidewalls using wire. If there is no sex, then the pig will be able to dig and escape from the aviary.
The top of such a cage is best covered with a net, but removable, so that at any time you can get your pet and take him to sleep in a warm place in the cage. You will place it in the house. Here the pet will be not only at night, but also in cool weather. Indeed, pigs do not have very strong immunity, therefore, in coolness or in a draft, they can catch a cold, and respond poorly to treatment.
Even in such an enclosure, a feeder, a drinking bowl are installed, periodically put fresh grass, hay here. You can sometimes move the aviary to another place where there is still untouched vegetation, so that rodents feast on it.
In such an enclosure, there must be a house so that the pigs can warm themselves. Lay a cloth there, a piece of carpet, so that the pet is warm and comfortable here.
Guinea pig breeding
Actually, my children and I didn’t plan to buy these rodents, but once we couldn’t get past the guinea pig living in the pet store. Then I could not even imagine that in time I would breed them. By the way, guinea pigs are willing to buy. To do this, it is enough to place an advertisement for the sale on the profile site, and buyers will call, be interested, agree on a deal.
We acquired our first guinea pig according to the principle of increased shaggy and unusualness. I like fluffy animals with an original fur structure. Then a tricolor smooth-haired male, which turned out to be very playful, was bought in pair with this female.
He "sang" to his beloved serenade, artistically whistling. After all, guinea pigs communicate in this way. He whispered to her something gentle, known only to both of them. When the male takes care of the female, he gently touches her ears. Therefore, it seems that animals are whispering. In general, I already said that watching guinea pigs is a pleasure!
Males are ready for mating when they reach the age of 4-6 months, and females from 4-7 months (provided that they weigh at least 600 g). But it is believed that for a female it is not very good to become a mother before the age of two. Life expectancy depends on the care and breed of guinea pigs. This is a period of 4-8 years.
In general, if you have a male and a female in one cage, you must be prepared for the appearance of offspring. If the female’s stomach began to grow, then soon the family will have small pets. When the guinea pig is in position, the male must be put in a separate cage. Pregnancy of guinea pigs, depending on the breed, lasts from 59 to 72 days.
It is better that at the time of the birth of the little “piglets” one of the adults is at home. After all, pigs are born in bubbles. If mother pig did not help her baby on time, then carefully cut a placenta with sterile scissors with blunt ends to get the baby out.
Guinea pigs take great care of the babies, feed them, so in the future the whole family needs regular care. But in the first week you can not clean up the cage. You should not touch babies unnecessarily so that the pig does not refuse to feed them.
The female feeds the children milk for up to a month (by this age they already eat and write another). But already at the age of 4-5 weeks they can be sold. Guinea pig can give birth without damage to health 2 times a year. The nulliparous brings 1-2 babies, and older females give birth from 3 to 5. There were cases when pigs gave birth to 7-8 babies at a time. Here, as a rule, 2-4 cubs at a time were brought by mom.
We sold our pigs for 400-500 rubles. That was about 7 years ago. Now for 400-1000 you can sell these "piglets", the price depends on the breed and age. If the breed is expensive, then 2 thousand rubles for a guinea pig is not the limit. I saw ads on the Internet from breeders about the sale of guinea pigs at 10 thousand rubles apiece.