Guinea pigs are reputed to be rather undemanding pets. The furry pigs are also recommended for children. Because – in contrast to hamsters and rats – they are diurnal, so have about the same daily rhythm as the human offspring. Nevertheless guinea pigs are only partially suitable for children. Although they are tame, but they do not like to touch and are therefore more animals to watch. Of course, pets are generally no cuddly animals – nevertheless, guinea pigs have a significant difference to dogs and cats, who sometimes come to cuddle on the sofa. Because the little rodents are far more frightening and sensitive – a fear of fear or a stress-related nail-biting are not uncommon, if you bring the small animals out of their enclosure.
If it still guinea pigs should be, at least two animals must be purchased. Keep guinea pigs alone – this is neither appropriate nor necessary. Unfortunately, the misconception that several animals become slower or not tame is still persistent in some minds. However, those who regularly engage with their animals manage to get used to five or more guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs also live in groups in nature
A guinea pig group is much better observable than a single animal. Above all, there is much to hear: In the pack, the piglets show the characteristic and varied spoken language. In nature, guinea pigs live together in groups of three to ten animals. Even if they move into our living room or our garden, they remain pack animals.
Why not a mixed-gender group with uncastrated animals?
The breeding of guinea pigs without the necessary expertise – for example, on the genetics of animals – not recommended. In addition, many guinea pigs are waiting for a new home in the animal shelters. Even a one-time litter is not a good idea. A guinea pig gives birth to up to five offspring, in rare cases more. Since guinea pig bucks can be sexually mature at the age of three weeks, they must be separated from the mother and female juveniles at this time. Then either another guinea pig enclosure or a new home for the little ones has to be produced. Therefore, the male guinea pigs – the bucks – should always be castrated if they hold a mixed group.
This is what the ideal guinea pig group looks like
Species fair is a group of three to four or more animals. A couple can not speak of group attitude. At best, keep several females together with a neutered buck. Even female or bucking groups are possible. However, the attitude of Bockgruppen is sometimes complicated and therefore only partially recommended for beginners. Groups with several goats and several females are particularly demanding to hold. Because it can lead to serious rank order disputes in which the bucks hurt in some cases fatally. For this type of housing to work, a very large enclosure and a lot of experience and guinea pig expertise is required. And even then there is no guarantee for this combination.
Conclusion: In guinea pigs only group keeping is species-appropriate
In guinea pigs, keeping a group is not only recommended, but mandatory. Only with at least one conspecific, but better with several, feel the animals really well. Keeping guinea pigs alone, however, is not only not appropriate to the species, but cruel: the guinea pig is thundered to lifelong loneliness. The combination of guinea pig and rabbit is not recommended! Not only can a rabbit not replace another guinea pig, but compulsory socialization of both species can even result in illness or injury. Ideally, however, is a guinea pig group, which consists of several females and a castrated goat. Even pure female groups can usually be kept well by beginners. The most harmonious is the group, if the animals are already socialized with a few weeks or come from the same litter.