So your kids are asking for a pet. At least mine were. Daily. Hounding myself and my husband, really. Quite some time had lapsed since we had last had a pet, and my husband and I felt that they were ready to handle the responsibility of a small animal.
And with that, that pesky Santa Clause showed up with two guinea pigs, and for us it was a great decision! Now I do not recommend letting Santa Claus show up with live animals unless, of course, it has been discussed at length with the adults of the home first. Just in case not everyone is on board with another thing to care for!
In the last almost four months, we have grown to love our sweet little pigs, mostly because of how easy caring for them is.
Guinea pigs are a great starter pet for school age children to start learning about the responsibilities of caring for an animal.
We did not go into this decision lightly, as I was very skeptical about having any kind of animal. We started prior to Christmas by bringing them to a local pet store to see if they even liked Guinea pigs. We were debating between a pig and a hedgehog, but upon reading that hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, we nixed that idea. Our kids instantly fell in love with the calm nature of Guinea pigs. The employees at the Mid-City Jefferson Feed location are incredibly knowledgeable about Guinea pigs, as one of the employees has several herself. They were so helpful with information that it made me feel less nervous about getting one. We filled out the application and waited their reply.
Guinea pigs are social creatures and do prefer a friend! Who does not?! It is recommended that you get two, and caring for two is truly no different than caring for one. Same sex or neutered opposite sex is recommended, or else you may end up with way more than you bargained for! All of the Guinea pigs are neutered at Jefferson Feed, whereas they may not be at say a Petsmart or Petco type store.
The daily care of Guinea pigs is easy.
Our two pigs share a large cage (like a rabbit cage). They have igloo homes in their kennel, and their own food bowls and water containers. They eat Guinea pig food pellets, but their main diet is hay and fresh veggies. Ours love carrots and celery and twice-daily hay piles.We also give ours Guinea pig treats like dried fruits, small corn cobs, salt rocks, and a host of other treats that can all be found at your local pet store. Their kennel floor is a bed of wood shavings, and we change it weekly or by-weekly. I have also found that keeping a Fresh Wave near the kennel hides any smell they may give off. Our kids keep their pig kennel in their room or playroom. It is important also to keep them inside, away from the elements and any other animals that may consider them a snack. Guinea pigs are prey in the wild and prefer to have a safe, hidden home. Keeping your Guinea pigs in a stress-free environment is crucial to their overall well-being.
Guinea pigs are so sweet, and if held often and regularly, they enjoy it. They purr when happy and chatter to our kids when being held. They will eat veggies and snacks out of your hand if they are comfortable with you. It is important to interact with them regularly and often so that they are socialized and happy. They love to snuggle up in towels or small blankets. They have a variety of different sounds they make that once learned you, indicate when they are happy and when they are ready to be back in their home and resting.