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FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions

As with everything that is discussed on the internet, there is a wealth of information available out there about keeping guinea pigs as pets. However, along with most other subject matters, there are differing points of view depending who you speak to. We're not claiming to be an authority on keeping guinea pigs but we do have a lot of experience and we don't subscribe to the myths and more controversial views.

With that in mind, we hope that you all find the following information helpful and fingers crossed will break down any confusion you may have or just simply answer that nagging question you have.

The Questions

1. I've heard that when buying babies that you must get two girls as boys fight, is this true?
No, this is a myth. This is probably one of the top questions we get asked and we're not totally sure where this myth originated. You are just as likely to have two girls who don't get on as you are two boys and the likelihood of that is probably 0.1% at the most. If you get two young, 6-12 week old, guinea pigs of the same gender then they should be absolutely fine.

2. Do they need injections?
Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs do not need any injections.

3. Do I need to get them neutered?
No, two males or two females will live happily together. Should you want/need to put a male and female together and not want babies then the male would need to be neutered.

4. I had a pair of older guinea pigs and unfortunately lost one recently. Can I get another to replace it?
Yes you can, though this is slightly different than with babies. If you had two females then there is a high chance you could get a similarly aged female to live with your remaining female without any problems. If you had two males, getting a similarly aged male is more likely to end up in fighting. With either gender, if you put a baby, 6-12 weeks old, with it then you shouldn't have any issues. This is because the older guinea pig wiill automatically assume the dominant position.

5. I bought a pair of guinea pigs from *A PET SHOP* and one has died. What can I do?
Unfortunately this question comes up far too often, at least once a week. Firstly you can complain to the manager though usually you'll just be offered another one from the same store and pen as you got yours from. Thankfully, if you were to get hold of another baby of the same gender from a breeder or rescue then you shouldn't have a problem putting the pair together.

6. I bought two of the same gender from *A PET SHOP* but this morning I woke up to find babies, what do I do?
Again, this is a fairly common issue and please do go and complain to the manager. However, all he/she is likely to do is apologise and claim it rarely happens and then offer to take the babies off of you for FREE!!! Guinea pig babies are easy enough to rear, though you need to take the male out immediately as the female can get pregnant straight away after giving birth. Best thing is to speak to a breeder or a rescue about the best course of action regarding the babies.

7. Do I need to feed special guinea pig food? Can't I just use rabbit food as it's cheaper?
The simple answer is, Yes and No. Unfortunately guinea pig food has Vitamin C added to it which is essential to guinea pigs and because of this it's more expensive than rabbit food.

8. Do I feed them straw, hay or both?
Hay is the only thing needed for guinea pigs. This is their main food source and needs to be available 24/7. If you can find a good source of it, such as fresh meadow hay then this will be better than prepacked hay from pet shops. Hay can also be used as extra bedding during colder months. Straw shouldn't be used due to it being low in nutrition and as it's stalkier than hay, it can cause eye injuries.

9. I have found patches of hair loss and/or scabs/flaking skin. What should I do?
Firstly, don't panic if you see this. It's fairly common in guinea pigs and especially in ones who are stressed. This is generaly caused by a mild fungal skin infection similar to humans athletes foot. Should you notice any signs of this then just get in touch with the breeder and they should recommend a low cost solution to resolving this problem.