Looking for a experienced owner as have questions

Zoe99

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Hi I'm thinking of changing from miniature rabbits to piggies and have lots of questions to compare the 2 breeds. Is there someone out there I can message?
 

Wiebke

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Hi I'm thinking of changing from miniature rabbits to piggies and have lots of questions to compare the 2 breeds. Is there someone out there I can message?
Hi!

Hi and welcome!

Great that you are doing your research beforehand.

Guinea pigs are very different to rabbits; this starts with different dietary needs (guinea pigs don't make their own vitamin C because they have evolved on a grass/grass hay diet which is naturally rich in it), they are less hardy/heat proof and don't deal well with sudden changes in temperature, they have very different socially interactive behaviours and are very vocal. There are also physical and digestive differences and different health problems that guinea pigs are prone to. The average healthy life span of guinea pigs is 5-7 years; compared to rabbits, they live on fast forward.
There are also no vaccinations for guinea pigs; neutering/spaying is not routinely done for health/social reasons although it has got certain advantages.

Unlike rabbits, guinea pig babies are born precocious (eyes open, teeth fully developed and fully furred and active); however it also means that baby boars start procreating from 3 weeks onwards and baby sows have their first season from 4-6 weeks onward. Since mis-sexing/mingling is sadly rather common, pregnancies are not rare. Unfortunately since guinea pigs and their large cousins, the capybaras, have the longest pregnancies with the most developed babies of all rodents, birthing problem with such large babies are not at all rare, either.
The best and by far safest place to get well bonded piggies that come without hidden issues (including ringworm, skink parasites or respiratory illness) is a good welfare standard rescue; you can find a link to our carefully vetted recommended rescues in the guides below.

You may find our Wannabe and New Owners guide collections very helpful for your research into guinea pigs as all our long term private and forum experience has gone into our guides and the points I have just made above (plus many more) are made in much more practical detail:
- Are Guinea Pigs For Me? - Wannabe Owners' Helpful Information
- Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 

Zoe99

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I have indoor cages near windows but not in direct sunlight. When I get rabbits neutered the females tend to put weight on but the males don't is this the same for piggies ? How much does it cost for this?

I also found rabbit males are better behaved is this true with piggies ?

Rabbits prefer the cold side dispite like sitting on sofa for cuddles. My understanding is piggies prefer warmer temperatures?

My rabbits are potty trained and return to their cage when need a poop or wee. Do piggies do this ?

Re the vit c I've seen on you tube people syringe feed every day but if they eat their fresh veggies is their a need to do this ? How do piggies in the wild cope ?

I also read piggies don't need vaccines but do need worming ? Which I found strange for herbivores? Is this correct ?

As my rabbits have play time in the lounge I have to rabbit proof everything as they are nibblers especially cables! Are piggies nibblers ?
 

Piggies&buns

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Weight gain is not necessarily linked to neutering.
Guinea pigs don’t routinely get neutered for health reasons in the same way as rabbits do. Neutering doesn’t change guinea pig behaviour like it does for rabbits. You do however need to neuter the boar if you have a mixed sex pair. If you have two Male (boars) piggies together, then you don’t need to neuter them. Female piggies (sows) usually only get spayed for medical need ie developing ovarian cysts. However rescuing from a rescue centre is the preferred option for getting guinea pigs and you will find that most boars will have been neutered in that case.

Behaviour has nothing to do with sex with piggies but boars tend to mellow with age.

Piggies need to be kept warm, ideally between 18 and 22 degrees. They need their room temperature to be stable and can’t cope with large fluctuations in temperature.

Guinea pigs cannot be litter trained, they will pee and poop everywhere. They may nibble to indicate they want to be put back in their cage, but they can’t be trained so will just do it wherever they are

Piggies get their Vit c from hay, veg and their pellets. Guinea pig pellets are fortified with Vit c. You only need to syringe feed piggies if they are poorly (this is the same for rabbits though). Piggies don’t need extra Vit c supplemented to them as they will get what they need from their diet

Piggies don’t need vaccinating, but in the uk routine worming is not done either

Guinea pigs are rodents they will chew absolutely everything.

You also need to keep in mind that you cannot have rabbits and piggies together and ideally not even in the same air space. Rabbits carry bacteria/parasites which can be fatal to guinea pigs. If you’re going to get guinea pigs, then they ideally need to be kept in an entirely different room. You will also need to be careful that you deal with the guinea pigs first so that you don’t transfer anything from the rabbits to the piggies.
 
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BoredBellaaa

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Hi I'm thinking of changing from miniature rabbits to piggies and have lots of questions to compare the 2 breeds. Is there someone out there I can message?
Hi! I’m not that experienced as I have only owned my boars for 3 years now, and I’ve never owned any rabbits. My sister however, has a rabbit! There are plenty of experienced owners on the forum that can give you advice. Goodluck and thank you for doing your research beforehand! :))
 

Fantasimo

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I’ve had rabbits in the past, but have had lots more guinea pigs, and I have to say I do prefer guinea pigs, as beautiful as rabbits are.

Pros of guinea pigs;
- Absolute comedians 😂
- Owning 3 or 4 isn’t much more work than owning 2.
- Apart from nail clippings, I find them more low maintenance than rabbits. I have never syringe fed mine except for when ill. Just veggies and a good quality hay should keep them nice and healthy. I’ve had 12 guineas and most have been healthy and robust long term.
- Pound for pound, pigs have so much more character and you always know what they are thinking, thanks to all their noises.
- Not a lot of difference that I’ve found between males and females, as all pigs have their own distinct characters. I’ve had ballsy females and nervy males and vice versa.

Cons;
- Can’t be toilet trained.
- Very skittish prior to building up a bond (although once you’ve gained their trust you can crash and bang around next to them and they don’t bat an eyelid 😂)
- Pigs have more ‘stuff’, such as hideys, tunnels and tubes, fleeces, fleece houses, pee pads etc. etc.
- Definite nibblers, just ask the hoover I own whose lead is wrapped in duct tape 🤦🏻‍♀️

Obviously those aren’t hard facts, but that would be my take having owned both male and female piggies and male and females rabbits. Although I will admit that I never owned house rabbits, only outdoor rabbits.

Best of luck whatever you decide 🙂 (and if you consider getting rats, I can help there too).
 

Freela

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I have indoor cages near windows but not in direct sunlight. When I get rabbits neutered the females tend to put weight on but the males don't is this the same for piggies ? How much does it cost for this?

I also found rabbit males are better behaved is this true with piggies ?

Rabbits prefer the cold side dispite like sitting on sofa for cuddles. My understanding is piggies prefer warmer temperatures?

My rabbits are potty trained and return to their cage when need a poop or wee. Do piggies do this ?

Re the vit c I've seen on you tube people syringe feed every day but if they eat their fresh veggies is their a need to do this ? How do piggies in the wild cope ?

I also read piggies don't need vaccines but do need worming ? Which I found strange for herbivores? Is this correct ?

As my rabbits have play time in the lounge I have to rabbit proof everything as they are nibblers especially cables! Are piggies nibblers ?
It's not necessary to neuter guinea pigs the way it is for rabbits... it doesn't change their behavior and is major surgery for a smaller animal. Reasons to neuter are a male/female pair (in that case normally the male is neutered, as it's an easier surgery, and the female left intact.) Females can be spayed but it's a large operation for a small animal and usually only done for medical/health reasons.

Guinea pigs are actually susceptible to heat stroke... they will be perfectly happy at room temperature but are at risk of heat stroke in temps higher than 25 C or so.

My piggies do go back into the cage to pee. Out of my original pair, the dominant pig just decided to do this on her own and the subordinate pig copied her. As my original pair had one pig who passed away around age two, we have always been in a position where we are introducing a new pig to an existing pig and they tend to copy the behavior of the more established pig, so her legacy of potty training successive generations of pigs has lived on. That said, not all pigs do this and I really have no idea how to teach them... I owe it all to our extremely bossy and intelligent original pig, Linney!

Vitamin C can be provided by diet. I've only ever given vitamin C by syringe for sick pigs as a supplement recommended by the vet. Guinea pig pellets are fortified with vitamin C (although it has a limited shelf left) and fresh veggies/fruits can make up the rest.

Worming seems to be a regional thing. I'm in Canada, none of my pigs have ever been dewormed.

Like any animal whose teeth continually grow, guinea pigs are also nibblers. How much they will do this to your belongings seems to vary by the individual. I've had some pigs who never chew anything other than their hay... I have also had a pig whose life mission was to chew as many baseboards/drywall as possible.
 

Freela

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Just to add, personally I have sows. I've not heard there is a huge difference in behavior between sows and boars, other than sows being more amenable to living in larger groups (boars seem to do best in same-sex pairs or one board with one or more sows.) Guinea pigs have very individual personalities, regardless of gender. The pigs I've had over the years were all very, very different personality-wise. I've had some be really snuggly, some who were very tense and skittish, some who were noisy and some who were quiet. One of our pigs, Linney, was smart enough to popcorn on command and potty trained herself and two cagemates without us needing to do a thing. On the other hand, another pig, Frenzy, was unable to find the door back to the cage if she got overly excited! I've never run into an aggressive pig or one prone to biting thus far... I also have hamsters and have run into a couple REALLY aggressive hamsters, so this is a nice thing about guinea pigs!
 
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