Getting Started with Guinea Pigs or Rabbits – A short, helpful guide to make sure you have everything you need for their new home.
Before you buy or adopt a new Guinea Pig or Rabbit, you need to have their home ready for their arrival. You need a House – one level or more – see my post on Housing for Small Animals for suggestions of good home bases.
You also need their bed to be made using sawdust, hay and possibly straw depending on the weather. For more information see my post on Bedding for Small Animals.
In addition, you need food bowls, water bottles and a hay distributor. Fill the bowl with some muesli or pellets and you might also want to get them some treats as a little welcome such as an alfalfa ring or willow sticks – see my posts on Food for Small Animals and Play Time for Small Animals for more ideas.
Good luck! I hope you enjoy looking after some of the world’s cutest animals.
For Rabbit and Guinea Pig Diet Food, I have offered a few selections below.
Guinea Pigs can be rather picky when it comes to their food, leaving yellow bits one week and green bits the next, and it can be worrying whether or not they are getting all the nutrients in their diet.
Supreme Science make a range of guinea pig, rabbit, and other small animal pet foods, to suit all their dietary needs.
Supreme Science Selective is a pellet based food that stops them leaving certain colours out of their diet and my pets prefer it to Pets At Home pellets. This particular make:
“is high is fibre to help promote healthy teeth and tummies and has added vitamin C to help keep your guinea pigs in the very best of health. Selective also contains linseed, a particularly good source of omega 3, which helps to regulate coat shine, thickness and colour intensity, as well as supporting a healthy skin.”
Supreme Science Recovery is sachets of food mix and a syringe for ill or recuperating animals. This, I would assume, is cheaper than going to the vets and getting one sachet of food plus a syringe each time a pet is ill – handy to have in for Pet First Aid.
They also make food for different ages, such as Supreme Science Selective Mature 4+ Years Rabbit Food.
Have a look at their other stuff here
For more Pet Advice, take a peek here
When choosing Housing for Small Animals you must take into account that you give them enough space (minimum of 5 feet wide) but also where you have space for them – whether it be inside or outside.
Fit for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs, my Guinea Pigs live in one of these fabulous 3 Tier Indoor Hutches which doesn’t intrude on space, yet gives your pets enough room to run around so I’m not worried that they’re losing out on exercise if I’m out of the house all day. The ladders are sturdy, it just takes your pets some time to get used them. We added felt in-between the steps for that extra grip (and later on had to put their tunnels on the ladders as two of them still wouldn’t go up them). A Single Tier Indoor Hutch is equally as good, you just have to make sure it is long enough (5ft preferably) and let your pets out into extra space as often as possible.
Outdoor Hutches come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you don’t have a large area for your pets to run around in, a double or triple tiered hutch is ideal as they have more space. If you do have a large garden, you can buy Extensions and add them to your already owned single or double tiered hutch, allowing your pets the space to explore but the safety of an enclosure.
There is a large variety of choice when it comes to Food for Small Animals. To get you started, you can never go wrong with a bag of Wagg. But once you’re settled in, have a look around at the different options.
We give Rabbits and Guinea Pigs the same food – a kind of Muesli – and normally some of it gets left behind (the yellow bits one week, the brown bits the next) the only way to know that their getting all the right nutrients is to give them Pellets but mine just don’t like them. They have, however, taken to this Allen & Page Mix which they absolutely love.
As an extra treat, you can give them Yogurt Drops. Our Guinea Pigs have never really been a fan but our Hamsters have. Don’t give them too many of these however as they do contain a small amount of sugar.
In addition, you can buy all sorts of Rosewood Bars such as Sunflower and Chamomile, Cornflower and Daisy, and the Vegetable Bar. These are always a hit with our guys whereas the sweeter Strawberry or Honey Bars are definitely more of a miss. One week they’ll wolf them down, the next week they will have no interest at all.
For more Pet Advice, take a look here
When it comes to Play Time for Small Animals, there is so much choice available for them these days. See my quick round up below of ideas to get you started.
This Indoor/Outdoor 8 Panel Playpen is suitable for Guinea Pigs, Rabbits and Puppies. You can put them in any shape you like – We have 2 so we join them together outside and they have tons of space to play in. Each panel is connected with a peg making it much easier to assemble than previous panels we’ve had with a hook and hoop connecting system which is so fiddly. They come with a cover which is blocked out on one half for shade but does add that extra protection from prey.
Once in the run, our Guinea Pigs like to play and their favourite toy at the minute is this Activity Tunnel .
All the Guinea Pigs we’ve ever had have enjoyed this toy. They can run through it, under it, over it, hide in it, sleep in it, and chew it!! The latest ones we own have Velcro around each hole meaning you can attach multiple tunnels together. Activity Tunnels are made of polyester for easy cleaning but I have yet to work out how to clean them other than using a Power Hose.
Small animals love to explore and chew and there is so much you can buy for them. Hits for us are: Alfalfa Ring which lasts no more than 5 minutes, this Snap N Share Bar, Willow Chew Sticks, and this Hay Covered Tunnel. Misses for us are: Willow Treat Basket where they don’t eat the corn and barely chew the bowl, anything like this Corn, and this Gnaw Stone which they have never touched.
For more Pet Advice, take a look here