Pashu Sandesh, 28 Feb 2023
Dr Ankit Sharma1 , Dr Monika Karnani2 , Dr Shweta Sharma3 , Dr Ramesh Verma4
Post Graduate Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Jaipur
Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
The domestic guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), a herbivore, is frequently employed as a model in scientific research. They have open-rooted incisors that continue to grow all their lives. The family Cavidae, which includes the 14 species of cavies and Patagonian hares, includes the guinea pig (or maras). Cavidae has four digits on the forepaw and three on the hindfoot.
Guinea pigs are short-legged animals with a stocky physique, a big head, and unfurred, short ears. There is no external tail, the head and body are 200–400 mm in length, and the weight ranges from 500–1,500 g. A simple stomach with glandular epithelium is found in guinea pigs. Its nutritional requirements are influenced by gut gram-positive bacteria. Gunia pigs are coprophagic animals, and they produce a lot of vitamins in their faeces.
Since guinea pigs are naturally friendly and social creatures, it is best to purchase a pair so they will have companionship. For obvious reasons, it is best to keep a same-sex couple together. A solitary guinea pig shouldn't be kept since they could die young from loneliness.
As pets, guinea pigs are incredibly easy to care for and need very little work. It requires a roomy cage or habitat where it would be content to live out its entire life. Every one to two weeks, the cage needs to be cleaned, and cleaning it is typically not too difficult.
Cavies typically don't need to be neutered or spayed. They shouldn't be bathed more than a few times a year, and they don't even need to be bathed frequently at all. Unless they have long hair, they don't require grooming, but they should have their nails clipped around once every three weeks.
Guinea pigs can live in a wide variety of climates as a species, but as indi-viduals, they are quite sensitive to changes in local temperature and humidity. Due to their anxious nature, guinea pigs may temporarily stop drinking or eating after a large change in their environment, diet, or care. When two animals are kept together, the impact of environmental changes on them is low or nonexistent. It is less stressful to keep a sick guinea pig in a hospital cage with another animal.
Guinea pigs need a consistent supply of freshwater that is replaced every day. When they drink, they contaminate their water bowls or sipper tubes with food. They are not naturally inclined to lick sipper tubes, defecate everywhere, and are likely to sit in and soil their food bowls and sleeping spaces.
Guinea pigs produce two different kinds of faecal pellets: one nitrogen-rich for cecotrophy and the other nitrogen-poor for delivery. About 40% of the faeces are re-ingested when food is always available, and 90% of this coprophagy takes place at night. Guinea pigs, however, consume excrement during times of the day when food is scarce.
Guinea pig feeding is mostly influenced by their form, makeup, and age. Feed intake is increased by feeding with pellets and moisture. Intake of 6.9 gm BW on average was recorded in 6 feeble old male Gunia pigs (Liu, 1988). Vitamin C must be supplied to the food of guinea pigs because they are unable to produce it on their own. Young guinea pigs need folic acid and arginine in their diets. At around 21 days of age, weaning is complete. At five months old, guinea pigs reach maturity.
Numerous factors, including the guinea pig's stage of development, age, gender, and reproductive activity, affect its nutritional needs. The necessary nutrients are as follows:
|NUTRIENT||AMOUNT ( PER KG DIET)|
|Crude protein (g)||200|
|Total digestible nutrients (g)||750|
|Crude fibre (minimum)||80|
|Crude fibre (maximum)||160|
|Vitamin C (minimum, ppm)||200|
MODEL DIETS FOR GUINEA PIG
|FEED INGREDIENT(GM/KG DIET)||DIET 1||DIET 2||DIET 3||DIET 4|
|Maize grain/Wheat grain||400||340||300||300|
|Bengal gram grain||200||220||230||220|
|Wheat bran/Deoiled rice bran||-||95||-||95|
SOME DATA ON FEED CONSUMPTION
Guinea pigs in growth consume 20–30 g daily.
Adult guinea pigs take approximately 30 to 50 g daily.
Guinea pigs in pregnancy require 40–60 g per day, primarily dependent on the size of the litter and the time of year.
Nutrient requirements of Companion, Laboratory and Captive wild animals. (ICAR )