Despite their common name, guinea pigs are not native to Guinea, nor are they remotely related to pigs. Originally domesticated in South America as livestock, they have since evolved to become very popular pocket-pets.
QLD Guinea Pig Refuge Inc secretary Grace Calver said Guinea pigs made excellent pets.
“They are quite low maintenance, attentive, cheerful and happy animals, but guineas are not good at being alone,” Grace said. “They are very sociable and need companionship, and we aim to adopt in pairs, triples and even fours.
“We have around 30 guineas in our care at any one time, and our adoption days can often have more. Our focus is on helping mistreated, abused and surrendered guinea pigs find permanent, loving homes.”
Guinea pigs can be suitable for seniors who are unable to have large pets, children who would like a first-time pet, and anyone wanting a furry friend that loves cuddles, can learn tricks and is easy to care for.
Diet is very important for guineas with about 80 per cent of their diet coming from grassy or wheaten hay and dry pellets. And as they cannot produce their own vitamin C, vegetables and fruit high in vitamin C such as zucchini, peas, and tomatoes should be on the menu.
Space is also vital. Guineas do not like small spaces and need a roomy cage and some free-range time in the yard to roam and run and play.
Guinea Pigs are also known for their stunning coats and appearance, and are bred and shown in competitions around the world. However, Grace said as the refuge did not support breeding.
“There are quite a lot of Guinea breeders in Brisbane,” she said. And we do not support them or encourage breeding, so we desex all of our male guineas that come into our care.”
The open days provide an opportunity to meet the guineas available for adoption, purchase food and hay, and visit the piggy grooming salon and shop.
Just remember, if you’re thinking of adopting, be prepared to take home more than one little piggy. For more info check the website: www.qldguineapigrefuge.com.au QLD Guinea Pig Refuge Open DayFirst and third Saturday of every month 10.00am-3.00pm Bald Hills Scout Den, 508 Bracken Ridge Road, Bracken Ridge