Adopting a guinea pig

Most of the guinea pigs that come to April Lodge are in a poor state when they get to us. After a while, and with the correct care, they will become sociable, healthy, well-balanced little animals.

It is April Lodge’s policy to encourage rehoming to suitable new owners. We have a clear adoption procedure for those wishing to adopt a guinea pig or to foster on a longer-term basis. And we also have a retirement home for those not well enough to go to new homes. We make a decision about the best option for each guinea pig, taking into account age, any ongoing health needs, and general condition. Please note that April Lodge Guinea Pig Rescue does not take guinea pigs from breeders or adopt rescue guinea pigs to breeders.

To find out more about the guinea pigs currently awaiting a new home, visit our adoption page. Another possibility, for those wishing to rehome an older animal or one with some special needs, is to foster a guinea pig on a long-term basis.

All our guinea pigs are usually adopted in bonded pairs or sometimes trios, unless they are adopted to be a companion.  Introductions can be carried out on-site via our MatchPig introduction service but a visiting guinea pig will need to be healthchecked in our clinic prior to an introduction.

Adoption fees

One single guinea pig (as a companion) £15

One pair of sows £30

One pair of boars £30

One neutered boar (as a companion) £50

One neutered boar with a sow £65

Note: in the case of the latter two options, the  adoption fee is calculated on the basis of the adoption fee being £15 and the other £35 being a contribution towards the cost of neutering, transport to the vet and collection, as well as post-surgery care.

Adoption

At the point of adoption we would expect the new owner to maintain their level of care or improve upon it if possible. We have a clear adoption policy but the following points on our care will give you some idea of what our expectations are:

  1. Our animals are kept in a secure outside area/building or indoors. Their habitat is draught-proof but lets in daylight
  2. They are accommodated in off-the-floor hutch that is cleaned out at least every three days and disinfected when the hutch is empty. See accommodation guide for further details
  3. Subject to weather conditions, during the day for as long as possible, they go into secure grass runs with floored nest boxes and shade. If going into their run all day is not possible they go out for an hour or two.  They are brought in well before dark. Or if being kept indoors, an indoor run is used
  4. 10% of their daily diet is dry feed, 10% is mixed veg which is removed after 12 hours if not eaten and 80% is good quality farm hay.
  5. Dry feed dregs in heavy ceramic food dishes are tipped out and fresh dry food is put in daily.  Dry feed is not “topped up”.  If there is a lot of wasted dry feed, feed less!  When the dish is looking grubby it is replaced with a clean one and the other one is well washed (dried faeces around the edge of the dish indicates a digestive problem)
  6. Water bottles are replenished daily and kept clean with a bottle brush.  We do not “top up” water bottles as stale water can cause digestive problems.  The bottles and screw tops are sometimes left in a mild bleach solution for cleaning in which case a spare bottle is used. Always rinse thoroughly (avoid melting your bottle in boiling water or the dishwasher!)
  7. Good-quality farm hay should always be available for eating in a large hayrack, which is kept off the floor.  Unused rack hay is rotated into the bedding when the hutch is being cleaned
  8. They are health checked by April Lodge every three months.  This includes nail clipping, weighing, worming etc.  We also check for lumps, respiratory problems, eye, genital and skin abnormalities etc. This is a free service for all April Lodge ex-rescues. Any guinea pigs which are NOT from April Lodge can be healthchecked in our welfare clinic for £5.
  9. Guinea pigs should be handled every day. They relish being wrapped up in a towel and fussed over. You will never know if there is anything wrong with your guinea pig if you never pick him/her up
  10. The reward – once he/she has regained his confidence,  is an endearing, personable pet.

The commitment

There is no doubt owning a guinea pig is a commitment of perhaps up to seven years and maybe longer. You are responsible for his health and well-being and this includes vet bills which will inevitably occur along the life span of your guinea pig. Other costs not including the price of the guinea pig are dry feed, equipment, hutches, runs, hay, medication and other incidentals.

Food for thought

Here are a few things to think about before you take the plunge.

  • A guinea pig is small and often cuddly, if he is handled correctly from an early age
  • He is fairly simple to care for if all his needs are met
  • You don’t have to have him vaccinated at regular intervals
  • A guinea pig can become very much part of the family, especially if he is kept indoors
  • A guinea pig is an ideal child’s pet, as long as there is adult supervision at all times

DO have serious reservations when your children promise to do all the caring and cleaning.  We have more unwanted guinea pigs here because the children have lost interest than any other reason!

DO not adopt a guinea pig if you are going through relationship, financial or housing problems.

DO ensure you have time. Your guinea pig will need care seven days a week, every week, for the rest of his life.

DO ensure you feed the correct diet. Incorrect diet or care could mean costly vet bills.

DO consider that a pair of healthy guinea pigs will probably eat your grass down to the roots on a daily basis as well as turning the grass yellow. But they are great lawn mowers nevertheless!

DO consider if you are going through personal problems, such as a separation or divorce this may not the right time for you to be adopting a pet which will put extra strain on an already stressful situation. The guinea pig cannot wait for you to feel better to receive adequate care and attention.

Our unwanted guinea pigs

Most of our residents have had a bad start in life, whether they have been neglected, abused, abandoned, dumped or just no longer wanted for whatever reasons.  One of our jobs is to protect guinea pigs from the same fate happening again.

When admitted to April Lodge, the guinea pigs are documented by means of a health record a copy of which can be passed on to the new owner.  When you make an appointment to see our animals, you need to remember that they are often traumatised and probably not suitable as ‘show material’. But they will recover and we always aim to get our adoptable guinea pigs well handled and adjusted so they are ready for a new forever home.

We are looking for quality homes where our animals can live a stress free, “happily ever after” life. In return people that adopt or foster from us are held in the highest esteem and we will endeavour to support you and help you look after your guinea pigs with advice and free health maintenance checks for the rest of their lives.

Guinea pigs with special needs are available for long term foster care.  Their special needs may mean mobility problems or they may just be old.Your adopted guinea pig(s) are entitled to free welfare checks for the rest of their lives. This includes worming, nail clipping, checks on heart and respiratory system, skin slides etc.

6 thoughts on “Adopting a guinea pig

  1. i love all of your guinea pigs and i would love to bye one soon 😉

  2. alicea bennet

    i love all the guinea pigs here and will hopefully bye one soon

  3. Chloe Davison

    I love your guinea pigs! Probably going to buy one in September. Is best to buy them as babies or at 2-4 years old?

    • Hi Chloe, thank you, we love them too! As for whether you have babies or older it’s entirely up to you, if you do decide to adopt or foster from us you need to have a real good look around our website, read all the articles and then you can decide what you want to do, best of luck, from Susan 🙂

  4. Chloe Davison

    Hello 🙂

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