Choosing a family pet, Part 3: Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

Two Rabbits together on the grassRabbit and Guinea Pig Costs:

Rabbits or guinea pigs can cost £15 upwards from a reputable breeder, or can be free from friends with a surplus. You will need a cage (from around £30) and you may want an indoor or an outdoor cage or hutch which will at least double this cost. An outside hutch that is suitable year round will cost around £60 – £100, plus you may need extra covers and heaters in winter.

Setting up a run outdoors is also a good idea and you can buy a run from about £25. On-going costs are rabbit and guinea pig food and straw or other bedding but this should only cost around £15+ a month. You can supplement dry foodRabbit or Guinea Pig outdoor Run with greenery from your leftovers or from your garden. Vet costs are lower than dogs or cats but insurance may be a good idea if you don’t want to be in a situation where unexpected emergency costs are encountered.

Rabbit and Guinea Pig Time requirements:

Rabbits should be let out into their run almost every day and bedding should be changed regularly. Rabbits and guinea pigs should be handled regularly from an early age so they become used to people.

Other requirements:

Guinea Pig sticking head out of den

You’ll need a little outdoor space, ideally grass to put a run out on. It is highly recommended that you don’t keep rabbits and guinea pigs in the same cage and ideally you should keep either rabbits or guinea pigs at least as pairs. If you are going away you must ensure that someone can look after your guinea pigs or rabbits and it may be best if they can be moved along with their hutches to a friend or family member’s home while you are away.

Guinea Pigs need companyWith rabbits you should also consider their size relative to any young children who may struggle to handle some giant rabbits.
Guinea pigs and rabbits often suffer with overgrown teeth in captivity, which can cause them a lot of pain. Provide a gnawing block and check their teeth regularly so if they are becoming overgrown you can take them to be clipped by a vet.

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Pros:

Most of the year guinea pigs and rabbits can be kept in an outside cage or in a shed or garage. This means they take up less space indoors.

Rabbit Cottage

Rabbits and guinea pigs are more active than some rodents such as hamsters and gerbils during the day and are a little larger making it easier and safer to get them out and play with them, as younger children will generally want to do with any pet you choose.

Rabbits live for around 8 to 12 years so are a long term commitment but can become a companion for a child right through childhood into early adult hood. A guinea pig has a slightly shorter lifespan of 4 to 7 years but this is still longer than many smaller rodents.

Cons:Rabbits', or Guinea Pigs', nibble tree

Maybe a con but arguably a pro rabbits do breed like rabbits and a doe can have two pregnancies at once, each at different stages. Guinea pigs breed quite easily as well. Don’t assume you will be able to make a tidy profit on these rabbits either as supply outstrips demands for rabbits quite significantly, you may have to give them away for free or just have to keep them. You may be able to sell guinea pigs but not for very much! If you are going to allow your animals to breed ensure you can afford to care for the young long-term and assume you won’t be able to pass them on.

In cold winter weather guinea pigs certainly and sometimes rabbits too will need to be bought indoors to keep them safe and warm so ensure you have space.

line of rabbits

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