It comes as a surprise to most people that there are rescues for small animals like guinea pigs, not just dogs and cats. But there are! Many are small & need your support.
So when you come to starting or adding to your guinea pig family please think seriously about finding a rescue within traveling distance first. Rescue centers will have guinea pigs of all breeds, ages, sexes & temperaments so you are bound to find someone suited to you & you to them! The rescuer will be able to offer you advice.. particularly useful if you are new to guinea pig ownership.
In adopting a guinea pig in need of a home you will be doing something special for your new pet right from the start. So you get the guinea pig you wanted & the guinea pig gets the home he deserves! Everyone is happy. If you give a home to a single boar you will be doing something extra special as often these are the pigs who wait longest for that second chance at having a happy home. Take a look at the rescue links and boars on our adoption page now!
From time to time rescues have baby guinea pigs, when sows come in pregnant or when families who have found themselves with accidental litters bring them in. However most of the pigs in the rescue will not be babies. Baby pigs are CUTE! Nobody would deny that but they are also very delicate & so not ideally suited as pets for children. An older pig, already accustomed to handling would make a far better pet. What is more if you get a baby pig it is down to you to tame the piggy & help him become friendly & overcome his natural nervousness. Babies don't stay babies for long & any baby pig will soon grow to be an adult so you really forfeit very little in opting to adopt an older pig. You also know how big he will grow as he is already full size, where it can be a surprise when a tiny baby becomes a huge fat adult!
Above: One day old Himalayan pigs, Vanilla & Sky
Baby pigs are Cute. But if you have room for more pigs please home a rescue. Help solve the problem not add to it.
Not all the pigs that end up in rescues are tame & friendly. Some are a little nervous & shy. Perhaps their previous owners did not take the time to get to know their piggy's& to teach them that we humans are friendly and nothing to be scared of. With a little time & patience YOU can be the one to share that lesson with such pigs. If you adopt nervous pigs you can be the one to gain their trust & watch your relationship with them grow as they become less nervous. How rewarding would it be the first time he eats from your hand, allows you to catch him without running away? And how would you feel to know it was you that brought about that change? Please offer a home and lots of TLC to a nervous piggy or two! They need to know what its like to trust & love a human being!
Other Sources: Breeders
There are occasions where you may need a baby pig, for example on the death of a cage mate. In these situations, rescues rarely have baby pigs... so if you have checked & they don't you need to ask the rescuer to recommend a reputable breeder. Please don't go to just anyone... breeding is not for amateurs. When you get there you need to check for yourself that you are happy that they are a responsible breeder with healthy animals... here's how:
1) How are the guinea pigs housed ?
2) Are they kept in clean cages?
3) Can you see the parents?
4) How old are they?
5) Is the breeder friendly and asking you loads of questions about what you know? If they are then this is good
6)Are they offering you advice and follow up care/advice?
7) Is the cavy Ivomeced and Panacured? If not why not?
8) What does the breeder feed them? Is it a good balanced diet.
9) IMPORTANT - has the cavy got clean & dry eyes & nose, shiny coat, clean bottom. No mouth scabs, or hair missing, no mites in coat, no dandruff, tubby tummy, no hairs poking the eyes, clean feet and finally no torn or scabby ears.
THIS IS ALOT TO REMEMBER. YOU WOULD NOT HAVE HALF OF THIS TO THINK ABOUT IF IT CAME FROM A SHELTER/RESCUE.
PLEASE DON'T BUY FROM PET SHOPS! If you buy from a pet store you don't know what you are getting. They don't guarantee age or sex. This means you could get a male & a female in error. Or a pregnant guinea pig! You don't know the temperament of the animal- it might bite for instance. You also don't know just how big it will get. The pet shops interest in you and the animal ends when you leave the shop (Pets At Home for example give a 1 week guarantee on the life of the animal).