Care instructions for guinea pigs

Pasningsvejledning af Marsvin

The guinea pig Cavia porcellus has its origin in South America and belongs to the rodent order. It is a small dense animal that has special natural needs.

The guinea pig is a calm and social animal that easily becomes a much-loved pet.


A guinea pig is on average 24-30 cm long and will weigh approx. 700-1200 gr.

The guinea pig's life expectancy is 4-7 years.

The females are sexually mature from the age of approx. 4-6 weeks old, the males from approx. 6-8 weeks.

The gestation period is approximately 68 days and the litter size is on average 3-4 cubs.

The young can be taken from the mother when they are at least 4 weeks old - and weigh more than 300 g.

interior design

As the guinea pig is a pack animal, you should never have less than two guinea pigs together. A guinea pig must have a minimum of 35 cm2, and a cage of the size 100x70 cm will therefore be the smallest recommended size for two guinea pigs. The guinea pig can be outside in the summer, but should be inside in the winter. In both cases, avoid drafts and large temperature fluctuations.

The cage should be cleaned twice a week and bedding placed at the bottom that can absorb the moisture from the urine. Straw or hay can be added on top to give the guinea pig the opportunity for a "soft bed". Remember, however, that hay used as bottom material does not count towards the amount of daily fodder hay, as the bottom material quickly becomes dirty and therefore not edible.

The guinea pig's wild relatives in nature have burrows, and to take this natural behavior into account, you should give the guinea pig the opportunity to hide, by arranging a hiding place in the form of a house or the like.

Activation and exercise

The natural activity and exercise for the guinea pig is to look for food and eat. In processing the food, the guinea pig has a natural need to gnaw and wear down its teeth. This can be accommodated when you want to activate your guinea pig. In the summer, a walk on the lawn is a lovely activity, and you will be able to observe the guinea pig's natural behavior around food search and processing. In winter, a walk on the living room floor can easily be turned into a fun activity that still supports the guinea pig's natural behavior. Small boxes of freshly sown grass can grow indoors all year round and will be a lovely addition to the winter food. As an activity, you can stick carrot pieces, radishes, broccoli sticks, etc. on branches, or you can wrap hay, broad-leaved parsley etc. similar around branches and let the guinea pig have to work a little for the treats.


Guinea pigs breed very easily and become sexually mature early. You should therefore only have two guinea pigs of the same sex walking together if you do not want young ones. A neutered male can also mate with one or more females.

If you have a pregnant female, the male should be removed from the female at the end of the pregnancy, so that he does not stress her or harm the young. At the same time, you avoid another pregnancy soon after birth, as the female will already be in heat 13 hours after giving birth and can be mated!

The young are born fully developed. They have fur, their ears and eyes are open and they are ready to run around right after birth. The mother nurses the young for 2-3 weeks, but very quickly supplements the young with solid food, for which their stomach is fully developed at birth.


When feeding your guinea pig, you must take into account its natural and special needs. The guinea pig is one of the few mammals that – like us humans – cannot produce vitamin C themselves. The guinea pig is therefore completely dependent on the food containing enough vitamin C, so that it can be absorbed from here. In case of vitamin C deficiency, the guinea pig can develop scurvy. - See section on illness.

The guinea pig's natural need to wear down its teeth via food should be catered for in the feed composition.

The feed should consist of lots of rough greens such as cabbage, dandelions, grass, beetroot, collard greens, clover etc. If the guinea pig can "graze" outdoors in the summer, it is even better.

However, one must remember slow adaptation to take care of the guinea pig's delicate intestinal system. In addition, finished feed/guinea pig pellets must be offered as a supplement, which should preferably be uniform pellets, so that the animal cannot sort out the boring stuff. These ready-to-eat types have the advantage that they are often supplemented with vitamin C, so you are a good way to meet the guinea pig's vitamin needs. However, you should always calculate whether the guinea pig gets enough via the feed pellets and the greens you feed it with, or whether you need to add extra vitamin C. A guinea pig must have approx. 10-15 mg. Vitamin C per day. Extra supplements can be given either as a powder that is sprinkled on the feed or with extra vitamin C-containing vegetables as a snack. It may possibly be supplements of broad-leaved parsley, kale, bell pepper or rose hips (without seeds), all of which contain a lot of vitamin C.

And then the guinea pig must not least have access to lots of fresh hay, which is absolutely fundamental for the guinea pig's digestion and wear on the teeth.
In addition, fresh branches from unsprayed trees should be provided. Apple, birch, willow, beech and the like are good for guinea pigs to gnaw on and thus maintain their teeth.
Fresh water is of course also part of the daily feed offer.


In case of vitamin C deficiency, as mentioned, the guinea pig can develop scurvy. Symptoms of this are weight loss, general weakness, swollen joints and changes in, among other things, the jaw bone.

The guinea pig has a long intestinal system, where the cecum acts as a fermentation chamber. Digestion is completely dependent on a fiber-rich diet, and a lack of fiber can bring the intestinal system to a standstill. The intestinal system is sensitive to sudden changes, and there is a risk of tympanic acid, which is caused by an overproduction of bacteria in the intestine. Introduction of new feed types should therefore be done slowly.

Since the guinea pig is a rodent whose teeth grow throughout its life, the teeth need to be worn down with the help of food. Feed that does not contain enough gnawing material can cause dental problems. If the guinea pig's teeth become too long, it will not be able to chew its food, and if the condition is not detected in time, the guinea pig will die of starvation.

To protect the guinea pig from life-threatening respiratory infections, it must be protected from drafts and frost, as well as sudden changes in temperature.

Common signs of disease in guinea pigs are:

  • Reduced appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Changed activity level

  • Increased or decreased desire to drink

  • Changes in the appearance of stool or urine

  • Itching and dandruff

  • The cough or sneeze

  • Swellings or nodules

So just to list what we think you should look at, here is a small list

Find lots of products for your guinea pig here: Guinea pig

Yours sincerely

Katja N. Masters Ed. Animal care assistant -

2 thoughts on “Care instructions for guinea pigs

Jacob N. Masters


Godt spørgsmål, men først man bør ikke fjerne dem fra deres mor før de er 4 uger gamle og minimum vejer over 300g så det er lidt i den lave ende…

Men der skal være fri adgang til en god og lækker hø som vores Alpe hø og en god blanding fra Burgess, som på bagsiden har en fodervejledning og ca. gram man skal give. Som er 50-60g pr døgn sider de.. men det er vigtigt du mindst 1 gang om ugen vejer dem og skriver det ned, så du sikre de tager på, særligt hvis de er små.

Du må også gerne give den lidt grønt som persille, mælkebøtter – men ikke for meget.

Link til produkter:

Håber det hjælper


June 13, 2022 at 11:47am

Hey jeg har lige fået ro marsvin unger de vejer 280-320 men jeg ved ikke hvor meget mad de skal have og spise så tænkte jeg ville spøger jer

June 13, 2022 at 11:33am

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