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which are better as a first family pet guinea pigs or rabbits?

(36 Posts)
chocoholic05 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:17:16

That's it basically. We have never had a pet since our dc aged 5 and 7 were born. Ww used to have two rabbits ages ago and we have never had guinea pigs. What do we need to consider?

Rockinhippy Sat 20-Apr-13 21:33:34

I personally would go for rabbits every time, but we love bunnies here, so I am biased - for Rabbits you need to make sure you have a large enough cage - even better if you can have a safe free run for them -

our rabbit used to live freely in our yard, once we realised foxes etc couldn't get in, so e had a good life, he had free use of a big yard & sussed out the cat flap PDQ & we akways knew it was winter when we cane down to find him sat in the kitchen - if you can't let them have a yard, then they need a safe run where they an be let out supervised for as long as possible every day.

They are sociable animals & best kept in same sex or neutered pairs, (never with guinea pigs) so you do need a big cage, house rabbits can be trained, but watch your wires, they love chewing wires & will destroy if they get the chance, they get on well with cats, ours did & because if this he was fine as an only - he actually thought he was a cat smile

You need to think about plants, they aren't known as farming pests for nothing, they really can decimate a garden, they will chew anything to bits & you'll be surprised how high they can get - mine even ate my chilli plants - 20 scotch bell peppers in one goshock & went back for seconds - so you need to be prepared for things like that & cleaning & making sure they don't have fly problems etc, but even with all that to content with, they are wonderful pets & we still miss ours very much

Lionheads are a good breed for kids, I researched a lot before getting ours & everything I read was true, he grew up to be a big soppy thing, loved been handled & never bit anyone & DD often woke to find he'd let himself in, climbed the stairs & would get up onto her bed to wake her - they are bright animals smile

I'll leave the guinea pigs to others, they are probably easier pets, as they dont seem to climb, but they just never did it for me,

chocoholic05 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:37:54

I think the big difference between now and when we kept rabbits before is that there are now Foxes in our area. So we would have to make the hutch fox proof! How though?

Floralnomad Sat 20-Apr-13 21:38:34

Of those two I'd say GPs ,and I have had both ( still have a rabbit ) . However I'd recommend fancy rats , they're great pets ,intelligent friendly and very interactive.

catsrus Sat 20-Apr-13 21:39:43

We had lots of both when the dcs were small

Rabbits need vaccinations guinea pigs don't, GPs are easier to accommodate indoors if the weather is foul, long haired rabbits and GPs do need grooming or they get matted. I've had GPs that were not very friendly but none that were downright vicious - OTOH I have had 'hell rabbit' shock. Both can have tooth problems (misalignment meaning they don't get worn down properly)

I would go for GPs, they are generally more endearing, cute noises, cheaper to keep - get from a reputable rescue :-)

MissPricklePants Sat 20-Apr-13 21:40:38

Rabbits! I have 2 lionhead boys (both neutered and no aggressive behaviour) and they are amazing. One is more nervous than the other and hops off, neither like being picked up but that is a general thing for rabbits. They are happy to be stroked, eat from my 3.11 yo dd's hand etc and are lovely little things. Ours live together, in a big hutch with 24/7 run access to a 7ft run. I am also going to increase their space over the next few weeks. They need unlimited access to hay, and pellets as opposed to museli is best for them to eat. Veg can be given but best to check before you do as some is poisonous. I sweep the run out every day as they poo everywhere! and they require things to hide in and jump on to keep them happy. I would totally recommend them as pets, I love my 2 as does my dd!

catsrus Sat 20-Apr-13 21:41:44

Oh rats yes - they trump everything else grin basically small dogs, brilliant pets.

chocoholic05 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:43:33

no not rats no no no just noshock confused

Rockinhippy Sat 20-Apr-13 21:44:03

Oh yes, I'd second fancy rats, they are very intelligent & affectionate & make fantastic pets, especially for kids & they are easily tamed - you keep them indoors, so no fox worries

I was mighty peeved my DH was a big wuss & wouldn't let us have any as he's scared of themhmm we need up with a hamster instead, on our second one now & both have been difficult to tame

Rockinhippy Sat 20-Apr-13 21:44:28

Oops, x post grin

Myliferocks Sat 20-Apr-13 21:47:52

We have a rabbit, two guinea pigs, a hamster and a cat sat in our living room at the moment.
As lovely as the others are, I would say that the gps would be better as first family pets.

Floralnomad Sat 20-Apr-13 21:50:26

What's wrong with rats ?

SucksToBeMe Sat 20-Apr-13 21:51:19

I've also had GPs and rabbits. GPs are fantastic first pets.

Iamcountingto3 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:55:47

I've had GPs and rabbits, and I'd say GPs - easier for kids (better size, happier to be picked up and sat on knees - bunnies don't like being picked up in general), lower health needs (ime - our rabbits cost us a fortune, the GPs have never been to the vets), and they are the easiest, cutest things ever - our two will sit on our knees and chirrup away to us for hours. And they tolerate being played with enthusiastically by our two (we got them when they were 5 & 7)

Whilst I think rabbits CAN be fab, I think they are more tempramental, especially if not handled very regularly. They also need more room.

Bunnies are much brighter - much as I love our GPs they aren't the brightest tools in the box grin

Marmotte3 Sat 20-Apr-13 22:11:07

We had rabbits and GPs when I was young, loved the rabbits but they were prone to theet problems and attacks from cats. Our GP had a really funny 'personality', I loved his squeak when he wanted food or attention. We used to bring him fresh grass and dandelions from the garden and also some of our Wheatabix in the morning. He knew the sound of the back door opening and the spoon in the cereal bowl and would squeak up a riot with his nose in the air looking to get food. He was cuddly and friendly too, really loved that little fella.

chocoholic05 Sat 20-Apr-13 22:11:44

so if we choose gps what do I need to know?

Myliferocks Sat 20-Apr-13 22:14:37

If they are indoor gps you will never be able to open the fridge door again without a chorus of squeaking!

SucksToBeMe Sat 20-Apr-13 23:26:40

grin @ myliferocks!!!

So true!!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 21-Apr-13 00:31:38

I've had mice and guineas (I'm currantly on number 13&14) two rescued brothers. I'd had sows and 1 little male who didn't last very long-bullied by his mate sad. These are my first male pair.
Never had rabbits or rats.

The thought of rats really appeals (nice size to handle) but much more agile and intelligent than guineas. And the thought of something that can climb and outsmart my hogs.....No. (And the weird wormy tails)

My DD and I share the guinea-pig care. They are messy little tykes. noisy, totally lead by their stomachs but give 200% back.
Every shopping trip involves "something for the boys".
Every evening they come in for a cuddle, GP2 will cuddle DH or I. DD cuddles her GP1 (He adores her- he's her boy)

They are The Best grin
Though sows are easier-not better- just easier.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 21-Apr-13 00:36:28

countingto3 my DD says they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed and she's right. But that's part of their charm grin

I love opening the haybox lid and seeing two little noses poking out (they bury themselves in deep straw, opposite corners)

JumpingJackSprat Sun 21-Apr-13 01:02:13

Guineas need added vitamin c to their food, plenty of handling early or they will be timid. two girls better, or two boys are ok from babies, our last two were brothers. keep inside or in a shed/garage in winter if possible. Need to be let out to run about regularly. id def recommend guineas as better pets overall. make sure small dcs are well supervised when handling to make sure theyre not rough. claws will need clipping fairly often but easy enough to do it at home but get someone to show you. Get from a rescue if possible not a pet shop. and good luck smile

Maryz Sun 21-Apr-13 01:03:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 21-Apr-13 01:10:09

deep hay not straw (oops) (I do use soft barley hay at the back of their sleeping box to insulate but they sleep in hay)

chocoholic05 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:27:11

a cat! I didn't mention a cat! lol! !!grin smile

chocoholic05 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:48:04

however going on holiday is an important consideration. We are going away for both may Bank holidays and also in August. What do others do with their pets when they go away?

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