Helpful tips for those who are looking to get Teddies as pets:
In the past I have had owners contact me saying their baby cavy they adopted that was living alone was not eating or drinking. I believe babies get very stressed, depressed and lonely when they are re-homed without having a cage mate. They adapt much faster and easier if they have a buddy. I no longer offer babies to adopt to single homes to prevent this situation from happening. If you are looking to adopt babies under 2 months old they MUST have a cage mate (can be a current animal you have or another available animal from me or other source).
Guinea pigs are very social animals and I, as well as others who have studied guinea pigs, highly recommend keeping them in pairs or groups as this makes for a happier and longer lifespan.
A lot of people ask me whether there is a difference in temperament between males and females?
Over the years I have observed that each guinea pig has its own personality and temperament that does not relate to its gender. However, if at any time you ask me what sex my sweetest guinea pig is at the time I will always reply that it is a male. A significant portion of how a guinea pig's temperament turns out is learned, meaning the more you hold them and interact with them as they grow up, the friendlier and calmer they will be around you. Some of temperament comes from genetics, so breeding animals with favorable temperaments and not breeding those that are more high strung can help to acquire animals with greater potential for calm temperaments. At any given time, I would say I only have 1 or 2 more skittish animals that I use for breeding just because they have such great show potential that I try to breed them once to pass on those qualities, but only choose to keep a baby that is not as skittish as their parent. I do sell a lot of my animals as pets so I take temperament into account in all my breedings.
Is there a temperament difference between ages?
That is a big YES! Babies from the ages of a couple days old up to 2-4 months are usually pretty skittish around humans. They are just naturally wary of us until they have been around them long enough to begin to trust that we aren't going to hurt them. They calm down significantly as they get older and the more they are handled properly. My adults are all very calm and used to being handled so if that is what you are looking for in a pet, I would recommend getting something over 4 months old. Babies may seem cute and fuzzy, but they take time to "tame."
Do males smell more then females?
This probably arises from the knowledge that male rabbits spray and smell pretty awful. This is not true of male guinea pigs. The only time I usually smell my male guinea pigs is when I first put them in with a female for breeding. They will mark their territory then by dragging their scent glad around the cage and even this only smell for a few minutes and far less repugnant then a rabbit. Males kept with other males or alone usually don't display this behavior and don't smell any more then a female.
Another common question is if you are planning on keeping multiple animals together in one cage, shouldn't they be female?
Not necessarily. I have success putting any males younger then 2 months together in a community pen and often have one cage of four young males together at any given time who all get along fine. It is very tricky to get two adult males to get along though and that depends mostly on the temperament of each of them. If both are more dominant, they will not get along and could injure each other in a fight. Sometimes you can get two adult males to get along if their temperaments complement each other such as one that is submissive and one being slightly more dominant, but that can take trial and error to find out which animals will get along. If you have an adult male that you are looking to get a buddy for, I recommend getting a very young male between the ages of 4 weeks and no more then two months old. I find that the adult males don't see young males as a threat and will more readily tolerate a younger male as a new cage mate. Very often I can put a newly weaned male in with any of my adult males and have no trouble with fighting.
It can also be tricky getting adult females to get along without fighting. That can also be trial and error before you find animals with complementary temperaments who will get along. Adult females can also be aggressive toward younger ones, there is not guarantee that just because they are younger they will get along. With females, it seems easiest to get ones that are around the same size to get along. Larger ones tend to be more dominant towards smaller ones, but if they are around the same size, I find they get along easier.
The best recommendation I have for those who want to have multiple animals housed in the same cage is to get as big of cage as you can fit. C&C cages has good recommendations for sizes of cages that will promote a happy living situation for multiple animals. If you have too small of a cage, it is likely that multiple animals will fight whether male or female. I would say the smallest size cage that you would want to try to house two animals in would be a 24" x 30". I find that anything smaller then this is hard to find two compatible animals that will get along in a smaller space. Having multiple food dishes, water bottles, and igloos can help give each animal their own space so they don't fight over these objects if that is a problem. I have a couple C&C cages that I keep multiple females in. One is 2'x3' and the other is 2'x5' and I can usually get any of my females to get along in those bigger cages. I also have smaller cages that I usually use for breeding pairs that are 24"x30" and it is much harder to find two females that will get along in that smaller size of cage.
Do I make money from raising and selling guinea pigs?
That is a big NO. My prices are set to help defer the cost of raising Teddy cavies. I absolutely do not make money off of them. It is a hobby and I spend several hundred dollars every year out of pocket to care for them. The money I get from selling goes directly back into paying for their care. To give you an idea, it pays for pellets, bedding, daily veggies, and hay but nothing beyond that. It does not pay for supplies (cages, water bottles, food dishes, KMR etc), veterinary costs, monthly treatments for mites, vit C supplements, or showing costs.