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Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!
Email: thebunnyhut101@yahoo.com

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Should NOT be Companions

The common practice of keeping a rabbit and a guinea pig together for company is not ideal – for a number of reasons. It’s likely that the habit of keeping the two together came about because there used to be some issues about the safety of neutering rabbits. So rather than keep them on their own, guinea pigs were used as company.
But guinea pigs certainly got the raw end of the deal in this situation, and now that neutering is more common, it’s far better to keep animals with company of their own kind.

As well as that, the following are reasons why rabbits don’t make good housemates for our beloved guinea pigs:




    • Rabbits are far bigger and more powerful than guinea pigs. With their strong back legs, a kick from a rabbit can prove extremely damaging, even fatal. A rabbit might not intentionally kick out at a piggie, but whether they mean it or not, one kick can be disastrous.






      • Rabbits carry the bacteria, Bordetalla bronchisetica – a common cause of respiratory disease that guinea pigs are extremely susceptible to. This, along with the risk of kicks is the two strongest reasons why the two different species shouldn't be kept together.


      • A very common bacteria found in their respiratory tract is Pasteurella. While antibiotic treatments can control this disease, it often lingers on in a
         
        carrier state and requires occasional treatment. Rabbits can live a long life as carriers of Pasteurella and not even show any symptoms. However, guinea pigs are highly susceptible to respiratory infections, and their fragile immune system is not equipped to battle this pathogen. If exposed to Pasteurella, a guinea pig is many times more likely than a rabbit to succumb to the organism and die. It is a chance that not many of us would like to take with our beloved pets.  




      There are a few other reasons why guinea pigs draw the short straw if they’re kept with rabbits.


      • The behavior of the two different animals is rather different. They communicate in different ways and act differently. This means that they don’t really understand each other, and this can lead to a rabbit bullying a smaller guinea pig. And this in turn causes unnecessary stress to the pig.




      • They both have rather different needs in their diet. Sure, they both eat unlimited hay, along with fresh vegetables. But guinea pigs need to have vitamin C on a daily basis, whereas rabbits don’t. Whether you feed this by adding vitamin C to their food, through pellets or in any other way, rabbits don’t need it.
      • (See bottom for both food pyramids)









      • A rabbit can injure a guinea pig during play or bullying by biting him on the back of the neck.






      As you can see, there are rather a lot of reasons why the two don’t make the best of companions. Of course, there’s always the exception to any rule – you only need look at many of the weird and wonderful playmates that are posted all over the internet to see that. But the evidence against keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together is pretty overwhelming, and if possible should be avoided, for the sake of our gorgeous little guinea pigs.


      Story of an experienced owner:

      Even if you attempt to remove all the dangers mentioned above, you may find yourself in a situation of severe incompatibility. Listen to what one guinea pig owner has to say about her experimentation with a rabbit-guinea pig match:

      "At first I thought it was a great idea to put my rabbit in with my guinea pigs. They were free-range so I believed that space would not be an issue. I had the rabbit blood-tested for Pasteurella (note: these tests often give false negatives) and designed what I thought was a clever environment, with the rabbit’s food up high where only he could get at it.

      But the situation didn’t work out the way I had planned. The rabbit went around eating all the guinea pigs’ pellets and hardly touched his hay. He was possessive about his vegetables and would 'ork' and dive at the guinea pigs if they came near him during veggie time. And I soon realized that my rabbit was very lonely. He would follow the guinea pigs around and groom them, then put his head down to be groomed in return. The pigs would just walk away. Pretty soon he was spending all his time on his food shelf, looking bored and angry.

      I realized that I had made a mistake and adopted a nice spayed female bun to be his companion. Everyone is much, much happier now."

      But the situation didn’t work out the way I had planned. The rabbit went around eating all the guinea pigs’ pellets and hardly touched his hay. He was possessive about his vegetables and would 'ork' and dive at the guinea pigs if they came near him during veggie time. And I soon realized that my rabbit was very lonely. He would follow the guinea pigs around and groom them, then put his head down to be groomed in return. The pigs would just walk away. Pretty soon he was spending all his time on his food shelf, looking bored and angry.
      I realized that I had made a mistake and adopted a nice spayed female bun to be his companion. Everyone is much, much happier now."


      This story illustrates another point that should be considered if you ever find yourself contemplating a guinea pig-rabbit match:
       



      Social Life. Have you ever watched two rabbits together? They like to snuggle and groom each other constantly. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, do not groom each other on a regular basis. Nor are they habitual cuddlers. Instead, they like to maintain their own personal space and don’t often like to share. In this kind of environment, a rabbit could become very lonely and a guinea pig might start feeling harassed. Keep in mind, then, that rabbits and guinea pigs are quite different animals, one of them desiring a close, affectionate bonded pair, the other sharing a more limited interaction with a herd.




      Above all else, we should remember that it is our responsibility to provide a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for our pets that resembles as closely as possible their natural environment. And guinea pigs cannot thrive in an environment where their well-being is threatened by an improper diet, the risk of injury, foreign pathogens, and companions with whom they do not share a common language.



      Food Pyramids for Guinea Pigs and Rabbits. 
      Notice the difference in the veggies and that Guinea Pigs need a DAILY source of vitamin C since they can not produce their own.





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