Rabbits & Other Pets
Guinea Pigs with Rabbits? NOT a Good Idea.
Despite how it seems in the cute and fuzzy Blockbuster commercials, guinea pigs and rabbits do NOT make ideal companions. Such pairings are often disastrous, both for the guinea pigs and the rabbits; so before you attempt this, please give serious consideration to the following issues:
|Diet. Although guinea pigs and rabbits are both herbivores who eat primarily hay, they require different nutrients and consume different quantities. For instance, guinea pigs need a regular supply of Vitamin C, which they get both from their daily vegetable intake and specially-formulated pellets. Guinea pigs should NOT eat rabbit pellets, as these are formulated to meet the rabbit’s digestive needs only and do not contain extra Vitamin C. In addition, some rabbit pellets, designed for use by breeders and labs, contain antibiotics that are potentially harmful to guinea pigs. To complicate matters even further, while the House Rabbit Society recommends limiting a bun’s pellet diet, guinea pigs can have unlimited access to their own pellets. And when it comes to vegetables, it can become very difficult to make sure that each animal is provided with the correct roughage for their nutritional needs. Attempting to manage these very different dietary requirements can be a very challenging task.|
|Size and strength. Even the smallest dwarf rabbit can pose a physical danger to a guinea pig, especially if space is limited. Rabbits often kick or stomp with their powerful hind feet when they are expressing their emotions. Whether a rabbit is jumping for joy or thumping out of annoyance, a guinea pig stands a good chance of getting hurt. This is not as uncommon as you might think. Rescuers and other concerned animal welfarists often encounter guinea pigs whose legs have been broken after being caged in a pet store with a rabbit. Such injuries often require surgery and a lifetime regimen of anti-inflammatory medication. |
|A recent story:|
|A guinea pig and was bonded with a dwarf rabbit. All was well on getting along, until a noise in the home startled the rabbit who was lying next to the guinea pig. The unintended injury caused from the jump of the dwarf rabbit resulted in the death of the guinea pig.|
|Immunity. Most animals carry organisms which are not harmful to them but which can be fatal to other species. In the case of rabbits, 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. |
|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."
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.
Rabbit info contributed by Nikki, Orange County Cavy Haven.
Cages for Rabbits
Fore more info:
See the Forum for C&C Cages for Rabbits
See the Gallery for C&C Cage Photos for Other Pets, including Rabbits
Clearly, rabbits need more space than guinea pigs. Also, being jumpers, multiple levels and shelves are more important. However, rabbits don't necessarily need ramps up to the additional levels. They are usually quite capable of jumping up to them.
Instructions for Cindi's Rabbit Condo
For more photos,
please visit Cindi's Rabbit Condo Gallery
Materials for Cage
51 Grids (14in x 14in) for a 3+ level by 4 grids wide by 2 grids deep cage.Approximately 500 to 600 Plastic Cable Ties.1 piece of Linoleum 56 inches x 28 inches for bottom level (or (2) pieces this size if not carpeting upper level).2 pieces of Linoleum 28 inches x 14 inches each for covering 2 shelves.83.5 inches of metal stair edge protector. (27 ¾ inches for each shelf and (2) 14 inch pieces for upper level edges).3 wood 2x2s (Cut (3) 58 inch pieces and cut (2) 30 inch pieces).1 4ft x 8ft piece of ½ inch plywood (Cut (1) piece 63 ½ inches x 34 ½ inches. With remainder of 4x8 cut (2) pieces 27 ¾ inches x 14 inches. For the trim boards cut (2) pieces 63 ½ inches x 2 ¾ inches and cut (2) pieces 34 ½ inches x 2 ¾ inches) *Home Depot will cut the wood for free if you buy the wood from them.1 piece of carpet (if you carpet upper level) 56 inches x 28 inches (if you carpet shelves you need (2) pieces cut 28 inches x 14 inches too).1 small container of linoleum glue. (I prefer Henry’s.)1 trowel to spread glue.2 large door hinges.1 small can or 1 spray can of enamel (non toxic when dry) paint.14 small corner brackets with screws.(Optional) ½ inch staples (hammer in type) (2)12 inch bungee cords (5)5 small spring clips 1 small can of paint primerClear Silicone Caulk4 sturdy swivel wheels
|Materials for Ramp|
1 piece of 1 inch plank board cut 21 ½ inches long x 11 inches wide.33 inches of 1 inch x ½ inch board cut (3) pieces 11 inches long.2 small hinges with screws.1 ¼ inch wood screws (6).Wood glue.
Trowel glue onto the 63 ½ inch x 34 ½ inch piece of plywood and also onto the (2) 27 ¾ inch x 14 inch
pieces of plywood. Cover each with Linoleum and smooth down well. Cover one edge of each 27 ¾ inch plank with a Metal Stair Edge Protector and screw on securely. Put Set aside.
Prime trim boards, let dry, and then paint. (2 coats may be needed) Let dry thoroughly. Set aside.
File all corners of the stair edge protectors to make them rounded. Set aside.
Set the front aside and lay out another set of 12 grids the same way and connect them together the same as you did for the front. This is the back of the cage.
Set the back aside and lay out 6 grids (2 across by 3 down) and connect them together with Cable Ties.
Set the end aside and lay out another set of 6 grids the same way and connect them together for the other end.
Set that end aside and lay out 8 grids (4 across by 2 down) and connect them together.
Set the top aside and lay out 7 grids (4 across by 2 down except for the last row).
Set Upper level aside.
Using an electric sander, sand around the last 2 inches of each end. Make them narrow enough to fit thru the small squares in a grid. Set them aside.
Place the back of the cage on the floor. Put an end on each side of the back and connect ends to back with Cable Ties.
Stand it up and turn ends inward.
From the inside, slip the ends of a 58 inch 2x2 into the ends of the cage. Place it 5 small squares down from the top of the second row of grids and 9 little squares from the back of cage. (The 2x2 should be almost across the middle of the cage lengthwise). This will be the support for the upper level.
With Cable Ties connect the Upper level to the back and sides so that it is resting directly on the support.
Your ends should now be perpendicular to the back and upper level. Again from the inside, slip the ends of a 58 inch 2x2 into the small square at the very top of the cage, directly in line with the support for the upper level. This is the support for the middle of the top of cage. Then insert the ends of the last 58 inch 2x2 into the small square at the very top and front of the cage. It should be in the first small square at the front of cage. This is the support for the front of the cage top.
For each shelf connect (2) grids together with Cable Ties.
Both shelves are attached to the right side of the cage. The first shelf will be attached to the bottom row of grids (2 small squares down from top of bottom row). Attach to back and sides with Cable ties. The second shelf will be attached later.
Place the 56 inch piece of carpet over the upper level. Punch holes in carpet with an awl or nail and use Cable Ties to fasten carpet around the edges of the upper level. Wrap carpet over edges of missing grid and using pliers, tightly squeeze the 14 inch pieces of Metal Stair Edge Protector over the 2 carpeted edges. (Or if you prefer Linoleum, you can glue Linoleum over a sheet of Luan cut to fit upper level.)
Now, with Cable Ties, attach the other shelf to the top row of grids 3 small squares up from the bottom of the top grid.
From the inside, slide the 30 inch 2x2s into the back of cage into the square directly under the shelf so that shelf rests directly on the support. Have someone hold this in place for you and set one of the small Linoleum covered planks on top of the grid shelf. Use 2 corner brackets underneath each shelf and screw one side of bracket into back of 2x2 support and the other side of bracket into bottom of wood shelf. There will be a small space in between where the wire grid is.
Now attach front to the cage with Cable ties. Make sure you attach shelves to front as well. Cut away the Cable Ties along the top edge of the 2 middle grids on the bottom row and cut away the Cable Ties down the center of these 2 grids. This will leave them connected only at 1 side like a hinge. This is the doorway to the bottom level. Use small spring clamps to “lock” the door.
Cable Tie the back row of the Top onto the back of the cage. Cable Tie only the back row of grids to the sides. Leave the front row free to lift. This is the top doorway. You can staple the front of cage to the front (top) support for to make it sturdier. Use bungee cords to lock down lid.
|For the Base|
Set the large Linoleum covered plywood onto the ground. Using corner brackets, attach the trim boards to the back and sides. Caulk where the trim meets the base across the back and sides. Use large door hinges to attach front trim board. Make sure you position hinges to allow trim board to swing outward and down. Turn base upside down and attach the swivel wheels near the corners.
Place cage onto base. Drill sets of 2 small holes (one hole inside cage and the other hole outside cage). From underside of base use Cable Ties to secure cage to base. Then cover holes with Silicone Caulk.
|For the Ramp |
Glue the 1x2 strips onto the 11 inch plank to form steps. Turn over and secure with screws. Attach small hinge to back (at top) of ramp and attach the other end to the wood support for bottom shelf. Position it so that it can swing up for cleaning floor of cage.
|Options for the Cage|
Steps can be covered with carpet. If rabbit is too small to reach upper level from shelf, you can make a 14 inch x 14 inch step up on the shelf. Make a box out of 1 x 2s and top with ½ inch plywood and cover with carpet. Attach to side and front of cage with straight brackets.
*Note: Pre-drill all holes in wood to avoid splitting.
Additional Rabbit Information
As bad as the guinea pig situation is when it comes to ignorant pet store purchases, impulse buys, overpopulation, backyard breeders, show and hobby breeders, breeding for labs, and woefully inadequate cage space, rabbits have it much, much worse.
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