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General GP care compared to rabbit care


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 14, 2012
Hello, I am brand new to this site and am still trying to navigate my way. I am considering adopting a guinea pig or two and have been trying to learn more. I have kept indoor bunnies over the years and am very familiar with their needs.

Cavy care seems very similar - from what I've read so far. Does anyone have experience with both that can explain the differences in care?

For background, my bunnies were litter-trained. They did not have bedding in their cage (had solid floor and carpet).

I'm particularly interested in bedding (if necess) and cleaning up after them.
Hello! Welcome to the forum Gandalf! (love your username, by the way!)


I want to start off by saying that I am NOT nor have I EVER BEEN a Rabbit owner. However, I have studied the Rabbit and learned about them through the fact that I am a Guinea Pig owner and many topics relating to them are the same for Rabbits I believe.

First things first, to address your interest in bedding, there are MANY options to go by! It is actually quite fun to experiment a little bit:

Aspen and Pine-based beddings will do the trick! However, I recommend using Fleece for your bedding. Yes, Fleece. Hard to believe, eh? Well, not really. Many owners of Piggies will recommend Fleece to you. Please look at this website for information regarding Fleece, as well as some more tidbits about Guinea Pigs in general:

(broken link removed)ust to run-down in a scale size about using Fleece as bedding:

Fleece is excellent to use and easy to clean. It is reusable and will save you money and hassle. This is because you won't have to replace the bedding, and your piggie's pee will go right through the Fleece and be caught on the towels. (See the link I provided for further collaboration on the topic)


OK, now to answer some of your Cavy questions:

Rabbits can live outdoors. While Guinea Pigs can, this certainly isn't recommended. And, for housing, you shouldn't use a Rabbit hutch. DEFINITELY USE BEDDING, WHATEVER METHOD YOU CHOOSE TO. GUINEA PIGS ARE FAR MORE HAPPY WITH BEDDING.

If you make a C&C cage, your Guinea Pigs can have the LARGEST cage possible and they will have a lot of fun.

Guinea Pigs eat Timothy Hay, as well as Rabbits. Guinea Pigs are social animals, and having a partner is CRUCIAL in Guinea Pig lives, maybe even more-so than in Rabbits. This is because Guinea Pigs are herd animals, i.e they live and run in herds in the wild, so a natural instinct is to search for others of their kind.

OK, because I do not want to extend to far on the Rabbit side of my explanation, seeing as I am not an owner, I will let you know what Guinea Pigs need from here on out and you can compare the answers to how you cared for your Rabbits.

1: Guinea pigs NEED a friend of their kind, the same sex unless you want them to breed and you have a good home for the babies.

2: LOTS of FRESH fruits and veggies are 100% REQUIRED in a Guinea Pigs daily diet. Daily, you should feed your Guinea Pigs 1 cup of veggies PER PIG PER DAY. These/this cups/cup can+ should consist of the following:

Diced Yellow Bell Pepper DAILY I use 15-20 diced pieces per pig.

4-6 Stalks of Cilantro

Lotsa Lettuce. Preferably NOT ICEBERG. Romaine lettuce, for example, has more nutrients, while Iceberg lettuce doesn't have any real nutrients.

1 Baby Carrot and 1 Grape/Cherry Tomato

1 Orange or Apple slice about every 2-3 days, as they are high in sugar


1/4 cup (or whatever measurement is recommended on package) of a Pellet diet should be mixed in per pig per day for their diets. You can mix the pellets and food into one (or two, depending on number of pigs) food bowl.


You should clean the cage COMPLETELY at least 1 time in about 1 week. You may "Spot" clean the cage every day or so. (you pick up individual poops and throw out uneaten hay and the like. Otherwise, your cage should NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE HAVE A NOTICEABLE ODOR.

See this page for more information regarding cleaning your cage:

Also, if you are using/planning on using Fleece for bedding as I recommended, you can take everything out of the cage and roll up the Fleece. HAVE A GARBAGE BAG HANDY. Put the fleece in a garbage bag, and carry the fleece and towels outside and give em' a good ole' shakin'. Then, put everything in the washer and wash WITHOUT FABRIC SOFTENER, and dry thoroughly before placing it back in the cage.


You have to keep Guinea Pigs occupied. You can do this with toilet paper rolls filled with Hay. There are many kinds of toys, not just Hay toys. These include:


And more. You can browse pet stores and check out their selections of toys.


Brush your Guinea Pigs almost daily. This makes them happy if they have short hair, and if they have long hair (Abyssinian) brushing with a wire brush will prevent matting of the fur,


I hope I have been a help! I wish I knew more to elaborate on....... Erm, I don't really because you haven't said anything specific, but I hope I have been helpful to you!

I really thought this out. I know this post isn't probably perfectly 100% accurate, but it is for the most part. Others can feel free to add on/edit my post with their own advice.

So, while Guinea Pigs are the same as Rabbits in many areas, they are VERY DIVERSE in a good sense as well.


Good luck with your Piggie ventures, and have fun!

I have also never owned a rabbit, but I can give you some general info about cavy care.
-Hay is most important. Pigs need it 24/7. Young cavies can have alfalfa hay, for the higher level of calcium that they need to grow. Adults need any type of grass hay. Some grass hays are timothy, orchard, bluegrass, brome, etc. Alfalfa is not a grass hay, it is a legume hay and only suitable for pigs under 6 mos.
-Pigs need 1/4 - 1/8 of a cup daily. The best brands are KMs Hayloft, Oxbow, and Sweet Meadow
-Pigs need a variety of veggies, at least 1 cup a day. Check out Ly&Pigs charts in the nutrition section. Fruit should only be given a few times a week as a treat. Red and green leaf lettuces, cilantro, and green bell peppers are excellent staples, and then other stuff can be added into the mix for more variety.
-I used fleece, and I loved it. It is a bit of work, and not for everyone. Use the search bar to check out the fleece study. I would do a full cage cleaning every second day. With some beddings like pine pellets it only needs to be done every week or so. Pine and aspen can be used, but they have to be kiln dried. Cedar cannot be used, period. Carefresh works well too, but it is costly.
-C&C cages are the best because you can ensure your piggies have a large living space. Petstore cages are too small. The only petstore cage that is suitable are the Midwest cages. There are many alternatives to C&C cages, just look around the site.
Piggies are social animals and do best with at least 1 friend. All pigs are different and there may be some rare ones that don't like to have friends.
I'm sure the other stuff like grooming, exercise time, etc., are very similar to rabbits. Head over to guinealynx.info for medical care and advice for cavies. One thing I see done with rabbits is harnesses and leashes. These cannot be used on cavies. Their spines are very delicate and can easily be injured or broken when wearing a harness and leash.
I've had rabbits over the years and have 2 house rabbits now, along with my 2 guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs do need bedding or fleece in their cage because they do not litter train like rabbits do and will pee/poop all over generally. Some people have trained their pigs to go in a certain place but it's the exception, rather than the rule.

They have similar diets but my rabbits eat a lot more pellets than my pigs which only get 1/4 cup each. I give them both the same veggies each day-usually a combo of green pepper, lettuce of some type, cilantro, and/or carrots.

And they both get unlimited hay.

The rabbits tend to be more social than the pigs IMO but the pigs like to sit on your lap and be petted, where as my rabbits don't.

I think my pigs are easier overall to care because their bedding needs changed less often (I change the rabbit's litter box daily) and they don't shed as much.
Here's what I can offer.
I belong to a rabbit forum, as well as this one, and know alot on the two subjects.
Guinea Pigs, Unlike rabbits, are usually not litter trained. Now, it's not necessarily IMPOSSIBLE to do so with a guinea pig, as mine naturally poops in the same corner, and I added a litter tray, BOOM! Instantly litter trained.
Both need a large cage. (Preferably C&C)
Both unlimited Hay.
Both Lap Time and/or Floor Time, depending on said animal.
Both need Pellets. Sweet Meadow and Oxbow are two I know off the top of my head. NO pellets with NUTS, BERRIES, DRIED STUFF, or really anything extra. Just plain pellets are much healthier.
I'm going to say Bunnies are quieter. Someone might argue (though I doubt it), but as I've personally never heard a noise come from the rabbit itself, gonna go with yeah, they're quieter.
Guinea Pigs Don't NEED to be fixed, necessarily. (another debatable topic) As long as you don't plan on housing together with other genders, you'll be ok. Guinea Pigs, unlike Rabbits, don't have a high sex-drive.
Both enjoy companions.
Both need vegetables. No iceberg lettuce.
Rabbits require more ear care, especially Lops.
I agree, fleece is a good option.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and agree with RubyRain.
Rabbits are (Generally) Larger than guinea pigs. Eat more, poop more, drink more, so yes, harder to care for than guinea pigs. HOWEVER don't take that as me saying guinea pigs are easy. These are NOT in anyway an animal to buy from a pet store, put in a cage, and call it a day. This is a big commitment that no one should take lightly. This is an animal fully needing you to survive. If you do indeed get some Cavies, Your in for a long, wonderful journey.

(PS. If I'm wrong on anything, feel free to tell me!:D)
1: Guinea pigs NEED a friend of their kind, the same sex unless you want them to breed and you have a good home for the babies.

I'd definitely say NO BREEDING WHATSOEVER. Plenty of guinea pigs are in shelters needing homes. And breeding the pigs RESPONSIBLY requires so much time, money, research, and care than it seems to avoid lethals and death. This forum is not necessarily anti-breeding, but it's very PRO-ADOPTION. What I just said has been said a million times already, and probably will be repeated a million more. Having a good home for the babies isn't nearly enough.
Thank you, all, for your responses - most helpful. Dietary needs are amazingly similar between rabbits and guinea pigs. I did not know that pigs needed to be brushed often.

The fleece bedding sounds like a great idea. I've made c&c type cages for my rabbits in the past (multi-level, etc). It sounds fun to create a new one for guinea pigs.

Thanks again!

PS. Don't worry, VCrayon. I prefer to get my pets from a rescue and don't intend to ever breed them. (My bunnies were all rescues)
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I've had rabbits for 2 years now, and guinea pigs for 5 years. In my experience guinea pigs are far easier to look after!!

- Rabbits shed bucket loads of hair, guinea pigs shed hair but it doesn't seem to be in the same sort of quantities. Guinea pig hair is also coarser so doesn't float everywhere like rabbit hair tends to do.
- Rabbits are much more destructive - I can't use fleece blankets with the bunnies because they'll just destroy them, whereas the fleece bedding method with guinea pigs works very well.
- Rabbits seem to need much more enrichment. Guinea pigs enjoy tunnels and toys, but don't always play with toys to the same extent the bunnies do. And I've found that when the bunnies have plenty of things they are allowed to destroy, they don't destroy the things they aren't meant to quite as much!!
- Rabbits require more room. I've got the bunnies in the bottom level of the guinea pig cage which gives them roughly 6ft x 2.5ft but they then also have a pen out the front that is at least 6ft x 6ft. To be honest, I wouldn't put them in anything smaller. In comparison, the guinea pigs are quite happy with the space they've got. I think just being slightly larger animals with a longer stride - they require that bit more space.
- Guinea pigs are near on impossible to toilet train but rabbits toilet train quite easily and successfully!

- Diet is quite similar, although there seems to be a larger emphasis on hay with rabbits. The main difference is guinea pigs can not formulate their own vitamin c whereas rabbits can.
I've made c&c type cages for my rabbits in the past (multi-level, etc). It sounds fun to create a new one for guinea pigs.

I just wanted to add, just in case you didn't already know, that a guinea pig cage needs to have the required cage space on one main level. Guinea pigs are naturally low to the ground dwellers and need a nice wide space on a single level to do zoomies. Many pigs do enjoy levels, but they are just an added bonus.
Also, @Gandalf, make sure you check the sexes of your pigs no matter where you get them from. You definitely want to make sure of the sexes nearly IMMEDIATELY after you obtain the pigs/pig.
(this only applies if you ever have 2 pigs)


^^Check there for more information. I can't stress to you how important sexing is!^^

(trust me, I was slammed previously for not checking the sexes within the week that I got my pigs. I felt so reassured once I did check, though! Luckily, both were females upon checking!)
I am a current owner of two little lop bunnies, and they are, I must agree ALOT of work compared to guinea pigs. Both of my bunnies need brushing daily as they shed immensely, while guinea pigs do not need to be brushed as frequently. Guinea pigs must not have pellets containing nuts or any of those other pieces as they are a chocking hazard. And,yes, it is a good thing that guinea pigs can be housed together with the same sex without being fixed, but it is recommended not to put more that two unfixed males together, or if you have to,provide ALOT of cage space to prevent fighting. Allthough it is a plus if you get them neutered, as is not is a must with guinea pigs. My bunnies and kept separate as they are both males and are not neutered yet, but I realized I'll have to act soon as one of them (4-5 months old) was exhausting himself yesterday evening trying to mate with three balloons and a soccer ball. It was hilarious, but made me realize. That is a definite advantage to guinea pigs, in my opinion. Anyways, good luck! :D
My experience and opinion as a long term rabbit and guinea pig owner, I have had guinea pigs on and off for 20 years and rabbits for 13, is that rabbits are much more difficult to care for than guinea pigs.

  1. Rabbits are smarter than guinea pigs. There are some very smart guinea pigs out there but on average I believe it is safe to say that rabbits are smarter than guinea pigs. Rabbits can be trained to do tricks and use a litter box. Most guinea pigs simply cannot do this.
  2. Rabbits are mischievous animals. You put up a blockade they spend the next half an hour trying to tear it down. They know there must be something good behind it! Like nummy wires to chew! For guinea pigs you put up a blockade and they just accept that is where their space ends. I have one guinea pig that will chew or try to push his way through but if he doesn’t make it in the first few tries he gives up.
  3. Rabbits chew!! Some more than others but nothing is safe from rabbit teeth. Carpet, wires, base boards, whatever it is most rabbits need to be trained NOT to destroy it. Guinea pigs generally leave these things alone. They just do not have an interest in gnawing a hole through your drywall.
  4. Rabbits need more space. They are bigger and build differently. They also need enough space to stand up and it helps if they have multiple levels to jump on. Guinea pigs just need one flat continued space. They don’t seem to really enjoying sitting on top of things but they can use multiple levels.
  5. Rabbits need more attention than guinea pigs. Rabbits seem to be more sociable towards humans than guinea pigs. They need and want attention from their owners. Most guinea pigs only crave human attention if that human comes bearing food. Out of all the guinea pigs I have had over the years only 3 sought out human attention if you didn’t have food.
  6. Guinea pigs need a guinea pig friend, rabbits can be happy with just a human friend.
  7. Rabbits smell more than guinea pigs. Something about rabbit urine just smells worse than guinea pigs. More ammonia probably.
  8. There is no such thing as guinea pig proofing your house. For free time guinea pigs will be happy running around your kitchen or in a blocked off area elsewhere. They do not need free range or a whole room just a big space for them to run around and play.
  9. If I were to rate the level of care a guinea pig requires on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most care, 1 the least) I would put them on a 4.5. They need daily attention and require a special diet, they require a big cage that needs daily cleaning but they are still relatively easy to care for. They do not require training and if you are busy one day and can’t spend much time with them they are still pretty happy being guinea pigs all on their own.
  10. If I were to rate the level of care a rabbit requires on the same scale I would put them at 7 or 8. Rabbits require all the same things as a guinea pig plus training, free space, rabbit proofing, toys, neutering, etc.
I believe you got a lot of answers on guinea pig care so I’ll skip that. The above list is my personal experience and opinions on rabbit care vs. guinea pig care or at least the biggest differences.
I do agree that rabbits are smarter! I've been amazed at some of the things my rabbits have learned to do and how they interact. I've set up a toy with items in holes and one rabbit will take them out and take them to the other rabbit. Then the other rabbit will put the items back in the holes and the whole process starts over-amazing!
Yes, they definitely like to tear down barriers too-they can even get mad about it sometimes and "thump" at you over it like saying "what have you done to my space!"

I love my pigs but they aren't too bright LOL
Also Little Fun Fact.
Guinea Pigs popcorn while happy, running and jumping around.
Bunnies Binky. The two are very similar if you watch it. Who knew? :D
i used to foster rabbits and know soewhat, i own 4 guinea pigs and consider myself quite knowledgable.
NEVER feed rabbit food to guinea pigs, it may be cheaper but their foods have diffrent things for diffrent species.
guinea pigs need more fruits and vegatables, fruits are a sometimes food.
i think the people above me have told you most of what you need to know,
and of course fleece and a C&C cage!
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