If you’ve ever raised both guinea pigs and chickens, you may have wondered whether it’s possible for these two different species to coexist in the same place. A common question among people with both animals is whether guinea pigs and chickens can live together. The answer is yes, but there are some important considerations to make before taking the plunge.
In this article, we will go further in detail on how you can make your guinea pigs and chickens live together happily.
Can Guinea Pigs Live With Chickens?
The short answer is: yes. Guinea pigs and chickens can live together peacefully—and in fact, they often do, especially in the wild. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you introduce them to one another.
Guinea pigs are prey animals. Even though chickens are no natural predators, guinea pigs have been known to have fatal heart attacks from fright when introduced to chickens for the first time. If you decide to introduce them, do so gradually and make sure your guinea pig has a safe place to retreat to if he feels threatened.
If you’re keeping both animals inside your home, be cautious about keeping uneaten food around. Chickens will eat anything, and guinea pigs can get sick if they eat too many treats that aren’t good for them (like most foods that humans enjoy). Guinea pigs should also not be allowed access to chicken feed; they might not be able to digest it properly and could suffer permanent damage as a result.
The Risk of Diseases Being Transferred
The risk of transferring diseases from guinea pigs to chickens is something that has come upon more than one occasion. It seems that many people who keep both of these animals, keep them in close proximity to each other. This can be a good thing if the guinea pigs are well-cared for and healthy. If they are not healthy, however, there is a chance that they may pass on some of their illnesses to your chickens.
One very common disease that can be transferred from guinea pigs to chickens is ringworm. Ringworm is a fungus, which can cause skin lesions on the animal’s body and foot, as well as hair loss and cracked feet. Guinea pigs often carry this fungus with no symptoms, so it can easily be passed onto your chickens without you even being aware of it.
Another disease, which can be transferred from guinea pigs to chickens, is salmonellosis. Guinea pigs are known to carry salmonella bacteria without showing any symptoms of illness; therefore it is possible for them to spread this disease to your chickens without you ever knowing about it. Once the disease has been passed onto your chickens, they will show symptoms such as depression, weakness, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it may cause death within just a few days.
Pros of Keeping Guinea Pigs and Chickens Together
Keeping guinea pigs and chickens together is hard to imagine, but many people have been successful at it. Some of the reasons they may choose to do so include the following:
-Both types of animals are small and have similar housing requirements.
-They are both warm-blooded creatures that need heat in the winter.
-They are both ground-dwelling animals with similar diet needs.
Cons of Keeping Guinea Pigs and Chickens Together
Although keeping guinea pigs and chickens together in the same enclosure is not a good idea, sometimes it can’t be helped. During the summer months (when the weather is warm), guinea pigs can live outside in a secure chicken coop or run alongside chickens. This arrangement may work for a time, but ultimately it’s best if you have separate enclosures for your animals.
Here are some of the downsides to keeping chickens and guinea pigs in the same run:
-Guinea pigs are prey animals and may develop stress-related health problems if they’re kept with other prey animals such as rabbits and chickens.
-Chickens produce ammonia that can irritate a guinea pig’s sensitive respiratory system. Guinea pigs also tend to lie on the ground floor of their enclosure and would therefore be exposed to this harmful gas more than other species. Guinea pigs don’t fare well in environments with ammonia levels higher than 25 parts per million (ppm) or 0.002 percent.
-Chickens tend to be cooped up and bored easily, which means they’ll spend more time picking on your guinea pig than doing anything else. They’ll chase him around the enclosure and peck at him until he’s so stressed out he begins losing his fur.
Can Guinea Pigs Live Outside?
Yes, guinea pigs can live outside. They are relatively hardy animals, and even if the temperature drops to below freezing, they should be fine. Just make sure that their cage is always out of the wind and in a sheltered area.
It’s also important to note that if you live somewhere with a lot of predators like ferrets, foxes, weasels, hawks, or cats and dogs roaming around, your guinea pig would not be safe outside unless you have an absolutely predator-proof enclosure. Most of these animals are very cunning and adaptable—a fox might be able to get into your yard in the middle of the night while everyone sleeps just to check out what’s up with your pets.
The biggest danger for a guinea pig living outside is the heat (remember: they came from South America originally). If it’s very hot, you need to make sure that their cage has plenty of shade and is in an area where they won’t get overheated.
Guinea pigs are a lot like people when it comes to heat—they’ll love being outdoors on a warm spring day but will want nothing more than to curl up in front of a fan or air conditioning unit on a hot summer day.
Can Chickens and Guinea Pigs Eat the Same Food?
Can your chickens and guinea pigs eat the same food? No, they shouldn’t. Chickens are omnivores, whereas guinea pigs are herbivores. Chickens need a balanced diet that contains calcium and protein to keep them healthy. Guinea pigs need fiber and vitamin C, which are not found in chicken feed. Feeding them the same food will not provide these essentials to either species.
Chickens are omnivorous animals, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Therefore, they require a diet with a balance of both protein and calcium to survive. Calcium is necessary for chickens to produce strong eggshells and protein is needed for the growth and production of feathers, eggs, and meat (if you’re raising chickens for meat). A good chicken feed should have 6-18% protein content depending on the age of the bird (higher percentages are needed for younger birds).
Guinea pigs, on the other hand, are herbivores that consume only plant matter. They need a diet rich in fiber and low in calories since their digestive systems can’t break down fat well. Fiber is important because, without it, their teeth may overgrow and cause problems eating later on.
In addition to fiber, guinea pigs require vitamin C because their bodies can not make it on their own. Not enough vitamin C could lead to scurvy disease in your guinea pig.
As long as you are able to properly care for guinea pigs and chickens, i.e. keep their habitats clean and safe, they can survive together. In fact, the guinea pigs will be the most relaxed when sharing the space with chickens because of their natural inclination towards living in open spaces. Guinea pigs need a lot of room to move around in, while the chickens will only spend time in their cage while they’re laying eggs or roosting at night.