you expect to raise Cavies
for commercial purposes
the English is the kind that should pay you
They are easier to take care of than the long-haired
For laboratories, experimental
purposes, etc., it is the smooth-haired Cavy that is
in most demand.
If you are a Guinea Pig fancier
or are raising them for pet purposes it is merely a
matter of taste and choice.
The long-haired ones are
usually more expensive and sell for more, as they are
scarcer and are generally sold for pet and fancy purposes.
It is usually well to have a few Abyssinian
among your stock if you are raising many, as many
people prefer them for pets.
OF GUINEA PIGS
are three main uses to
which Guinea Pigs
are put, as food, as pets and for experimental purposes
in laboratory and medical research.
the largest demand is in the last named field.
is possibly no animal
so well adapted for
scientific experiments as the Guinea Pig.
testing and analyzing of serums and antitoxins and
for experimental purposes generally the demand is
enormous, thousands and thousands of them being
used every year.
Many of the large hospitals and
laboratories have been compelled to establish breeding
pens of their own in order to be sure of a constant
The demand here is steadily increasing
and many more would be used if they could
be obtained at a reasonable price.
A United States
Bulletin says, “Guinea Pigs sell at various prices
dependant on supply and demand.
price for several years has been about 75c, but laboratories
now report that suitable stock is short and
that they have been paying from $1.00 to $1.50 for
their supply of animals.”
For these purposes they
are used all the way from nine weeks to six months
or more old or when they weigh from 9 ounces and
The cost of rearing them to this age is very
little and a good profit is therefore assured the
demand for Guinea Pigs as
pets is very large.
They are so widely used in the medical field that the
pet stores have a hard time keeping enough on
hand to supply the local demand for pets.
are very interesting and perfectly harmless little
They do not bite or scratch and young
children can play with them.
They are not as common
as the ordinary pet, and being more of a novelty,
attract more attention.
When sold as pets they
usually bring more than when sold to the hospitals
and raisers are assured of a very large demand for
In England and Europe the Guinea
Pig is more widely raised than in America and there
are more fanciers who show and exhibit them extensively.
They are becoming more popular in this
country and are being exhibited more and more in
Pet Stock Shows.
A good show animal is worth all
the way from $10 to $100.
As a hobby the raising
of Guinea Pigs is most interesting and instructive
as there are so many experiments that can be made
in the breeding.
food purposes Guinea Pigs
are admirable, although
not many are eaten in this country at the
However, many of the newspapers
and magazines have run articles suggesting that
they be raised for this purpose and there is really
no reason why they should not be.
States Government indorses them as food animals
and advises that they be used in this connection.
In a few years we will possibly see Guinea Pigs sold
in the stores as rabbits and poultry are now.
no animal could be cleaner and being a vegetarian
exclusively, its flesh is of the best.
can be prepared just as a rabbit or squirrel. In
soups, stews, pies, or roasted, broiled or baked the
young Cavy is equal to any other animal.
purpose the animal should be about one-half grown.
feeding of Guinea Pigs is
a very simple matter.
Their main food is good hay or dried grass.
This should be before them all the time, as they will
not eat too much of it.
Be sure, however, that it is
not musty or mouldy.
addition to hay, they
should have at least once
a day, a feeding of green food.
This is essential in
keeping them from becoming constipated.
green food we mean such things as lawn clippings,
green clover, spinach, green corn stalks, lettuce,
celery tops, plantain, dandelion, grasses, etc., which
is, of course, very plentiful in the summer.
winter when you cannot get these, carrots, beets,
apples, cabbage, mangle beets, yellow turnips, etc.,
will take their place.
grains such as oats,
wheat, corn, bran, chops,
etc., should be fed them, as it makes flesh and gives
Oats is probably the best of them
Stale bread is also good, but it should not be
greasy or mouldy.
A good plan is to feed in the
morning hay and grain or a bran or chops mash
instead of the grain.
At noon some green stuff or
roots and at night hay. Give them all the hay they
Keep it before them all of the time, but
only feed as much green stuff as they can clear up
in a few hours.
They are also not apt to overeat
grain, which should be fed in an earthen or wooden
If you feed only twice a day, give them the
green food in the morning with the hay.
Pigs drink but little water when eating green food,
but they should have a vessel of fresh water in the
hutch or pen every morning.
It is also well to keep
a piece of rock salt in each hutch.
the spring or summer you
can feed more green
stuff than in the winter, in fact, we have raised them
in the summer on an exclusive green food diet by
moving the hutches from place to place on the lawn.
But in the winter and fall, when greens are scarce
and they are not used to them, a sudden over-feeding
might result in severe loss.
Avoid a sudden
change of diet.
the spring and summer
there is but little food
to buy for them.
Even the city raiser, by saving
his own and his neighbors’ lawn clippings, can be
By curing these clippings a good
grade of hay is obtained.
A little grain, especially
for the pregnant mothers, is all that need be bought.
and milk is a good
flesh producer and
should be fed any weak ones, also nursing mothers.
In the winter it should be warmed.
feeding of Cavies, you
see, is a very simple
matter, even for a city man.
houses every day throw away enough lettuce, cabbage,
celery, etc., to feed a large number.
bread can always be bought very cheaply from the
On the farm nothing whatever need be
bought at any time.
differ so as to
doubtful foods that it is
hard to advise what not to use
We get good results
from alfalfa, but some breeders say it is too rich
and gives them kidney trouble.
We feed alfalfa
hay in the winter with good results, but have had
but little experience with it green.
We would advise
you to go light on it, however.
feed cabbage, while others say not.
All are agreed,
however, that potatoes, white turnips and parsnips
are to be avoided.
Of course, meat or greasy food
must not be fed.
Pigs do not require
either large or elaborate
quarters and the average man or boy can
easily prepare a suitable place for them.
two methods of housing usually used, namely,
hutches and pens.
breeders generally the
hutch method is
They occupy less room, are easier to
keep warm in the winter, and are easier handled.
We illustrate several types. Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 are
the kind used by the U. S. Department of Agriculture
in the Bureau of Animal Industry.
about 20 inches wide, 3½ feet deep and 18 inches
They will accommodate a male and three or
four females and young ones until weaned.
1 and 2. Front and Rear Views of Government Type of Hutch.
door covers nearly the
whole front and is
made of wire netting.
In the back is a screened
opening for ventilation.
Each hutch should have
a shelf about four inches high in the back as they
like to get on and under it.
These hutches are made
to stack one on another to utilize small space and are
3 (below) shows a type
that can be built
against the side of the wall.
It is not best to have
the wall of the house serve as the back of the hutch,
it might be too cold.
These can be built in tiers of
three, each tier about 18 inches or two feet high.
The size of each hutch can vary, depending on the
number of Guinea Pigs you have.
The entire front
should be of wire with large doors so as to allow
ventilation and to be easily cleaned.
In the winter
a small box can be put in each one for sleeping quarters
and this box kept full of straw.
breeders prefer pens
the pen system
does have some advantages.
In the first place, it
gives the animals more room, has to be cleaned out
less frequently and is more economical.
you have a suitable
for making pens it
will be all right to use them.
Of course, it is harder
to protect them from cats, rats and dogs in pens,
and it is also harder to keep them warm in winter.
In summer the pens are really to be preferred.
you have space in a barn, wood shed, attic, basement
or any place that is protected from wind and rain
and cats, rats and dogs, you can easily fix up a place
A place six by ten feet will accommodate
from 30 to 50 Guinea Pigs.
Your space should
be divided into several different pens with 12 to 18
inch board or wire netting.
Guinea Pigs do not
burrow, so a board floor is not necessary.
should be covered with litter of some sort.
dust is good for a bottom layer.
Hay or straw can
be put on the saw dust.
In the winter, if the place
is not heated, boxes with a small hole for them to
run in and out of and which should be filled with hay
or straw, should be supplied for sleeping quarters.
in the winter is not
considered necessary by
many very successful breeders, but we think it best
they should have some protection, especially in very
bitter weather, and the warmer you can keep them
They thrive better when the temperature
does not fall below freezing.
If given well protected,
tight quarters with plenty of bedding they
will get by all right without heat.
However, the females
that are about to litter should be kept in a
warm place, as the little ones will freeze if the
weather is very cold.
After they get about a month
old, you can, during a warm spell, move them out
with the others.
One of the most successful breeders
in the West, whose stock brings fancy prices,
opposes artificial heat and says they are better without
Other breeders use oil stoves in the severe
weather and some of the largest Caviaries have
elaborate heating arrangements.
the summer you can build a
pen of wire netting
for them to run in with a small tight box for sleeping
quarters and protection from storm.
mesh chicken wire for the sides.
The top can be of
netting or boards.
The size of the pen will of
course depend on how many Cavies you have.
pens can be moved from place to place on the lawn,
giving them good green grass.
Very little other
food then will be required.
your stock all the room
you can spare.
not see how little room you can use, if you have room
Be sure that they have ventilation, even
in the winter.
Animals, like humans, need fresh
See that your hutches are kept clean and dry.
Do not let your Cavies get wet.
There is no need
to build expensive and elaborate hutches, especially
at the start.
When you get a larger herd you can
decide on some uniform style of hutch or pen and
make them all alike.
This makes them easy to
handle and enlarge.
Local conditions and circumstances
will determine how you will keep your
Practical Type of Indoor Hutch.
Pigs are very
prolific, having about five
litters a year, and from two to five at a litter.
is a safe average.
The females are sexually
mature at a month, but,
of course, should not be bred at that age.
months is plenty early enough and some breeders
wait until they are even older.
The period of gestation is
from 65 to 70 days.
The young ones are fully developed when born and
in a few hours are able to run around.
eating other food in a day or two.
should be weaned when
about three weeks
old and placed in separate pens, separating the
young males from the females.
It is then well to
let the mother rest two or three weeks before being
placed in the breeding pen again.
is best to let each female
have not over four
litters a year.
The young ones are apt to be stronger
and there will be more of them in a litter.
will get about as many of them per year with four
litters as with five and have better stock.
breeders, especially for show stock, get only three
litters a year.
your young females are
about four months
old, they should be placed in the breeding pen.
results and surer are obtained by keeping one male
with four or five females and letting them stay together
until you are sure each female is bred.
begin to show that they are with young in about 30
days or sooner and get to be very large before giving
is best to have several
females with young together
in the same pen, as they will nurse each
other’s young indiscriminately and the little fellows
seem to know no difference.
While the males do
not kill the little ones, still they should never be left
in the pen with nursing mothers, as they will bother
breeders do not have
special breeding pens,
but keep all of the females together and put males in
This is hardly the best plan, however.
The females must not be allowed to litter in the big
pen, but always in special pens or hutches.
is best to have different
breeding pens or
hutches, so you can get young stock that is unrelated.
You will have many chances to sell breeding
stock and it does not do to supply males and females
that are full brother and sister.
By using care you
can so breed your stock that you can keep different
batches of them that are not very closely related.
line breeding, we mean
breeding the same stock
without getting new males.
It is the method used
by breeders of fancy stock to get any special color
It is not inbreeding in the true sense
of the word.
line breeding you breed
the father to his
daughter and the son to his mother.
is all right and gets splendid results.
must avoid, however, breeding full brothers and sisters.
It is also well to breed pigs that are similar
in color and marking.
For instance: Breed whites
with whites and blacks with blacks, etc.
breeding you can get almost any color you want.
If you wanted to get solid red, say, out of a mixed
lot, you should breed your reddest male to your
Then breed the father to his reddest
daughter and the reddest son to his mother.
Continue in this way and eventually you will get
however, we think it
is best to get new males every now and then.
have only one male at the start, you should get a
new one when the young ones of your first litter are
old enough to breed.
This will permit you to get
stock not closely related and that you can sell for
breeding and pet purposes.
is best to breed males and
females of different
Have one older than the other.
should not be handled too much when they are with
young, as it is apt to injure them, and, of course,
no animal thrives as well when fondled.
keep your strongest and best males for breeders.
frequent littering tends
to weaken both the
mother and the little ones.
If you have a female
that gives weak young that are dead at birth or die
soon after, give her a rest of several months before
breeding her again.
It is best to have fewer litters
and stronger stock.
old males will sometimes
fight when in the
pen together, but it is seldom that the females do not
get along well together.
If you have a fighting
male keep him in a place to himself, as he is apt to
injure the other males.
young breeding stock is
to be preferred by
one beginning to raise Cavies, because they have a
longer life before them and if you get old stock you
cannot tell how old they are.
Guinea Pigs live to
be about seven or eight years old and if you buy
young stock you have them for their entire breeding
showing or exhibiting of
Guinea Pigs is rapidly
becoming more popular and in nearly all pet stock
and poultry shows you will find several pens of
There are many fanciers in the country
who make a specialty of show animals and fancy
judging Cavies, the size,
shape, condition, and
color are the main things to take into consideration.
The selfs or solid colors must have every hair
of the same color.
Any white whatever will disbar
a pig that is otherwise red. In the broken colors
the different patches should be uniform in size and
the colors not run into each other.
Fancy stock is
nearly always line bred and great pains should be
taken in breeding.
To secure the best stock the
females are only bred twice or three times a year
and every care is taken of them from birth.
are bred for size, shape and color.
Even if you are
not breeding for fancy stock, it will often pay you
to enter your best specimens in local poultry and pet
stock shows, as it gives you some good advertising
and you will often take good prizes.
It lets people
know you have stock and you can always get good
prices for your prize winners.
Always enter as
near a uniform lot as possible in singles, pairs or
trios, or even larger pens.
it costs more to
produce fancy stock, still
the higher prices you can get for it makes it pay.
If you are raising only comparatively few pigs it
might pay you to go in for fancy stock.
you have a large stock you can keep a few of your
best specimens separate and give them little better
course, many of the large
never bother about fancy stock as it does not pay
when you are raising large numbers of them.
of the shows are under
the auspices of some
pet stock association and a book of the standards
can be secured from the secretary.
We are giving
below some of the classes under which stock is
colors throughout with
no odd colored hairs.
and red colors with
patches clear and distinct
and as nearly as possible equal in size.
black and white patches,
each clear cut with
no running in of colors.
The more patches and the
more uniform in size the better.
face of wedge
band of white
straight hair around the middle with no blending
and black evenly
intermixed and perfectly
are two shades, golden
golden should be rich brown undercolor with even
ticking and belly of deep red.
The gray should be
a light shade with even ticking and belly of silver
eyes of all English
Cavies should be large and
Head and shoulders heavy, nose roman, ears
the Abyssinians the
rosettes should be as
plentiful as possible and the coat rough and wiry.
the Peruvian the main
thing to be considered
is the length and silkiness of the coat.
book giving the standards
as adopted by the
National Pet Stock Association of America can be
obtained for 50c from its secretary, C. S. Gibson,
1045 W. Warren Ave., Detroit, Michigan
Pigs are in such wide
demand that it is not
a hard matter to sell them if you let people know
you have them.
There are dealers in various sections
of the country that buy in wholesale lots but
the prices obtained are usually not so high as if you
find your own customers and develop your own
schools, veterinary colleges, laboratories, pet stores,
etc., are the heaviest users.
You can get in touch
with them by writing them and telling them you
have Guinea Pigs for sale.
The names of the hospitals
and medical colleges can be gotten from any
doctor and you, of course, know your own state University
and Agricultural College.
obtained for stock for
are not as high as when they are sold for pets
and breeding purposes.
You can build up a good
mail order business by putting a small classified advertisement
in the poultry and pet stock columns
in the Sunday issue of some large city newspaper
A classified ad in some of the poultry
papers or farm papers in your state will usually find
you good customers.
shipping to hospitals and
send your males first and keep the females as when
selling breeding stock you always have calls for
more females than males.
prices you get, of course
depend on circumstances.
50c is a fair price for the general run of
stock for experimental purposes.
For pets and
breeding purposes you should get from $1.50 per
pair and up.
Prices depend on supply and demand.
$1.00 for females and 50c for males enable you
to make a good profit with them.
they are usually sold
by weight and are salable from 9 ounces and up or
when they are around six weeks old.
Pigs ship very
They go by express.
Use a light but strong box; in the summer have
plenty of ventilation.
Wire netting on the top or
sides of the box is good but slats and holes in the
sides will do.
the winter not so much
ventilation is needed.
food use plenty of hay
together with some
green food or carrots, beets, etc.
No water is necessary.
Do not ship out during a real cold spell in
winter or a real hot spell in summer.
not have your box larger
than necessary as it
means added weight and at the same time do not
have it so small that they are crowded all over each
Pigs are singularly
free from disease and
the breeder has little to fear along this line.
course improper food, irregular feeding hours, poorly
ventilated or exposed quarters will often
cause trouble but it is almost an unknown
thing for an epidemic to get in a herd and kill
As long as they are fed judiciously and
their quarters are kept sweet and clean and well protected
from wind, rain and snow, you will have little
They are remarkably healthy little animals
but of course will not stand neglect or improper
Do your share and you will but seldom lose a
is one of the most
common troubles that a
Cavy raiser has to contend with.
Too much green
food, mouldy and half cured hay and a sudden
change of food is usually the cause.
plenty of good sweet hay and cut out the green food
for a while.
A small spoon of olive oil or a little
castor oil is good to clean out the bowels.
by not enough green
This trouble is
not apt to occur except in winter when greens are
Give them apple parings, any green stuff
you can get and a little olive oil.
Always try and
feed at least once a day a little green stuff and you
will have no trouble.
are occasionally lost
when giving birth
prematurely to little ones and sometimes the young
ones when born are so weak that they do not live
This is caused by too frequent littering, by
fright, over fatness or physical weakness.
crowding in a cold drafty hutch in severe weather
may so weaken the mother that she bears weak
Take especially good care of the pregnant females.
Give them the choice food and the best
Do not let them breed too often or start
Do not allow them to be handled or
a Guinea Pig is a good
feeder and still does not
grow, if he looks unhealthy and his coat is not glossy
he may have worms.
Give a half teaspoonful of
any kind of worm medicine such as children use.
Feed lightly and not at all until the medicine has
in spite of all you
can do a Guinea Pig
If the treatment for worms has no effect
it may be tuberculosis.
Separate at once from the
Give special diet of milk and bread or
bran and oats.
If it does not get better destroy it
as it does not pay to have such stock around.
they have pneumonia
there is usually no
help for them.
Cold, damp and drafty quarters are
usually the cause.
About the only thing to do is to
move them to warmer quarters, give warm milk and
a few drops of any good cold remedy that you may
have in the house.
As an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure you should use every care to
see that they do not catch cold.
any good insect powder or
any poultry lice
Clean out the hutches or pens and disinfect
with any good disinfectant.
They are not often
bothered if kept in good condition.
sometimes hurt each
other in fights.
Cleanse the wound with warm water, remove the
hair around it with sharp scissors and apply any
good healing salve.
at the Eyes.
is often caused by a
Wash the eyes in
a solution of boric acid that you can get any druggist
to put up for you.
dragging of the hind
Some say alfalfa will cause it, but it is usually
from some disorder of the kidneys.
25 drops of sweet spirits of nitre three times a day
and rub the limbs with a good liniment.
for several days and they will often get over it.
is much easier to keep
Cavies well than to
cure a sick one, therefore, try and prevent trouble.
Sick ones should be separated from the others and
placed in comfortable quarters.
choice food. Keep their quarters clean, sweet
and well ventilated.
Give them all air and sun
you can and all the room for exercise you can.
Feed no mouldy, wet or half cured hay or grass.
Do feed grass that is wet with dew or rain.
Just give your Cavies half a chance and you will
find that disease will bother your Caviary but little.
PROFITS IN CAVY RAISING
industry in America is
in its infancy.
are in several sections of the country large Cavy
farms but they raise nothing like enough to supply
Either as a side line with only a dozen
or two females or whether raised as a business,
Guinea Pigs offer a safe, sure and pleasant method of
is no danger that the
business will be overdone
as the demand is growing much more rapidly
than the supply and as the supply increases more
will be used.
The hospitals in most cases use them
in preference to any other animal for experimental
purposes but at this time they cannot get them in
There is and always will be
a great demand for them as pets.
When the people
get educated to the food value, this end of the industry
will come in for its share.
The present high
cost of meat and the decreasing supply of cattle
indicate that in a few years the people of this country
will have to make other preparations for their
fresh meat and the Cavy offers the solution to the
All of these facts make it plain
that there is no danger of there getting to be too
profits in raising Guinea
Pigs are large.
price for them on the open market runs all the way
from 50c to several dollars each.
The cost of raising
them to the age when they are to be sold differs,
of course with conditions and circumstances.
man on the farm or in the small town who has access
to plenty of food for them without paying for
it of course, can raise them cheaper than the man
in the city.
Even in the city, however, very little
has to be bought and that only in the winter time
as in the summer lawn clippings and vegetables
from the table will feed them and all that will have
to be bought is some grain or hay.
By saving and
curing the lawn clippings there will be no need of
They are far more profitable than
poultry as they not only cost less to feed and keep
but are not subject to the diseases that make poultry
raising so unprofitable.
They occupy smaller
space and are not dirty, noisy or objectionable in
Many large Poultry Farms have been
turned into Caviaries as their owners have seen
that it is easier to make money with Guinea Pigs
than with chickens.
intelligence should be able
to raise Guinea Pigs successfully.
Women do especially
well with them as they require less attention
and work than chickens.
Boys and girls find
the raising of them not only a pleasure but profitable
and it is a splendid occupation for them as it
requires no hard or laborious work.
from 10 to 17 or 18 years old need a responsibility of
some kind and the experience gained in the raising
and selling of Guinea Pigs will be very valuable to
them in addition to the money they will make.
will do well to give their children a chance to
To start with Guinea Pigs does not require
a large outlay of capital.
By starting with
just a few and by keeping the young females it does
not take long to build up a herd of breeders that are
As each female produces about 15 young
a year and as these young are worth from 50c to
several dollars each, you can readily see there is a
big opportunity for profit.
you begin with six
In one year
they should produce about 90 young and the young
females of the first one or two litters should be producing
before the end of the year.
Therefore, it is
pretty safe to assume that from the six females and
their litters you should get every year about 120
If sold at a price of 50c each these six females
would be producing about $60 a year.
figures will show you what 100 females should do.
anyone can start
raising Guinea Pigs
without having to make any very special preparations
or a large investment.
In any new business it
is always best to start in a small way.
dozen to 25 females will give you an opportunity to
learn their habits and you can increase your quarters
as your herd increases.
It would not be advisable
for anyone to start with 100 or more right
at once unless he has especially good place for them
and a plentiful supply of food.
However, by beginning
in a small way no risk is taken and you can
learn the business as you go along, and you can get
extra stock as you make preparation for it.
cannot be too careful in
the selection of your
Get good healthy animals to start with as
on them depends your success.
Scrub Guinea Pigs
will pay no better than scrub poultry or cattle.
Those found in pet stores are frequently unfitted for
breeding purposes as they may have been experimented
on or the descendants of such animals.
Hospitals are very careful of whom they buy and
must be assured of the purity of the stock.
you cannot be too careful in the selection of
your original stock. Just as no one would start a
live stock farm with the cheapest animals that can
be bought, so no one should start a Cavy farm with
the cheapest Cavies that can be bought.
many reliable dealers in the country who have good
stock for sale.
Buy of a well known breeder or dealer
and you will have no trouble.
Young breeders are
to be preferred as they have a longer life before
them and are more valuable.
our own experience with
Guinea Pigs we
would advise anyone who is interested in this work
to take up the raising of them.
Whether you have
only a few for making a little money on the side or
a large number as a real business you will find them
Certainly a great deal of pleasure
can be gotten out of it and there is a wide sale for
all you raise.
If you will follow the instructions
laid down in this little book we do not believe you
will have any trouble making a success of the work.