Can guinea pigs and chickens live together happily?
This is a question that many people have, and the answer is not always clear.
In this article, I'm going to go over the pros and cons of keeping guinea pigs and chickens together, as well as some other things to consider before making a decision.
Can Guinea Pigs Live With Chickens?
The answer to this question is both yes, and no depending on how you house your guinea pigs and chickens and the precautions you take.
One of the biggest concerns people have when considering keeping guinea pigs and chickens together is that the guinea pigs will become prey for the chickens.
This is a valid concern, but there are ways to prevent it from happening.
One way to keep your guinea pigs safe is to make sure that their living area and your chicken's coop and run are secure so that the chickens cannot get into your guinea pig's enclosure.
You can then choose to let them mingle with one another only when you're around to make sure your chickens do not spook or harm them.
Another thing to consider is the type of chicken you have. Some breeds are much larger and even more aggressive than others.
Small ornamental birds, like Silkies, for example, are much more likely to coexist with guinea pigs and other smaller animals.
Roosters are pretty much a no-no when it comes to letting smaller, more vulnerable animals run free - even when you're keeping an eye on them.
With all of that in mind, I've also seen accounts from people who say that they've let their chickens and guinea pigs mingle without a single incident.
The Risk of Diseases Being Transferred
There is also the risk of diseases being transferred from the chickens to the guinea pigs.
This is something you'll want to keep an eye on, as some chicken diseases can be fatal to guinea pigs.
The most common disease that is transmitted between chickens and guinea pigs is called Newcastle Disease.
Other diseases that can be transmitted include Salmonella and E. coli.
So, while it is possible to keep guinea pigs and chickens together safely, there are a few things you'll need to take into consideration before doing so.
Pros of Keeping Guinea Pigs and Chickens Together:
- The chickens can help to keep the guinea pig yard clean by eating the bugs and pests.
- The chickens can provide some extra security for the guinea pigs, since they will be less likely to be targeted by predators.
- Having both animals together can be a fun and educational experience for children.
Cons of Keeping Guinea Pigs and Chickens Together:
- The chickens may disturb or scare the guinea pigs.
- The chickens may eat the guinea pigs' food.
- There is a risk that the chickens could transmit diseases to the guinea pigs.
- It can be difficult to find a good balance between providing enough space for both animals and not overcrowding the yard.
Can Guinea Pigs Live Outside?
For the most part, guinea pigs can live outside but should not be left outside of their enclosed area unsupervised.
They are susceptible to a number of predators, and the weather can be dangerous for them.
That said, there are a few ways you can provide an outdoor area for your guinea pig that will keep them safe and comfortable.
You can either build them their own little hutch or fence off an area of your yard for them to roam in.
Just make sure that the area is protected from predators and that they have access to a shaded area and some shelter from the weather.
You can also choose to let them run free in a fenced-in yard, but be aware that there is still a risk of them getting hurt or becoming prey - and not just by your own chickens!
Can Chickens and Guinea Pigs Eat the Same Food?
If you're letting chickens and guinea pigs roam free, you're also going to have to keep their food separate.
Chickens and guinea pigs have different dietary requirements. If hens are not getting enough protein, calcium, and some other key minerals, they will not lay good eggs.
Likewise, if guinea pigs do not get their nutritional needs met, they also can suffer from some health issues in the long term.
For this reason, you should keep their respective commercial feeds strictly separate from one another.
It's not going to do much harm if either has a nibble on the other's feed. In fact, guinea pig feed is seen as a bit of a treat for chickens.
Related - Can chickens really eat guinea pig food?
So, can guinea pigs and chickens live together? In short, yes, but not necessarily in close quarters and there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
On the plus side, chickens can help to keep the yard clean and provide some security for the guinea pigs.
However, the chickens may disturb or scare the guinea pigs and they can transmit diseases to one another.
It's also important to provide enough space for both animals and to keep their food separate.