A Baldwin guinea pig is a popular and unique breed of guinea pigs with a distinct character. Some people find their unique appearance unappealing whereas others cannot resist breeding them as pets. The Baldwin is characterized by numerous wrinkles on the skin mostly on the head. Baldwins tend to be more active than the haired cavy, which helps them to generate heat to keep them warm.
In addition, Baldwin guinea pigs have a rubbery texture on their skin and tend to be hairless. Surprisingly, the Baldwins are born with all their hair. However, the hair starts to fall off just a few days after birth and within a few months they are left completely hairless.
Initially, Baldwin guinea pigs were developed for use in laboratories for medical and pharmaceutical experiments dealing with the skin, as they were much easier to work with compared to hairy guinea pigs. Hamster and rats which are mostly used for medical experiments also have the hairless mutation.
Nevertheless, the hairless guinea pigs started to emerge in the market as pets in the early 1990’s. However, breeding Baldwin guinea pigs as pets is considered controversial as they require special care and are prone to many illnesses. The following are some important facts to know about Baldwins so as to take the best care for them;
Baldwin guinea pigs do not cope with really cold temperatures and direct sunlight; hence, they should always be kept indoors. However, they can go outside briefly during warm weather and be kept under a shade. This is because they don’t have a protective layer needed for protection, hence cannot cope with direct sunlight.
In addition, you should protect them from any sort of drafts by taking care of the windows in the room you keep them in. Just like with all other guinea pigs, Baldwins require a good amount of space to run about. Therefore, prepare enough space for them to live in or get a spacious cage that can be adjusted under varying circumstances.
When it comes to bedding for the Baldwin guinea pigs, avoid anything that can irritate their skin such as thick hay, sawdust or harsh shavings. Instead, use carefresh and soft sorbet which are better options.
It is also important to change their beddings often as they have a reputation of eating and drinking more often than other guinea pig breeds. This means that they will pee and poop more than the haired guinea pig.
Green hay, fresh water, vegetables and fruit vitamin C pellets make up a good diet for the Baldwin guinea pigs. However, they will certainly need to be fed more and given more water than other guinea pig breeds due to their high metabolism. Their high metabolism means that they can eat almost twice as much as the normal guinea pig.
Unlike other breeds of guinea pigs, hairless guinea pigs such as the Baldwins require bathing. Since they are usually hairless, their skin may become grimy and dirty if they are not bathed. It is recommended that you bathe the Baldwins at least every two weeks. While bathing them, use plain shampoos as they do not like shampoos with fragrance. Additionally, there is no need of using moisturizers or oils on the skin as they usually produce their own.