Friday, June 5, 2009

Guinea Pigs - nature's living composter

I love my girls - Ginger and Epona (nicknamed Pony). They're not just adorable and wonderful fuzzy cuddle buddies - they're also very skilled at constantly eating and subsequently pooping.

Ginger and parseley.

Mostly they eat pellets and timothy hay, but they also get fresh treats every day, too. Usually they get an orange slice or a strawberry, but sometimes they also earn their living as living garbage disposals. ;) They love the leafy tops off the celery, carrots (and carrot greens), cilantro stems, strawberries and their green tops, lettuce, cores from apples and pears (with the seeds picked out), etc.

Pony and carrot greens.

Of course, they don't (and shouldn't) eat everything. But generally they're great for getting rid of a lot of the green garbage around here. And then....drumroll, please....they poop it out into nice little pellets. Everyone who's had a mouse visit their house knows what those dropping look like; well, guinea pig are rodents also, but BIG rodents, and their droppings are correspondingly large.

When I built the big wood planter I didn't want to buy that much soil, so I filled it halfway with dirty bedding from their cage. (I haven't found another use for their other bedding changes.) I'm hoping the paper bedding will compost, and their waste will work as fertilizer as the plant roots grow down into that layer.

Part of their cage has a raised platform, and instead of paper bedding it has a towel. Every now and then I take the towel and dump the little piles of poopies into a bucket with green waste from the garden and kitchen. I wish there was a way to separate the bedding from the poopies so I could recover them, too.

Damn they're so freaking cute!


  1. Oh. My. Gods.

    That picture of Ginger eating the parsley?

    Submit it to cuteoverload! Totally! It's my absolute fav out of this bunch. I never knew guinea pigs could be so adorable

  2. Oh my, so adorable, with such personality, who knew? Do Ginger and Epona ever fight over parsley?

  3. She is a cutie isn't she!?

    They don't usually fight - they will 'rumblestrut' and squeak a bit to vocalize who's dominant, and maybe (very very rarely) chatter their teeth like they might bite.

    They're so well fed though that I don't think they'd ever want to duke it out.

  4. They are precious! The funny thing is their pellets don't look that different from their poops. Is that a design feature or someone's sense of humor? Anyhow, they're adorable.