Guinea pig compost machines
We recently adopted two guinea pigs from some old neighbours who moved overseas.
Besides being super cute pets for the kids, the guinea pigs are also proving to be excellent composting machines and lawn mowers.
Although they are small they sure can eat and poo a lot.
Feeding guinea pigs
Besides a guinea pig food mix we buy occasionally, we mostly feed our guinea pigs vegetable scraps from the kitchen, grass and rampant weeds from the garden like wandering jew and dandelions. Our guinea pigs particularly love little yellow dandelion flowers, and I love the way our weeds are declining in the garden.
Guinea pigs are vegetarian so will generally eat most vegetable and some fruit scraps. However, it’s good to stay away from feeding them iceberg lettuce, potato peelings, cabbage, cauliflower, raw beans or rhubarb.
Our guinea pigs particularly like cucumber, spinach, carrots and apples. Be careful not to feed guinea pigs apple cores because they can be poisonous.
Housing guinea pigs
Along with the guinea pigs we also received a hatch and a smaller cage with no floor that we move around the backyard. I guess it’s a kind of a guinea pig tractor. Our little fur balls stay out there most of the day while munching on the lawn. I figure if I keep moving it around the lawn we may never have to mow it again.
This may be wishful thinking because their poo and urine seems to be adding a nice organic fertiliser to the lawn, which is encouraging it to grow even faster. My kids’ new mantra has become “eat faster little piggies, eat!” And eat they sure do.
Keeping guinea pigs cool
It’s important to keep guinea pig cages out of the heat so a nice shady spot in the garden is vital or – as many people have told me – guinea pigs will “cark it” if they get too hot. My well-meaning hair dresser suggested air conditioning on hot days but I think a nice shady spot under the trampoline will suffice.
Poo and compost – the good stuff
Guinea pig bedding in the cage is perfect for composting so don’t throw it out.
We always line the cage with newspaper and straw so when we clean it out I just throw all of the straw, paper, poo and uneaten food into our compost bin. There’s no waste, and our garden eventually reaps the rewards.
I’ve even heard of people making a liquid fertiliser out of guinea pig droppings by mixing 1 part droppings with 2 parts water. I haven’t tried this yet so let me know if you have. Has anyone else found their guinea pigs useful in the garden? Please share below.