Warning: This post contains the word “poop” rather a lot. I find poop to be the nicest, most family-friendly way to say it (for some reason I just don’t like the word “feces”) so bear with me.
I promised you a post about my adorable little compost piles. Look at how cute they are!
^^^ This is Eevee (and that’s PRINCESS Eevee to you!).
^^^ This is her friend and cagemate, Bidoof.
^^^ And this is Hugh and Han Solo. (They, being boys, live in a separate cage from the girls. Han Solo, on the right, is our little man, and Hugh is his cagemate, and a foster from a local rescue).
And yes, these are guinea pigs.
“Wait, wait, wait!” I can hear you saying, “I thought you said you were posting about COMPOSTING. What the hell do these guys have to do with compost?”
Well, everything! As herbivores (and therefore VEGANS), guinea pigs are biological compost piles. There are many other animals that also fall into this category – basically any strictly herbivorous animal makes free, amazing compost. In the form of (you guess it) poop.
“Oh no! I’m not putting guinea pig poop on my WEEDS, let alone on food I might actually eat!”
Yes, I know it sounds gross, but in all reality, it is perfectly safe. In fact, you WOULD be able to use poop from animals that eat meat (like dogs, cats, or even us) IF we didn’t have to worry about parasites and things like that. Meat eating animals can have stuff living in there that we really DON’T want to put on our plants.
However, herbivore poop doesn’t have that problem. You can mix it right in to the dirt – no prior compost pile necessary! Perfect solution for a house with a small yard, or no way to rig a compost pile without the dogs getting into it. Plus, most landlords will let you keep a couple of guinea pigs, even if they don’t allow dogs.
We have attempted to litter box train the guinea pigs (possible, but a little difficult). They all have kitten-sized litterboxes in their cages filled with kiln-dried pine shavings. We take these outside every day or two, and dump the entire contents right into our compost pile.
Every compost pile needs a certain amount of “brown” and “green” matter (usually tree bark and grass clippings, respectively), but we don’t really have trees to prune. And even if we did, we don’t have a handy wood chipper to cut them up and help the decomposing process. So for us, the wood shavings is a nice addition to our lawn mowing and weed pulling.
The actual guinea pig poop is, as I’ve said before, already compost. We add it to the compost pile to further break down (mostly) because our little dog seems to think guinea pig poop is… well, she thinks it’s a treat.
Anyway, besides being amazing little compost machines, guinea pigs are also very loving, intelligent little creatures. They recognize both Sean and myself, and have accepted us as a part of their herd. We know this because when we cuddle with them, they groom us just like they would do to each other in the wild. As well, they recognize the sound of the mini fridge opening and closing, and plastic bags rustling, and respond with a series of squeaks and squeals of delight. These sounds usually mean that their daily veggies are on the way. And boy do they love their veggies! I’ve also seen youtube videos of people teaching their guinea pigs simple tricks, like how to turn in a circle, or to ‘shake’ hands.
After getting Eevee and Bidoof, I did a lot of research in to how big of a cage they should live in, whether they like cagemates, and what kinds of interaction they need daily. I stumbled across two websites that were just amazing. One is Guinea Lynx. Guinea Lynx is an amazing website with an absolute wealth of information about guinea pigs and their care and keeping. If you’re looking to get one, START HERE.
The second website I came across is Orange County Cavy Haven. Did you know that there are rescues dedicated to guinea pigs? OCCH is just one of many across the U.S. that routinely picks up guinea pigs from local animal shelters, and takes them into a foster system of volunteers until the guinea pigs can find forever homes.
We started volunteering and fostering for OCCH, and we now specialize in pregnant and nursing females. I’m also now a region counselor for North Orange County, and help new fosters, volunteers, and potential adopters by giving a ‘crash course’ in guinea pig care and keeping. I’m also going to start giving lectures for local area schools and scout troops.
Since having both Kiera (who is as stumpy as she is long) and the guinea pigs, I’ve come to realize that finding exact replicas of your pets on t-shirts and what not is very difficult. And when I asked around, I found I was not the only one annoyed by this lack of options.
This led to my newest crafty venture: Custom Pet Portraits.
*Please note that I have a very special idea in mind for Han, so he does not have the holes drilled and ribbon added that all custom orders come with!
I am working on getting some more designs. I currently have guinea pigs in short hair, long hair, and abbyssinian options (scruffy, like Han). As well, I have a bunny rabbit design and two rat designs (regular and dumbo). I am working to have cats added hopefully by the end of the week. If you would like a specific animal I haven’t listed, please contact me and I will add it to the top of my design list!
If you would like to order one, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get started on your custom order! 🙂
I’d love your feedback – do you like them? hate them? wanna be them? (Just kidding). But really, I love comments!!