Guinea Pigs: Pets To Keep The Lawn Down
If you've got a small lawn and the neighbors would complain if you had a pet goat, consider a few guinea pigs. Guinea pigs love to live in groups of two or more, and if you set up a secure run that is moved around the lawn on a regular basis, you'll soon find that the guinea pigs keep the grass down all the while fertilizing the earth with their urine and fecal matter. Three or four guinea pigs could probably stay on top of a small lawn, as long as their diet is also supplemented with vegetables that include Vitamin A.
Guinea pigs love fruits and vegetables, but they love grass even more and they are usually very healthy if feed on a diet of grass and vegetables.
Here are a few warnings and tips for keeping guinea pigs outside.
- If you have sprayed or treated your lawn with chemicals, do not feed your guinea pigs with grass from the lawn. Make sure that they cannot eat any grass that has been chemically treated.
- Guinea pigs aren't just grass eating machines, they also need vet care and love and attention. Whilst they can contribute to the lowness of your lawn, they also require all the care pets usually require, including a safe, warm and dry place to sleep. Some guides say that guinea pigs do best inside, but they are capable of tolerating temperate climates quite well as long as they have the aforementioned shelter. If you live in a region where the temperatures routinely drop below freezing or get very very hot indeed, it is best not to keep guinea pigs in a hutch on your lawn.
- Their cage and run will need to be of a decent size. Guinea pig cages of unacceptably small sizes are often sold in pet stores. Don't waste your time on those, I would recommend a cage three feet wide by 5 feet long as a minimum. There are often people who make cages locally, so try looking for local options before you shell out your hard earned money on a tiny run that your guinea pigs can barely move in. Once you have your cage, don't be afraid to add places for your guinea pigs to play and hide, guinea pigs especially love tunnels and caves, and will often be more friendly if they feel that they have secure places to go.
- Don't keep males and females together. Guinea pigs breed like rats and if you're not ready to deal with the needs of a pregnant guinea pig and her young, you may run into trouble. Keeping a group of females together is the easiest, although you can also keep males together if you get them as very young males. Adding grown adult males to an existing group of guinea pigs is a bad idea and may result in fighting.