Twigs and shrubs
The twigs and branches of several trees are a great source of enrichment for your guinea pigs. You can put large branches inside their run and bundle up the smaller twigs and tie them to the sides of the run. Here are some examples:
- Beech (not the nuts
- Blackthorn (not the fruits)
- Crab apple
- Hawthorn (but remove the thorns for piggies)
- Hazel (not the nuts)
Safe fruit and vegetables to grow or buy:
- Brussel sprouts
- Carrot tops
- Curly kale
- Blackberries (in moderation)
- Tomato (in small pieces)
Plants, fruits and vegetables to avoid:
Dry mixes made with lots of colourings, dried fruits and cereals can have a negative effect on your guinea pigs’ health. If the mix is made with lots of dried soft fruit or peas your guinea pigs are likely to suffer with dental or urinary problems.
Colourful treats, sticky honey based treats, salt licks and mineral blocks can all be harmful to your guinea pigs. If you’re feeding them a good quality natural diet, you won’t need any form of supplements.
Handling your guinea pigs
Most guinea pigs will wriggle or try to run away when you want to pick them up – this is completely natural. Although you can socialise with them, feed them from your hand and have them sit on your lap, they’ll always remain slightly wary of you – a potential ‘predator’.
Guinea pigs can be suitable for children, but make sure you supervise at all times to prevent the piggies being squeezed or dropped.
When choosing your guinea pigs, consider going for mature adults that are used to being handled by young children rather than starting with babies. Young guinea pigs can be extremely fast and easy to squeeze or drop, whereas a mature adult will sit happily on your lap eating some treats.
Never allow a child to carry or walk around with your guinea pig in their arms. Encourage them to sit on the floor with a blanket on their lap for the guinea pig to sit on. This way, if your guinea pig moves, there’s no risk of a fall injury.