WHAT? Guinea pig poop?? Why would you make an article all about guinea pig poop?
Well, let me tell you a little story. When my kids were young, I got them this cute little bunny rabbit. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After we got him, however, I learned that rabbits poop A LOT. And by “a lot”, I mean there was so much poop ALL THE TIME, that keeping his area clean was nearly a full-time job. I couldn’t believe how much this cute little critter pooped!
I was a single mom of three young kids, and I was working full-time and going to school, and I simply couldn’t keep up with the massive amount of poop. Unfortunately, one day, one of my kids left the back door open, and the cute little bunny got out, and we never found him, so the problem ended. But when I get a new pet these days, one of the first things I ask is “How much does he poop?”. I do not want to get another pet that poops that much.
To add to the story, I later got a flock of chickens for the backyard. I thought it would be great to have my own egg supply. But I did not research the poop topic well enough, because those chickens pooped a lot, as well. They had a large area for free roaming, but they all like to just sit in one small area near the coop. Walking back there was a nightmare because everytime I went there, my shoes had to get cleaned off.
The outdoor area was next to my bedroom, and in the summer, I had to keep my windows closed because the smell of all that poop wafted into my bedroom. One day, I was out in the pen cutting the grass with a weed whacker, and I accidentally hit a pile of poop with the weed whacker. That poop was instantly transformed into a million little poop droplets that flew through the air at mach speed, and in a second, my WHOLE BODY was just covered with chicken poop. It was in my hair, all over my face, my shirt, my pants – even on my lips. It was then and there that I decided I had enough of keeping chickens, so I found a nice farm to give them a home.
So I think the topic of poop is an important one, and one some people might want to know about. If you’re thinking of getting a guinea pig for the first time, you probably want to know how much poop a guinea pig makes in a day. If you already own a guinea pig, you might want to know more about this coprophagia (poop-eating) behavior you might have observed your guinea pig doing. What happens if your guinea pig isn’t pooping? What does that mean? Where do guinea pigs poop? Can guinea pigs’ poop get impacted? How do you know? There are lots of pertinent poop questions, and we’ll take a look at all of them here.
Poop seems to be one of those “taboo” topics that people just like to avoid talking about, like death and hemorrhoids and other certain bodily functions that just tend to make people a bit uncomfortable. Let’s bring it into the open and talk about it!
That was a pretty long introduction, eh? So let’s jump right in and get started.
How Often Do Guinea Pigs Poop?Guinea pigs poop frequently throughout the day. There is no certain time for pooping – if they’re awake, they’re likely to have to defecate. One guinea pig can poop up to 10 times in an hour. I haven’t actually followed my guinea pigs around and timed their pooping behavior, so if you have an exact number of times in a certain time period, please tell me in the comments below. Guinea pigs can “hold it in” if they’re in an environment where they don’t want to defecate (like if they’re being held) or if they’re busy doing something. A guinea pig can go an hour without defecating, then will just let it all go.
What is the volume of guinea pig poop?Guinea pigs can poop out quite a bit in one bowel movement. A single bowel movement can produce up to 1/4 cup of poop, or about 30 pellets. For those who are curious, I’ve had both guinea pigs and rabbits, and I don’t think guinea pigs produce nearly as much poop as rabbits do.
How often should I clean my Guinea Pig Cage?The answer depends on how many guinea pigs you have and, to a small degree, on how large your cage is. As a general rule, you should clean it every 3-4 days for a single guinea pig. Some people clean a cage once a week for a single guinea pig, but that’s too much poop for me, so I prefer every 3-4 days. Two or three guinea pigs require a cleaning approximately every 2-3 days, and maybe even 4. If you have four or more guinea pigs in one cage, I recommend cleaning it daily. If not daily, then at least every other day.
Why do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Own Poop?Eating feces, or coprophagy, is a necessity with guinea pigs. Other animals practice this behavior, too, like hamsters, rabbits, opossums, rats, and capybaras. At the beginning of the large intestine, there is a little pouch called a cecum. When a guinea pig eats, the food goes into the mouth, down the esophagus, into the stomach, through the small intestine, then into the large intestine. Then, involuntary muscle spasms in the wall of the intestine force the partially-digested food back up into that little pouch called the cecum. Inside the cecum, bacteria break down cellulose and turn it into simple sugars through anaerobic fermentation. The sugars get absorbed and used as energy for the cells, and what’s left are soft, small, moist pellets called cecotropes. The cecotropes then continue their journey, passing back down through the large intestine, and then out of the body. Once they’re outside, you’ll often find that they’re smaller than regular feces, and are covered with a greenish-colored mucus. Guinea pigs will promptly eat the cecotropes. They contain protein, fiber, Vitamin B, and Vitamin K. The nutrients get extracted and used by the guinea pig’s body when he digests the cecotropes and re-processes the food in the small intestine the second time around. These nutrients are necessary for proper health. Guinea pigs who are prevented from eating cecotropes suffer malnutrition or death.
What happens if My Guinea Pig is Not Pooping?Let me make it clear that I am not a vet and cannot give actual medical advice. If you’re concerned about something, always check with a vet! That being said, if you’re guinea pig has gone for more than an hour and you’re sure he or she hasn’t defecated, start with the basics. Is he eating and drinking normally? If he’s taking in adequate amounts of food and drink, adequate amounts should be coming out. According to Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal (p. 248), a lack of poop is usually a result of one of two problems – either stool is not being made, or it’s being produced but it is not moving properly to get eliminated out of the body. Not making enough poop can be caused by either just not enough food, or not eating enough fiber. A common cause of poop not moving out of the body properly could be stool impaction, which is more common in older animals. If a guinea pig has impacted stool, he needs a vet to manually get up in there and extract the poop.
What Causes Diarrhea and What Can I Do About it?Diarrhea in guinea pigs can create a severe problem pretty quickly, so prompt vet attention is mandatory! Diarrhea can result in dehydration and lead to a disruption in other bodily systems, so it’s an issue that really needs to be addressed promptly. Most often, diarrhea in guinea pigs is a result of a disruption in the balance of the intestinal bacteria, leaving an over-abundance of pathogenic bacteria. It is most likely caused by something he ate. Common bacterial infections in guinea pigs include Salmonella spp., Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, E. coli, Arizona spp., and Clostridium spp. Diarrhea can be a result of introducing a guinea pig into a new environment, as well. Guinea pigs are vulnerable to stress, and changes in environment are a stressor to some guinea pigs. A stressed guinea pig may get diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts an entire day or more, and you have to wait to get in to see a vet, you can provide pedialyte through a syringe. Source: Just Answer
Is Guinea Pig Poop Toxic or Dangerous?Pregnant women are often advised to stay away from cat litter boxes because there is a slight chance of encountering Toxoplasma gondii parasites present in an infected cat’s feces. So you might wonder, is guinea pig poop safe to be around? As a general rule, guinea pig poop is safe to be around. But like any fecal matter, it will contain bacteria or viruses if the guinea pig has a current infection. For example, a guinea pig with a Salmonella infection will pass Salmonella bacteria in his poop, and if you handle it and get it into your system (like, you didn’t wash your hands and touched your mouth, nose, or eyes with infected hands), you could contract salmonellosis. Guinea pigs can become infected with the Toxoplasma gondii bacterium, and although it is rare, it is possible. So again, if the guinea pig is infected, it will show up in his poop, providing a way for humans to contract the infection. The same goes for LCMV (lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus). LCMV causes lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM). The virus is most commonly found in house mice, but guinea pigs can contract it if they come into contact with it. LCM symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. Unlike bacteria, the LCM virus can go airborne, and you can inhale it when you’re near an infected guinea pig’s poop or if you hold him close to your face. This is a dangerous condition for pregnant women to contract, because it has been shown to cause mental retardation, hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”), and chorioretinitis in infants of infected mothers. However, remember that LCMV is very rare in guinea pigs, so usually you have nothing to worry about.
Where Do Guinea Pigs Poop?The answer depends on the guinea pig. Some guinea pigs will poop anywhere and everywhere. Other guinea pigs will confine their poop to a certain area. A lot of guinea pigs will pick a corner and use that area most often to do their business. Some people have successfully trained their guinea pig to poop in a litter box, although it’s often not a 100%-of-the-time behavior. Most guinea pigs will not poop while being held, though.
How Should I Clean Up the Poop?A healthy guinea pig’s poop will consist of small, hard pellets, so cleaning it up is not a problem. Probably the most common method is just to take a small mini-broom and a dustpan and sweet it up. If you prefer something easier and less hands-on, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum sucks up those pellets in a jiffy. A lot of guinea pig owners swear by using fleece bedding because it looks nice, and you can clean it by throwing it in the laundry. But you have to clean fleece bedding a bit more often than you would if you used a shavings-based bedding.
Is It Safe To Use Guinea Pig Poop as a Fertilizer?Yes, it is. Guinea pig poop makes a great fertilizer and can be used in compost bins and piles, as well. Guinea pig manure can be added directly to your garden or flower beds. It’s not necessary to compost it first. It provides nitrogen and phosphorus for your plants. You can also use guinea pig poop to make a liquid fertilizer. Put your guinea pig poop in a bucket or can, then add water in a 2:1 ratio (2 parts water to 1 part guinea pig poop). Let it sit for 1-2 days. Then you can either strain the liquid out to pour onto your plants, or just pour it as-is onto the soil around your plants.
Random Poopy Facts
- In the wild, guinea pigs are prey animals. There are LOTS of animals want to eat them. As a result, they’ve developed a highly sensitive fight or flight response and are quite sensitive to touch. It’s because of that sensitivity to touch that guinea pigs will often poop a lot after you handle them.
- There’s a town in Peru called Pachacama where they use guinea pig poop to make energy. The guinea pigs live on a ranch, their poop is collected, and then it is used to generate electricity to help power the town.Source: Cute! by Bart King
- Guinea pig poop smells sweet.
- Boar poop is usually a bit larger in size than sow poop.