Playtime and Socialization
Guinea pigs might best be described as huge personalities wrapped up in tiny furry packages.
As your guinea becomes more comfortable in their new environment, and as they begin to trust you as the person providing nutritious snacks, safety, love, and a warm place to sleep at night, their personalities will bloom.
The attentive cavy-savvy owner will realize piggies have favorite snacks, routines, and even have unique playtime personalities! Daily social interaction between humans and (preferably) another pig or two will not keep your pigs happy, healthy, and will foster development of their unique personalities quicker (Note: it is generally agreed that guinea pigs are happier in pairs or small groups; guinea pigs become incredibly bonded to their cagemate and can develop depression and even anorexia if their cagemate passes away. However, some pigs seem to prefer being "only pigs," but these are guinea pigs who have owners giving them near-constant interaction throughout the day -- no small feat.).
We have brainstormed a quick list of ideas for playtime and socialization activities for you and your cavy which will lead to hours of fun for both of you!
- WIDE OPEN SPACES: Tried and true and super simple! Guinea pigs love to explore the rooms in "their" house. Pick a room with minimal hazards on or near the floor, with plenty of open space, and allow your pigs to roam! You can throw down a couple towels or blankets to guard against potty accidents -- this can also be helpful if you have a floor material your cavy is not particularly fond of; some pigs, for example, do not like tile or hardwood, while others barely notice. Your guineas may not take to the idea right away, but don't be alarmed! Some are braver than others; one of your guineas might start running laps and popcorning within a couple minutes, while your other pig takes a bit more time to stop and smell the roses. You should always stay in the room with your pigs during floor time, both for safety and their reassurance. If your first attempt at floor time ends with your pig in the same position they started, that's okay too! Try again tomorrow and soon enough your cavies will be little explorers.
- BRAIN GAMES: Tunnels, fleece burrows, balls (made out of guinea-safe materials such as plastic or willow), paper bags, cardboard boxes, and even stuffed animals (plushies without beads or buttons are best, as these might present a choking hazard) can provide quick and inexpensive entertainment for your furry friend.
- ADD IN SNACKS: Try your hand at creative food preparation by punching a few holes in the side of an empty cardboard tube and stuffing timothy hay through the center as well as the side cutouts. They'll have to work a little harder to get their hay, and it's a toy as well!
DIY Hay Feeder - A lot of crafty piggy owners like to use cardboard tubes as a hay feeder for their pets. The Cavy Closet now stocks an incredible little wooden hay feeder that can be used over and over again as a hey feeder! No need to punch holes through toilet paper rolls! Check it out below!!