In this post we are looking at Merino guinea pigs.
The Merino is a beautiful cross breed which is much the same as the Texel guinea pig.
Like the texel,they are fairly new to the guinea pig breeds.
But before we look at ‘how to groom them’ and ‘ how to look after them’ here are some key facts about the Merino guinea pig to help introduce you to them.
1. The Merino guinea pig is a non-self variety of guinea pig
2. The merino is a rare breed of guinea pig
3. It has a coat that is spring-like and soft.
4. The coat can be shown in any colour or any combinations of colour
5. It much have a head rosette that is deep with a pointed centre
6. its a curly coated guinea pig
7. it has a large crest on its head
8. The only difference between a merino and a texel guinea pig is the crest/rosette on top of its head.
9. It has a great temperament.
10. They are not a very common breed
11. They are usually obtained from breeders and not pet stores.
12. They are not recommended as a first guinea pig as they are high maintenance.
How to care for a Merino guinea pig
As mentioned, Merino’s require a lot of care due to the amount of hair that they have.
Their hair needs to be kept off the floor as it will drag along it if not careful, and pick up excrement.
They are prone to getting hay and bedding stuck in their hair and so need to be checked daily for this.
They need their hair trimmed short regularly around the anus to prevent excrement from building up around it.
Bathing once a month will be sufficient to help maintain cleanliness, otherwise they are very good at keeping themselves clean.
They need their nails trimmed on a monthly basis, just like other guinea pig breeds.
They have the same diet as other types of guinea pig, so 75% hay complimented by vitamin c pellets, fresh water and a varied veggie diet.
How to groom a merino guinea pig
The hair of the merino is easily combable, however they do need to be groomed often because of the nature of their hair.
by trimming their hair you will help to keep them comfortable,although they may not thank you for it at the time. it keeps up a good standard of hygiene and limits infections.
Unfortunately, long hair tends to soak up pee which does them no good.
Their hair can matt very easily hence why they need a bath once a month to keep it maintained well as mentioned above, trim the hair around the anus regularly to prevent a build up of unwanted excrement.
You can use safety scissors or hairdresser scissors to cut their hair, although electric clippers are very effective at doing this and allow you to get a good cut that scissors just can’t do.
A wire tooth comb/brush is best for brushing their hair.
Another good tip is to run your fingers through their hair in order to get rid of any tangles that may have built up. They do enjoy that as well.