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Cage / Enclosure Options for Guinea Pigs

Location

Firstly, you need to decide WHERE you are going to situate your guinea pigs’ cage or enclosure.

Think about:

SPACE

Is there enough room for an appropriately sized cage?* (Don’t forget storage space for all their accessories too, like food, hay, toys, fleece.)

*See our guide on cage sizes for more on this!

WEATHER / CLIMATE

depending where you live in the world, it might be you need to house your guinea pigs indoors (for example in very hot or very cold countries), or you might live in a fairly stable temperate climate and be able to let them live outside.

LIGHT & VENTILATION

think about how much natural light they will get and also if the ventilation is appropriate. Damp and draughty conditions are not good for guinea pigs. You need a space that has good ventilation to avoid a damp or stuffy atmosphere, without there being lots of cold draughts blowing in.

Once you decide – stick to it!

It is not good for guinea pigs to experience frequent changes in temperature, so don’t keep moving them from cold outside to warm inside and back again, for example. Decide on their cage location and then stick to it!

Cage / Enclosure Options

Once you have thought about where you might be able to house your guinea pigs, you also need to think about what to put them in. Some caging systems are more suited to certain environments than others…here are just our thoughts on what the best solutions are!

C&C CAGING

This is a modular grid system that originated as a shelving system but has since been adapted as a form of guinea pig caging. C & C caging is probably most suited to those keeping guinea pigs inside their home, although could also be used in a shed environment too. It’s fairly easy to construct in terms of‘self-build’ as metal grids are slotted into connectors and then a correx lining is inserted in the base. This means you have flexibility on the size of cage you can create and can also have different levels too, accessible via ramps.

HUTCH

This is usually situated outside in the garden. It can provide a great home for guinea pigs as long as it’s big enough and placed in a location that is protected from the elements. You must consider what you do in very cold or wet and windy weather as a mere ‘cover’ over the top will not be enough. One option is to have a shed or outbuilding that you can move the hutch to during more wintry weather. In warm, hot and sunny weather a hutch must be situated in full shade away from any direct sunlight. Guinea pigs in a hutch in the sun are essentially ‘trapped in a sauna’ and could die as a result.

CUSTOM / SELF-BUILD

If you fancy splashing out, or perhaps you even have the skills yourself, you could think about a custom-built enclosure for your guinea pigs. This could be anything from an indoor wooden piggy palace to a custom-built outdoor ‘playhouse’…the only limit is your imagination!! There are some beautiful hand crafters out there who have either ‘off the shelf’ set pieces, or will take commissions as to your specifications.

PLASTIC STORE-BOUGHT CAGE

These cages, usually with a plastic bottom and wire top / sides, are often found in pet shops. They are very rarely big enough for the ideal size requirements for guinea pigs. A cage of this type can be useful if you have an injured, sick or recuperating guinea pig, if they need a quiet and safe space to recover alone (For example, we have a 120cm long cage of this type in the loft for such emergencies, but would not use it day to day).

A few more things to think about if...

HOUSE INDOORS

Other animals. If you have dogs, cats or other house pets, make sure your guinea pigs are always safely enclosed so they cannot be accessed by another animal (no matter how ‘tame’ they might be) and feel secure.

- Noise. Whilst you don’t want your piggies to be hidden away in a part of the house where no one sees them, you also need to consider the noises that might surround them, like the television or young children playing. Their hearing is very sensitive so they need an area that won’t be noisy all the time!

- Space. These days space in our homes can be difficult to find. You must ensure you are allowing enough space for your guinea pig cage. A cage that is too small is not OK on any level.

HOUSE OUTDOORS

- Other animals. An outdoor cage (and/or run) must be fully secure from animals that may frequent your garden like cats, foxes and even birds of prey.

- Weather. Chose a sheltered location from extreme elements and ideally have an additional option of a covered space for shade or when the weather is particularly inclement. Don’t forget the summer sun can be hot and unforgiving – guinea pigs are particularly susceptible to heatstroke and can die as a result.

- Interaction. Gone are the days when we put a couple of animals in a hutch at the bottom of the garden and just threw them a bit of food each day. Situate your guinea pigs in an easily accessible area where they will get plenty of contact with you (their humans!) and ensure you spend time with them and handle them every day.

Decision Time!

How you house your guinea pigs is a really personal decision and there are lots of factors to consider! We have outlined the things we think are the most important, please do spend the time to weigh up your options before you commit to getting guinea pigs.

Cage / Enclosure Options

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