Housing considerations

Guinea pigs are herd animals and they need friends – guinea pig friends! So you will need to consider having a pair of guinea pigs or more. As they are a herd animal you can certainly consider a larger number of them, but the housing that is required needs to be adequate for the guinea pigs that are being housed.

You will need 1.2 metres x .5 metre minimum for two guinea pigs to be happy and have sufficient space and ventilation around them.

There are many different types of housing that is available for guinea pig care. Top of the list would be housing them indoors as their health is prone to be affected by weather changes just like us. If they are indoors then chances are the temperatures are more moderate and comfortable as well as being away from predators.

Please see types of housing down below that will help you decide what is best.

The main purpose of the housing is to ensure that your guinea pigs are safe, and in an environment that is suitable for them.

Guinea pigs do not perspire. So they find it difficult to manage temperatures that are higher than 30 degrees. They have a body temperature the same as us, but you can think of them as wearing a fur coat. So if we are hot, they are also hot. If we are cold, then they also are cold. By providing them with a heat source or a cooling source you will be able to help them stay warm or cool down.

Interaction and attention:

Guinea pigs really thrive on attention and care when it is gentle and agreeable to them. They are prey animals and as such they become frightened easily by loud noises or sudden movements. The more time you spend with your guinea pigs the more comfortable they will become around you. You will get to hear all their different noises and get to know their likes and dislikes. So considering where they are going to live will also impact on the time that you are going to spend with them. Keeping them indoors brings them closer to you and contact with them.

Ensuring that you handle them everyday is both enjoyable for you and for them. Never grab at them quickly.

Types of housing

plastic cage

Indoor plastic based cages are great for keeping your guinea pigs indoors. They can be placed on a table or some come with their own stands. They will accommodate your choice of bedding for the guinea pig. They are easy to access.

What better way to get creative than to build your own guinea pig indoor cage. These are called C&C cages. This stands for Cubes and Corflute – the two items that comprise this cage. You can purchase both cubes and corflute from several suppliers but I recommend that you use cable ties to connect the sections ( not the plastic round corners that come with the cubes).  You can create many different types of cages. Always remember when making ramps – to ensure they are solid and that the piggie can easily walk up and down them.

Check out great inspiration with our adoptee families and photos here

wooden hutch

Wooden hutches are a common house that is used for guinea pigs. They are made of pine which is non toxic to guinea pigs. They can be a single level or double story and of varying sizes.

Despite warning that these cages are waterproof – they are not. Water can leak in through the joins of the cage. You can modify them to improve living conditions, but when the weather is very cold as well as very hot, it is advised to have your guinea pigs indoors.

Always ensure that your hutch is close by so that you are able to see your piggies and interact all the time. Ideally these cages should be under a balcony or awning covered area.

Only for Grasstime

A-Frame cages are only suitable for guinea pigs for allowing them some grass time. They are not suitable as housing for a number of reasons. Firstly when it rains, the guinea pigs being so close to the ground will have water run off and get wet and or their bedding gets wet. The moisture which is on the ground will cause humidity within the hutch environment making it a perfect breeding ground for mites and fungal. Lastly the guinea pig needs to leave the hutch area to access food. The a frame cage is prone to being in the sun as well as rain. It is too easy for rodents to get under the edge of these cages and then enter and take the guinea pig food.

Not suitable – at all!

Metal hutches are not suitable for guinea pig housing. FIrstly being made of metal they get extremely hot in the sunshine and make temperatures too unbearable for the guinea pigs. Secondly, they usually have a wire mesh base underfoot when there guinea pig will run on the grass. Guinea pig feet are not furred and if they are walking on wire all the time they will develop bumblefoot which is a severe and debilitating condition. I have also seen cases when people have attempted to relocate the cage and as a result the piggie has lost a foot through the base then to have it broken. These cages are to be avoided.

Fencing for playtime

There are a multitude of different metal fence options that you can obtain so that you can create a contained space for your piggies to have grass time or play time. This particular one has sections that can be pushed into the grass so that it won’t move. You will also need to put shade cloth over the top to ensure that piggies are protected from sun and also from predators like birds of prey. If you are in an area where there are cats or other large predators, then this play time housing needs to be supervised the entire time! Do not leave them un-attended or here in hot weather conditions.