How to choose the best place and size for your guinea pig cage

How to choose the best place and size for your guinea pig cage

Guinea pigs make great pets. They are social animals once they get used to you. Some even follow their owners around the house! Let’s discuss the best place and size for your guinea pig cage.

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How much space does your guinea pig need?

The more space you can give guinea pigs the better. They need lots of space to exercise and play to help them maintain a healthy weight.

 

The most accepted recommendations for cage size are:

2 guinea pigs – 7.5 square foot minimum – 10.5 square foot is better

3 guinea pigs – 10.5 square foot minimum – 13 square foot is better

4 guinea pigs – 13 square foot minimum – more is better

 

This means that many pet store enclosures are far too small.

When considering cage size, only one level of space is counted. This is for several reasons. The main reason is that not all guinea pigs will use a ramp to go up to a second storey. So, if you do have a two storey home for your piggies, the second storey is technically bonus space on top of the recommendations above.

Another thing to consider is whether you have males or females. Generally pairs or groups of males will need more cage space than recommended above to reduce the risk of fighting. 

Comparing guinea pig cage locations

Traditionally, guinea pigs were housed outside in hutches. However, recently more owners have been housing their guinea pigs indoors in cages. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each location. Hopefully this will help you decide the best place for your guinea pig cage.

Outdoors

As I said earlier, many people consider guinea pigs to be kept outdoors in hutches. This can be a good option for many people. However, guinea pigs don’t do well in the cold. Over winter, their hutch would need to be moved to a more sheltered environment such as a shed or indoors.

Pros

  • Likely to be quieter and less stressful for the piggies
  • Quieter in the home as you won’t hear them running, gnawing, squeaking etc.
  • Able to go outside in their run more often as they’re acclimatised to the weather
  • Better if you have allergies or are sensitive to smell

Cons

  • Foxes and other predators
  • Cleaning in the pouring rain is no fun
  • Less lap time as they’re not as near
  • Have to move them when it drops below 15C

I recommend this hutch for outdoor guinea pigs.

  • Right size for a pair of guinea pigs to live in
  • Single storey – only a small ramp which means you won’t have any trouble with unused space
  • There is a pull out tray at the bottom for easy cleaning
  • You’ll need one less hidey as the hutch comes with a sleeping area to hide in.

Indoors

Housing guinea pigs indoors is becoming ever more popular. There are different types of indoor cage but many people use C & C cages

This brings the guinea pigs into the family and they’ll quickly learn the sound of the fridge door opening or the rustle of a bag!

Pros

  • Part of the family
  • More interaction
    • They’ll get used to you quicker
    • You’ll identify health problems sooner
    • Understand them better
  • Safer – protected from wild animals
  • C & C cages are changeable to fit into any space
  • No more going out into the rain to see them!

Cons

  • Can be more stressful for the piggies if you have small children or other pets such as cats/dogs.
  • Less grass time as they aren’t as hardy to the weather
  • Hay spreads easily – it sticks to socks
  • Depending on where they are in your house, you may hear them at night if you’re a light sleeper

I currently have two groups of guinea pigs who are both indoors in C & C cages: one cage that I pre-bought and one I made myself. I’ve written a full guide on how to build your own C & C cage from scratch. Building a cage yourself lets you make it fit a gap you may already have.

Here are the C & C cage sizes for the recommended number of guinea pigs:

  • 2 guinea pigs – 2 x 3 minimum but 2 x 4 is better
  • 3 guinea pigs – 2 x 4 minimum but 2 x 5 is better
  • 4 guinea pigs 2 x 5 minimum but 2 x 6 is better

The standard measures are in 2 x something but you can make the cage any shape you want as long as it’s got the right floor area.

For example: I have 4 guinea pigs which should be 13 sq ft minimum or 16 sq ft is better. I aimed for 16 sq ft to give them more space. This works out as a 2 x 6 cage (16 sq ft) or a 3 x 4 cage (15.8 sq ft).

Here’s my current set up! My group of 4 down the bottom and my group of 3 at the top.

example of an indoor guinea pig cage set up

I hope this has helped you make your decision over where to house your piggies. 

Grab your FREE guide to building your own C & C cage below.

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