Creating the perfect home for guinea pigs - what we are looking for when you apply to adopt
Guinea pigs need plenty of space to display natural behaviours and require a minimum cage size of 140x60cm for a pair. We recommend C&C cages, these make great guinea pig homes. You are able to buy ready made kits or you can buy the grids and cortex separately and make your own. You will require a minimum of a 4x2 grid cage for a pair.
Other Suitable Cages
Ferplast Plaza 160 Small Pet Cage which can be purchased from ZooPlus
Liberta 150 XLarge Indoor Small Pet Cage which can be purchased from PetPlanet
Extra Large Indoor Guinea Pig Cage with Optional Roof which can be purchased from hamster-homes.com
Many guinea pig owners choose to line cage bases with fleece, providing puppy training pads underneath to soak up urine. You can also buy readymade liners to fit C&C cages. Check out these cage liners at Kaveecage.
If you are a dab hand with a sewing machine you could even make your own.
If you don't want to use liners, you can opt for chopped cardboard bedding, brands such as Greenmile, make a great choice.
We don't recommend using woodshavings or sawdust due to the dust commonly contained within these products, which can upset guinea pigs sensitive respiratory systems.
Some owners provide their guinea pigs with summer time accommodation. It's important to remember that guinea pigs can't be housed outside all year. Once the temperature drops below 12°C, guinea pigs need to be brought inside or housed in a heated shed or outbuilding. Here at Nibbles, our guinea pigs are housed in our rodent cabin which is heated and has a greenhouse thermostat which is set to 15° to keep our guests comfortable during the colder months and over night. Once again the minimum size for a pair of guinea pigs is 150x60cm.
It is also very important to slowly transfer guinea pigs between inside and outside, especially if they have access to grass! Guinea pigs are pigs when it comes to fresh grass and will gorge themselves. This will lead to serious tummy upsets which can be fatal. Slowly increase the time you allow your guinea pigs to graze in grass runs, when reintroducing them to summer accommodation.
If you do plan to keep your guinea pigs outside during the summer, it is important to ensure that this is fully protected from other animals such as foxes, dogs and cats. Guinea pigs should not be left with access to grass runs from dusk until after dawn. Foxes could easily dig under runs overnight, or sometimes even during the day.
You don't need to provide guinea pigs with outdoor accommodation. They are quite happy to be housed indoors all year round, and you are able to hand pick fresh grass and safe plants to supplement their diets.
Hay feeders - hay is a very important part of a guinea pig's diet and constant access to fresh clean hay needs to be provided. You need to select a hay feeder with care, some have large holes or gaps which can trap a guinea pig causing serious injury. Here at Nibbles we use a C&C grid which has been bent into a semi circle and attached that to the side of the pen using cable ties. This provides a nice sized hay rack for a pair of guinea pigs. You could also use a couple plastic bags holders attached to the side of the pen.
Snuggle spaces - it's important to provide a number of snuggle spaces allowing guinea pigs to hide away and feel safe. You could buy a large wooden or plastic hut or you could just use a suitable cardboard box with a whole cut in the side and replace this on a regular basis.
Water bottle - we recommend adding a small, shallow litter tray underneath water bottles to act as a drip tray. Guinea pigs seem to make a soggy mess under their water bottles. Adding a low sided kitten litter tray will catch the drips and enable you to change it daily without having to remove large amounts of bedding or continually change cage liners.
Here's one of our hay racks created by bending a C&C grid into a semi-circle and attached to the side of the cage with cable ties.
Here's a couple of our snuggle spaces for our guinea pigs at the rescue.
Guinea pigs like to feel protected and safe, so providing items for them to run under and through will help encourage them to move around. Large bendy logs, plastic domes and tubes all work really well
Guinea pigs do enjoy small willow balls, and other safe chew toys
Bendy log bridges make great hideaway spaces