You can house guinea pigs in many ways. Here you can read all you need to know before building a good cage.
What does the cage need to offer?
A guinea pig is not very demanding, but they really need the following:
- Space: space is important to move around. The minimum for two piggies is a meter, but larger is always better. This way, they’ll get exercise and they have the opportunity to move away from each other.
- Guinea pigs are prey animals. They don’t feel themselves safe in a busy space. When they are housed inside, please make sure that they don’t are situated directly under a window, next to a heather or in an air flow.
- Hiding places: when they have hiding places, they will use them with pleasure.
- Food bowl and water bottle
Some news papers are always easy to put on the ground of the cage. This keeps the floor clean and it is really easy to clean up (you just roll them up). You can put the bedding on the news papers, for instance wood shavings or hemp bedding. Hay can also be put on the ground, most guinea pigs love to lie down on it.
One or more piggies?
Guinea pigs are very social animals that naturally live in groups. Most of them are happier with one or more conspecifics. Females often get along well. Males may fight, especially when they are housed next to females. But often they get along really well, especially when they are introduced to each other as babies of 4 weeks or one adult with a baby. This is also the easiest for females, though a good understanding of their character often allows a good couple. The easiest choices are:
- Some females
- One or more females with a neutered male
- Two males
Inside or outside?
Outside it is often easier to offer more space to your animals. However, this is not always possible.
When you keep guinea pigs inside the house, choose a calm place for their cage. Also, don’t place the in air streams, directly under windows or next to a heather. When the weather is nice and warm they will love to run around outside. Because they are prey animals, they need to be protected from cats, birds, etc so cover the entire pen and make sure they have water and shadow.
When they have a good pen and are healthy, guinea pigs can be housed outside really well. Their house needs to be completely covered to protect them from predators. Also, they need to be protected against wind and cold coming from the ground. The night part needs to be isolated from the cold, for instance with an extra layer of isolation material between two wooden planks. A thick layer of wood shavings, hay or straw isolates really well too! Check daily if the animals are healthy and if the bedding material is dry. When it’s really cold you can place the guinea pigs temporarily in a shed. The warmth of our homes often is too much difference in temperature, which can cause trouble.