Having unique guinea pig cages is definitely achievable, even if you’re just using a store-bought cage. Guinea pig cages and hutches are essential for housing your pets in order to keep them safe from predators and other hazards. This doesn’t mean they have to be boring though! Turn your guinea pig cage from drab to fab with our ultimate cage guide.
Guinea Pig Cage Basics
Before designing your unique guinea pig cages it’s important to know the basics that every guinea pig cage requires. If your guinea pig lives outside then they will require a hutch and if they live inside then a cage is much better suited.
Indoor Guinea Pig Cages
Not every household is suitable to have indoor guinea pigs. A quiet environment is essential but don’t forget that guinea pigs are social creatures. Place their cage in a family room and they will love seeing household members walking past and will “wheek” for attention! (Don’t know what “Wheeking” is? Check out our guide to guinea pig sounds here)
Indoor guinea pigs still require a large, good quality cage. The RSPCA states the minimum size cage for 2 adult guinea pigs is 120cm x 60cm x 45cm. Ensure the cage is positioned away from electrical cables and other hazards that they may want to chew. Never put your guinea pig in a used garage as the car fumes can kill them.
Guinea Pig Hutches
If you have a private, sealed garden that is closed off and far away from the road then you may want to keep your guinea pigs outside. Ensure you buy the biggest and best quality hutch that you can afford. Often the hutches sold in pet stores are far too small for guinea pigs as they require lots of space to run around and explore. Adding a run to their hutch is essential if you really can’t obtain a large hutch.
The hutch needs to be rodent-proof in order to stop your guinea pig from getting out plus it will stop predators from getting inside. Choose a hutch that is off the ground in order to stop your guinea pig from getting chilled when the weather turns cold. (See our how to keep guinea pigs warm in winter article for more)
Choose your Cage Design
Guinea pig hutches and cages come in shapes and sizes so the choice really is up to you! Ensure whichever you choose is large enough to give each one of your guinea pigs plenty of space. Housing multiple guinea pigs in an area that is too small for them will encourage fighting and territorial behaviour which can lead to injuries.
Guinea pig hutches can be square, on one or multiple levels and also have exposed floor in parts in order to allow your guinea pig access to grass. Which design you chose is completely up to you although there are a few pointers to remember:
One level, flat rectangular hutch] – These should not be placed directly onto the ground as cold air can come up and into your guinea pigs cage. This increase the risk of colds and respiratory illnesses. If you purchase one of these cages then they are best being placed inside sheds or outhouses. The guinea pigs will also require an outside run in order for them to graze and exercise.
Multi-Level. flat rectangular hutch – As mentioned above, these are not to be placed directly onto the ground. Multi levelled hutches are wonderful for young guinea pigs as it adds more excitement to their day by being able to run up and down ramps. These ramps may pose a challenge for your old guinea pig though
Multi-Level, raised cage with run attached – These hutches are by far my favourite. They provide everything a guinea pig requires. Before our current guinea pigs Chocolate and Orange, we used to have this exact hutch. It was easy to move to new sites to ensure the grass was always fresh. When one of the guinea pigs was too old to manage the ramp (which is fairly steep) we simply extended the ramp to make it less steep by using some purchased wood.
Guinea pig cages range from generic rectangular cages to the move customised C&C cages. Whichever cage type you choose is fine as long as it is big enough to accommodate the number of guinea pigs that you have living in it.
Remember that most pet shop sold cages are too small and so it’s worth investing in a larger cage.
The majority of outdoor hutches have wooden floors that simply need to be covered in hay or shredded paper. This doesn’t mean they have to look boring though. Look for colourful paper instead of plain white. Carve out dedicated hay and sleeping areas. Colourful fleeces can be placed inside tunnels and other hidey holes.
Indoor cages usually have plastic flooring that stains really easily and looks rather drab. Liven them up with colourful fleeces, shredded paper bedding and even fleeces that have hiding places in them!
Guinea pigs are able to identify colours so you could mark each living area with different blanket colours or other materials.
Best Guinea Pig Boredom Breakers
The customisation doesn’t stop at the floor! There are a huge heap of toys out there that you can buy or make (see our how to make guinea pig toys article to learn how!) Toys and hiding places inside a guinea pig home are essential to stop them from becoming bored and disinterested. Guinea pigs can actually get really poorly if they are bored and some even die.
Hiding places can be any shape, colour and serve many functions! Edible huts and edible tunnels, serve as not only shelters but also make great tasting snacks to help wear down your guinea pigs ever-growing teeth.
Fluffy plush beds are a great place for your guinea pig to take a nap and relax. They can be as unique as your guinea pig ranging from giraffe shaped beds, to snuggly beds and even Christmas themed ones. Guinea pigs have really sensitive tummies so having a soft place to lie down is essential.
Tunnels can be a great way to connect other toys together. Plastic tunnels are useful to fill in empty hard to fill corner spaces since they pull out and bend. Hay based tunnels are available to provide a place to rest and eat simultaneously! Hay and cardboard tunnels are usually inexpensive since they don’t last long thanks to your guinea pigs passion for chewing! If you would rather have a more long-lasting tunnel then a Plastic or fabric tunnel will last for a long while.
There is a huge range of toys out there to help make your guinea pig cage unique. Love the circus? Then the Haypigs circus-themed range may be for you? If you have a more contemporary style then you could try a rustic chew pack.
We prefer to create our own style and often mix and match pieces to change up the cage. Hanging hay bags, spinning hay racks and forage cubes are great to mix into the cage rotation to give our girls something to nibble on and explore.
Make it your own
Creating your own unique guinea pig cages is easy! It just takes your imagination. Change the floor covering using pet blankets and mix up their bedding. Remember to add in hay racks, wooden toys, plastic tunnels and get creative using safe household items.
Don’t forget about the essentials too such as water bottles, food bowls and litter trays if you’ve trained your guinea pigs! (Learn how-to here!)