accommodation

How much space?

The minimum recommended dimensions for two guinea pigs is 120cm x 60cm. 

Indoors or outdoors?

 

A frequently debated subject, but neither option is right or wrong. Both indoors and outdoors have positives and negatives. Indoors is certainly more convenient because you do not have to worry about them getting too hot, too cold, or worry about temperature fluctuations, drafts etc. It is also much easier to bond with your guinea pigs if they live indoors because there is generally better interaction - if for example they live in your bedroom, you are able to give them much more attention and this definitely speeds up the bonding process. It is also more practical having them indoors over the cold season because you don't have to go outdoors during the cold to clean, feed, health check and all the other jobs which need doing. Indoors may be beneficial for elderly guinea pigs.

 

On the other hand, housing guinea pigs outdoors allows them to live more humanely, as they can exhibit more natural behaviours and experience a more natural life. Housing them outdoors is also great for fresh air, plus they are able to receive plenty of Vitamin D from the natural sunlight. If you have lots of outdoor space, this may enable you to provide a larger habitat for your guinea pigs, than you would be able to indoors. When guinea pigs live outdoors, the fresh air definitely helps with the smell and odour is generally not as strong as it is when they are housed indoors. 

 

Accommodation type?

 

There are so many options when it comes to housing your guinea pigs. Deciding wether they will be housed indoors or outdoors has an important role in accommodation type. There are some suitable homes you can buy online, you can construct your own, ask someone else if they can build one for you, convert old furniture, purchase a garden building (such as a shed or playhouse). There are endless options, but here are some questions you should ask yourself.

  • Will it meet the minimum size requirements?

  • Is it safe from other animals (e.g. dogs, foxes)?

  • Is there sufficient ventilation?

  • Can I clean it with ease?

  • Is it free from drafts?

  • Will the enclosure be out of direct sunlight?

  • Can they keep warm enough if housed outdoors?

EXAMPLE 1: commercial cages (with regular floor time)

Pros:

  • Easily available

  • Does not require any DIY skills

  • Easy to clean

  • Easy to attach bottles, hay racks etc

  • Safe from dogs & cats

Cons:

  • Can be expensive 

  • Not very nice to look at 

  • Doesn't allow much room for enrichment

cage examples

  • Midwest Habitat

  • Ferplast Rabbit & Guinea Pig Cage 120

  • Skyline Maxi XXL Small Pet Cage

  • Ferplast Casa 120 Rabbit Cage

  • Living World Green Eco Habitat (Large)

  • Plaza 140 / 160 Small Pet Cage

  • Liberta 120 Large Indoor Small Pet Cage

EXAMPLE 2: c&c cages

Pros:

  • Can be easily adapted

  • Built to fit different sizes/shapes

  • Provides lots of space

  • Easy to separate guinea pigs (fighting) 

  • Hay racks & bottles easily attached

Cons:

  • Sourcing materials can be hard   

  • Materials are quite pricey

EXAMPLE 3: diy wood & perspex

Pros:

  • Can be built to suit individuals

  • Can be built from old furniture

  • Easy to clean

  • Interaction is good 

  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

  • Requires some DIY skills 

  • Needs tools to build (e.g. jigsaw) 

  • Can be expensive (perspex is not cheap)

  • Not safe from dogs/cats

  • Hard to attach bottles, hay racks etc

EXAMPLE 4: furniture hack

Pros:

  • Interaction is good 

  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Fits in with room layout/style

Cons:

  • Can be expensive 

  • May require some DIY skills

  • Base needs to be made waterproof

EXAMPLE 5: free range 

Pros:

  • Lots of space

  • Better interaction

  • Very enriching - places to explore

  • They have more freedom

  • Guinea pigs are generally more tame

Cons:

  • Guinea pigs have to be litter trained

  • They will go under wardrobes etc

  • Cats/dogs can get to them easily

  • Room needs adapting for them (wires etc)

  • They still need a safe area e.g. a cage they can access themselves

EXAMPLE 6: playhouse (optional outdoor area)

Pros:

  • Spacious

  • Choice of indoors & outdoors

  • Natural environment

  • Suitable for all seasons (with hutches)

  • Great ventilation & sunlight

Cons:

  • Expensive setup 

  • Takes up lots of space

FREE RANGE?

EXAMPLE 7: shed (optional outdoor area)

Pros:

  • Very natural

  • Really spacious

  • Easily accessible

  • Very enriching

  • Protection from the elements

Cons:

  • Requires some DIY skills (with aviary)

  • Needs tools to build  (with aviary)

  • High quality sheds are expensive

  • Takes up lots of room in garden

EXAMPLE 8: outdoor aviary & hutch

Pros:

  • Very natural

  • Really spacious

  • Great for warm season

  • Ventilation is very good

  • Easy to access

Cons:

  • Requires some DIY skills 

  • Needs tools to build  

  • Materials are expensive

  • Not ideal for the cold season

  • Takes up lots of room

EXAMPLE 9: outdoor run used indoors

Pros:

  • Spacious

  • Can create a natural environment

  • Easily available

  • No DIY skills required

Cons:

  • Takes up lots of space

  • Waterproof base required (e.g. correx)

EXAMPLE 10: large hutch

Pros:

  • Doesn't take up much space

  • Suitable for all seasons (with cover)

  • Great ventilation 

  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Might need draft proofing

  • Difficult to move around 

  • Not as spacious as other options

EXAMPLE 11: double tier hutch

Pros:

  • Doesn't take up much space

  • Suitable for all seasons (with cover)

  • Great ventilation 

Cons:

  • Might need draft proofing

  • Not as spacious as other options

  • Ramps are usually too steep

  • Quite expensive

EXAMPLE 12: custom built run

Pros:

  • Can be built to fit any room

  • Really spacious

  • Ventilation is very good

Cons:

  • Requires some DIY skills 

  • Needs tools to build  

  • Takes up lots of room