How to Set Up a Guinea Pig Cage



Consider the size of the cage.,
Consider a hutch.,
Consider a cubes and coroplast cage (or C & C).,
Consider a chicken coop.,
Consider wired cages.,
Consider a guinea pig/rabbit run.,
Do not fall for flimsy pet store cages.,
Refrain from buying aquariums for your guinea pigs.,
Don’t purchase a cage with a wire bottom.,
Make sure the home is predator proof.,
Place the cage in a satisfactory location.,
Purchase a suitable ramp.,
Steer clear of toxic materials.,
Be aware of reviews on wood shavings.,
Consider using fleece.,
Consider the use of paper bedding.,
Consider CareFresh.,
Consider aspen.,
Consider the use of hay.,
Purchase a water bowl or bottle.,
Purchase a food bowl.,
Buy huts, bridges and shelters.,
Consider optional toys for your guinea pig.,
Purchase a hay rack.,
Purchase cleaning products.,
Purchase optional grooming products.,
Assemble your hutch.,
Place it in a suitable location.,
Line it with bedding.,
Position a feeding and drinking station.,
Place your huts/shelters in the hutch.,
Add any toys and cage accessories.,
Set the hay rack in the hutch.,
Make sure your guinea pigs ramp can be safely used.,
Assemble your C & C cage.,
Place your C & C cage in a suitable location.,
Line up your bedding.,
Position the feeding and drinking station.,
Place your huts/shelters in the cage.,
Add toys and cage accessories.,
Set the hay rack in the cage.,
Assemble the coop.,
Find a suitable location for the coop.,
Add bedding.,
Position the feeding and drinking station.,
Ensure the ramp is fully accessible.,
Place huts/shelters in the coop.,
Add toys to the coop.,
Set the hay rack in the coop.,
Assemble the wired cage.,
Find a good location for the cage.,
Add bedding to the cage.,
Position the feeding and drinking stations.,
Place huts/shelters in the cage.,
Add toys to the cage.,
Set the hay rack in the cage.

Guinea pigs need a cage that is at least 7.5 square foot and even bigger for three. The bigger the cage the better! Guinea pigs love to run around (often called zoomies) and popcorning. They can’t do this in a tiny amount of space. A large cage is essential for exercise too., Hutches are typically suited for the outdoors. You can purchase a simple one-story hutch with an opening and built-in hut or opt for a two-story hutch with a ramp. Two-story hutches provide more room but they are still limited. Hutches that expand outwards can also be bought., These cages cannot be kept outdoors and must be positioned indoors. C & C caging has become increasingly popular for it’s large sizing, simple DIY, cheap material and easy expansion and access. If you would like an indoor cavy, a C & C cage is the one for you., Coops are just as good as a normal hutch. Coops can actually be a better alternative to a hutch as they’re often bigger to fit a flock of standard chickens. Some have attached runs to enable your guinea pig to have access to the lawn., These are another satisfactory cage to buy but don’t fall into the trap of getting a cage that’s too small for your guinea pig or has a wired bottom. Purchase one that is at least 7.5 square feet.

Don’t buy wired cages that are designed for mice, rats or hamsters. Guinea pigs are completely different to these smaller rodents and cannot withstand the same living conditions.

, Runs provide a lot of beneficial space, but they aren’t the safest or best of cages to use. They don’t have much coverage from predators and cannot protect your guinea pigs from harsh weather conditions.

A run is best used for guinea pigs on sunny days to provide exercise and fun time for your cavy under your supervision.

, Many pet shops tend to sell their customers cages that are way too small and are just not suitable for a guinea pig to live in. Most don’t meet the minimal requirements of 7.5 square feet and are more designed for small rodents such as mice and hamsters rather than cavies., This is a once popular option (and still is) for those who don’t put in the time to research the requirements of a guinea pig. These types of caging don’t allow for proper air circulation or provide enough space., The cage you purchase should have a flat, solid bottom. Guinea pigs have sensitive feet. A wire bottom will promote the growth of bumble foot which will then require medical care., If you have cats and dogs or other wild predators in the area it’s your job to ensure that your guinea pigs cage is safe and secure. Make sure that there are locks to the cages, a roof, solid floor and strong wood/metal.

A wired cage or C & C cage will not suffice outdoors. They aren’t stable and don’t provide protection from predators.

, If you live in a very cold or hot climate, you should consider keeping your guinea pigs indoors or at least have a back-up indoor cage for your guinea pig to stay when the colder/hotter months peak. Guinea pigs are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and must eat a lot more to keep warm.

Ideally, the guinea pigs should be kept in a room that is approximately 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Guinea pigs don’t do well in humid locations such as sheds and garages on hot days. Humidity encourages bacteria to grow and can cause a fungal infection.
Guinea pigs have sensitive hearing so shouldn’t be placed in an area that is prone to loud noises such as right beside televisions or loud stereos.
If you have young children, place your guinea pigs cage in a room where you can monitor them and supervise any small children at the same time.
As much as it’s popular, keeping your guinea pig outdoors isn’t suggested as they don’t like being confined in solitary. Make your guinea pig feel a part of the family. Keeping them in your bedroom should also be avoided as it’s another way for them to be forgotten.

, If you’re buying a cage that requires a ramp, or already comes with one, make sure the ramp you acquire is suitable for your guinea pig. The ramp mustn’t be too steep where your guinea pig is prone too falling and it should have a good grip on it so that your guinea pig can go up and down with no problems., There are many types of bedding to avoid when it comes to choosing the perfect material for your guinea pig. This includes certain brands and even certain wood.

Never use cedar or pine shavings. These type of wood are toxic to guinea pigs and can cause serious respiratory problems. The oils in them get stuck in their lungs. However, pine can be used as long as it’s aired out.
Never use sawdust. Again, the dust that is inhaled by guinea pigs is a major cause of respiratory disease and sneezing.
Never use corncob bedding. Corncob has a tendency to mold and is hard on their feet. Since guinea pigs have sensitive feet you should steer clear of corncob.Never primarily use newspaper. Although newspaper is perfectly fine itself and can be used as lining at the bottom of the cage, it isn’t absorbent enough to use as your main bedding.
Never use straw. Straw is tough and can easily cause eye injuries. It isn’t absorbent enough to be used as bedding and can also be expensive.

, Many guinea pig experts suggest to stay away from wood shavings as a lot of risks are involved with the use of this material such as oils that dry the skin, dust that ultimately causes respiratory problems and possible eye irritation., Fleece is a popular choice to use as bedding as it seems to have little to no problems at all. However, keeping your guinea pig on fleece will require more regular cleaning including spot cleaning daily and an overall clean weekly., Shredded bedding can be purchased from pet stores or you can shred your own. It’s quite absorbent and soft on your cavies feet without any toxins in it. This makes it a safe material to use. However, it will absorb their urine and make the smell linger., CareFresh helps eliminate odours and is soft on the guinea pigs feet. However, some tend to avoid unnaturally scented or colored bedding to lessen any risks., Aspen is another popular choice as it contains no toxic oils, unnatural scents or dyes. It’s completely natural and safe to use. You can buy this specific kind of bedding at pet stores., Hay can be quite absorbent, natural, safe and help control odours. However, it’s quite pricey if you don’t buy it from the right place. Pet stores are notorious for overcharging when it comes to hay. But you can easily purchase hay from equestrian centers or farm stops for approximately $5 a bale., You can opt for a water bottle or a water bowl which are completely different to each other. You can always buy both if you have more than one guinea pig.

Water bottles keep bedding, food and hay out of the water if your guinea pig is living in a smaller area but they’re notorious for leaking and soiling the bedding.
Water bowls don’t leak and are a more natural way for your guinea pig to acquire water. But they can get messy if you use wood shavings as bedding or keep their food/hay nearby.

, The guinea pig pellets should be kept inside the bowl for hygienic reasons and to keep them from spoiling. You can purchase two if you would like to keep their vegetables in a bowl also or even more if you have two guinea pigs (or more) that require 1 cup of vegetables each., Guinea pigs are prey animals; their instinct is to hide when in fear. You need to have at least one or two hide-outs for your guinea pigs as a safe place and a relaxing centre. One of the worst things you can do is stress your guinea pig out, and with the option of seeking refuge in a hut, you can reduce stress levels., Toys help stimulate the mind and encourage exercise and, of course, promote fun and enjoyment! Toys are a great way to reduce boredom, depression and even loneliness. However, don’t overcrowd their cage with toys. Guinea pigs need space to run too!

Toy obstacles can promote exercise whilst chew toys can help prevent dentistry problems as guinea pig teeth are forever growing.Consider toys such as igloos, tunnels, bridges, wood blocks, cat toys (with bells on them), cage accessories, hammocks, cosies, etc.
Don’t buy wood toys that splinter, wire balls or any toys that can be a choking hazard.

, Hay racks can help bundle the hay together and keep it in place, making the overall space of the cage cleaner and more hygienic. However, avoid wire hay racks and opt for cotton bags/sacks instead. There are a number of incidences of guinea pigs getting their heads/bodies stuck in between the wires., Guinea pigs need their cages cleaned at least once a week and sometimes daily if you decide to spot clean (especially if you’re using fleece bedding). You will need a brush, cloth, gloves, pet-friendly antibacterial spray, scooper, bin bags, etc., This is optional and most apply to long-haired breeds such as peruvians and shelties. However, you can choose to have some grooming products set aside for whenever you need it. You could also optionally book an appointment with a professional groomer.

Purchase a soft bristled brush. Long haired guinea pigs require daily grooming to prevent knots and matting from forming in their fur.
Purchase clippers. Long-haired breeds such as Shelties have constant growing fur that require clipping annually (or perhaps every few months).
Buy nail trimmers. Occasionally you might have to purchase nail trimmers to clip your guinea pigs over-grown nails.

, Unless you got your hutch home already assembled on a trailer it will require assembling, including store-bought hutches. Hutches are quite easy to assemble providing that you have the instructions and all the parts to it., Your hutch should be out of direct sunlight and preferably in a weather proof area under the roof of the house. The area should be well ventilated, secured away from predators (and other pets) and not too cold or too hot., Straw or wood shavings is recommended for hutches. Ones that go directly on grass will only need bedding in the inside area. Consider lining the hutch with newspaper first and then your main bedding. Guinea pig urine can stain bottom of wooden hutches. The newspaper should catch any leaks.

Hutches are best without the use of fleece.

, Water bottles can connect to the wire bars of the hutch or you can opt towards a water bowl instead. Keep your water bowl a short distance from the pellets to prevent mess., Guinea pigs benefit with at least two shelters to escape to when in fear, especially in an outdoor hutch where many wild animals can scare your guinea pig., Avoid overcrowding the hutch and keep most of the toys outside at the bottom level if it’s a two-story hutch. Cosies can be kept in the inside area but to a minimum., Most hay racks can be pitched up between the wires of the hutch, even cotton hay racks. The hay rack would be best positioned on the bottom story of the cage or away from the water bowl.

Remember, guinea pigs will make a lot of mess when it comes to hay. They like to hide in it, pull it out and sleep in it.

, The ramp shouldn’t be too steep but should have a good grip on it so your guinea pigs can move up and down without any struggles or slips. It should optionally have juts to make the grip better., Firstly connect the grids which should be able to snap together easily with connectors. Then you will have to set the coroplast at the same length as your grids.Make sure the opening of the cube grids aren’t too big/wide enough for your guinea pig to fit it’s head through. If it’s head can fit through then it’s body will fit through too.

, C & C’s are not outdoor cages as they aren’t secure or weather proof at all! Keep it in a room where you can supervise any young children but also keep it away from pets and loud noises. However, do not isolate the cage. The guinea pigs should feel a part of the family not placed in solitary confinement., Your bottom layer should be lined up with newspaper for extra absorbency and to catch any leaks, and then your primary bedding. Fleece is best suited for C & C cages, but it doesn’t limit you to the choice of many other types of bedding such as wood shavings or CareFresh., Water bottles can be hooked onto the grids and your bowls can be positioned beside your water source (unless you’re using a bowl). Don’t place the pellets directly under the water bottle as bottles have the tendency to leak which will spoil the feed., In an open cage without a lid, you should have plenty of coverage with the use of huts, bridges, shelters and hide-outs to help your guinea pig feel safe and secure and to give them a place to run to when in fear. At least two should be satisfactory for your guinea pig – the more guinea pigs the more hide-outs!, A spacious C & C cage could benefit with some toys for your guinea pigs entertainment. You could add various tunnels, hammocks and toy balls., You can hook the hay rack onto the grid or, if you don’t have one, place a pile of hay in the centre of the cage. Most hay racks can be purchased online or in pet stores. Avoid wire racks however., Coops are very similar to hutches but most are a lot bigger than guinea pig hutches. You can assemble them in the same manner. They should come with instructions and all the necessary parts to assemble., Coop best dwells on grass, which will save you on bedding expenses. There’s no need for lining the bottom layer with bedding as long as the coop is resting on grass. Most coops can go in direct sunlight as their construction and frame offers permanent shade for your piggy, but keep it under the shade of a tree on hotter days., Coops can go on grass so it saves you spending a fortune on bedding. But the nesting box/area still needs to be lined up with bedding. It’s suggested to line a bottom layer of newspaper and then shavings/hay., Like other cages, the bottle can grip onto the grids/wiring. However, keep your pellets away from the edges of the cage as sudden rainy showers can spoil the unprotected food. Keep it under the nesting box/ramp., The ramp shouldn’t be too steep and should have a proper grip via soft sandpaper or juts in the ramp structure. If your guinea pig is slipping or struggling to go up and down the ramp, you might need to make some adjustments as the ramp is designed for chickens rather than rodents., Guinea pigs still need a place to escape to even in a protected coop. If your guinea pigs live outdoors it’s important for your guinea pigs to have a quick place to hide, especially on the lower level., Tunnels, cosies, toy balls and wood blocks can all make the coop seem a lot homely and friendly to your guinea pigs. Avoid adding too many toys, however., The hay rack should be able to clip onto the grids of the coop. Opt for cotton hay racks instead of wire hack racks which are proven to be dangerous to your guinea pig. You should place it at the bottom of the cage., Wired cages are just as easy to assemble as hutches and C & C caging. They’re actually very similar to C & C cages and can be set up the same way., Wired cages aren’t suitable to go outdoors and should be kept inside your home. The cage offers no protection from predators or harsh weather conditions thus why it should be kept inside of your house where the guinea pig can get plenty of family interaction., The type of bedding you use is very similar to C & C cages. Fleece is the most popular options, however you can still use any other bedding choice available. You should line newspaper at the bottom to ensure extra absorbency and so that you can catch leaks., As usual, the bottles can be hung up by the grids whilst pellets should be placed in the bowl and away from the water source to prevent leaks into the food., You should provide at least two huts for your guinea pig, however keep it at a minimum as the space is limited., Space availability in wire cages can be limited, so keep the toys to a minimum. The maximum might be three or four. Remember to add various toys such as tunnels, wood blocks and hammocks for your guinea pigs to play with., As mentioned in the steps above you can hook the hay rack to the cage, but avoid using wired hay racks with can pose a potential hazard to your guinea pig.

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