Housing Your Piggy

 

The first thing you will need to decide when homing a guinea pig is indoor or outdoor? If you choose an outdoor hutch make sure it is off the ground on legs, it is suggested at least 6 inches off the ground, and placed in an area out of direct sunlight and draughts. In my personal opinion it is quite pointless purchasing a two tier hutch, I have found that guinea pigs don't really like to climb ramps- they are not natural climbers. The ramp is often chewed and will probably need replacing often, the ramp/gap take up much of the available floor space and also there is a chance of injury was your guinea pig to fall down the gap. In my experience guinea pigs are very wary of ramps! I would recommend a large single tier hutch instead with a seperate sleeping compartment. The hutch will need to be at least 4-5ft long, I have some 6ft long hutches which are ideal for two adult guinea pigs to be comfortable. The hutch will need to be weather proof and secure against predators. It is advisable to place the hutch in an unused garage or shed/outbuilding in very cold weather.

 

An indoor cage is best placed away from radiators and draughts. Size wise, the bigger the better! I wouldn't overdo the hiding places such as igloos, guinea pigs do like to hide but if you give too much opportunity they will spend their lives out of sight! Both indoor and outdoor guinea pigs need time away from their homes to be able to exercise, an outdoor run placed on grass is ideal, but please make sure there is a floored nest box at one end if the grass is damp. That way the guinea pig has a choice if he wants to get his feet wet!

 

As regards bedding, there is much advice and often confusion as to whether to use wood shavings, hay, newspaper or fleece type bedding. I think it comes down to personal choice. I have always used wood shavings on my hutch floors and have never had a problem with it, the first time I did I would stop using it! I always use hay is HUGE amounts in the bed area, I use a very good quality, fresh farm hay. Some of our guinea pigs have long hair and for those I use thick newspaper and a covering of hay. Wood shavings would stick to their hair so in those circumstances I would not recommend them. I always use hay racks and find that the guinea pigs enjoy eating from these even with hay on the floor.