In this article, we will discuss how big should a guinea pigs cage be, and other features important for housing them.
Guinea Pigs are naturally grazing animals, which means they like their space, and they need it to prevent boredom.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, they have specific guidance on how big guinea pig cages should be.
Let’s start by talking about the absolute minimum requirement.
How big should a Guinea Pig cage be?
One single Guinea Pig requires 7.5 sq ft of space, or 36 inches long x 36 inches wide (91.5x 91.5 cm) and 12 inches tall (30.5 cm).
Can you have just one guinea pig?
It is never recommended to have just one guinea pig.
A pair of Guinea Pigs of the same sex will be vital to the health of your Guinea Pigs.
Cavies are social animals and in the wild live in groups, usually a couple of females to one male.
It is best to prevent two opposite sex Guineas from living together.
Females reach their sexual maturity by two months of age.
The pair will quickly turn into six or more rather quickly if the male is not neutered. A pregnant female will produce approximately 4-6 pups.
Two female pigs tend to do the best together. As male Guinea Pigs can become aggressive or territorial towards each other, leading to a risk of fighting.
How much space for two guinea pigs?
Another 2-4 square feet of space will be needed to provide a minimum guide for an additional guinea pig. With adequate space, you will have a happy Guinea Pig when placing two pigs together.
What are the best cages for Guinea Pigs?
The best cages for Guinea Pigs are wire cages with a stable bottom that is easy to clean, such as plastic.
Cavies need a stable bottom that is soft as their feet are sensitive to rough surfaces, which can lead to sores on the pads of the feet.
Wire cages provide proper airflow and prevent the smell of urine and feces from being contained within a structure such as a fish tank.
The best wire cage is the C&C cage, which stands for Cubes and Coroplast.
The cubes are modular, meaning they are built with connectors out of plastic to the height and width desired by you, the consumer.
The Coroplast is a plastic base with sidewalls that is easy to clean and is water-proof. It is light and easy to remove from the cage.
The fun aspect of a C&C cage is that you can add to it at any time and go from a small cage to a larger space.
A C&C will also provide easy access to the piggies and their home to easily feed and pick them up, as there is not a lid.
These special cages are usually sold online, as pet stores have difficulty storing them, often preferring much smaller cages in stock.
Should I have upper levels on my Guinea Pig cage?
Interestingly, Guinea Pigs do not climb in the wild.
They are burrow animals and will not climb all over the cage as their rodent counterparts, the mouse and the rat.
You do not even need a cover on the cage, as they do not jump high enough to escape from the cage either. Something to note is a cover may be useful if other free-roaming animals are in the house, and in some instances, Guinea Pigs have found a way out of open cages.
Adding an extra level is not wrong, but not recommended for a couple of different reasons.
Guinea Pigs are naturally afraid of heights.
As they do not climb and are on the ground grazing for the duration of their lives.
A ramp will be included with an upper level, and if it is without sides, the Guinea could fall off the sides and hurt itself.
Adding additional levels can make the cage space smaller for your guinea pig because of the space needed for the ramps.
The additional upper level and ramps will take up precious space on the bottom, restricting the Guinea Pig’s movements.
You will need a big cage with plenty of space to add another level.
The ramps will need sides similar to a staircase, and the upper level will need walls around it to prevent accidental falls.
What should be in the cage for a comfortable Guinea Pig?
Guinea Pigs are burrow animals, meaning they like to have a safe, covered spot to go to be alone or when they may be scared.
The hiding place will also be where they sleep and will be away from where they go to the bathroom.
The special place is known as a hideout. A hideout will be made of grass, twigs, logs, plastic, etc.
The hideout will need to be durable so that the animal can feel safe in its own space.
A sturdy food bowl is an important part of the cage.
Guinea Pigs can knock over food easily if the bowl is not heavy, so buy a very sturdy bowl that would take a lot to tip over.
By allowing the bowl to stay upright, you avoid spillage of food and reduce the chance that urine or feces can get in the food supply.
A water bottle on the outside of the cage is always recommended.
If a drip water bottle is not available for the side of the cage, then again, a sturdy non-tip bowl is always recommended.
These small pets are notorious for getting bedding and the cage all wet if left to an easily knocked-over bowl.
It will be a good idea to provide your Guinea with a hay rack.
A hayrack will keep the hay contained within small spaces leaving enough room to accommodate the food bowl and the water bottle.
Do guinea pigs like toys?
Toys can provide entertainment to the Cavies. These include wooden blocks, chew treats made with Timothy hay, and other chew toys made from Willow wood.
However, it is important to remember the amount of space within the cage.
You will want to have ample space for them in their living area. That way they have space to walk around, eat, and play with their toys.
Can you let your Guinea Pig run around your house?
Floor time is important for your Guineas to explore and be active, but providing a safe space is equally important.
It will be best to gate off a large floor space with towels or fleece down to catch waste.
Keeping the Cavies contained will keep them from getting into trouble, such as chewing on electric cords or wooden furniture.
Here is a time you can play with your Guinea Pigs by hiding yummy treats in safe spots.
A great hiding spot is toilet paper tubes around the pen. An abundance of Timothy Hay available is a great idea as well.
An important thing to remember is that a spacious cage and new environments will keep your small pets entertained and active at the same time.
Should your Guinea Pig have an outdoor run?
Again, it should be a supervised activity with a contained area with high borders.
The piggies will be able to eat the grass and enjoy a natural environment as well.
When exposing your Guinea Pig to the outdoors, it is very important to note that they live in very strict conditions.
If the environment isn’t right, it can drastically weigh on the health of the pig.
Guinea Pigs thrive on temperatures between 65 C – 75 C.
They should also avoid direct sunlight and enjoy their time outdoors in a shadier spot.
Outdoor enclosures are made from wire and are enclosed overhead. This is to prevent predator animals or home pets from attacking our furry friends.
Where are good places in your house to keep Guinea Pigs?
Once you have the recommended cage size, it’s important to find an appropriate place in your house for your Guinea Pigs. The location you choose will be vital to their survival.
As previously mentioned, Guinea Pigs thrive on temperatures between 65-75 F (18-24 C). Additionally, they need to be out of direct sunlight.
Cavies do very well in climate-controlled conditions. In addition to hot areas overheating our Guineas, drafty or damp areas can cause respiratory issues such as pneumonia.
Guineas are social with other Guineas, as well as their human caretakers.
Being social is important to Guineas. As such, they should be allowed a location close to everyday life, but not overly noisy as they startle easily.
To recap: How big does a guinea pigs cage need to be?
- One single Guinea Pig requires 7.5 sq ft of space, or 36 inches long x 36 inches wide (91.5x 91.5 cm) and 12 inches tall (30.5 cm).
- If you’re adding a second guinea pig you need anohter 2-4 sqft of space
- You should always strive to have two guinea pigs as they are social animals
- It’s important to have the right size of cage for your guinea pig to thrive in
Want to learn more about guinea pigs? Check out these articles!
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