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Housing your guinea pigs


Housing your guinea pigs
Your guinea pigs are inquisitive but also love to be able to tuck themselves away in safe spaces. Their housing should allow them to explore, play and be safe.

Housing your guinea pigs

Your guinea pigs’ housing should be permanently attached to a larger space within which they can exercise freely at any point in the day or night. This can be a safe guinea pig-proofed room indoors or a large run outdoors. The housing itself should be as big as possible but an absolute minimum of 1.5m x 1m with an additional 2m x 1m run. Your guinea pigs need as much space as possible so that they can relax and feel at home. The run area should also be as large as possible so that your guineas can roam more like they would do in the wild.

Your guinea pigs’ housing should have several safe hiding places so that they can hide if they feel scared, including the main shelter(s), cardboard boxes and tunnels. The main shelter(s) should be secure with plenty of soft, safe bedding such as clean, dry hay and straw or shredded paper. Make sure any lining used in the main living area is dust free. The housing should also have toilet areas available separate to their sleeping areas, you can use newspaper, hay/straw and/or a paper based non-expanding litter. Your guinea pigs should have a constant fresh supply of good-quality feeding hay, placed in hay racks and areas that are separate to the bedding area. There should also be fresh, clean water constantly available.

Give your guinea pigs places to hide

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Guinea pigs are active for up to 20 hours per day and sleep only for short periods.

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Guinea pigs are very playful and need lots of guinea safe toys. Many of these can be found at your local pet stores, however, great inexpensive options are cardboard tubes and boxes, hay crackers and unused plant pots.

Housing checklist

Guinea pigs can be kept indoors, but it is important that you gradually get your guinea pigs used to common household sights sounds and noises. All areas that your guinea pigs move around in should be fully proofed to ensure that they are safe and protected from hazards. For example, all electric cables should be covered to stop your guinea pigs from chewing on them and any house plants should either be safe for guinea pigs or kept out of the way. You should also make sure the flooring is non-slip as slippy floors can cause injury and stress.

Your guinea pigs should also be kept away from radiators and their space should be kept well ventilated, the temperature for your guineas’ housing should ideally be kept at between 17-20 degrees celcius – some warmer areas of your house may be too hot. You should have a toilet area for each of your guineas which is separate from their bedding area. It’s also important that you provide plenty of enrichment through toys, platforms, hay and grass plants.

The essentials you will need to make the perfect set up for your guinea pigs:

Lots of tasty Excel hay! Excel nuggets Excel treats Guinea pig-proofed space Non-slip flooring Food bowl Water bowl Hay rack Litter tray & filling Hidey holes/tunnels Boredem breakers Bedding hay Guinea pig-safe cleaning products

Guinea pigs can be housed outdoors. They just need to be protected from hot weather in the summer and poor weather in the winter. When the weather is particularly bad, don’t put them in an outdoor run. As they’re so small their bodies are really close to the ground, so they’ll easily get wet. Instead, pop them inside or in an outdoor shed – all guinea pig proofed of course! When it gets really cold give your guinea pigs plenty of extra bedding to help keep them nice and cozy.

In better weather, keep your guinea pigs’ housing and run out of direct sunlight and fill it with places to hide. Guinea pigs are prey animals so like to feel secure and that they have somewhere to hide away.

Keeping guinea pigs outdoors means they may encounter predators, such as foxes. Keep your guinea pigs’ housing secure by using good quality wire and bolts. Also, certain garden chemicals, such as pesticides, can be poisonous. Make sure your guinea pigs are kept away from any areas that could contain these chemicals.

Cleaning guinea pig housing

DAILY:
You should give your guinea pigs housing a quick clean daily, throwing out wet/dirty bedding, uneaten food and cleaning and refilling food and drink containers.

WEEKLY:
A more thorough clean should be completed weekly which involves removing and replacing all bedding as well as cleaning out the litter trays.

MONTHLY:
Every month you should give your guinea pigs housing a ‘deep clean’ where you take everything out, scrub the housing with a animal-safe cleaner then replace the bedding with fresh hay.

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