What Makes a Great Guinea Pig Hutch?

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

11 June 2014

Guinea pigs, a.k.a. cavies, make wonderful family pets-they are sociable, affectionate, talkative and entertaining. So, house your dear piggies in awesome guinea pig hutches like no other. Backyard Chicken Coops’ hutches are an excellent choice for your guinea pig’s home. They come in several styles and sizes and even their smallest enclosures make spacious guinea pig hutches.

guinea-pigs-are-great-pets-for-children

Dimensions

Despite the cavy’s compact size, they prefer LOTS of room to roam and explore, so when choosing guinea pig hutches, the roomier the better. Guinea pigs generally require an area of at least .7 square meters per animal. However, being that cavies are gregarious critters, it’s best that your guinea pig have at least one other hutch-mate. Spacing needs for a couple of cavies is at least .7 – 1 square meter per animal, moving up to 1-1.2 square meters for three and 1.2- 1.3 square meters for four pets. These are just general guidelines for your guinea pig hutches , but by housing your cavies in blissfully big digs, you are contributing greatly to their health and well-being. Guinea pigs are active social critters! They need daily exercise, stimulation, and plentiful space for them to just be their unique quirky lil’ guinea pig selves! Larger guinea pig hutches offer them the freedom to “popcorn”, “wheek”,“ bubble”, and “rumblestrut” wherever and whenever they so choose. Also, big digs are much easier to clean, encourage a more content coexistence, especially between squabbling boars, and enable their family to add tunnels and other toys to prevent boredom and stress.

Natural Environment

Next to space, the most important factor in preparing guinea pig hutches for your cavies, is to provide an environment that mimics their natural habitat as closely as possible. In the wild, guinea pigs are found on grassy flatlands very much like the habitat of a cow. Guinea pigs travel in herds typically composed of a few sows (females), a single boar (male) and the young pups. Most active during the dawn and dusk hours, they spend daylight hours looking for ready-made housing, enjoying the fruits of others’ burrowing. Consequently, guinea pig hutches can combine the best of both worlds- the wilds of nature and the safety of domestic life. Housing guinea pigs outdoors is a natural way for them to live. Guinea pig hutches should be located out of direct sun and well protected from rain and blustery winds. By equipping guinea pig hutches with wire mesh flooring, a great safety feature offered by Backyard Chicken Coops, your cavies will not only be protected from predators like rats, stray cats and dogs, snakes, etc., but will still be able to access that sweet tasting grass. Ideally, their sleeping area should be up off the ground and filled with plenty of hay or straw bedding. Different levels within guinea pig hutches equipped with ramps to scamper from here to there, offer your cavies ample space to munch on lunch, cuddle up with fellow hutch-mates and doze away the afternoon hours, or room to romp and play. Also, equip all guinea pig hutches with water bottles and cup feeders attached to the walls of the house or run.

guinea pig in hutch with water bottle, lettuce and carrot

Temperature

Outdoor guinea pig hutches will need special care in extreme heat and cold. Guinea pigs do best in temperatures between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. Mother nature has a mind of her own though, so be cavy-savvy! Guinea pig hutches will need some simple adaptations to keep cavies healthy and comfortable. In warmer weather, the best thing you can do to keep cavies cooler than a cucumber, is to locate their hutch in a nice shady area of your backyard. Also, they will need access to fresh cool water at all times! Dress up frozen water bottles and ice packs in old socks and place them around their house for them to lie against. Heat resistant tiles are another great choice for cooler guinea pig hutches! Cool off their taste buds by serving them chopped up fresh fruit frozen in ice cubes! Now, when the weather turns blustery and cold, take special care to ensure that your cavies are warm and cozy. Dry grass hay is excellent for adding insulation to guinea pig hutches! You can toss heaps of hay into their house as is or add cardboard boxes, with a hole cut out in one of the short ends and fill them up with hay. Your cavies will squeal with delight and burrow in deep with their best cavy friends. Or sew up some simple fleece “piggy pouches” for them to snuggle in. To prevent their water source from freezing, wrap water bottles with bubble wrap and attach to the outside of the guinea pigs’ run.

For information about our guinea pig hutches have a look here or contact us: sales@backyardchickencoops.com.au

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