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HOUSING ADVICE

Housing

Housing is seemingly the easiest part of keeping guinea pigs though there is also such a huge choice of hutches and cages to choose from which might make it seem daunting. Hopefully we can now help you narrow your searches down.

Outdoor: Usually made of wood with a felt roof, a good quality outdoor hutch will be well built with sturdy legs and solid sides. The thicker the wood making the main part of the hutch, the better quality it's likely to be. They conist of an enclosed bedroom and open living space.
An extension to this can be the addition of a built in run. These are either located under the main hutch or attached to the front. This allows a totally outdoor area for the guinea pigs to play in whilst allowing them access to their hutch. People often find these all-in-one units useful and negates the need for an additional seperate run.

Indoor: If indoors in a house/flat then a suitably sized cage will suffice. If kept in a shed or garage then an outdoor hutch or purpose built indoor hutch would be a better option.

Sizes: Guinea pigs can grow up to about a foot long so we would recommend an absolute minimum of a 3ft(36in) hutch for a pair. This is based on them being allowed out into a run daily. Ideally the hutch should be 4ft (48in/120cms) long. Don't be fooled into thinking you need the biggest hutch possible as you'll find your guinea pigs won't use all the space. For indoor cages then 3ft(36in/90cms) is the smallest you should buy. This is based on the guinea pigs being allowed plenty of time to 'roam' out of the cage.

Runs: In addition to the hutch or cage, you can use a run to allow your guinea pigs some time on your garden. Runs are an important part of keeping guinea pigs as it allows them to move about more and eat grass and dandelions. If you move them about over your lawn then they make a fantastic alternative to a lawn-mower. Obviously indoors a run/enclosure just stops them wandering around behind furniture and chewing things.

Bedding: All you need is woodshavings made for animals or dust extracted as they are known. Simple. You may here people saying use fleece, medibed etc but these are not needed and are usually an expensive alternative. DO NOT buy straw. This is because it's stiff and can cause eye damage/infections and secondly it's an expense you don't need to make.

Plastic covers: To be frank and totally honest, these are a waste of money (some sell for over £50. They often discolour, shrink, rip and have been known to overheat hutches where people leave them on all year. Guinea pigs can handle cold weather but they don't like cold wind and rain. Just buy some tarpaulin from a DIY shop and hold it down with a couple of bricks. Cost is about £4-5 and does the job perfectly well.

Summary: For keeping guinea pigs outdoors then buy a good quality sturdy outdoor hutch, preferably 4ft long, with a built-in or seperate run. If keeping indoors then a large cage and be prepared to let your guinea pigs have a run around out of the cage regularly.

Where To Buy?: We can highly recommend a local tradesman called Paul who has made all of our outdoor hutches and whom we used to supply hutches for. Unfortunately time doesn't allow us to do so but if you want Quality Hutches at affordable prices then contact Paul on 07960 558259. Tell him you got his number from Dave and Elaine and we're sure he'll be able to help.

There are also loads of other places you can buy hutches/cages such as pet shops, Ebay and internet shops. In respect to outdoor hutches, make sure they are solid and heavy enough not to get blown around. BE ADVISED you will find some flimsy hutches in shops, especially LARGE pet shops. which are not necessarily well made and you may find the guinea pigs out-living the hutch!