Planning to get yourself a guinea pig but can’t determine how big should a guinea pig cage be? Most pet store cages labeled for guinea pigs can be a terrible choice at the end. I can totally understand how tough it can be to find the perfect size cage for your guinea pigs. But don’t worry, I will help you in making the right choice by the end of this article.
The minimum standard size for a guinea pig cage must be at least 7.5 sq feet(68cmX105cm). Although, it is recommended to have at least 10.5 sq feet(68*143) if possible. A cage of this size can hold a single or a pair of guinea pigs with no issues; however, you can expect to add approximately three sq.feet of area for each additional guinea pig you get.
Choosing the right size cage is crucial for a healthy life of your guinea pigs. I know how difficult it is to imagine the size of adult guinea pigs by looking at those young little guinea pigs, but trust me, they grow at a fantastic pace, especially during those early days.
If you don’t get a large enough cage for them right from the beginning, you might inhibit their growth entirely.
What do guinea pigs need in their cages?
To understand why guinea pigs need a large cage first, we must know what are the essential items that need to go into their enclosure. Understanding what guinea pigs need in their cage will make the process of choosing the right size cage relatively simple and straightforward.
- A Leak-proof water bottle
- Good quality food bowls
- Odor-less bedding
- Lots of toys for stimulation
- Hiding spaces to relax
- Lots of hay to burrow and eat
All these are some of the essential items which must be added to your guinea pig’s cage. For a pair of guinea pigs, I would recommend at least a couple of water bottles and a pair of food bowls.
Guinea pigs are friendly creatures; however, they can get territorial sometimes. So, under such circumstances having a set for each of them helps a lot.
Also, make sure you have at least 4-5 toys for your guinea pigs; however, don’t offer all of that at once. Place 2-3 toys and rotate the rest in few weeks to keep them entertained.
Adding 2-3 hiding spaces in the cage is also important. fleece hideouts, Cuddle beds, and tunnels are some great ones to go for.
Hay piles are also an equally important aspect of our piggies cage. Guinea pigs are foragers i.e.; they love to forage their food from the ground. Thus, having a pile of hay helps a lot in replicating their natural behavior even in captivity.
It might sound a little gross, but the fact is your guinea pigs will burrow, pee, and eat the same hay every time you offer it to your guinea pigs.
Determining what goes into the cage beforehand is really helpful in choosing the perfect size for them.
Do guinea pigs need a lot of space?
Yes, guinea pigs do need a lot of space in their cage. They are caged animals that are most active during dawn and dusk, and providing them floortime during those hours can be challenging for most people.
Thus, having a large enough cage where they can play and exercise is crucial in keeping your guinea pigs happy throughout their lifetime.
As you might already know, guinea pigs are one of the giant rodents kept as pets. Most newbies make a mistake of caring for them like other small rodents, including mice and hamsters.
Guinea pigs are quite different from them, and their needs are also quite different. Mice and hamsters can live in a vertical space cage where you have multiple levels to climb, jump, and exercise.
However, guinea pigs don’t enjoy vertical space as much. They need more floor areas to exercise and play, unlike other species of rodents. They also need a lot of different items to keep their mind active and busy.
Why having a large cage is important?
Guinea pigs who get a relatively large cage are less prone to heart diseases, obesity, bumblefoot, and various other diseases.
Another significant advantage of having a large cage is your guinea pigs will be less likely to fight with each other. In small cage guinea pigs often conflict for their territory and resources(food and water), which usually ends up hurting one or both of them.
A larger cage might worry some people that they need to put more effort into cleaning their cage. However, the opposite holds true.
A smaller cage is more likely to get soiled and smelly in a shorter period. Whereas a large cage needs less frequent deep cleaning and is less likely to smell.
You can also create a dining area in a large cage as guinea pig love to pee and poop where they eat. Having a separate dining space can make the daily cleaning easy as most of the pee and poop will be accumulated in a particular area only.
What is the best size cage for 2 guinea pigs?
If you are planning to house a pair of guinea pigs, then I would recommend going with at least 10.5 sq feet area i.e., 27″x56″ of cage size. However, most guinea pigs cages that are available out there don’t make it to the point.
You can get away with a 7.5 sq feet area(27″x41″) size cage if you have space or budget constraint, but going for the larger ones gives you more options to add toys, food bowls, and other useful utility into the cage.
A Midwest cage will be the perfect choice if you don’t want to go for a DIY C&C cage but still provide an open and comfortable feel to your guinea pigs.
If you want a sturdier option but in a little smaller size, then you can go with the Living World cage as well.
However, these cages have lots of limitations in terms of expansion and recommended living space. I would any day go with a DIY C&C cage as it can offer a lot more space, design, and customization options as per your need that too at the right budget.
Yes, the budget would be a little more than the other two alternatives, but the final product would be equally great, as well. If you want to make a C&C cage for a pair of guinea pigs, then you will need at least 2×4 grids (8 in total), a chloroplast sheet for the base, and some zip ties to secure the structure safely.
Quick note: Although these are standard cage size for most guinea pigs, some chubby guinea pigs or pregnant guinea pigs might need a larger living space than these. Make sure you consider the same while housing your guinea pigs.
How tall should a guinea pig cage be?
A guinea pigs cage must have a minimum height of 16-18 inches. Although the top cover of the pen is not essential, however having enough height would ensure that your guinea pigs can’t escape the cage easily.
Although guinea pigs are not an excellent climber, still they can jump out of the cage if the height is short.
Guinea pigs might look like small caged animals, but in reality, they do need a much larger space to live in than what most people expect.
The cage you get must have an area of 7.5 sq feet at a bare minimum to house a pair of guinea pigs. Don’t go for small cages that most pet stores will push you.
They don’t serve the purpose, and it shall be a total waste of money as you will need to upgrade it after some time anyway. Make sure you have added all the essential supplies in your guinea pigs cage so that your guinea pigs can live a happy and healthy life.
Is a 2×3 C & C cage big enough for 2 guinea pigs?
Yes, a 2×3 C&C cage is the bare minimum size of enclosure that you should get for housing a pair of guinea pigs. A 2×3 pen is around 7.5 sq feet, which is a standard size for a guinea pig’s cage.
However, I would recommend you go for a 2×4 i.e., approximately 10.5 sq feet so that they have enough space to exercise, and the enclosure doesn’t feel too filled up.
Do guinea pig cages need a top?
No, guinea pigs cages don’t need a top if the height of the pen is above 16 inches.
However, if the height is not enough or you have other pets like dogs, birds, etc. living in the same house, then having a top over the cage is extremely important.
Can guinea pigs have multi-level cages?
Yes, guinea pigs can have a multi-level cage, although they are not fond of the same.
If you still want to use the vertical space, you can create a multi-level cage; however, make sure that the ledge or incline that is used to connect the levels are not too steep.
Also, make sure the high level is wholly secured so that your guinea pig’s don’t fall off and hurt themselves.
Sources: Sciencedirect, The prenatal growth of the guinea‐pig, Use of cage space by guineapigs, Guidelines for the Housing of Guinea Pigs, Housing Guinea pig colony, Guinea pigs housing