Guinea pigs are highly social animals and need the company of their own kind to thrive. Therefore we prefer our guinea pigs to be rehomed in pairs. Our single guinea pigs are available to be paired with another already in the home. We will occasionally rehome single guinea pigs but only if we have found them to be happier on their own and they will be going as a house pet where they will be receiving plenty of human company instead.
Their hutch should be at least five foot long and two foot deep, with an area to exercise in, as a minimum requirement. Depending on the number of guinea pigs these dimensions may need to be increased. Some guinea pig hutches come with ramps, but most guinea pigs find ramps too difficult to use. Guinea pigs are not natural climbers and can injure themselves by falling from ramps. Putting side panels up the ramps may help, although a few guinea pigs will not navigate them at all.
The hutch may need some insulation to keep it warm in winter and cool in the summer. Also if you attach a permanent run to the hutch which is predator safe, the guinea pigs can enjoy more freedom. They should be put back in their hutch at night though to remove any risk from nocturnal predators – remember that some predators can dig underneath the enclosure.
Some people prefer to secure their garden so that the guinea pigs can free roam during the day, only being put safely back in their hutch/shed at night. The guinea pigs will need lots of hiding places though, so that they can get away from any predators.
If the guinea pigs live outside they will need to be checked on at least twice a day.
Outside space to run
We recommend all our guinea pigs have access to a grassy area at least once per day for their mental and physical well-being and so that they can exhibit natural guinea pig behaviour.
Indoor guinea pigs
If you decide that you want your guinea pig to live indoors with you, you will need to find an area for the guinea pig to live. Some people partition part of their room with fencing. The fencing does not need to be too tall, as guinea pigs cannot jump. You could purchase a wooden hutch. Alternatively you can buy special indoor guinea pig cages, but they tend to be on the small side. Buying one designed for rabbits might be the better option.
A litter tray should be available for the guinea pig to use, although they are harder to litter train than rabbits, and the guinea pig must have access to food and water at all times.
Guinea pigs that live indoors will still need a secure area outside, where they will be able to get vitamin D from the sun and be able to exhibit normal behaviours.
We will also ask you what you are going to feed your guinea pigs. A good diet consists of
- Readigrass and hay (85% of their diet)
- leafy green veg (10% of their diet)
- good quality extruded guinea pig nuggets or pellets (only 5% of their diet).
Guinea pigs require daily vegetables, as like us they cannot manufacture vitamin C and need to get the vitamin from their diet instead.
Guinea pigs and children
Guinea pigs can be really suitable as children’s pets – they often sit still on laps if they get used to doing so from an early age. Children should always be supervised when handling guinea pigs though, as they can be easily injured if handled incorrectly.
Children can often lose interest in pets and this is why many of the rabbits and guinea pigs end up in our care. It’s necessary therefore that the adults in the home are prepared to be responsible for the guinea pigs’ care in this event.