Keep in mind that commercial guinea pig cages are often WAY too small for guinea pigs. They require a large enclosure so they can run around, not to mention stay separated from their cage mate in case they get into a squabble. The worst thing you can do to your guinea pigs is to put them in a tiny enclosure where they will constantly be in each other’s spaces all the time, which will result in fights and later on, separation of your guinea pigs.
Another reason why commercial cages are not recommended is because guinea pigs tend to poop and pee plenty, so to have all that buildup in the cage will result in more cleaning and a smellier enclosure. A larger cage means less mess to clean and a non-smelly one at that!
A C&C cage is widely used by guinea pig owners. They provide the proper minimum and preferred dimensions for guinea pigs, whether you have 2, 3 or 6 of them! All you need are cubes and coroplast. You can buy cubes at Walmart or any retail store, and as for coroplast, you can purchase them at a Home Depot. They are super easy to set up and are easily expandable in case you wish to adopt another piggy! With a commercial cage, you will need to buy an entirely new one, which is a waste of money. Here’s a guideline of how large to make your enclosure depending on the number of guinea pigs you own: https://www.guineapigcagesstore.com/about-candccages.
For the base of the cage, you’ll want to have some newspaper lined at the bottom and some paper bedding generously laid out. The paper bedding will be used to absorb any urine from your guinea pigs and trap the odor so they do not smell in your cage. Please note that cedar and pine shavings are fatal for guinea pigs and should never be used. A very popular brand to use is CareFresh. Another alternative is fleece bedding, which I will talk about in my next post.
Next, you’ll want to have your essentials ready, such:
- Water bottles (I recommend glass water bottles for guinea pigs since plastic ones can potentially have mold buildup over time)
- Food bowls (I also recommend ceramic food bowls since they are heavy and guinea pigs wouldn’t be able to tip them over…I’m looking at you, Flash!)
- Hay racks and hay feeders
- Hidey houses
- Chew toys (such as willow sticks)
You’ll notice that if you have a commercial cage, you wouldn’t be able to fit all these items inside! Or worse, your guinea pigs will be stuck in one spot of the cage and wouldn’t be able to move about. This can cause poor sanitation in your guinea pigs, and cause them to become overweight, which can lead to a myriad of health problems, including bumblefoot. Bumblefoot is a potentially fatal infection on the guinea pigs’ feet and is very difficult to treat. Preventative measures include:
- Providing an adequate space for exercise
- Cleaning your guinea pigs’ cage often
- Proper nutrition to avoid obesity
Hope this helps! Cue the cuteness!!