Guinea pig hutches can be anything from a small guinea pig cage to a large, multi-room wooden guinea pig mansion. Some people use the term to describe any guinea pig pen, whether it be wire or wood or a combination of both. Others use the words “guinea pig hutches” only to describe ones built of wood.
There are many types of guinea pig hutches from which to choose. Pet stores often have small cages or wooden pens which are designed to hold one guinea pig in a very small space. These are usually not good choices for a guinea pig home because they do not allow enough space for the animal. If you want to buy one of these commercial cages, make sure that it is at least four to five feet long so the guinea pig has room to exercise. If you plan on getting two guinea pigs you are going to need a home that is twice as large.
Many people buy larger wood and wire guinea pig hutches. Most of these can have sections added on to expand the size if you determine it is too small for your guinea pig or you decide to add more guinea pigs. A good hutch should have a nice wooden frame with coated pet wire that will not harm your pet, but also won’t allow them to hurt themselves like common chicken wire. The basic hutch should have a vinyl floor and not a metal one. Metal floors can injure the feet of the guinea pig. Hutches have doors with hinges.
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While some people use this basic wood and wire hutch as the entire home for their guinea pig, others use it only as a basic home which they add to over time. It is good for the guinea pig and easiest to clean if instead of scattering litter and hay over the entire floor, you have a large enough hutch that you can have room for one or two litter boxes. Both guinea pigs and rabbits often have similar homes and both can be trained to use the litter box. It is nice if hay for eating has its own little hay bin in which the animal does not lie or defecate.
You can add floor space to your guinea pig hutch by expanding horizontally to increase the length or by adding another floor or two above the first level. These can be joined with ramps installed to access to all levels. Having more than one floor can provide new places for your guinea pig to play and hide. If you intend on increasing your guinea pig family by adding new members, you can join several hutches together so they can have full run of the space, or if you plan on getting males and females, you should have one separate hutch for each.
Some people buy cube systems, which allow you to build your own guinea pig home with panels you join together in different designs. These often use small, under-bed-type plastic containers as beds or litter boxes. You can also build onto these enclosures to make them any size. Just remember to make sure you have a solid floor. Cardboard boxes can be used for beds or hiding places. You will also need a place to attach a water bottle or bottles and a spot to place a heavy ceramic bowl for guinea pig food.
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Look around in pet shops or online and research all the possible options for guinea pig hutches. Start out with one to meet your basic needs, and then both you and your guinea pig can have fun as you add new toys, hiding places, and exercise space.