Guinea Pig Cages - How To Build The Ultimate Piggy Palace
You, being the cavy enthusiast you are, have 20 browser tabs open doing a ton of research on what is needed to setup a guinea pig habitat that you can be proud of.
You’ve somewhat pieced it together, but still feel a little bit lost.
Annoying isn’t it?
And then BOOM! You find this page.
A guide that can answer all of your burning questions about the basics of setting up your guinea pig cage. A guide that might even be able to save you money on your car insurance (sorry, it won’t do that, but still).
In this guide, I will show you:
- Well reviewed guinea pig cages (including a cash friendly DIY option)
- Sizing and location considerations
- The best bedding
- A quick overview on food dishes and water bottles
- Nest boxes, hiding places and fun pig toys
- Tank maintenance
Well, are you ready to get started? Let’s get this show on the road.
The Top Guinea Pig Cages
If you already have a cage, go ahead and scroll past these reviews to learn about the rest of the setup.
If not, take some time to look at the pros and cons of these great guinea pig cage choices. You cannot go wrong with any of these.
Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat Plus
47L x 24W x 14H inches or 8 square feet.
Perfect size for one guinea pig.
Leak proof and washable canvas bottom.
Fully removable wire mesh top.
Comes with a divider panel.
Affordable - A surprisingly low price for the size of the cage
More convenient and can be cheaper than a C&C cage.
Replacement liner are available for purchase.
If you buy two, that's enough space for 4 guinea pigs. Party time!
The part of the canvas that goes up the sides are a bit low - Piggy poo flingers can make a mess.
While an extra canvas bottom is available, it is quite expensive.
Difficult to move once assembled.
It’s hard not to love this setup.
The modular design allows for expansion and this cage is just straight up affordable.
This breakdown is for the Guinea Habitat Plus. You can pay half the price for the Guinea Habitat, but you won’t get the top or the divider panel. Same size and awesomeness, you just miss out on a few convenient extras.
Our recommendation is to layer the bottom as the canvas material can be a bit challenging to clean (and the pigs may find it delicious). Put an absorbent layer (like U-Haul furniture pads or newspaper) and then add bedding such as a fleece liner or natural paper bedding.
That’s actually a recommendation for most of these cages – Makes cleaning a lot of easier.
Living World Deluxe Habitat X-Large
There is a way to hook two of these together (can you say piggy palace?)
Comes with this sweet balcony that also serves as a hideaway.
You get everything pictured - Water bottle, food dish and hay feeder are all included!
Very easy assembly - Even a talented guinea pig could do it 🙂
The cage bottom is plastic and is easy to clean
The top lifts off so you can dump out old bedding with ease - Quick and easy maintenance.
Aesthetically pleasing. One of the best looking cages.
Large enough to fit a child (in case yours is acting up).
The priciest cage out of the list.
The hay tray isn't the best and tends to cause a mess (my rhyme for the day).
The instructions leave a bit to be desired.
You can easily rate this as one of the best guinea pig cages on the market.
We really love the looks and the size.
A lot of critter lovers use this for their rabbit so this cage would be treating your cavy like royalty.
This habitat is one that checks all the boxes, but the price can break the budget. If you have local chain pet stores like Petco or PetSmart, try to grab one of these when they’re on sale or if you have a coupon.
Otherwise, as I always say “Buy once, cry once.” 🙂
Amazon Basics Pet Habitat Jumbo
Comes with a little balcony that also serves as a hideaway.
Large top and front openings for easy access.
Comes with the water bottle and hay guard.
Easy transport - You can lift the whole cage no problem.
Easy to keep clean.
A lot of buyers are reporting issues with receiving the item damaged. That's a quick return process, but still an inconvenience.
This cage is no frills and there is a good chance your guinea pig will do just fine with the large size which is much cheaper than the jumbo.
Everything in the picture is included which makes for a price efficient habitat.
Not as good looking as the Living World and no expansion options like the Midwest, but this cage can definitely get the job done and is a great choice for many small critters (if you’re like me and have a zoo).
DIY C&C Cage (Cubes and Coroplast)
The cheapest choice if you want unlimited expansion and shape options.
Easy to make a multi-level setup (as pictured).
Many different cube options available at varying prices - Lot's of choices
This is what they call a C&C cage and these are the defacto standard for guinea pig cages.
The reason is that you can hook up more and more cube grids to create one big cavy castle.
The flooring uses coroplast which is just corrugated plastic (same material that is used for plastic sign boards).
A recommendation is to go to a local hardware store to find a large sheet of coroplast. It is a bit easier to cut and you can have one large sheet rather than piece a few of them together.
The C&C cage is usually paired up with fleece liners for cleanup bliss.
Let's Talk More About Building Your Guinea Pig Habitat
We’re done with cages. You now know about the best ones on the market.
Let’s dive right into the rest of the items needed to build the piggy palace.
Types of Guinea Pig Cages
I know you’re saying to yourself “Wait.. I thought we’re done with cages.”
While I showed you our recommendations, I do have some call outs and want to list the four common cage types (including one you shouldn’t use).
Aquariums – No. These were the most common cage types back in the day, but the ventilation is non-existent. Mold, respiratory problems – Please avoid these.
Pet Store Cages – A lot of pet store cages are too small and uninformed guinea pig owners think they’re a great buy. The ones listed in this article are fairly expensive at local pet stores when not on sale (if they even stock them) but they are the proper size for an adult pig.
C&C Cages – Cubes and coroplast. These are a great value setup that just require a bit of DIY. The wire cubes are used to build out the cage perimeter. Since they’re relatively cheap, you can make a lot of space for your guinea pig to roam. The main thing to look for is that the wiring spacing isn’t too far apart otherwise your guinea pig can slip out of the cage.
The coroplast material should cover:
- The flooring.
- One complete backside wall (on one of the long sides of a rectangular cage).
- Go up all of the sides around 6-10 inches.
Check out this video for a visual of how to setup the coroplast.
Homemade cages – If you are handy, you can build out a homemade cage. My only advise is to consider the material you’re using – You don’t want your guinea pig to be able to chew through it.
You wouldn’t want to live in a closet, would you?
The Humane Society has a great write up on what space a guinea pig needs. Here is a rough breakdown:
- One guinea pig – 7.5 square feet
- Two guinea pigs – 10.5 square feet
- Three guinea pigs – 13 square feet
- Four guinea pigs – 16 square feet
- 10 guinea pigs – I’m not good at math, but just keep adding 3 square foot for each extra guinea pig.
Since a guinea pig doesn’t normally climb, the size of the footprint is what matters – horizontal space.
Some benefits of having proper sized housing:
- Adequate room to roam and exercise.
- Better chance for keeping the peace with multiple pigs.
- Easier to clean – With enough space you can train your guinea pig to potty in a certain area.
- A happy cavy
You ever heard that saying “It’s all about location, location, location!”
Same for the pigster.
When setting up your cage location, consider these three things:
Temperature – Although a seemingly robust creature, guinea pigs are prone to issues if the proper temperature ranges aren’t kept. The ideal temperature range is around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Too cold and they can become sick. Too hot and they suffer from heat stroke.
Find an area that is not near any strong heat sources like in direct sunlight or near heating vents. Avoid chilly locations like unheated rooms or the garage (how dare you!).
Guinea pigs also don’t like humid conditions (I don’t blame them). Humidity builds moisture and that can allow the growth of mold in their enclosure.
Visibility – A pig likes to party and hang out with the family. They’re attention hogs… ahem pigs. Putting the cage in a family room is a great idea as long as you have provided them hides and nests to take cover when needed.
Noise – Guinea pigs have sensitive hearing so you don’t want to be blasting heavy metal music near them. Also avoid placing them near televisions or wherever they may be loud noises.
Guinea pig bedding is a key component to your habitat setup. You have three choices:
- Natural paper bedding
- Aspen shavings
- Fleece liner
Natural paper bedding – A wonderful choice as it is soft, absorbent and contains minimal dust. The better brands are also excellent with odor control. It’s important to supervise your guinea pigs when you introduce this type of bedding material as they may try eating it (which can cause health issues or death). If you notice them nibbling at the bedding, go with a fleece liner option. If your pig is good with the paper bedding, we like the Kaytee Clean & Cozy bedding.
Aspen Shavings – This is the only acceptable wood shaving (no pine or cedar please). A bit less absorbent than paper bedding and can be kicked around due to how light it is (see – kicked outside of the cage). This type of bedding tends to be cheaper than paper bedding. A great idea is to mix aspen and paper bedding which gives you the best of both worlds – Cost efficient, highly absorbent and good odor control. Kaytee All Natural Aspen bedding is a great choice.
Fleece liners – Here’s the thing – Fleece liners are great but you will need to clean the poop off daily. If not, it will get very messy real quick and become unhealthy for your guinea pigs. Fleece liners need to be washed a few times before they have effective wicking properties (wicking urine to the lower layers of absorbent material). It’s always best to put a 2nd layer of absorbent material below the fleece liner (like a furniture pad). One of the best fleece liners is the GuineaDad Fleece Liner. It also comes with a pocket to allow your pig to still be able to burrow.
Food and Water Dishes
You’re probably thinking:
A water bottle, simple stuff.
And it is. You just want to make sure you get a quality enough one that doesn’t drip constantly and create moisture in your pigs enclosure (not to mention having to change the bedding more often as it becomes soaked). You also want one that stays securely latched to the cage wires.When it comes to guinea pig food, their diet consists mainly of hay. With that said, we recommend the 2-in-1 hay feeders. These can hold both hay and leafy greens as well as pellets and can’t be flipped over like normal food dishes.
Nest Boxes and Hiding Places
There are times where we all can use a little peace and quiet.
Nest boxes and hides are not only good for peace and quiet, but it gives your guinea pig a place to go when feeling stressed or when it gets scared (like from a loud noise).
- Velvet plush
If you’ve ever been to a pet store, you have probably seen the plastic ones. They come in a few solid covers and are tried and true.
The wood nests are great if you’re aiming for that authentic looking habitat.
Guinea Pig Toys
Let’s face it:
It’s impossible to always be there for our sweet, loving little beastie and they will eventually get a little bored.
So why not provide them with a couple of fun toys to keep them occupied?
Not only do they provide something interesting for your guinea pig, but they can also help liven up and decorate the habitat.
There are a bunch of toys available – Here are some favorite picks of fellow guinea pig owners.
Chew Toys – Non-toxic, natural wood toys usually come in packs of multiple items so your cavy can pick out its favorite. They are also great for keeping their teeth worn down.Tunnels – Build your own little agility course for the pig! Tunnels can be hooked together and are great for play and exercise, a hideout or a place to sleep.
Hammock – Alright, now this is pretty cool. Some would say this is the ultimate hideout. The hammock has hangers that hook to the top of the cage. This, like the tunnel, can act as a nest box or a place to sleep.
Cage Maintenance And Cleaning
Consistently performing proper cage maintenance has three benefits:
- Keeps your pig happy and healthy.
- Keeps the cage location smelling good.
- Makes you a rockstar guinea pig owner.
By routinely keeping the cage clean, you avoid the buildup of ammonia which can be a serious health hazard for your pig. Let’s look at the daily and weekly tasks.
Daily spot cleaning
- Pick up the pig poops – You may need a brush if you have a fleece liner.
- Remove soiled litter – Add fresh bedding to replenish. Make sure to look under hiding spaces for soiled litter.
- Remove any food that is on the floor of the cage.
- Remove any fresh foods after one day (fruits and vegetables).
- Replace the water bottle with fresh water.
- Top up the hay feeder with fresh hay.
Weekly full cleaning
You will want to put your guinea pig in a playpen while you handle this task (see our next section on playpens).
In a water bottle, mix half and half of water and white distilled vinegar. This is your cleaning solution.
- Dispose of all litter and bedding.
- Use the vinegar solution to wash all the hideouts, fabric based items and to wipe down the entire cage.
- Scrub the inside and outside of the water bottle with a bottle brush.
- Replace all of the hay in the hay feeder.
- Ensure any potty pads are clean and dry.
- Wash any fleece liners – Use vinegar for to help with odor and to disinfect the liner.
Playpens And Travel Carriers
There are a couple of reasons you would want to have a guinea pig playpen available and some type of small animal carrier:
- A place to put your guinea pig when doing a full cage cleaning.
- A place to let your guinea get some exercise.
- You can connect some cages to the playpen area to really nail that piggy palace setup.
- Ease of travel if you need to go to a veterinarian or on a road trip.
There are quite a few different choices when selecting a playpen:
- Fabric type playpens
- Wire type kennels
- A small plastic swimming pool
You can find the swimming pools cheap at big box stores. Throw some bedding and toys in there and you’re good to go.
The playpen is a bit big to fit into a car, so you will also want a small carrier. There are many options available, just make sure you pick one that has great ventilation.
That's The Basics of Setting Up a Guinea Pig Cage!
You’ve made it!
Make way for the newly crowned awesome guinea pig owner.
So, what are you waiting for?
Get out there and build the piggy palace both you and your cavy have always dreamed of.
Please feel free to leave a comment below. We love to hear from our readers!