Guinea pigs really give so much to our lives, from their adorable ‘popcorn’ jumps, to their cosy cuddles. The list goes on, which is why want to give ’em plenty of space for it all, at home.
That said, guinea pigs aren’t really best for bedsit living. And although a small home or apartment would work fine, the ‘three-bedroom-house-with-backyard’ situation is truly home-squeak-home, for these compact creatures.
Ahhh… Hutch sweet hutch.
Because big is best for your furry friend, it’s wise to move him into a hutch. A hutch is a cage divided into two connecting compartments. Just how big you’ll want it to be will depend on the number of guinea pigs you adopt:
|Number of guinea pigs||Preferred size of hutch|
|4||> 1.2 sqm|
What makes a good hutch? Definitely a covered section that will make your cuddly companion feel safe and protected, while he sleeps. Your American Short Coat’s hutch should also be lined with soft grass or hay – but not straw, sawdust or wood shavings, gosh darn it. These are more likely to cause respiratory problems.
When choosing a spot for Fuzzbucket’s hutch, you’ll want to consider extreme weather conditions. For example, indoor hutches shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight or a poorly-ventilated area, during hot summer months. Otherwise, you’re just asking for a hot mess. Outdoor hutches should also be well-protected from intense sunlight and other elements, and be elevated to protect your piggy pal from Scruffy the Cat and other furry predators.
Say what? Guinea pigs need a workout room.
They’re technically ‘pigs’, right? So, it makes sense that daily exercise is a healthy move for your guinea pig, aka jolly little jelly bean. And we’re not talking a trot on the treadmill, folks – more like good, ol’ fashioned playtime.
A regular runaround with a side of TLC is especially necessary for guinea pigs kept indoors. So, when it’s time that wiggly ‘workout’, let your Sheltie out of his pen and into a safe, enclosed room. (Of course, you’ll want to ensure all the doors are shut and electrical cables are off the floor.) Throw in some extra pipes for Nibbles to crawl through, along with toys to frolic with, and your pig will be in hog heaven. Just be prepared for the mess he leaves behind, pet-lovers!
If your clawsy companion lives outside, you’ll want to build a sturdy, fenced enclosure around his hutch, allowing him to feel a little dirt between his toes. This barricade, however, should also protect your guinea pig from predators, while preventing escape by burrowing or jumping. Inside the fencing, add some hollow logs, pipes, shrubbery or rocky caves, to give your crawly critter both cover and protection.
Talk about a hutch your guinea pig will love coming home to! Here’s to a happy housewarming with your pint-sized pet.