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How big should a guinea pig cage be?

By Emily Lewis

With a wide variety of cages available online and in pet shops, it can be very confusing to find out what the right size cage for guinea pigs is. It can be even harder to work out what size of cage different numbers of guinea pigs and different sexes of guinea pigs should have. We have written this guinea pig cage size guide to help you provide plenty of space for your guinea pigs to zoomie and popcorn! This article also contains some of our top tips when choosing the right location for a cage and what makes an ideal outdoor run size.

Why is the right cage size important for guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are ground roaming rodents that like a large floor space to explore. Guinea pigs can run around from a few hours old, so they spend their lives on their feet. They don’t climb and usually have poor depth perception, so multi-level cages with steep ramps that have no sides are not ideal for guinea pigs. These types of cages are typically made for mice and rats that enjoy (and are good at) climbing. Guinea pigs can enjoy an extra level, but the ramp should be shallow and should have sides.

What are the key benefits of a large cage?

  • Large enclosures help cavies stay healthy. Giving guinea pigs plenty of space means that they’re able to exercise and run around. This reduces the chances of them developing medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and bumblefoot.
  • More space means less bickering! When guinea pigs have plenty of space, they’re less likely to argue over things and get into a confrontation. Boars (male guinea pigs) need more space per animal than sows (female guinea pigs) because they’re more likely to argue with each other.
  • Roomier enclosures help curb boredom. Bored guinea pigs aren’t happy guinea pigs. They can start chewing bars, eating parts of their cage and annoying cage-mates if they don’t have enough space. Space provides enrichment for guinea pigs. They enjoy exploring and foraging around large spaces.
  • Happy guinea pigs also mean happy humans. We love to see our pet piggies enjoying themselves. Bigger spaces mean more zoomies and popcorns which are bound to brighten up anyone’s day. Nothing puts a smile on a face like a bouncing guinea pig!

Where can you buy a guinea pig cage?

Although your first thought may be to go to a pet shop, many high street pet shops don’t sell cages that are bigger than the minimum requirement for two sows (female guinea pigs). Despite being too small, pet shops often advise buyers that the cages are suitable. Once their guinea pigs are living in them, owners often realise that their guinea pigs aren’t happy in their small space and end up buying another cage. Considering pet shop cages aren’t cheap for their size, it’s best to do the research and get the correct cage first time around.

Not only C&C cages meet the minimal requirements but they are also an economical choice. The largest cage available on a popular UK pet shop’s website was only the minimum recommended size for two guinea pigs and cost £100. The equivalent size for a Kavee C&C cage is a 3x2 and it costs around £50. The recommended size for two guinea pigs is a 4x2 C&C cage and this is still cheaper at £66. Even the largest cage that Kavee sells is less than the small pet shop cage at £81 and is a 6x2 C&C cage – suitable for up to four guinea pigs!

 

size guinea pig cage c and c cage cc cage kavee uk
 Image source: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/cage-size-guide.120795/

 

You can also buy hutches, designed for outdoor use, online. Most people find that these hutches degrade quite quickly and prefer to use a small shed or children’s wooden playhouse as they are larger, better insulated and last longer. The Humane Society advises that guinea pigs aren’t housed outside. If you do opt for an outside hutch, it is important to ensure that the hutch is adequately insulated and waterproof. Guinea pigs are very sensitive to high and low temperatures and well as drafts. Drafts can make guinea pigs more likely to catch a respiratory illness and develop pneumonia. Guinea pigs can also develop heatstroke easily in the summer, so it’s not just wintertime that can be potentially dangerous for guinea pigs to live outside.

The ultimate size guide to guinea pig cages

The Humane Society and the RSPCA released guidelines on the minimum cage sizes for guinea pigs. It’s recommended to go one size up from these minimum sizes. These recommendations are also different for sows and boars. Ideally, you should go for the biggest cage that you can realistically fit in the space you have – more space is best.

Number of guinea pigs

Minimum floor space

Recommended floor space

2 sows

2x3 C&C = 8 ft2

2x4 C&C = 10 ft2

3 sows

2x4 C&C = 10 ft2

2x5 C&C = 12ft2

2 boars

2x4 C&C = 10 ft2

2x5 C&C = 12ft2

1 neutered boar & 2 sows

2x4 C&C = 10 ft2

2x5 C&C = 12ft2

4 sows

2x5 C&C = 12ft2

2x6 C&C = 14 ft2

 

size chart guide for guinea pig c&c cage Kavee uk


For more than four guinea pigs, the advice is to add 2ft2 per guinea pig. This is equal to adding an extra grid on to a cage or an extra 60x30cm. One of the benefits of using a C&C cage is that if you do decide to get another guinea pig, and need to extend the cage, you can just buy some new grids and extend the base or buy a new base. You won’t need to buy a whole new cage if you do decide to extend at some point.

It’s important to note that these recommendations only apply to one floor. Lofts and multiple levels on C&C cages don’t count toward the total floor space. The guidelines advise this because guinea pigs need a flat space to run. Lofts can add excitement to the cage and many guinea pigs enjoy using the ramps so many choose to add a loft anyway. As an example, a 4x2 C&C cage for two guinea pigs is considered the same floor space as a 4x2 C&C cage with a loft.

If you are looking at cages that are measured in centimetres, the table below should help you with the conversions.

Number of C&C grids

Cage size in ft2

Cages size in cm

2x3

8

120x60

2x4

10

150x60

2x5

12

180x60

 

Finding the right space to put your cage

Even after figuring out the right size and finding a cage supplier, an ideal spot for a guinea pig cage needs to be found. Kavee has created an ideal location list for an indoor C&C cage.

An ideal location for a guinea pig cage is:

  • Away from loud noises – guinea pigs like to have a quiet space but do enjoy the company of people. Guinea pigs need space to retreat to if they do become scared of noise. Putting in a hideout such as a cardboard box can create a quiet space for them to retreat. Don’t put their cage next to loud stereos or TVs – they have sensitive ears.
  • Secure from other pets – guinea pigs are prey animals and can easily be attacked by cats and dogs. If you have a dog or cat, there must be a secure door between the guinea pig’s cage and them. People have reported that even their very relaxed dog has got into the guinea pig cage and injured them. We also recommend a cage with a lid and a stand (so a cage off of the floor) as extra protection. As an additional barrier, you could fit a baby gate on the same door.
  • Away from drafts or radiators – as mentioned before, guinea pigs can get unwell from drafts. This means that by an outside door or window may not be the best place. Buying a stand with your cage can help keep them warmer as the base doesn’t touch the ground. They can also overheat if their cage is right next to a radiator.
  • Not in a bedroom – guinea pigs are most active at dawn and dusk but are also awake during the night. They are surprisingly noisy so unless you’re a very deep sleeper, it’s probably best to keep them elsewhere.
  • Away from wires and electrics. A guinea pig cage should not be placed close to any wires. Guinea pigs love to gnaw on things including cables. This is dangerous because it can cause electrocution. This is also something to consider when letting them run around the house during floor time.

Space outside the cage

It’s also important for guinea pigs to have other places to explore. Many people buy outdoor runs for their guinea pigs to spend time in during the warmer and drier months. Time outside can be very enriching for guinea pigs. They enjoy grazing and foraging on lawns and it gives them a new space to run around. An outdoor cage should follow the same size recommendations as their main cage as they’re likely to spend many hours in the run during the summer.

As well as spacious, runs need to be safe and secure. Guinea pigs can be very crafty at escaping underneath and over the top of runs. Make sure the run is sturdy and not easy to lift. A simple circle of chicken wire or something similar won’t contain them for long. A lid is very important as well. Cats or foxes could enter the garden and get into the guinea pig run. As well as cats and foxes, birds of prey are also a risk to guinea pigs and have been known to enter people’s gardens.

Kavee sell secure C&C runs and outdoor playpens that are suitable for giving guinea pigs plenty of space to safely explore the outside world.

As well as outside, it’s great for guinea pigs to be able to explore other inside spaces. One of the useful things about a C&C cage is that you can easily open it up or install a door grid to let your piggies out for floor time. A key thing to remember is to make the space guinea pig-proof. Make sure there are no dangling wires that could be dangerous for them to chew such as houseplants. Obviously there is the downside of pee puddles and poops appearing around the house but if there have access to their cage, they are likely to go back there to do their business. Another tip is to put fleece pee pads in corners around the room as this is where they’re most likely go.

Remember that floor time and outside space is a bonus and shouldn’t be a replacement for the space in their main cage. Just because they get floor time every day doesn’t mean that their main cage should be any smaller than the recommendations.

The key guinea pig cage size take-aways

The main message is that guinea pigs should have a cage that’s as big as you can get. The recommended size for two sows is a 4x2 C&C cage and the recommended size for three sows is a 5x2 cage. Boars need more space than sows to help prevent fighting. The recommended size for 2 boars is therefore a 2x5 cage.

There are many benefits to having plenty of space such as preventing obesity and bumblefoot, having happier guinea pigs that are more likely to popcorn and more space leads to less bickering between guinea pigs. It’s important to consider where to put a cage when you’re thinking about buying one. The cage should be safe and secure away from other pets like cats and dogs and should be away from drafts, radiators and any wires.

As well as a roomy cage, guinea pigs benefit from exploring other areas indoors during floor time and being outside in a run when it’s warm enough and dry enough for them to do so.

As a basic rule when it comes to space for your guinea pigs: the bigger the cage the happier the guinea pig!

Check our other useful posts:

-Reducing your guinea pigs’ carbon footprint  

-What are C&C cages for guinea pigs? 

-The ultimate guide to using fleece liners for guinea pigs 

-5 ways in which C and C cages got better 

-Which C&C cage is right for my guinea pigs? 

-What does C&C cage stand for? 

-Hinged doors, lids and gates on C&C cages: how does it work? 

-4 reasons to add a stand to your C&C cage 

-10 ideas to decorate your C&C cage with everyday items 

-Do guinea pigs need a house in their cage? 

-A guide to C&C cages size 

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