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The Ultimate Guinea Pig Hutch

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Author: Mike Andrews


There are lots of different types of homes that you can provide for your pet cavy. Depending on your space limitations you might keep your pet cavies in an "enclosure", or a "cage" or in a guinea pig "hutch". You can define these any way you like, but regardless of how you do so each of these differently described cavy homes will need to provide very similar features, all of which are essential to the health and well-being of your pets.

For this article I am going to refer to the cavy's home as a guinea pig hutch for the sake of consistency rather than switch back and forth between terms. In truth I would use, as you probably would also, a different one of these terms to describe different types of cavy homes. I think the term "hutch" usually conjures up an image of a larger wooden "cage" that stands on legs and is usually for keeping pets outside. Having said that, I think that most cavy keepers would agree with me that you should not house cavies outside regardless of how nice, or how big the hutch is, due to weather and predator considerations. A hutch is certainly suitable as an indoor home for your pet cavies.

The Bigger the Better

The first and most important consideration is the size of the hutch. Big is good, and the bigger the hutch is, the better it will be for your pet. This is because cavies are happiest when they're able to run around and romp and play with their cage-mate(s). And this running around amounts to exercise that is very important to your cavy's health. Without plenty exercise your guinea pig will get fat and depressed. Both of these ailments will cause additional health problems.

Your hutch should be big enough for two cavies, since they are social creatures and need to have company. The recommended area for two cavies is about 10.5 square feet. That may sound like a huge cage, but its actually only about 3' x 3.5' feet. This will nicely allow for food bowls, toys, water bottles, and their own personal hideaways (not only do your cavies need room to play together, they also need room to get away from each other and be by themselves).

Make sure your hutch has a solid floor and not a wire mesh floor. This will ensure that your cavies don't injure their unprotected feet or limbs by stepping through the mesh. If possible avoid wooden floors also because they tend to soak up urine and then its hard to get out, its stinky, and unsanitary. A plastic surface is usually the best material for a floor because it is easier to clean.

Bedding Materials

Your guinea pigs will also need to have "bedding" in their hutch. A lot of people use a combination of shredded paper and hay on top of a couple of layers of newspaper. But I've also been reading in the forums that many people are using cotton towels (as the absorbent bottom layer) with a fitted piece of fleece on top. The fleece wicks away the moisture/urine and it is absorbed by the cotton towels. Clean up is as simple as throwing everything into the washer.

You still need to include a hay inside the guinea pig hutch, for two reasons, both of which are very important. Guinea pigs love to munch on hay. The most popular variety for guinea pigs is Timothy hay. The hay is course enough that when the cavies chew on it it helps wear down their teeth. This is necessary because cavies' teeth continue growing throughout their lives, and if there weren't some way for the cavies to keep their teeth ground down they would develop dental problems, which means vet bills. The other reason for the hay is that is is a great digestive aid for your guinea pigs. Gastrointestinal health is important and will help avoid more veterinarian bills.

Summary

It doesn't matter what you call your guinea pig's home - a cage, a hutch, or an enclosure - you need to be sure that you provide for all of the essential housing needs of your pet cavy to make sure that they are healthy and content. It doesn't take much to keep your guinea pigs happy, but they depend on you entirely so take good care of them!

About the author: Mike Andrews has been a life-long animal lover and guinea pig enthusiast. Mike has written additional articles relating to the guinea pig hutch on his web page at http://www.petguineapigsinfo.com/guinea-pig-hutch. Please visit his website at http://www.PetGuineaPigsInfo.com and check out his FREE 10 part mini-course on the proper care and raising of happy and healthy guinea pigs. Peace.


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