Texas Rustlers Small Animal Rescue

Small Animal Rescue

Cube and Coroplast Cages

When it comes to guinea pig cages, the larger the better.  Piggies actually get depressed if their housing is too small, and most store-bought cages are way too small!  We recommend that you make your own inexpensive cage using wire dorm room cube grids and coroplast (waterproof plastic sign material). We have both the grids and coroplast available for purchase at our rescue store, and we will even pre-cut the coroplast for you for free. The wire grids are also available online, and the coroplast is available from local sign shops in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets.

The minimum recommended size for two guinea pigs is at least 7.5 sq ft (a 2×3 grid cage), and for three guinea pigs is ideally 10.5 sq ft (a 2×4-grid cage). Some ambitious owners have even made a two story cage, complete with low ramps that are easy and safe to climb, but this is certainly not necessary. 

You can see how to make your own guinea pig cage at Guinea Pig Cages, or refer to these complete detailed printable instructions. Please don't let the idea of a Do-It-Yourself cage intimidate you into buying an overpriced under-sized store-bought cage. We use Cube and Coroplast cages at our rescue and we will be happy to help you learn how to set one up. 

Never use a fish tank or plastic storage container for housing your guinea pigs. They provide no air circulation. Also avoid wire-bottom bird cages, which will cause painful bumblefoot infections. Lastly, hutches are not suitable housing for guinea pigs. They are usually made of wood, which will absorb their urine and contribute to odor and the growth of mold in their cages and hay. Additionally, they provide poor ventilation and exposed elevated platforms and ramps which can cause severe injury or death if a guinea pig should fall off of them.

Types of Bedding

Aspen Wood Shavings - This is the only type of wood shaving bedding that should ever be used. Cedar and Pine bedding are toxic to small animals and can cause respiratory problems and death. Heat-treated pine and cedar shavings (kiln dried) still cause a rise in liver enzymes in rats and mice. 

Recycled Paper Bedding - Brands such as CareFresh are a great alternative to Aspen bedding, especially if you have allergies to Aspen.

Fleece - Fleece cage liners are becoming more popular. Fleece fabric is placed over several absorbent layers of fabric (such as toweling or U-Haul moving pads). The poops can be swept out daily and the liner washed weekly. For a detailed explanation of how to use fleece liners, visit here.

Cage Cleaning

Done weekly, this will be a quick and easy task.

  1. Remove your guinea pigs from the cage and place them in a safe location like a playpen area.
  2. You will have lined the cage with newspaper prior to filling it with bedding. Roll up the bedding and newspaper lining, then throw it away (or better yet, compost it).
  3. Sweep up any remaining bedding in the cage with a small broom and dustpan.
  4. Spray the cage sides and bottom with a solution of 50% white vinegar & 50% water, let sit for a few minutes, then wipe dry.  NOTE:  White vinegar is a cheap disinfectant that really removes urine deposits in the cage, and it’s SAFE for guinea pigs, unlike bleach and other household cleaners.
  5. Put at least four layers of newspaper down (overlapping slightly) all over the cage.
  6. Spread an even layer of Aspen or CareFresh bedding approximately 2 to 3 inches thick. NEVER use cedar or pine bedding, which are toxic to guinea pigs.
  7. Wash their food dish, water bottle, and hidey-house if necessary. Replace your guinea pigs and watch the fun begin as they explore and redecorate their clean cage!

Cage Location

Keep these guidelines in mind when locating your guinea pigs' cage: 

  • A child's bedroom is not a good place for the guinea pigs as it is unhealthy for a child to be breathing the dust from the hay and bedding. This could contribute to allergies and asthma. 
  • Guinea pigs need to be where an adult can monitor both their eating habits and their behavior. 
  • Guinea pigs enjoy being where there is a lot going on. They enjoy interacting with the people in the household.
  • The optimum temperature for guinea pigs is 68° -  72° with humidity between 45-65%.  
  • Guinea pigs must not be kept in direct sunlight, as they are prone to heat stroke.
  • Guinea pigs must not be kept near open windows or directly under air conditioning vents, as this could contribute to pneumonia.