Guinea Pigs can live happily indoors or outdoors; provided that their living quarters provide everything they’ll need.
Choosing an outdoor guinea pig hutch
If your guinea pig is going to live outside ensure that you choose a hutch that is robust enough to stop predators, such as foxes and cats, and is weather proof. This should be at least 4ft long or five times the length of your guinea pig. The floor needs to be solid and raised off the floor to avoid rising damp.
Choose a place in the garden which is reasonably peaceful, out of wind and direct sunlight, and away from other pets who may cause stress to your guinea pig. There should be an enclosed sleeping area filled with appropriate warm bedding material where your guinea pig can rest and take shelter if frightened. If you have more than one guinea pig living together ensure there is ample room for them both to shelter and rest together.
When the weather is poor – you will need to put your guinea pig's hutch in a shed - or purchase a hutch cover if a shed isn't available.
During the winter months your guinea pig will need to come inside or his hutch should be moved to a garage (not used by cars) or shed (if you have one) to protect him from the extreme cold.
Choosing an indoor guinea pig hutch
You may choose for your guinea pig to live indoors in which case you’ll need a large cage specifically designed for either guinea pigs or rabbits, with a suitable sheltered are for sleeping. Position the run away from radiators, out of direct sunlight and away from draughts to avoid overheating or chills. The ideal room temperature is between 17-20 degrees.
Choosing a guinea pig run
In addition to an indoor cage or outdoor hutch, your guinea pig will need access to an outdoor run where he can exercise on grass. Wood Green recommends that the outdoor run is at least 6ft by 4ft long and high enough for your guinea pig to stretch up. While guinea pigs enjoy being out grazing, they should also have plenty of hides available to bolt into if they feel threatened.
Enrichment and toys for guinea pigs
Marie Channer, head of small animals welfare at Wood Green, says; “Guinea pigs don't really play with toys, so it's very much about things for them to run through, hide in and eat from. Guinea pigs love their food. You can enrich their environment by making things like hay kebabs using empty toilet rolls, filling plant pots and other items with hay and their fresh foods. You can also plant up pots with different herbs growing in and a willow or fruit tree shrub your guinea pig can hop in and around to eat. Be imaginative, but remember guinea pigs like to roam lots, hide lots and eat lots.”