Guinea pigs need a big cage and the RSPCA in the UK and Humane Society of the United States recommend a MINIMUM size for two guinea pigs of 7.5 square feet (0.7 square metres). This represents a cage that is approximately 4ft x 2ft (120 x 60cm) which is the size of a Midwest Habitat Cage.
However, we recommend a larger cage measuring 5ft x 2ft (150 x 60cm) which gives these small pets a much better space. And it is even better if you can provide an even bigger home for them. With guinea pigs, a bigger cage is always better.
In fact, some rescue centres will require that you house your guinea pigs in a cage that measures around 5ft x 2ft. So if you are getting your new guinea pigs from a rescue, check what their cage size requirements are before you go out and buy the cage.
Guinea pigs are one of the largest rodents kept as pets and are active for about 20 hours a day, sleeping only in short bursts. A cage that is too small won’t allow these active pets enough room to move around in a way that is natural and necessary for their wellbeing and health.
A 2×4 grid C&C cage is a good sized cage for 2 guinea pigs. A C&C is a modular cage which means you can buy the grids and connectors separately to make the exact size you want. You can also buy the C&C cage as a kit with all the components you need for a specific size but they will be more expensive when purchased as a complete package.
If you like the idea of a more attractive housing solution without bars, you may want to consider the Wooden World Cage with Perspex front which comes in the minimum size of 120cm x 60cm but is also available in 2 larger sizes with the option of a stand too. Although the smallest version meets minimum requirements, we recommend the 150cm x 60cm cage or the next size up.
We have more information on how big your cage size should be for the number of guinea pigs you have later in this article, with some recommendations on specific good cages.
We always recommend housing a pair of guinea pigs together as they can become very lonely and sad on their own. But even if you have just one guinea pig, the recommended cage size is the same as for two guinea pigs. The housing should be at least 7.5 square ft (0.7 square metres) but 10.5 square ft (1 square metre) is a much better size.
This means you should be looking at a minimum cage size of 4ft x 2ft (122cm x 61cm) with a recommended size of approx 5ft x 2ft (152cm x 61cm).
If you can provide your pair of guinea pigs with an even larger cage, that would be even better.
If you have 3 guinea pigs, the minimum cage size you will need is 10.5 square ft (1 square metre). But a better size would be a cage measuring 13 square ft (1.2 square metres). This gives them a much bigger space.
To give you an idea of how much space this might take up, a cage that is 5ft x 2ft (152cm x 60cm) would be just under the minimum requirements and a 6ft x 2ft cage (183cm x 60cm) would be a good size.
To meet the minimum cage size requirements for 4 guinea pigs you will need to house them in one that is at least 13 square ft (1.2 square metres) but it would be better if you could provide them a larger space with a cage that is 16 square ft (1.5 square metres).
5 guinea pigs will need at least 16 square ft of cage (1.5 square metres). However, if you have the space in your home, a cage that is 18.5 square ft (1.7 square metres) would give them better living accommodation.
If you have a larger herd of 6 guinea pigs, you’ll need 18.5 square ft as a minimum (1.7 square metres). This is a very large cage to have in your home but if you can manage a bigger one measuring 21 square ft (2 square metres) that is even better.
A 4×4 grid square C&C cage is almost 5ft x 5ft or 22.9 square ft and offers a great space for 6 guinea pigs.
A Midwest Habitat cage can be expanded by purchasing an additional cage or cages and joining them together. You can either have ramps between them (the side doors double up as ramps) or adjust them so that the cage is one big space.
C&C Cages are also very easy to expand. Simply use additional grids and connectors and coroplast in the relevant size to make your cage bigger.
Guinea pigs can have a second level in their cage, but this is not always a good option. There are a couple of points to consider before choosing this kind of cage.
The minimum cage size requirements that we specify here are what is required for one level and any upper levels don’t count in this. This is because they need to be able to run around in a large space. An extra large one level cage is much better than a smaller one that is split into 2 levels.
We’re not saying not to use two tier cages as they can work really well with a suitable ramp providing they have the required space on the lower tier. But if you’re considering adding an upper level, it’s important to bear these points in mind.
An upper level is a great place to put hideys and to use as the kitchen area where they eat. This will mean more usable space to run around in the lower level. But you’ll also need to make sure they have places to hide in the lower level too so they feel safe.
Not all guinea pigs are good with ramps. They can be reluctant to use them and generally prefer to be on one level.
An older guinea pig may struggle with a ramp, especially if they have arthritis and even younger guinea pigs may need some coaxing to get them to use the ramp.
However, for guinea pigs who don’t have mobility problems, it is usually just a case of getting them used to the ramp and they may have no problems at all once they’ve used it a few times.
Bear in mind that if you have a small lower level to your cage, you won’t be able to make the ramp shallow enough for them to be confident in using it.
Male guinea pigs are more prone to fighting than females if they don’t have enough space. Because of this we have always recommended going up to the next cage size for males that are housed together.
However one of our local rescues mentioned that it seemed unfair on female guinea pigs to recommend a larger size just for males simply because males don’t get along in a smaller space. We completely agree with this and wherever possible, we recommend you go up a cage size whether you have male or female guinea pigs.
It is very likely you will be unable to find a cage that is the recommended size in the pet shops. Even if they are labelled as being suitable for guinea pigs, many of these are nowhere near big enough. You will also see cages that are too small being sold online but you will also see good sized cages online which is where we recommend you buy your guinea pig enclosure.
If you have your guinea pigs housed in a cage that is too small you may encounter various problems with your pets including:
Your guinea pig may become depressed and inactive. They are very active pets and they need space to not just move but to run around and play. If they are unable to do this they will not have a good quality of life.
If you have a guinea pig that just sits in a hidey or in the corner most of the time, there could be a number of reasons for this. One reason could be loneliness if it’s a single guinea pig but it may also be down to the fact that your cage is too small.
Because there is limited space in a small cage, it will become dirty much quicker. This means you’ll either have to clean the cage much more often or it will smell bad. A dirty cage is unhygienic for your guinea pigs and they may end up sitting in wet or soiled bedding which will get into their hair. This can cause sores and will also attract flies which pose a risk of a very dangerous condition called fly strike.
When guinea pigs are housed in a cage that is too small, there is more chance they might become aggressive with their cage mates. This can result in serious injuries and even death in some circumstances.
It’s important to make sure your cage is the right size for the number of guinea pigs you have. Bigger is always better, and, if you have a cage that you now realise is too small, look at either expanding it or buying a new cage that gives your guinea pigs the space they need to lead happy and healthy lives.