The benefit of buying a hutch and run combo is that it is a lot easier for you and your guinea pigs when it comes to exercise time. It can also be cheaper to buy them as one item.
We have had a look at many of the hutch and run combos available for sale and many are very small - not nearly big enough to house guinea pigs and give them enough space to exercise. The best one that we found was the 6ft Single Storey Chartwell Hutch and Run which is an excellent choice if you are housing your guinea pigs outdoors.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of a single storey hutch
- Benefits of the hutch and run combination
- Why we recommend the Chartwell 6ft hutch and run
- Shopping list
- Where to place the hutch in your garden
- Treating the wood
Benefits of a single storey
You’ll find that many of the hutch and run combos are two tier and while many guinea pigs will be fine with using double decker housing, there are some that aren’t.
If you have older guinea pigs or in a couple of years or so as they begin to age, you may find they have difficulty getting up the ladder, especially if it is a steep one. This is particularly the case if your guinea pig starts showing signs of arthritis. It can be painful for them to climb up a ladder and you may find they get to the point where they won’t use it.
This is why we now recommend buying the single storey hutch. If you already have a two tier hutch with plenty of space and your guinea pigs use the ladder without any problems then you don’t need to worry for now. However, if they do show signs of struggling on the ladder, you will have to consider a one level option.
Benefits of a hutch and run combination
With a hutch and run combo, the run attaches to the hutch enabling your guinea pigs to retreat into the hutch when they need to feel secure but can go out for some exercise as and when they want to when the hutch door is open. Rather than taking them out of the hutch and putting them into a run, all you need to do is to open the doors for them to access their run area.
You shouldn’t leave the hutch door open all the time and it should definitely be closed overnight to ensure they are safe. But opening it for a few hours in the day gives your pets plenty of time to have fun and stretch their legs.
Why we recommend the Chartwell 6ft Hutch and Run
We go into more detail about the hutch itself on our best hutches page but in brief, this is why we like this combination hutch:
Perfect size for 2 happy guinea pigs
The 6ft Chartwell Hutch and run gives 2 guinea pigs loads of space - a lot more than most hutches that you will find on sale. The hutch itself is 6ft x 2ft x 2ft and the run area is 6ft x 4ft x 2.3ft
Split housing area
There is an arched doorway between the two sections of the hutch. On one side is a lovely dark space without any wire mesh so it keeps out draughts and allows them to sleep and relax in safety. Make sure you add plenty of hay for warmth. A snuggle sack or a cosy guinea pig bed would be a good idea too.
The other side has fox proof wire mesh which is an excellent feature and this safety mesh is something you don’t find on all hutches. Foxes are very clever and this gives added security for your guinea pigs.
Good sized and easily accessible run
The run has opening top panels so you can easily access your guinea pigs if you want to take them out or if you need to add tunnels and toys. It doesn't have a base so your pets will love the fact that they have access to grass if you place your hutch on a lawn. Remember you should not put wire mesh under the run as this will hurt your guinea pig’s delicate feet.
If you decide to buy this hutch and run combo, you might like to use this shopping list which lists all the things you'll need to buy with the hutch including bedding and feeding accessories.
- 6ft Chartwell Hutch and Run Combo
- 6ft Chartwell Rain Cover
- Water bottle
- Food bowls
- Hay rack
- Bedding: Hay for warmth (must be dust extracted)
- Bedding: Kiln dried wood shavings to absorb urine (must be kiln dried and dust extracted)
- Pet safe wood preservative
Tips and Advice
Where to place the hutch/run
Make sure you place the hutch and run on a flat part of your lawn. If there are lumps and bumps in your garden you might find that it allows for gaps below the run which could allow predators to enter. You should also ensure it is in a safe place which is not exposed to direct sunlight or in a part of the garden where it's likely to be badly affected by weather.
As well as the hutch/run, you will also need a hutch cover to protect your guinea pigs during wet, rainy weather at any time of the year. It doesn't need to be covered the whole time as it can produce condensation in the hutch. However, if rain is forecast then the hutch should be covered.
Treating the wood
The wood will need treating at least once a year to help keep it weatherproof. If you want a different colour for the exterior of the hutch, you can use the Cuprinol Garden Shades, a water-based and pet-friendly stain and preservative. Cuprinol garden shades stain comes in many different colours with everything from pretty pink to bright yellow, coral, white and several many other fabulous colours too.
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