Features to Look Out For
Naturally, the most important thing when purchasing a guinea pig hutch is to ensure that it can properly accommodate the amount of pets you have.
Guinea pigs need to be able to have their own space from others every now and then, and cramped conditions would be detrimental to their health and wellbeing.
As a general rule you’ll need a hutch that is at least 120cm x 60cm for two guinea pigs.
However this is really just a minimum size, and so really, you should just be aiming to purchase the largest hutch that will fit in your garden!
Hutches are available in single-storey and double-storey models.
With single options, it is usually a simple box-like area for them to sleep and eat. You will need a separate attached run, and they are often only big enough for one guinea pig.
Double-storey hutches can either have two living floors, which is good for more than one pig, or one top living storey and an open grassy section at the base.
Hutches with runs are also available. These are often double-storey, but rather than a small grassy section, it usually extends out to be twice as deep.
We would always suggest choosing a double-storey hutch over a single one, as it simply provides guinea pigs with more space!
While from pictures you might be able to see that many hutches have compartments with wire mesh windows or doors to let in air and sunlight, the hutch also needs to have a private, well-covered and dark room within the cage where they can sleep, rest or hide in.
You may notice that some guinea pig hutches have slightly raised structure, keeping them several centimetres off the ground. While this might seem a little strange, it is actually an incredibly important feature as it protects the hutch from becoming damp or damaged by weather. If you want a long-lasting hutch make sure it’s raised at least 10mm from the ground!
Easy to clean
Nobody likes cleaning out their pet’s cages and hutches and so finding one with features that make your job a little bit easier may prove a life saver in the long run!
Hutches are easier to clean if they feature expansive large opening doors so you can get to every nook and cranny, and it can also help to have a removable or hinged roof.
Some hutches also boast the incredibly handy feature of a removable base or pull-out tray which makes removing and replacing soiled bedding a far simpler process!
Although you probably don’t want to think about it, your guinea pig can sometimes be under threat from foxes, especially if you are known to have them in your neighborhood.
Even if you think it’s unlikely, it’s vital that your hutch is fox-proof through use of a galvanised wire mesh that can protect your pet from attacks.
You’ll also need to have trustworthy bolts or latches on the doors that can not be easily outwitted by a fox! If you’re unsure of the ones your hutch provides, do not hesitate to buy extra padlocks!
Material/ Wood Treatment
Although the majority of models are made from wood, there are now some hutches being made from plastic, as in some cases it can be more durable!
If you are choosing a wood option, it’s best to pick one which has been pre-treated with a preservative. This will help make the wood more weather-proof and protect against common issues that can occur over time such as rotting.
This saves you having to treat the hutch yourself, which we would heartily recommend doing if you buy an untreated hutch, as otherwise it won’t last nearly as long!
Unfortunately, the majority of hutches come as flatpack items, complete with instructions on how to put them together.
This can be daunting if you’re a DIY phobic, and so choosing an option that promises a quick assembly of twenty minutes or less is likely to save you sore fingers and a couple of coins in the swear jar.
Just make sure that you follow instructions carefully and strictly to ensure your structure is strong and stable!
Guinea Pigs need an area outside of their hutch to be able to stretch their legs, exercise and play, as otherwise they will get depressed.
Some people might simply let them run around the garden, however this makes them harder to supervise and in danger of nibbling on toxic plants or coming into contact with other pets you may have.
That’s why most guinea pig owners would recommend getting a run instead to attach to your hutch, as it keeps your pets safe while still providing them with a large area to have fun in.
A lot of hutches are sold with a run included, and we’d advise doing this to save you both money and shopping time!