The habitat should be eight sq.ft. for a single guinea pIg, ten sq. ft. (one level) for a pair, and no ramps. Pet store cages are not acceptable as they are ALL too small and too expensive. We strongly suggest what is known as a 2x4 grid C&C cage. If you Google this option, you will see multiple, creative ways to build it. They are very easy and very sturdy. Three options to acquire one are a) build your own, 2) order one off guineapigcages.com,or 3) buy one from us. Make sure to buy zip ties to reinforce the grids!
The habitat should be located off the floor to prevent drafts. Also, the piggies feel safer this way and are out of reach of dogs, cats and toddlers. The best way to achieve this is by placing the habitat on a six-foot table (Walmart, Target, etc.). A second option, though, is to build a stand with the grids; this can easily be done! For details, check out our "Cages and More” section. You can also construct a habitat lid with the grids, if necessary.
Eighty-percent of a guinea pig’s diet is either Timothy Hay or Orchard Grass. Oxbow Brand is one of the best sources for hay (and pellets as well) and can be found in pet and feed supply stores, as well as on Amazon.com. If you order your hay and supplies from Amazon.com, please be sure to order from Smile.Amazon.com and select Second Chance Cavy as your charity. This way, the Rescue gets a monetary donation for every purchase! Timothy Hay and Orchard Grass can also be purchased from Smallpetselect.com. Small Pet Select (also found on Smile.Amazon.com, has what is known as second cutting Timothy hay; this is hay that is excellent quality and will ship in three days.
Five-percent of the guinea pig diet is Timothy Hay-based pellets, NOT alfalfa meal. NO pellet mixes with seeds or nuts are suitable, as these can hurt the guinea pigs. We suggest either Oxbow- or Mazuri-brand pellets. Both can be found in feed supply stores (such as Lockhill Feed Supply in San Antonio) or online at Smile.Amazon.com.
Your guinea pig(s) will need a clean water bottle and a ceramic food bowl. We strongly suggest the ChocoNose Dripless water bottle found online at Smile.Amazon.com. It easily attaches to any habitat, is easy to remove, and has a patented, no-drip system. You only need one food bowl, and this should be both shallow and large; ceramic is best, because piggies cannot tip it over, as some are prone to do!
Bedding is dependent on the type of cage you create or buy. For Midwest cages, owners can use aspen wood or paper-based bedding. Cedar or pine chips should not be used, as they contain too much dust for guinea pigs and can cause respiratory infections. For those making C&C cages, your best bet is fleece bedding. Options for fleece include: buying fleece by the yard from Walmart, Hobby Lobby, etc., with washable padding under it. An excellent source of washable padding is a simple U-Haul moving blanket. But, you can also use towels or washable puppy pads. If you want something more refined and custom-made, then check out the fleece pad liners on such sites as Etsy.com, guinepigmarket.com, or Piggybedspreads.com.