When you go shopping for a guinea pig cage, what are the things you consider? Color? Price? An attractive design? People choose their cages based upon many different criteria. However, there is one extremely important factor that often gets overlooked or ignored.

The most commonly overlooked factor in choosing a guinea pig cage appears to be cage size. Sure, people may think they look at cage size when purchasing a cage. But, judging by the number of small, “standard” pet store cages still being purchased every year, it is clear that people do not really look at cage size.

Let’s do a little thought experiment. The average guinea pig is about 9 to 15 inches in length. The average height for a human is roughly 5’4” to 5’10”. An average pet store cage is 24-inches by 16-inches.

Put yourself in your pig’s place. An equivalent size room for you would be approximately 8-ft by 12-feet – the size of a large bathroom or a small bedroom. So, living your entire life in a large bathroom or small bedroom may not seem horrible – but it would certainly be a challenge to get a significant amount of exercise in a space that small.

Another related factor that I’m convinced that people do not consider when sizing a cage are the additional accessories that your pig requires – such as a nest box, a food dish and a hay rack.

So let’s return to our hypothetical equivalent room. When we add a nest box to our pig’s cage, we are adding an item that is perhaps 10 to 12-inches on each side. That might be equivalent to building a seven-foot by seven-foot storage shed and placing it our hypothetical equivalent room with us.

Add a food dish to your pig’s cage (about half the size of your pig) and it’s like throwing a kiddie pool – three-feet in diameter in the middle of the floor in our room.

Of course we’re going to need a water bottle. This would be roughly equivalent to something the size of a hot water heater standing in the corner of our equivalent room.

A hay rack is has a footprint of approximately four by seven inches. So adding a hay rack to the wall might be roughly equivalent to pushing a couple of nightstands up against one of the walls in our hypothetical equivalent room and placing them side-by side.

Does this sound like a lot of room? Does it sound like someplace you would like to spend the rest of your life? Let us review.

We start by moving into an 8 x 12 room – an area roughly the size of a large bathroom or a small bedroom. Next we put up a 7×7 storage shed in the corner. This leaves us with an eight-foot by five-foot space in front of the shed and a useless one-foot by seven-foot narrow strip along the side of the shed.

Then, to make matters worse, we place a three-foot wading pool, a water heater and two nightstands in our remaining 8×5 living space. What does this leave us with? We are left with a very small and cramped area in which to live. And, worst of all, our health begins to suffer because exercise becomes a nearly impossible task.

When you buy your next cage, consider the situation from your pig’s point of view. Look – really look – at the space situation facing your guinea pig and select a cage big enough to provide an adequate and comfortable living space. Over the past several years, C&C (Cubes and Coroplast) cages are gaining in popularity for this very reason – they provide a spacious, healthy environment for a reasonable price.

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Categories: Guinea Pig Cages

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