Whether your guinea pigs are kept indoors or outdoors they still need a home that has a large shelter and plenty of space for play and exercise. Their home should be secure and strong, draught free, well ventilated and should receive plenty of natural light.
A shelter is needed in your guinea pigs home as this is somewhere they can hide rest and feel safe. Shelters must be big enough for all of your guinea pigs to rest together, stretch out and also spend time apart if they wish. Ideally this area should be slightly raised off the ground to improve ventilation. In order to do this, we suggest you cover the base of the shelter with a thick layer of newspaper; papers based litter or dust free wood flakes, and fill the bedroom areas with plenty of fresh hay.
A large exercise area connected to their shelter will allow your guinea pigs to run, hide, play and explore. Make sure there are plenty of hiding places so they can escape from their companions if they want to. This reduces stress and the chances of them bullying each other. Filling their exercise run with tubes, tunnels and boxes will make sure they never get bored. Provide them with untreated wooden toys to chew, such as fruit tree or willow sticks. Avoid toys made of plastic, as they may harm your guinea pigs if chewed and swallowed.
If you would like your guinea pigs to live outside, their whole home can live on grass as they can graze all day long! If your guinea pigs are to live outside then their accommodation needs to be safe, secure and weatherproof. An insulated weatherproof cover will provide extra protection from the wind and the rain. We always recommend bringing your guinea pigs indoors into an unused garage or shed or into your house during the winter months.
On the other hand, you can always keep your guinea pigs indoors all of the time. You will need to provide them with a large indoor shelter with free access to a secure exercise area. This could be in a large playpen or even a safe and secure room where all wiring is covered; all houseplants are removed as well as anything else you don’t want them to nibble on! We suggest allowing your guinea pigs to explore to an outdoor exercise area in nicer weather or to grass that is grown in trays.