This page last edited on

11 August, 2008

Guinea Pigs


Housing & Bedding


Update 08-08-2008:  I no longer use wood shavings for the bedding. I am now using towels and blankets (fleece) which is better for them - less apt to get respiratory illness and no more more flies and roaches in the bedding!  I do a complete bedding change every three days and spot clean in between if necessary. Overall the work is less than with shavings and the benefits outweigh the work of washing and drying the towels. Also, I currently have three large pools with one clan in each pool and each pool sits on top of a wooden table to keep it off of the floor, as show below.


    As described on the main guinea pig page, I use swimming pools to house the guinea pigs. I got them all from Walmart but they are readily available at other stores.  These swimming pools are the easiest, cheapest guinea pigs houses I have ever used!!  The picture to the left is how I had it set up with the ramp going up and down the two levels. I keep the guinea pigs in a room by themselves because they do smell and the hay dust is quite messy and gets everywhere.  Guinea pigs should also be in a quiet room where the TV and music are NOT on or kept low and to a minimum.  Its OK to keep them in a room you sleep in or use a lot as long as its quiet. Guinea pigs are also noisy at times, especially at night so if you are not a sound sleeper you wouldn't want to have them keeping you up all night. I do love listening to mine at night from my room.  They bunk next door to me so I love to lay in bed and listen them chatter and run around the pools. The noises that guinea pigs make is one of the charming things that attracts them to me.



  Although I clean the cages often you will never be completely rid of the smell.  They go to the bathroom in the cage so it has an odor. Get over it! Its not realistic to change the bedding and hay everyday both because of time and money.  Every three days I change out the towels and blankets. At that time I put in fresh timothy hay if needed and make sure they have plenty of pellets and fresh water.  It takes me well over an hour to clean three large pools, plus the laundry time. For most of the year I can hang the towels out to dry on my clothes lines but in the summer we often get thunderstorms here in south Florida so I have to use my dryer more in the summer than during the rest of the year - sort of the opposite of the rest of the country.  Putting the towels in the dryer does have advantages though - it gets the fur and the bits of hay out of the towels so it is actually cleaner than line drying them and it also makes them fluffier, softer and square instead of itchy and out of shape. But...I try to $ave money where I can and also try to reduce my energy consumption too when I can so I always line dry when possible.

  Because I began to do more wash than normal as a result of switching to towels as the guinea pigs' bedding, I purchased a new Whirlpool brand front loading washing machine. My old top loading washing machine was off balance and 13 years old, not worth fixing especially since it was a water and energy hog. Although the new front loader cost me $1,200 I know it was worth it since my water and electricity bill didn't go up much, if at all, despite my increase in the volume of washing I was doing. Because I have three large pools' worth of towels and blankets, it takes two loads of wash to launder them all, despite the incredibly large space front loading washing machines have compared to top loading washing machines. This is what I love about them - they are so much bigger - you do less loads of laundry than with top loading machines but the wash cycles are longer. Overall, despite longer wash times you spend less time washing because you can do more wash at once, thus reducing the amount of loads you need to wash. Even with washing more at once, if you have a relatively new dryer that is energy star compliant, you will not need to buy a matching dryer to the front loading washing machine. I am glad that I did not buy the matching dryer - I had a two year old dryer and it works perfectly with the new front loading machine. The huge advantage of the new front loading machines is that they are extremely energy and water efficient, not even comparable to the old top loading units from eons ago, like mine was. That is why I didn't mind spending so much on the new front loading machine - I knew I would get my money back with the $avings on the electricity and water bills. I was $pending too much money on pine shavings for the bedding, plus the garbage bags to put the dirty shavings in. Hauling the bags to the curb every week was difficult and painful with my debilitating back condition and the flies and roaches it attracted were maddening. I no longer have to deal with any of that with towels and blankets as the bedding. Plus, NOT filling on landfill space with all the shavings was a big plus for me and not having to use so many garbage bags that are not environmentally friendly were also plusses for me to switch to using towels. And...towels are reusable whereas pine shavings are not and sacrifice trees for guinea pig litter!

  Periodically I take the pools outside and clean them with citrus cleaner and hose them out really well. I let the pools dry outside and then bring them back in their room and put in clean bedding.  I clean out their PVC pipes every time I change the bedding as well.

  $$$ $aving Tip:  Buy hay, shavings and pellets at your local feed store, NOT the local pet store!!!

  Timothy hay is a required part of the guinea pig diet. They need to eat it and they love to burrow in it. Buying timothy hay at the local pet store is outrageously expensive!!! Your local feed store will have plenty of timothy hay and and it will be extremely economical.  I buy a 44 pound bale of timothy hay for $18! Compare that to the small bags of hay I got at the local chain pet store at $13! If you use pine shavings then you can purchase them more economically at a feed store than at a pet store. Usually they are for horses but you could probably ask them to order you rodent shavings. I also order 25 pounds of Mazuri brand guinea pig pellets for $12! I used to get just 5 pounds for $10 at the pet store.  If your feed store does not carry the pellets they can easily order them for you.  Trust me, you will save an enormous amount of money by switching your allegiance to the local feed store rather than a corporate run chain store! Besides, wouldn't you rather help your local store especially when they save you money?


  One trick I learned about hay is that if you stuff it in empty 12 can soda boxes that are cut in thirds you will use a lot less hay than if you just place it in a corner of the cage. By being stuffed in a box they won't get too much urine on it and ruin it which means you won't have to replace it every time you clean the cage. They also love to eat the hay from either end of the box and once it gets depleted just refill it.


  IMPORTANT:  Guinea pigs CANNOT be put in cedar shavings EVER!!!!!!! They are very bad for them and will cause respiratory distress. I have tried newspapers only, newspapers with shaving on top as well but the newspapers become too soggy and smelly. Aspen shavings or Carefresh bedding are more expensive but many people consider those to be the superior bedding for guinea pigs.  Guinea pigs also need to housed on a flat surface, NO WIRE CAGES! Their little feet will get caught in between the wires and can hurt them. I have had good success with the towels and blankets as bedding and I think that if you at least try it out you might be pleasantly surprised that its not as much work as you think as long as you have the time and the laundry set up to do it.


  I hope that my information on guinea pig housing and bedding was helpful to you.


Guinea Pig Page | Guinea Pig History | Getting a Guinea Pig | Guinea Pig Housing & Bedding | Guinea Pig Feeding & Water

Guinea Pig General Care | CURRENT CLANS:  Greek Boys Clan | Lita Ladies Clan | Old Maids Clan

OLD CLANS:  Giggler Clan | Gweeker Clan | Put Puts Clan | Rheeter Clan


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DISCLAIMER:  This website was set up to SHARE my OWN experience with my reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens and local wildlife and to post pictures and video of them. It was NOT SET UP to offer my opinion or expertise on ANY QUESTION that I am asked and what I post on this website should not be taken as "EXPERT ADVISE" or how to take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens or local wildlife. I AM NOT A REPTILE RESCUE GROUP, GUINEA PIG RESCUE GROUP, VETERINARIAN, REPTILE EXPERT, GUINEA PIG EXPERT, PONDS/FISH EXPERT, GARDEN EXPERT OR WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR! I have limited experience with reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens, therefore, I am NOT QUALIFIED to give out advise or answer questions and you, as a visitor to this website, should not take anything on this website as expert advise or accurate information.  I present this website for fun and fun only - NOT as a reference website to instruct anyone on how to properly take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish or gardens.  I share how I DO THINGS for my reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens and this is not intended for others to take as expert advise or to mimic. Furthermore, my political views are my own and not intended to offend, annoy, hurt or demean any person, entity or organization. I express my views as an American who has the right to free speech under the Constitution of the United States of America. Please feel free to set up your own website and express your views, post your pictures and video and share with the rest of us in cyberspace what your little corner of the world is like. Thank you very much for your kind understanding in appreciating the value and contents of this website.


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