These are my favourite food and bedding resources for my guinea pigs. I’m always comparing prices and I’m not adverse to a little bulk buying to save a few pounds, and these are the best deals I’ve found so far:
The information you read online that “guinea pigs are naturally very clean animals” is true to some extent, but nevertheless, they are poo machines and even though some favour one corner to go in, the majority of your cage will still be scattered with little brown pellets in no time. I’ve never quite understood what “spot cleaning” means, unless it means cleaning 205 little spots per day, so I don’t usually do a spot clean unless there’s been a clear accumulation in one corner. I just do a full, throw-everything-away clean, once per week – cage on Fridays, run on Wednesdays. With only two guinea pigs to a cage, splitting their time between their cage and their run, I don’t find that anything ever becomes too dirty.
Bedding is important to keep a clean environment for your animals, and control odors for you and your family, particularly if you keep your guinea pigs indoors as I do. Sawdust is not an appropriate bedding material for guinea pigs, because it can irritate their delicate respiratory system. Carefresh bedding is made of soft paper fibre, which I like for the following reasons:
- Super absorbent – I have an OCD-level clean partner, and if he were to even get the slightest whiff of guinea pig, he’d be on the verge of a breakdown. It’s the urine which has the real tendency to smell, and the high absorbency of this bedding prevents that from happening.
- Economical – I lay this down thick (about 3cm thick!), such that it’s impossible to see the base of the cage or run beneath it. This saves me a lot of cleaning time – I rarely have to even so much as wipe the base of the cage or run, because nothing seeps through.
- Compostable – everything goes straight in the compose!
It comes in a variety of colours, but I just go for the cheapest at the time, which tends to vary according to what quantity you buy. If you’re able to buy 50 litres at a time (not as much as it sounds – two guinea pigs will go through this in about two weeks!), go for the Carefresh Confetti 50 lt. If 10 litres is enough for now, the white is more economical: Carefresh white small pet bedding, 10L. These are Amazon Associates links, and by clicking on them and making a purchase I may be rewarded with a few pennies with which to buy more hay for my guinea pigs – just to warn you. I’m personally a big advocate of supporting independent businesses outside of Amazon, so if you have the time to look around online for the same products from other suppliers, I’d strongly encourage this. Sad to say, though, despite the fact that I avoid buying on Amazon wherever possible, on items like this they just can’t be beaten for price and delivery.
Hay makes up the majority of a guinea pig’s diet, and I’ve found two really good ones. One is this 2kg bag of Timothy Hay, and the other is this 1kg bag of Burgess Excel Feeding Hay. It has dried dandelions in it, and I find that guinea pigs (and rabbits, for that matter) absolutely adore dandelions. I give them a few handfuls of each variety per day, or sometimes I get creative and stuff a hanging ball with Timothy Hay, because it’s coarser and doesn’t slide out as easily – more of a challenge for the guineas to pull out. I use the Trixie Food-Ball, but there’s a much cheaper option here: Ball Feeder for Small Animals. Only difference I can see between them is the cheaper one has a shorter chain, so if you have a tall cage, be mindful of that. Even the Trixie one isn’t long enough for my cage, so I dangle it over their wooden house so that they can hop onto the roof of that to reach it.
I’ve read on some forums that some people keep their hay permanently mounted to the sides of the cage in mounted hay mangers, due to a fear of the guinea pig injuring their eye on a hay stalk. I’m of the opinion, however, that guinea pigs are designed for running around in dry grass / hay and I’d rather they had a covering of hay over their bedding than lived in a completely sterile and unnatural environment. My guinea pigs go wild with joy when I throw more hay in, burrowing into it and popcorning around, and I wouldn’t want to take that thrill away from them. Maybe I’ll change my mind if one of them ever gets a serious eye poke, but for now, I feel it’s just one of the inherent risks of living life as a guinea pig, and a considerably less serious one than some of the others they would contend with in nature (such as predators!).
Some of the more ‘earth mother’ types of guinea pig owner only advocate water bowls, because water bottles are unnatural. My guinea pigs run through their water bowl and often use it as a toilet, so I always have both available, because if they fill it with hay and poo in the middle of the night, I won’t be around to change it for them. If you opt for a bowl, you need to go for a larger ceramic bowl like this one: Mason Cash Heavy Stoneware Pet Bowl – because they’ll knock over a small or plastic one in no time.
If you’ve had hamsters in the past, you’ll probably be used to the small water bottles, but for guineas I recommend the large ones: Classic Crystal Deluxe ‘Giant’ – Small Animal Drinking Bottle that clip to the side of the cage. Mine clips quite high up, so I put a small brick under it for my pets to stand on. This has the added benefit of getting them to stand on a hard surface and hopefully file down their nails a little.
You can get water bottles that come in a wooden mount like this: Trixie Natural Living Water Bottle Holder. This is the type of bottle I have in their run, because it’s a modular/panel pen like this one: Plastic Exercise Modular Enclosure Pet Run. I can’t mount a bottle anywhere on the side of these panels, so I have to have a free standing water holder. However, the bottle is necessarily a lot smaller, and sometimes it can get knocked to one one side a bit, so I’m not the world’s biggest fan.
Above: What my run looks like. Please note that the above is an Amazon Associates link. By purchasing anything through the links I’ve provided in this article, I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).