It is essential that your guinea pigs get plenty of exercise so they need a run with ample room but one that is also safe so they can't escape and predators can't get in.
It is a good idea to have both an indoor pen as well as an outdoor run as the weather will not always allow for them to be outside.
Recommended Runs (Indoor and Outdoor)
- The Summerhawk Ranch for outdoors
- C&C style pen - Whitmor Storage Cubes (re-worked to form a run) for indoors or outdoors
- Small Pet Playpen for indoors
- Hutch/run combo for outdoors - option 1
- Hutch/run combo for outdoors - option 2
Summerhawk Ranch - Outdoor Run
The Summerhawk Ranch is a good strong metal built run which measures 66" by 43" giving your guinea pigs plenty of space to play. They can also be added to so you can extend the space if required.
What we like about this is the durability and security it offers your pets. Obviously as it sits straight on the ground you will need to make sure there are no gaps where predators can enter or where your guinea pigs may escape but this is the most secure outdoor run we found apart from the hutch/run combo. Check out the price of the Summerhawk Ranch here on Amazon...
Hutch/Run Combo for Outdoors
If you want a run where your guinea pigs can also retreat to a bedding area, this is a great option. We recommend 2 good options and have more detail about each on our hutch/run combination page but here are the links so you can check them out on Amazon:
Metal Playpen for Indoors
Metal playpens like this multi-colored one are perfect for indoors. They don't offer protection from other pets so you'll need to make sure they are safe and no dogs or cats etc are in the room when they're using the pen. These are great value for money and at the cheaper end of the price range. Easy to put together and take down again, they don't take up much storage room either.
One of the great things about these pens is that you can buy more than one set and attach them to make a really big pen. We recommend buying at least 2 to give them a good large space to run. If you have the room, you can make them even bigger! Another advantage with this is that it can be created to fit the space you have - it doesn't have to be round or rectangular but any configuration you want. Check out the price and pictures for the indoor metal playpen here...
C&C Playpen from Whitmor Storage Cubes for Indoors (and possibly outdoors too)
These C&C grids are extremely versatile enabling you to create the size you need each time. Simply click each panel into place using the connectors. Never build a base on which your guinea pigs have no protection - they need a flat base or their delicate feet.
If using inside you will only need to construct the sides but can make a top as well if you need to protect them from other pets.
The reason you don't need a base with this is that you'd then have to add coroplast that is cut to size. This is fine if it's a permanent fixture but if it's one that you're going to dismantle regularly you're better to use fleece liners or just fleeces as a base. If you need to protect flooring, put a waterproof layer such as tarpaulin under the fleece.
If using outdoors, you will need to construct a top as well as the sides but bear in mind that it is not as sturdy and safe as the Summerhawk Ranch so you will need to be outside with them to make sure no predators can get in. It's a much lighter construction and it would be easy for a larger animal to lift up and get inside.
Tips & Advice if Using An Outdoor Run
Guinea pigs love fresh air and exercise and will enjoy running around on a lawn during the summer months but do ensure that part of the enclosure is sheltered in case of a shower or direct hot sunlight.
Remember that if the weather is bad, they will still need exercise, so an indoor option may still be required.
- Guinea pigs love munching on grass so they'll help keep your grass short and will even fertilize it for you! Although a lot smaller, their droppings are very similar in quality to horse manure.
- Make sure there are no poisonous plants or vegetation in the area where you let them run.
- If you are building a run, it should measure approximately 4ft x 4ft and 1ft high. It can consist of wire mesh attached to a wooden frame but ensure that there are no sharp wires or bits of wood which may hurt them. This frame should be made so that it is light enough to move around your backyard.
- Never let them roam free in your backyard. There may be a hole that you haven’t noticed which they will use as an escape route or they may eat something that is poisonous.
- An outdoor run must always have a cover, preferably hinged and bolted so that you can also get in there easily but predators are kept out.
- Never leave your guinea pigs in an outdoor run overnight. It is not safe and they may become scared. A hutch/run combo is fine but the run should be shut off at night to protect them.
Exercising Guinea Pigs Indoors
Because guinea pigs are sensitive weather and enjoy similar temperatures to humans, it is sometimes too cold, hot, windy or wet for them to be running around outside. Therefore it is advisable to purchase an indoor pen for those days when outdoors is not an option.
Alternatively you can somehow section off part of a room for them to run around but it is far more convenient and safe for them to be in a pen. The wire/metal paneled pens are ideal for creating a playpen of the size and shape that fits your space.
You will need to protect your flooring whether you have carpet, wooden floors, lino or laminate flooring. Cavies don’t like sliding around on slippery floors! A small piece of tarpaulin with a fleece over the top is perfect as it gives your floor protection while your guinea pigs have a comfortable surface on which to run around and play.
Safety for Indoor and Outdoor Enclosures
Safety and security for your piggies is important so always make sure you either supervise them or ensure that the enclosure is safe from predators such as foxes and rats or household pets and any other potential dangers if they're outside. If they are indoors, you must ensure any pets can not upset them by prowling around by the pen and make sure the pen is sturdy and safe so no pets can get into it.
It is worth bearing in mind that a very large pen can be frightening to a guinea pig. Always give them somewhere to hide such as a cardboard box or a pigloo.