Give your guinea pig a safe area to run around outside, feel the fresh air, and munch on fresh grass with these outdoor guinea pig run ideas.
Guinea pigs are awake up to 20 hours a day, and no one wants to sit in a cage all day, every day. To increase your guinea pig’s quality of life, take him outside and let him experience the great outdoors for a while. Getting a chance to spend time outside helps break up monotony and avoid boredom, and it also provides a chance to get some good exercise.
When you take your guinea pigs outside, they will need to be kept inside a boundary, so you can keep track of them and protect them from predators. If you make your own outdoor guinea pig run, you can save money, create it especially for your unique area, and have fun creating something new. But if you don’t want to make one, there are some great options for commercial ones.
Wood-frame outdoor guinea pig runs are probably the most common type of run. They can be quite easy and inexpensive to build, as well. The easiest and cheapest version would be to just build a square or rectangular frame with some 1×1’s or 2×4’s and add wire or plastic mesh for the sides. Leave the bottom open, of course, to let your guinea pig munch on the grass.
You can get fancy with your wood-frame guinea pig run, however. Add a second story or decorate it in different ways. Here’s a nice outdoor exercise area for inspiration.
Unless you’re going to be outside with them all the time, it’s a good idea to have a cover on it to keep out predators. In my area, I have chicken hawks that fly over that would love to scoop up one of my guinea pigs, and there are also feral cats nearby. If you want instructions on how to make a basic guinea pig run, there’s an instructable on how to make this basic square run (below).
Your run doesn’t have to be square or rectangular, however. You can make one similar to this Pawhut Triangular Run. It’s important to provide a shelter so your guinea pigs have shelter from the sun (or rain), and also to provide a place where he can hide. This design provides that little shelter. If you don’t want to make it, you can buy this one at amazon.com for $56.98.
If you don’t want your run to take up much space when your guinea pigs aren’t in it, you could add hinges to your individual panels to make it collapsible. Or, you could buy this collapsible run from Chicken Coops Direct for $99 Pounds ($149), but this company is in England, so they may not be able to ship to the US.
PVC pipe is sturdy, inexpensive, and easy to work with. To make a PVC guinea pig run frame, you will need PVC pipe (I use 1.5″ diameter pipe) with connector pieces, some kind of saw to cut the pipe (e.g., a hand saw or better yet, a circular saw), PVC cleaner, PVC cement, and something for the sides, like wire or plastic mesh. You’ll also need a way to connect the sides to the frame, like large zip ties. This picture is from one that was made for chickens, and you can find her pricing list on her blog.
Your run doesn’t have to be square, either. Here’s a picture of a run made with the smaller, flexible PVC. It has the advantage of being lightweight, but that means when you’re using it, you should anchor it to the ground so it doesn’t get flipped or pushed.
You don’t need one this tall, but it is useful if you want to be able to walk into it with your piggies. If not, you could scale it down and build one that’s half the height. The trick here is being able to find the correct angle connectors to make this slanted run. This one was originally made for chickens, but works well for guinea pigs, too.
Another option that’s pretty and kind of decorative is to make a geodesic PVC dome for your run. There’s a link to watch a video along with some instructions here.
Fabric or Mesh Outdoor Runs
If you’re not into building your own outdoor guinea pig run, there are some nice commercially-made runs constructed out of nylon or other fabric. Here are some examples. If you have flexible PVC or wood, and can get a hold of some nylon mesh or other type of mesh, you can use these examples as inspiration to create your own, as well.
This is designed as a cat run, but would work for guinea pigs, too. It has a snap-together rail system and is weather-resistant, and it comes with two doors for easy access. It sells for $128.99 at amazon.com.
This pop-up mesh tent can be used for a guinea pig run, but note that it has a mesh floor, so if you want your guinea pigs to munch on the grass, you’ll need to make sure that the grass comes up through the mesh. But it is affordable, as it sells for $48.99 at amazon.com. This one is not weather resistant, so take it inside when not in use.
This is another outdoor run designed and marketed for chickens, but it would also work for guinea pigs. It has an open floor so your guinea pigs can munch on the grass, and it’s lighweight and can easily be moved around to different spots. It’s affordable, too. It sells for $49.99 at McMurray Hatchery. Again, you would need to find a way to anchor it to the ground (maybe with tent stkaes) so that your guinea pigs don’t escape or it doesn’t get blown or pushed.
An alternative to wood, PVC, or fabric mesh runs is to purchase a metal-frame pen. It’s difficult to find an affordable one that is large enough for true exercise, however, as most of them are fairly small. Also, some of them don’t have covers on top, so to protect your guinea pigs, make sure you find something to cover the top to make sure predators stay out.
Here’s one that provides 9 square feet of play area for your guinea pigs. It sells for $44.59 at amazon.com.
Here’s one that measures 43″ x 43″ (providing 12.8 square feet of play area), but it, too does not come with a cover. It sells for $39.99 at amazon.com.
Here’s one that comes with a cover (but you can order it without the cover, as well). There are 2 different sizes, available in a 54″ or a 65″ diameter. The prices depends on whether you want the cover or not, but prices start at $43.99 at Drs. Foster and Smith.