Housing and Bedding
There is several options for housing cavies. They can live in wooden hutches, wooden cage banks or plastic and metal indoor cages. For pet cavies I suggest getting a nice spacious wooden hutch or perhaps an indoor cage. For pedigree and show animals I find it best to keep them in cage banks (especially if you have several cavies).
Cavies should be put out for some time on grass too if possible. However never leave your cavies in their grass runs permanently and don't let them free range as they can get attacked by cats and other animals.
Ideally the cage should be cleaned once every few days but once a week should be fine. As long as it is regularly cleaned and kept tidy the cavies will be happy.
You will also need a carry cage for transporting your cavy. You can use small dog or cat cages, or buy specially made cavy ones. Here at Cavameer we use special show cages which are custom made for cavies. They can be purchased at CCV shows.
If you are needing a cage for your cavies try eBay or if in Melbourne Waverley Wabbits have great affordable cages and other cavy accessories. (Link to the Waverley Wabbits website is on our 'Links' page).
There is quite a few options for bedding, all of them work quite well. Which bedding you use is completely up to you. The main options are; Hay, Straw, Wood Shavings, Recycled Paper Pellets, Rice Hulls or Vetbed.
I personally find that different beddings are good for certain things, so I usually have some of each type of bedding available in my caviary. Personally I like recycled paper pellets best, but they are costly so I only use them for certain cavies. Shavings are good but I don't like to use them for longhairs as they get stuck in their coats.
My preferences for beddings are:
Pellets - Longhairs, Whites and creams.
Shavings - Blacks, Silvers, Goldens, Abyssinans and Rex.
Hay/Straw - Pregnant sows or Mum's with babies.
Vetbed - Sick cavies.
When choosing a bedding for your cavies, the choice is completely up to you. Choose whichever option suits you and your cavies best.
Also cavies need to have hay in their diets, so if they are not bedded on hay it is best to give them a handful with their dinner. If you don't want it to make a mess on the rest of their bedding you can buy a hay net and keep it in that. Or a cheaper option which I use is, putting an elastic band on the wire part of the cage a giving them a little hay bundle. As a treat cavies love other hays, you can get them oaten hay, lucerne hay or pasture hay which they tend to love!
© Jasmine Howlett 2013