Housing a guinea pig requires cages, but there is a serious debate between metal and plastic. Each offers an advantage depending on how you want to keep your guinea pigs. However, deciding between metal and plastic is a commitment for new guinea pig owners. Otherwise, you’ll end up with many cages and not enough space.
Both metal and plastic guinea pig cages are widely available. However, plastic is more common and typically comes in more options right off the shelf. This difference is on account of how cheap it is to make. The ease of shaping is also a factor, but not much of one.
If you’re worried about your internal décor, there are options. Plastic guinea pig cages come in a wide variety of colors. Meanwhile, metallic guinea pig cages come in fewer colors on account of the difficulty in getting the color to stay permanently. This limit is reasonable since paint flaking is a thing.
Durability is the biggest issue with guinea pig cages. Both metal and plastic guinea pig cages are likely to outlive your guinea pigs if you start with a quality product. However, there are differences in quality and feel as you handle the pen.
A plastic guinea pig cage tends to have more flex than a metal bottom of the same size. This issue means you will need to securely seat this bottom on a table or cabinet to avoid flex. While not a big deal in the short term, repetitive flex causes stress, and can even lead to the deformations. Also, you’ll need to be careful about guinea pig chewing.
A metal guinea pig cage, on the other hand, typically has less flex. At Guinea Pig Center, metal cages used to hang off tables for months at a time since the pens were continually being rearranged as guinea pig personalities emerged. At no point did the pans show damage.
In terms of cleaning, plastic and metal guinea pig cages vary. This variance comes down to the frequency of cleaning and ease. It’s about what you want to put up with and how scheduling works as to which is the choice for you.
Plastic is plastic, which means it stands up well to moisture. However, sometimes the plastic reacts to the guinea pig urine. This issue can create a strong smell unless you’re willing to change the cage every three days or so. On the bright side, the plastic is easy to wash out, even if you do need to take it outside to hose it down.
Metal offers a non-reactive surface, especially if you follow the cage cleaning method outlined in the blog. Therefore, cleanings don’t revolve around the urine smell. Over time though, excess urine can lead to rust.
The Guinea Pig Center prefers metal guinea pig cages over plastic. However, both metal and plastic cages are reliable options for housing your new guinea pigs.