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Guinea Pig Cages.

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Pig Pen

The pens on this page are based on the Cavy Cages Cubes and Coroplast cages system. Please visit their pages for much better details on how to make the cages and lots of pictures of these sorts of cages including multi-story and cat proof arrangements. Thanks also to Treen of Treen's Pigs which is a UK based site that also has good instructions and provided the information on where to get the Cubes and Coroplast in the UK. The Cutie Cavies forum also has discussions on where to get teh materials in the UK.

Important: When building any cage for a small animal always take a serious look at it and assess it for the possibility of freak accidents and injuries. Think "is there anywhere that a nose or a leg could get trapped, or a small area that they could get into and not be able to get out?"
Pig Pen Pig Pen Pig Pen
The original collapsible pig pen was constructed using cube shelving and some heavy duty plastic sheeting left over from building the pond. A 3x2 rectangle made from the cubes is stood inside the sheeting which is held up at the sides with pegs to prevent mess escaping. To clean simply roll up the newspaper and wash off the plastic. It's advantage was that it was easily collapsible and stored in a small place. The main disadvantage was that it took ages to take the connectors off and so I replaced them with cable ties which enabled quick construction and collapse of the sides. Two of the original connectors are used to hold the corner together. The other disadvantage of this arrangement is that the cubes are standing inside the sheeting and so can get chewed and peed on. Something more robust is obviously needed for the pigs to live in during the winter.

However it is great when you don't have much space and wish to have a temporary run. I used it all summer when the pigs lived outside. If it was raining for several days and they couldn't go in the outside run I bought them in for a couple of hours a day to give them some space.

Sources of Stuff.

The cubes were purchased from Littlewoods for about 20 with postage for 24 cubes. This is enough to make two 4 x 2 cages. Unfortunately Littlewoods don't seem to stock them on their website anymore. You may sometimes get them on Ebay. I've also found have them in the Kleeneze catalog and in Argos in the past. site. Try the sites above for more ideas.

If all else fails you can buy sheets of wire mesh from DIY stores, as shown below, and these could be cut into foot squares, or lengths of the right height. As requested Sam kindly sent me this picture showing that it can be done. Ideas and photos of things that you have done are always welcome.
Mesh Panel Mesh Panel
In the UK Coroplast is sold as Correx and can be purchased from sign shops (look in the Yellow Pages under, wait for it, Sign Makers). I found a local shop that ordered me two 8ft by 4ft sheets at about 15 each - obviously the biggest problem is getting them home and we had to borrow a van. Some shops will cut it down for you if you ask.Some people also use lino if they cannot get hold of Correx.

Making My Cage.

Pig Pen Pig Pen Pig Pen
The largest size that you can make from these sheets is a single 6x2 cage. Unfortunately because of space limitations I am making only a 3x2 cage but cut carefully there is enough for me to make a 2x2 upper story when I have time. Together the Cubes and Correx cost me 50 which would make two 4x2 cages for 25 each. A single cage of up to 6x2 would cost you 35.

The photo above shows details of the Correx which can be scored and bent to make a box. I experimented with a left over piece which is shown below to demonstrate how the box was made. The box was then sealed with Duck tape on the outside. We also put the tape down the inside to prevent mess getting into the corners. I don't think that our pigs will chew it off and it is waterproof and should stop the corners leaking, but only time will tell.
Pig Pen Pig Pen Pig Pen
The finished cage is shown at the top of the page. It would be better if I could have managed a larger cage but I have had to compromise so that it fits in this gap in the hall. Please go to the Cavy Cages page and look at all the amazing cages that other people have built.

In conclusion it was fairly straightforward to build if a little bit fiddly and you need a steady hand to cut the Correx and it's hard on the knees (advice - kneel on a cushion if you are over 30!). I am not sure how robust it is going to be in the long run but we shall see. It is, however, much cheaper than those indoor pens that you buy from pet shops and a much better size. If you have a bit of imagination and some space you can build a guinea pig palace very cheaply.

Update: well the two pairs of pigs have been living in their cages for the winter. They haven't leaked at the corners and have been a great success. My only wish is that I had made them larger although I just didn't really have room in the hall. Make the largest cage that you have room for so that they can have a good run around. Ideas for things to keep your pet amused can be found on the Environment Enrichment page. One of the nicest things is that they can put their paws on the edge of the cage and look out at what is going on.

It is a good idea to line them with newspaper before putting the bedding in so that you can roll it up and removed it easily to clean them out. Having guinea pigs indoors can get a bit smelly if you don't clean them out really regularly. We have tried all sorts of bedding and I've now created a Bedding page (sources on Pet Shopping page).
Smudge Begging
Please feel free to email me with any questions. You can meet my guinea pigs and find some good guinea pig links on the Guinea Pig Links Page or see all of my animals including Degus, Chinchillas and Persian Jirds on the eRodent main page.
Finally, we do put our pigs out for the summer but we have a fox hanging around and we were worried about the robustness of our hutches. So here is our new outside hutch custom made by Aviary Accessories.

Hutch Hutch

Amazingly it has got so hot a few summers ago (but not the last two) that they have had to come in again some days to be in an air conditioned room with the Chinnies. This is most unusual but a wooden hutch is no place to be when the temperatures hit 34 degrees centigrade (unfortunately I have seen foxes during the day and so cannot leave them unattended in their runs).

August 5th 2003 - we had to bring the piggies inside to an air conditioned room.

After much thought I decided that the pig pens were not really large enough. This was a particularly problem for Charm who liked to run laps; but more importantly Truffle was finding it hard to get away from Angel when she was in one of her more grumpy moods. I built two open ended boxes with the left over Coroplast that I had saved. I then opened up the ends of the boxes and slid the new end inside. If you do this make sure that the new box is slightly smaller than the old on so that it fits. At present they are not sealed because I ran out of duck tape building them. But they are likely to leak so I shall be sealing the join as soon as I can get to a DIY store to get some more. The duck tape has held up very well on the corners and I expect it will do an equally good job of sealing the join. I had enough Coroplast to extend the cage by two squares but only enough cubes (and to be honest space) to do it by one. Although it doesn't seem a lot, extending the cages by a 1/3 really improves the living space. I would recommend that you build this size cage or larger to start off with.

After the sad death of Truffle, I introduced Angel to Charm and Smudge. Since Smudge and Angel weren't terribly fond of each other (Charm was happy enough to have another woman), they needed a bit more space. So they all lived in a 5 x 2 pen. This was the ultimate in piggie palaces with loads of room to chase around even though there was 3 hiding boxes.

Sadly all of the guinea pigs have all passed on and sadly I am unlikely to be able to have more as I am quite allergic to hay so my cages were sold on eBay. They were used for 5 years and have gone on to provide some more piggies with a lovely environment.

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