It took me a while to ultimately give in to buying two guinea pigs for my son. I must say that the starter kit needed to become a pet parent is, in this case, somewhat expensive because I had to buy a highly-priced cage at the pet store.
The cage was of the right size, and it looked great for about 3 months. After that, our cute, long-haired guinea pigs started looking like fuzzy prisoners at Alcatraz. They had grown so big within such a short while, so it was time for us to create a customized space for them.
In this post, I’ll tell you all about the dream cage I created for our darling furry friends.
My idea was to create a comfortable yet simple and inexpensive house for my cavies. I was also keen on choosing an easy to clean design. My structure has a base cabinet that measures 60″ x 20″ x 18″ (tall) and the cage that measures 60″ x 20″ x 24″ (tall). Here are the materials I used.
- Wire screen 10 x 2 feet
- Wood glue
- 1/8″ plywood
- 1X3 pine & 1×4 pine
- Pocket hole screws
Step 1 – Installing the Frames
Use a hand saw, or a miter saw to cut down your pine planks into suitable dimensions. I recommend taking measurements beforehand so that you do not run into trouble before your project is complete. Get the joints glued, clamped, and screwed into place using the pocket hole screws.
To make your work easy, create “L” shaped corners. Join the long planks to the short ones to create a simple frame. It is okay to first use two 1 inch pocket screws in each joint. You can then add support if needed once the basic framework is complete.
Step 2 – Attach the Bottom and Sides
It is easy to attach the bottom once the frame is complete. Just nail it from inside the frame structure and use about 6 pocket screws to ensure it is firmly attached to the base. Because I really wanted to ensure cleaning the cage is a breeze, I added a sliding door to the bottom.
Attaching the sides is easy and quick. Use your screws to wrap the wire screen around the structure. Make sure there are no saggy areas.
Step 3 – Create the Sliding Trap Door
You are possibly wondering why I needed my structure to have a base. Well, the first story would elevate the cage from the ground to a level where the temperature is steadier.
Lifting the pen also makes cleaning more manageable because I place a bin directly below the sliding door at the bottom and rake out the soiled bedding with remarkable ease. Moreover, this base area also provides suitable space for feeds and other supplies.
Let’s dive into the steps involved when creating the sliding door. First, ensure the dimensions of your door are slightly smaller than the size of your bin. Once you get your measurements right, create the door frame separately, glue it up, and allow it to dry overnight.
Be sure to attach a handle to the door for smooth opening and closing of the sliding door. Additionally, see to it that the panels used are adequately sanded and smooth.
Step 4 – Final Touches
At this point, your structure almost looks complete. Before you wrap up the project, spray the whole cage with at least two coats of polyurethane spray, and apply appliance paint on the floor to help with moisture protection. Voila! Your guinea pig pen is complete and ready for use.
Tips for Getting the Correct Measurements
One of the most intricate parts of building a guinea pig cage is getting the measurements right. The materials needed for the project can be easily sourced from local hardware stores or online. Before deciding on the size of the structure to build, take note of the number of guinea pigs you have.
One guinea pig requires a minimum of 7.5 square feet cage, which is about 30″ x 36″. I have two guinea pigs, so I needed a minimum of 10.5 square feet, which is about 30″ x 50″. The whole idea of building a DIY cage is for you to create a comfortable space where your furry friends can grow, play, and enjoy their little world.
Tips for Choosing the Right Guinea Pig Bedding
Now that your structure is ready, you need to select the right bedding option for your guinea pigs. Just like rabbits, guinea pigs do not strictly use litter trays. This makes it imperative to choose an absorbent bedding material.
Some of the popular bedding options include wood shavings, layered towels, fleecing, and recycled shredded paper. I use fleecing and layered towels interchangeably because they are more efficient, washable, and reusable.
Both wood shavings and recycled shredded paper cannot be reused, and this makes it expensive to maintain a comfortable living environment for your guinea pigs.
The best part about using fleece blankets is that you can choose a fabric with unique colors to create the perfect piggy palace for your furry buddies.
Guinea pigs are social creatures that love fun, entertainment, and stimulation. It is the furnishing details that make their cage a perfect haven. Consider installing plastic tunnels where your pets can run around and dart in and out.
You can also use wood or plastic to create up and down ramps to keep your guinea pigs busy and active all day long.
Finally, install a hatch at the corner of the cage where the pets can hide away and sleep or relax. You could also choose to be a little creative in your selection of feeding bowls.
With a bit of imagination, you can give the cage an outstanding flair. This will, by extension, ensure your furry buddies have a suitable space where they can live a happy and enjoyable life.
There is more to taking great care of a guinea pig than merely providing an area where it can feed and rest. Your pet needs an enclosed space for it to be comfortable and happy. If the store-bought cages no longer tickle your fancy, consider creating a customized one.
It is up to you to decide on the ideal materials, design, and dimensions to use. Consider your space restrictions and budgets and make sure that the structure you build will make your little furry friends feel safer and comfortable.