Monday, July 25, 2011

DIY Guinea Pig Cage

We added two guinea pigs to our home this summer when we adopted two adult females who had been living together their whole lives.  I did a lot of research before we got our guinea pigs and I learned A LOT.  The main thing I learned is that guinea pigs need bigger cages than I thought. I'd seen them housed in tiny little cages so I thought I could just get a small cage from the pet store. I was wrong about that! Guinea pigs need a lot of room to run, and piggies who can get a lot of exercise are healthier guinea pigs (just  like people!).

Guinea Pig Cages is an excellent resource for caring for guinea pigs. I learned about building your own guinea pig cage from that site. I had a lot of materials on hand and ended up spending about $40 for this gigantic DIY guinea pig cage!  I still need to figure out a table to hold the cage off the floor (and reclaim all my bins and crates) but otherwise it's done and it works great!  Our pets have been living in their DIY cage for over a month.  UPDATE:  I salvaged a book shelf to use as the "table" under the coroplast.  I just set the bookshelf face down and plopped the guinea pig cage on top.  Looks great!  And, bonus, the bookshelf has open sides so I can store the bedding and food under the cage.

The cage is built with coroplast and storage cubes. I bought the coroplast locally but you can find it on-line. I already had the storage cubes in the basement.

I have two young kids in my house so I added plastic zip ties instead of just relying on the plastic caps that join the metal pieces. The cage is quite sturdy.

As I said, I have two young kids so I also built a lid for the cage. (A lid is not necessary if you don't have young children or other pets as guinea pigs cannot jump out.)  I bought small locks (meant for luggage) so that the kids couldn't get to the guinea pigs without an adult present.

Two locks linked together are also useful as a "hinge" between the lid and the non-moving cover.  This way we can just lift up the lid to feed, clean, and pick up our piggies.

The lid is four sides of the storage cubes held together with zip ties.  I laid two curtain rods across the cubes and zip tied them together.  The edges of the curtain rods extend past the perimeter of the cage so that the lid is held up by the curtain rods.

Can you see the guinea pig in her sleeping bag?  That's just a towel folded over and safety pinned at the edges.  They love cozy hiding places and the sleeping bags are a big hit!

May I also recommend this little rubber tote basket?  I found these at the dollar store and they are a great way for young kids to carry their guinea pigs from the cage to the couch/living room/play pen, etc.

I'd love to see pictures of your own DIY guinea pig cages!  (We call in the guinea pig mansion at our house.)  Post links in the comments on the blog.

Do you like DIY?  I have lots of DIY links for home, jewelry, kids, and fashion.

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