You’ve decided to choose one, or hopefully at least two, fuzzy little guinea pigs to brighten your life. Prepare a cozy place for them to live before you even bring them home! Homemade guinea pig cages are far better than anything you can find in a store. Ultimately, they’re less expensive, too.
Putting together a homemade hangout for your pet is a great way to get the whole family involved in a creative project. Even if you do it just by yourself, you’ll have lots of fun.
Plus, homemade guinea pig cages stand head and shoulders above the store-bought types because you can make them large enough for your pet. Store-bought cages are generally too small, either in terms of total floor area or height.
You’ll need grid panels with connectors, Coroplast, scissors and box cutter, a pen, packaging tape and a yardstick. You can use plastic ties in place of the connectors, but be certain to trim the ends. You can use a tape measure the measuring, but you do need a straight edge to draw the lines you need. A small hammer might be useful as well.
The best type of homemade guinea pig cages are referred to as C&C, a combination of cubes and Coroplast. The cubes are made from grid panels that come with connectors; each grid usually measures 14 square inches. The little grids of each panel should be no larger than 1.5 inches. The Coroplast is a brand name of corrugated plastic.
Here’s a general guideline for size:
For one lonely little guinea pig, your cage should be two grids wide by three grids long. Two little guinea pig pals will play happily ever after in a cage two grids wide by four grids long. Three or more wild guinea pig buddies will party on in a cage two grids by five and your own singing guinea piggy quartet demands a stage area of two by six grids. These are minimum measurements!
Carefully calculate the number of grids you need. A cage measuring two by four grids requires twelve for the walls plus eight more for the ceiling. Then you assemble the walls of the basic cage. Use your hammer or pliers if you need to tap the connectors into place.
Next, measure the Coroplast for the floor of the cage. Keep in mind that your grids are 14 square inches and not 12×12. Measure the length and width of the cage and allow an extra six inches all the way around. For example: If your cage is two by four grids, it measures 28 inches by 56 inches. Cut a piece of Coroplast that’s 40 inches by 68 inches wide. Place it under the walls of your cage. Draw a line around the inner perimeter of the cage.
The six-inch overhang you’ve just drawn will fold up to become part of the walls. You’re going to fold those six-inch flaps up like the bottom of a box. Use your razor or a box cutter to score the Coroplast along the lines. Be certain not to cut it all the way through. Try it on a scrap first to get the feel for scoring it properly. At each corner, cut the flaps through so that you can fold them up. Tape them with clear packaging tape. You can also find colored plastic tape that will coordinate with your Coroplast color.
The Coroplast box should fit inside your grids so that it’s the bottom of the cage. If you have a dog or cat in the house, enclosing the top of the cage is a must.
Here is a fantastic video on Youtube show casing a C&C cage…
These homemade guinea pig cages are easy and inexpensive compared to the type you find in the stores. You can arrange the walls to an L shape or whatever design suits your fancy as long as you allow enough square footage for your pets. Give your guinea pigs two or more levels to roam about! And decorate it with style and flair so that it’s not just a pet habitat-it’s an attractive focal point in your family room where you and your guinea pigs can enjoy one another’s company.
Large Guinea Pig Cages
If you’re thinking of buying guinea pigs, you should remember that large guinea pig cages make the best homes. Before you make your purchase, consider whether you have the room to house one of these sweet critters, because even though they’re little they do have important space requirements.
The right sizes for small, medium, or large guinea pig cages depends on how many guinea pigs you are getting. Just one guinea pig alone needs a minimum of 7.5 square feet. This is a home measuring 2.5 by 3 feet. If you’re going by grids, you need to build the home two grids wide and three grids long. Remember, too, when calculating your square footage using grids-the grids are 14 inches square. And that is the minimum recommended space!
Years ago, experts said that these pets did not need large guinea pig cages. People bought small cages with a total space of no more than two or four square feet. With a cage this small, the animal is forced to live in its own waste. Plus, these little animals need room to run around in. They love to repeat laps back and forth throughout the cage. This is their exercise!
When they have insufficient running space, guinea pigs can develop several medical conditions:
The adult male can actually become constipated because he loses the muscular tone that he needs in the anal area.
A female as she ages has the potential to develop cysts, and they might go undiagnosed if she carries too much weight in her belly.
Just like people, guinea pigs are prone to weight-related ailments-diabetes, heart disease, problems with the bladder, and a tendency toward respiratory infection.
Besides the cleanliness that’s easier to maintain in large guinea pig cages, there is also the danger of bumblefoot. This is a staph infection of the ball of the foot that occurs when they live in unsanitary conditions.
Guinea pigs are social creatures that are happiest when they have a playmate, so while you’re at it you’ve got to consider obtaining two or more. Two guinea pigs need 10.5 square feet, which works out to two grids wide and four grids long. For each additional guinea pig, add another grid in length.
Now that you understand the importance of large guinea pig cages, let’s look at some popular cage styles and configurations. One of the nicest things that people can do for their guinea pigs is create a two-story cage for them. These little critters love to run up and down between the two levels! Unfortunately, most people make the mistake of assuming that this extra level replaces necessary square footage on the first level, which is simply untrue. Do not count the square footage of the upper level when you’re calculating the dimensions of your guinea pig’s living space.
You can take a look at some of the large guinea pig cages available on Amazon to get an idea of what you need. You’ll find cages that come complete with built-in ramps and lofts. There are also styles that allow you to add on space-which is ideal in case you decide to buy an extra pet. Most of them snap together with no tools necessary, and the cage wires are coated so they cannot be chewed. Ultimately, you’ll find the style that works best for you-and your pets.
GuineaPigCare.com.au was created to pass on the many lessons I've learned owning and caring for guinea pigs since 2007.
If it helps just a few guinea pigs in the world live a happier and healthier life, then the site has done it's job.
Wishing all animals in the world... The true respect they deserve.
Cheers, Adrian @ GuineaPigCare.com.au