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View Full Version : C&C Alternatives My DIY wood/plexiglass cage progress, plans, and questions



New Low GP
10-30-16, 06:59 am
Hello everyone! I have yet to own a Guinea Pig, but I have decided to get one or two soon! I am going into this without any prior knowledge about GPs, however I have done plenty of research recently. The cage is waterproof, has nothing that can be chewed that would compromise the cage structurally, completely non-toxic, and open top.


This is my cage progress so far. Unfortunately the cage is taking longer than expected to build as I am hand-planing the joints of the wood.

http://i.imgur.com/kBN7TZl.jpg


The interior of the cage is 2x4ft, and there will soon be a loft added as well that will be around 1x2.5ft. A ramp to the loft will be attached using a brass hinge so that I can easily lift it up for cleaning or temporarily separating the Guinea pigs from the ground floor of their cage. The plexiglass walls will be cut to 14" high, and the wooden walls will be 20" high with a little extra height for the loft, which will be 7" off the ground. Wood walls will also have a 6" coroplast wall in front of it for protection from the guinea's excrements.


I have the supplies and means to do everything I want with the cage except for a bedding. Even without the coroplast trim for the wooden walls the cage would still be entirely waterproof, so I mainly have it just as a precaution. This means that I can go with any bedding I wish for the most part, any recommendations? I am thinking fleece for the ground floor and wood shavings for the loft as it will have the GP's hay rack + water. Also,will ventilation be an issue even though the cage is an open top? I may drill holes in the plexiglass if it will be.


If you have any questions feel free to ask, about anything in the building process whether complete or planned. I tried to include as much info as possible because I have been doing the design and dimensions based completely on plans of my own, as I found it difficult to find any plans or even a supply list that I could use. Hopefully future GP owners will be able to come across this on Google or something and find it useful.

spy9doc
10-30-16, 08:36 am
Looks like a great project!

I have a couple of suggestions even though it may be a bit late for them for this particular cage. First of all, a 2x4 cage simply isn't large enough for two adult cavies, especially if they are male. At a minimum, I would make a 2x5 cage because by the time that you add hideys and other cage items, it will be too small to provide any running room. My boys are in a 2x5 cage with a 2x2 loft and I would enlarge the cage in a heartbeat if I had the space. Cavies need the space to get away from each other and the more space, the less chance that there will be arguments or fighting.

Based on my experience, a 1x anything loft is virtually useless if you have more than one cavy. It never fails that both will want to use the litter box or eat at the same time and a 1x? just doesn't provide enough room. Why not make an offset loft like I did? That provides more space without making the loft difficult to clean under. You won't need any sort of bracing for the loft since you are making it out of wood. My loft is so securely constructed that I don't need bracing even with using grids.

I will attach pics of my first 1x2 loft and then the 2x2 so you can get an idea of the difference it makes. I will also attach a sketch of an offset loft.

80870 80871 80872

new2piggs
10-30-16, 08:41 am
Hi there, I really like the idea of your cage. However, I am with spydoc that it will not be large enough for a full grown pair and it's always best for them to have a companion!

Just as another point of view, I currently have 4 sows with a 1x2 loft and they tend to all want to be up there together. It hasn't caused any issues with us at this point though because it's just a fleece forest to provide some more hiding room. They aren't competing for anything while up there.

bpatters
10-30-16, 10:09 am
Agreed that the cage is too small. You'll see references to 2x4 cages here and on other sites, but they're not talking about feet, but about grids, which are 14 inches square. So a 2x4 grid cage is quite a bit larger than a cage that's two feet by four feet. And even 2x4 grids is on the small size.

New Low GP
10-30-16, 03:42 pm
Unfortunately I am restricted by room to using a 2x4 cage as my bedroom is rather small, but it's a location where the pigs will get a good amount of attention as I have a lenient work schedule, and even if I'm in my living room watching TV they'll have full view of everything going on in there.

I'm definitely considering using that 2x2 offset loft idea as you are correct, arguing over loft use has been a worry from the start but I hadn't acted on it because I was undecided on getting more than one GP.

I know that 2x4 is small, however I'm hoping you loft will help out. The way the ramp and access to the loft is designed means that none of the floor space will be taken up by it, so that will help with room to run hopefully. I plan on using hides that will take up minimal room as well, yet still be comfortable and a good hiding space. Currently I intend to make the corner under the loft onto a bunk with a hammock attached for lounging around. Other than that I haven't planned anything, maybe a few toys/tunes here and there .

New Low GP
10-30-16, 03:45 pm
Forgot to mention I plan on getting sows. These are my guest Guinea pigs and sows seem to be easier to care for than boars.

New Low GP
10-30-16, 03:53 pm
Looks like a great project!

I have a couple of suggestions even though it may be a bit late for them for this particular cage. First of all, a 2x4 cage simply isn't large enough for two adult cavies, especially if they are male. At a minimum, I would make a 2x5 cage because by the time that you add hideys and other cage items, it will be too small to provide any running room. My boys are in a 2x5 cage with a 2x2 loft and I would enlarge the cage in a heartbeat if I had the space. Cavies need the space to get away from each other and the more space, the less chance that there will be arguments or fighting.

Based on my experience, a 1x anything loft is virtually useless if you have more than one cavy. It never fails that both will want to use the litter box or eat at the same time and a 1x? just doesn't provide enough room. Why not make an offset loft like I did? That provides more space without making the loft difficult to clean under. You won't need any sort of bracing for the loft since you are making it out of wood. My loft is so securely constructed that I don't need bracing even with using grids.
how high should the loft walls be? I've been making pretty tall walls because the cage will be raised off the floor several feet for their benefit, and a pig jumping out certainly wouldn't end well! To do an offset loft I would have to have smaller walls due to lack of material though, and I'm already over budget.

spy9doc
10-30-16, 06:50 pm
how high should the loft walls be?

My cage is a C&C cage utilizing coroplast and grids. A grid is 14" x 14" in its normal state. I cut the grids down to 10" for the loft walls and my cavies never even put their paws up on the side. About the only way they can jump out is if you have a sturdy hidey next to the wall and the cavy climbs up on the hidey and then crawls out.

My cavy cage sits alongside my desk in my small home office and we get to see a lot of each other when I'm working from home. I get to see all the cute things they do and watch them grow up. When I'm working at my desk, the loft is just about eye level for me and the boys enjoy being feeling superior at that level.

I don't agree that sows are easier. I much prefer boars and their personalities, plus they don't go into heat repeatedly. But, that's just a personal preference.

As mentioned previously, I simply don't have anywhere else to put a cage. The loft is like a separate penthouse apartment to them and they get far more exercise running up and down the ramp than they ever would running laps.

New Low GP
11-06-16, 08:43 pm
Well, my cage is nearly complete (although I'm dreading building the loft, I just want to be done already and get my Guinea pigs!!). I bought some aspen bedding that I planned on using for the loft, but could I use it for the whole cage or would fleece be preferable? Both for me, for the piggies, and for clean up. I only work 4 days a week so spot cleaning won't be an issue. Opinions/thoughts? Looking for personal preference here, I've already read the thread on bedding. Thanks :)

http://i.imgur.com/Uvlzo1A.jpg

New Low GP
11-07-16, 01:35 pm
Anything guys? Not trying to sound impatient, it's just I finished sealing/waterproofing all the wood about 5 minutes ago and I am killing time while waiting on the sealant to cure, which won't take too long but still.

After it cures all I have left to do is better secure the plexiglass pane on the far end of the cage in the previously posted picture to the pane it rests against to finish the joint. And I still need to add that pesky loft!

For the loft I've decided to go for an overhang (hence the open space/low wall) that extrends 1' away from the cage and spans 2' across, and then another platform spanning 1'-6.5" that extends 1' into the cage, essentially making a 2'x2' loft with the exception of the 5.5" rectangle cutout for the hinged stairs.

All I need now is bedding...I've been thinking fleece on bottom, and aspen shavings w/ a hay rack and water bottle on the loft.

New Low GP
11-07-16, 01:48 pm
I forgot to add that I am definitely getting two Guinea pigs, which is why I am opting for the 2'x2' loft instead of the one I originally planned (thank you spy9doc for the overhang idea!). The hay and water is going on the loft as incentive to actually use the ramp/loft (yay exercise!) as well as to save space for running on the bottom floor.

spy9doc
11-07-16, 06:35 pm
thank you spy9doc for the overhang idea!). The hay and water is going on the loft as incentive to actually use the ramp/loft (yay exercise!) as well as to save space for running on the bottom floor.

That's great.......you're most welcome! :cool:

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I'm concerned that your cavies won't have adequate air circulation. Have you considered creating holes in the plexiglass to permit sufficient air flow?

New Low GP
11-08-16, 09:42 am
That's great.......you're most welcome! :cool:

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I'm concerned that your cavies won't have adequate air circulation. Have you considered creating holes in the plexiglass to permit sufficient air flow?

It's an open top so airflow should be adequate, but yes there are a few holes drilled in the plexiglass to allow for some extra airflow while still preventing them from kicking stuff out the cage. I also cut the far end of the tallest wooden wall unevenly so the plexiglass hides the tiny opening, and piggies can't escape, but air can get in/out. Initially it was an accident I planned on fixing but it worked out really well for me.

Saylavi
11-08-16, 01:45 pm
Looks awesome!

Simpsonspiggie8
11-08-16, 04:49 pm
In regards to your 14 inch high plexiglass, it might cause airflow problems even with an open top most guinea pigs can't even get over a 10 inch wall! in my cages the plexiglass is only 7 inches high and I have never ever had a problem! and also Fleece would be much better most likely! it is more expensive up front but, It will save so much money in the long run it is also nicer looking, and much cleaner! the only downside to fleece is that you should spot clean at least 2x a day:) Good luck with your future Piggies!

New Low GP
11-09-16, 12:10 am
In regards to your 14 inch high plexiglass, it might cause airflow problems even with an open top most guinea pigs can't even get over a 10 inch wall! in my cages the plexiglass is only 7 inches high and I have never ever had a problem! and also Fleece would be much better most likely! it is more expensive up front but, It will save so much money in the long run it is also nicer looking, and much cleaner! the only downside to fleece is that you should spot clean at least 2x a day:) Good luck with your future Piggies!

Actually I somehow got lucky. I went to Jo-Anns or something like that and got 4 yards of fleece for like $15. They gave it to me for 70% off!!