View Full Version : Another cage 'up-grade'!

01-06-07, 02:31 pm
My previously extended, altered and remodelled cage needed another adaptation! The previous hay-rack situation was proving bothersome to clean out, so onto 'plan G'! Having heard favorable reports about the equine stable bedding Megazorb, I decided this was the way forward. Keeping the inspirational Jdomans and WEAVER's kitchen areas in mind, I set off on my task!

Using some 2mm correx, I created a 2 x 1 1/2 sized 'tub' with high sides - for hay and bedding retention. Into this I cut two entrance/exits and tapered the sides in an agreeable manner. Using bricks on either side as stepping stones, the idea is to contain the bedding inside the kitchen area!


Next - the hayracks! Marble is my determined hay-lounger, stopping at nothing to satisfy her urge to lie (and pee) in the hayrack. She really was the stimulus in hatching this plot!

Vertical hayracks! Two bent grids, closed with correx and cable ties on three sides (top, bottom and back) again for hay retention, are cable tied to the top of the grids. The tops are hinged - attached with ties on one side only, for hay insertion ability.


Adding Megazorb - I resisted the urge to rake Japanese patterns into the smooth bedding! Wanting to deter nibbling pigsters, I folded the fleece up and over the edges of the tub.

Now all we need is piggies!

http://s69.photobucket.com/albums/i44/jarbax/th_IMG_8012.jpg http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i44/jarbax/IMG_8087.jpg?t=1168115396 http://s69.photobucket.com/albums/i44/jarbax/th_IMG_8014.jpg

01-06-07, 02:40 pm
It will take a bit of time to get used to the new look cage, but hopefully this will improve the regular clean-out process, and the pigs hygenic approach to their hay-habits!


Using a mat outside the area, I hope to catch any bedding or hay before it gets walked onto the fleece around the cage!


My one initial concern is in imagining potential for disaster during the clean out. My glorious ideal is that I can lift out the tub - bedding and all, and just tip it onto the compost. I deliberately made the hayracks raisable - like drawbridges, to make my vision of effortless clean out possible! I forsee the hay left in the racks going everywhere, then in tilting the full tub to avoid the racks, spilling it's contents far and wide - scuppering my plans of perfection in one fail swoop!

If anyone has any ideas how I can get round this minor detail, I will be forever grateful. All suggestions grasped with delight!

01-06-07, 03:55 pm
I also used the "Weaver bent grid hay rack", except mine is horizontal. The other thing she did, which works great for me and maybe for you is to use screw-hooks to attach the hay racks to the cage. I'm not sure I'm calling it by the proper name, but I found them with the picture hanging supplies in a craft store. They are literally a hook with a screw end. The screw very easily slides into the coroplast and then you just hang the rack with the hook. I love it! It's easy to remove it, fill it and replace it. You could put the hooks into the long side of the coroplast on the back of the hay racks. Then when it's time to clean just remove the racks and put them out of the way.

Your upgrade looks fabulous! I'm looking for some type of mat to put outside of the litter box that will absorb urine but is easier to clean up the hay and litter mess than fleece. Are you happy with your mat? What is it made of?

01-06-07, 05:28 pm
Thanks Wolfie - hooks are a great idea! I will have to find some - I have cup-hooks, but they will be too big.

I am happy with my mat - except that being white, it show up all the veggie juice! It is polyester of some kind, with rubber backing. This means that the urine doesn't wick through like fleece - but as I have 4 of them, I can regularly change them. They wash really well in the machine too. (They were 1.49 form Tesco - which I know doesn't help much unless you are in the UK!)

01-07-07, 04:56 am
My sows are pretty clean critters, considering.
My boars are complete pigs. ha! I prefer an overhead rack for the boars, but since I haven't finished my cage (putting in a loft to attach the hay rack to the underside of) I had to make do with a vertical rack for now.
To prevent the hay from falling out of the bottom when you raise it, try attaching it to a coroplast base, jjust like you did with the hinged top, except don't make the bottom one hinged.

I prefer a small dust pan for cleaning out litter areas. I have tried removable pans but I,too, will tip, spill or make a mess of it every time. I found I can scoop and sweep it out of there in half the time it takes me to fuss with removing anything.
I am trying out wood pellets in my hay box. Something that doesn't stick to fleece. What is megasorb?

01-07-07, 05:28 am
My base floor hayracks were both overhead, worked well, and were popular with my girls, so I left one - the second seemed to cause me more problems when cleaning out (partly psycological, though probably due to 2 x 3 overhang!). I have correxed in the bottom of the new vertical hayrack. I just read your thread - and think the mess is caused by the shorter stranded UK grass hays that I mix in with the longer Oxbow ones!

Thanks for your ideas - a plan is forming - using hooks instead of wire, the racks will be easily removed, and then instead of lifting out the pan (risking spilling the lot), roll up the Megazorb in the newspapers underneath, containing as much as possible, then 'simply' sweep up the rest with dustpan and brush! Voila!

Does this sound feasible?

About Megazorb Horse Bedding (http://www.megazorb.co.uk/about_megazorb.htm)

01-07-07, 01:03 pm
Megazorb (at least the stuff the sell here) is a lot like Yesterday's News, which I use. I also have litter areas like yours. I used to have one that I could lift out and dump. But yes, even though I was lifting it about a foot away and dumping it into a garbage bag, I would still make a mess.

I also tried newspaper underneath, but that didn't work either. It gets wet and gross way before the litter does, and tend to fall apart really easily. And whenever I tried to roll it up and lift it out, the litter would explode out the sides. It was messier than just lifting the whole litter box.

Now my litter areas are too big to just lift out anyway - one is 2x2, the other is 2x3. The dustpan and brush is the only way I can get the litter out. And I don't put any newspaper underneath, it just makes it more difficult - it sticks in clumps larger than my dustpan.

I don;t have any pics of my current cage, but here is one of my last cage. I still use that litterbox, it's just on the other side of the cage now.


I've also switched to the vertical hayrack in one of the litter areas, and I love it. I also have one hayrack that sits on the outside of the cage, which also works well, and a suet holder. I found with the hayrack like it is in the picture above, too much hay was being wasted.

01-07-07, 02:55 pm
I use large kitty litter pans with a notch cut out on one side for an opening. I have two in each cage - one for the hidey hut to sit in, and the other to feed in.

I use yesterday's news cat litter the pans and it really helps cut down on the odor and constant cleaning since most of their time is spent either eating or in their hideys.

On cleaning day, I can easily lift out the litter pans and dump out in the flower patches where it melts quite nicely with the next rain.

01-07-07, 03:06 pm
Looks great JB and love the hayrack idea. At this point in time I just wish I can teach my pigs to eat more neatly. The more I try to keep them to eat more neatly the worse it becomes. Oh well. I think they just want me to work harder at keeping their cages clean.