View Full Version : New to Floor Time!!!

08-31-08, 04:15 pm
I want to create an area thats larger than their cage(thats the whole idea, right?) for my 3 girls to exercise in, play in, etc. What sort of x-pen like structure can I make thats less expensive than an actual dog x-pen, but is sufficiently larger than their current 2 grid wide by 5 grid long c+c cage, so that it can be considered a "free time" area for them, and not just another "cage".

I have some criteria, such as my mom's wishes, that must be met. I really have to get them out of their cage. They don't really ever get to come out, except for lap time, because I'm having so much trouble coming up w/ ideas that my Mom won't object to.

1.) cannot possibly damage our hardwood(its real hardwood, not faux) floors, if placed on them
2.) cannot possibly damage the carpet, if placed on carpet
3.) cannot make a (i'm quoting my mom here) "disgusting, horrible mess thats hard to clean up. you have to clean up completely each and every time you put them in this 'contraption', ok Katelyn? or they don't get to come out at all" gee whiz, right?
4.) cannot "upset" Lexie, my over-excited shih tzu. In other words, I will have to leave the piggers alone at some point, so it has to be in a room where Lexie isn't allowed on/can't get into anyway.

I need to know what is the reccomended time to leave them in floor time, as long as they have food, water, toys for entertainment, etc. and protection from such things as an over-excited shih-tzu. I was thinking that I could buy some grids from walmart, target, where-ever, and make those into a big "corral" (roflmao, "Piggies at Pasture" *how cute*). But, to have enough grids to make a "sufficiently larger than their cage" piggercise area, wouldn't that sooner than later end up costing a bunch more than buying a dog x-pen? The only thing is, and I just now thought of this, is that the dog x-pens don't get very big, at all. They get really tall, but thats not applicable to a piggies needs.*guineasess book of world records:1st pet cavy in history scales vertical heights like spider-man* xD

Lets brainstorm. My current cage uses a total of 14 grids. So, would a good starting idea for a floor time environment be 2x as big as that? Then I would need 28 grids. I don't necessarily want a box shape either, I might give them a rounded shape, or whatever is more space-efficient, which is my next biggest roadblock. Where the heck am I going to go w/ this thing? I mean, I really don't know where I have space, that my mom will also consent to letting me use every day.

Help me convince her, please! I'll show her all of your *hopefully* convincing replies, and then maybe she'll give in. I mean, its like animal cruelty to refuse to let cavies have floor time. In my opinion, anyways. I refuse to put them in the basement or garage, absolutely no way, thats really mean, to me it is at least. I would ideally like them in the "den", which has *drumroll*........carpet!! =( What is something thats going to act like a 100% waterproof barrier between a. cavies and b. carpet? Also, my mom will be very upset if hay gets all over the carpet. If you saw my bedroom where their cage is, you'd know why *teehee*. How do I contain the hay and gurantee that no hay whatsoever will escape the floor time area?

*sigh* There's nowhere to put a floor time place, except maybe if its temporary, but then I'd have to pack it up and set it all up over and over again, every day! Does anyone else do that?

Thanks in advance for help, it is greatly appreciated!!!

08-31-08, 08:32 pm
Floor time is essential, with exercise and stimulation.
I usually do floor time for anywhere between 1-3 hours. I set it up and take it down everyday. It's really a lot easier than you'd think. You can zip tie grids, so that they fold up and are easily stored.
Their pen is sort of like a 3x3, I set it up so it's more circular(I think like a corral) I set up the pen on laminate(maybe it's vinyl, I dunno) floor, with fleece on top of towels. After floor time I roll up the fleece, and take the towels out underneath. Then I shake off the fleece, and with a wicker broom I brush off the poo and hay - you could do this outside on the lawn or something. Then I just wipe the floor with diluted vinegar.
For floor time on the carpet, you could put down a shower curtain or a plastic sheet, then the towels and fleece ontop.
I hope that gave you some ideas.

09-01-08, 09:34 am
what I do when I take my piggie out is I place a large vinyl table cloth with fleece backing down on my couch so that she can run around and I don't have to worry about her getting the couch wet.

Since the pee puddles from lack of an absorbant surface you can always lay down fleece and towels. Or what I do is just mop it up with a paper towel as she goes. Then again, my piggie isn't to playful during floor time so I don't have to run all over the place trying to mop up pee. :)

I haven't had the chance to go out and get more grids to make a floor time area yet but when I do I plan on putting the table cloth down to protect the carpet.

If you want to make it more of a corral type pen you can always buy a round table cloth.

To make sure that you don't get hay all over the place you can take cardboard boxes you don't need, take them apart and then put it against the grids to creat a wall (sort of like the coroplast but minus the bottom piece) so that hay and poos don't go flying around and get on the carpet.

hope it helps :)

09-01-08, 02:57 pm
Thank you so much, starshine and banjos!! It does sound easier then I was thinking, now that you mention that. Hah, we actually have some cardboard we don't need, it doesn't even have to be that tall at all either. Great ideas, everyone. Yes, I think it will have to be on carpeting, because my shih-tzu, Lexie doesn't have access yet to the "den", so she wouldn't be able to bother them there. Vinyl is a good idea, I might try to find a similar alternative though, because I read in the WDJ(Whole Dog Journal) that vinyl is made of toxic compounds, and steadily releases them over time. I guess I could google "waterproof alternatives to vinyl". Then I'll put the cotton towels and fleece on top, like you said, and the little cardboard hay/poop barriers. And the twist ties are a great idea too, it'll make it easy to set up, and fold up.

Thanks a bunch again!

09-01-08, 07:54 pm
Hmm, I don't know if I can help much because my pigs love my living room and I just let them roam. Ditto on the shower curtain-some type of vinyl idea for the bottom. Also, I don't put hay out when I put my pigs out for about 1.2 hour at a time because they aren't really interested in eating anyway. You can also try litter training them or putting a piece of newspaper down, like you would with a dog, and then putting their poos on the newspaper and hopefully they'll get the idea. A hidey house in the corner might serve them as a bathroom area too.

Good luck!

09-07-08, 11:42 pm
well i tried giving Gizmo floor time but she wouldnt move :sad: she's shy im guessing or is lonley her cage is small so im guessing floor time would make her happy..anything i should try?

09-12-08, 03:09 pm
ProudPiggyOwner, where are you giving her floor time? What sort of flooring does the area have? Are you having play time indoors or outdoors? Some things to take into consideration:

1. Cavies do not respond well to slick surfaces. Linoleum, hardwood, tile, etc. are too slick for the cavy to properly grip the surface and run around. Instead they sit there bewildered, uncertain of their footing. If you don't wish to have floor time on a carpeted surface, try laying an old comforter or some large towels on the floor to allow her more grip.

2. If you're playing with her outdoors, are there a lot of predatory animals or birds in the area? Even though the cavies we own are domesticated, they still have all of their prey animal instincts. I keep Abby in our family room in our finished basement. During the day I open the screen door to the backyard to let the sunlight in. If she's out and about and a hawk screeches or a dog barks, she high-tails it back to her Pigloo.

3. Since you are still looking to adopt her a buddy, she may feel shy and overwhelmed. Cavies love playing with one another and oftentimes will feed off of one another's energy and behavior. When I had my two boars, one was very shy. The other was a total ham. I'd put them on the living room floor and my shy guy hid under a chair. Until his cage buddy started running circles around the room. Little shy guy would quickly follow suit.

11-13-08, 08:47 pm
I just give my piggies the whole free run of the living room without any "pen" during the day about 3X at least of 2-3 hrs each. I gate them only at night or when I go out.

I put the litter pen under the spot under the sofa where I have observed they like to go & besides a few stray poop here & there... there isn't even much to clean up.

When their gate is up at night (usually around 8/9), it is their individual human bonding time. When their gate is up, they will wheek & whine to me to let them out (Bubbles even managed to sneak out that rascal!)... so my way is you guys get time to come out & play, but I get to pet you in exchange. They like the petting just fine & if they get too bored with the humans... it'd be a great excuse to tell them goodnight to let them out the next day!

You also want to establish a routine with your piggies... they'll be less stressed that way (when they expect what to do or what is going to happen)!