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cavytopia
11-30-01, 11:40 am
As of this Sunday our family will be re-homing two guinea pigs who can no longer remain with their current family as a result of a child's severe allergies. They are two unneutered males who have been housed together for possibly several months and "appear to enjoy each other's company" (from an e-mail description of the guinea pigs).

With the guinea pigs comes the cage and many accessories. The cage is described as being "a rabbit hutch with plenty of room". (A NOTE -- our family is going to house them INSIDE -- the hutch will go into our family room). The hutch is described as being "enclosed and has a solid wood top. The sides are wire mesh, and there is a large door on the front." There was no mention of what the flooring was (I hope not mesh or wire). This one is described as being large -- it's dimensions being 48 x 43 x 28 height and with legs but not much room underneath.

From my reading info on the internet (including this site!) I realize that a hutch is not the best choice for guinea pigs. We were wondering if it would be practical to "remodel" this hutch in order to make it suitable for guinea pigs. Such as replacing the solid wood top with a wood/mesh top for more light and air. Also since we don't know what the flooring is we realize that we might have to put the proper flooring down if it is indeed mesh or wire. Would the best choice be linoleum -- of course, making sure that it was attached in a way that the guinea pigs couldn't chew on it. We were also wondering if we could add a second level since the 28" height would allow that? Of course, I realize that a ramp would decrease some of the floor space but I've seen some unique ideas on the pic section of this site which still allow ample space and a ramp.

We are looking forward to our new companions coming into our home (as well as our hearts!) and want to provide the proper environment for them.

CavySpirit
11-30-01, 10:16 pm
It is great you are taking these cavies into your home. Thank you so much for doing that! I have actually seen some standard rabbit hutches remodeled into good guinea pig cages. Most hutches come with a wire floor. I'd be very surprised if this one didn't. You need to line the floor with something like linoleum or Coroplast or some plastic.

It's pretty darn easy to create a suitable insert for any cage like that. Just measure well! :)

Assuming there is enought height (or you can remove the top), you can also add a second level with a little ingenuity or creativity and perhaps a lot of cable ties!!

43" wide sounds like almost a bit too wide to be manageable, but you'll have to be the judge of your own reach. 30" table widths work well around here. When we go 3 grids wide, you can't really catch the piggers and it affects their socialization.

Let us know what you end up doing!

Good luck,

cavytopia
11-30-01, 11:23 pm
Thanks for your reply, CavySpirit. We hope that the hutch will work for the guinea pigs. Like you mentioned, the size seems almost too large to be manageable. I'm thinking especially in regard to cleaning since it doesn't sound like the top opens but just one of the sides. It seems like we might not be able to reach the far side of the hutch in order to clean it properly. If we decide to remodel it and replace the solid wood top with wire mesh top then we will probably make the top hinged so it can be opened. Once we do that we may be able to place the hutch far enough out from the wall so that we can access it from any of the four sides.

I will post here when we decide what we are going to do. Thanks again!

CavySpirit
12-01-01, 11:24 am
Well, good luck with it.

One time, I saw one of our neighbors was getting rid of one of those standard rabbit hutches. I thought, "ah ha!" I can remodel that into a gp cage. Getting that thing in the back of our SUV and getting home was a comedy!

In the long run, we tossed it. It just wasn't worth the hassle. You may end up coming that conclustion, too. Just do a regular cubes and coroplast cage.

Keep us posted! :)

cavytopia
12-01-01, 01:46 pm
Thanks for the additional advice. If we come to the conclusion that the rabbit hutch can't be readily converted into a GP cage, we will use the cubes & coroplast cages.

cavytopia
12-03-01, 12:00 pm
Well, we have been joined by Squeaky and Tiny as of yesterday! They are adorable! I know this isn't the place to brag about them ::grin:: so I will get to the cage topic...

The hutch that arrived with them is a wooden rabbit type hutch. It is smaller than I had originally thought. It is 24x36x24 high, offering only 6 sq ft of space for 2 unneutered male guinea pigs (not good). It has a wire bottom which lays flat against the metal pan. The family who we obtained them from had placed some rubber bath mats over the wire so they GP's wouldn't be directly on the wire. However, I noticed that they have chewed on this around the edges (not good). To cover the plastic I layed down thick layers of newspaper and then dumped CareFresh on top of that along with some hay.

There is also a gap between the metal bottom tray and the cage front which allows both hay and CareFresh to seep out onto the floor.

Needless to say we won't be using this cage for very long. I'm going to show my husband the cube and coroplast cages on this site. They would give the piggies more room as well as being easier to clean and maintain.

A related question...
I took Squeaky and Tiny to the vet today for a checkup (they both got a clean bill of health!). The vet tech said that she used to raise GP's and suggested separate housing for the two males. What size cube and coroplast cage(s) would I need in that case? Could I make I large cage and then split it down the middle? Hmmm, I guess I need to go back and look again at some of the photos.

CavySpirit
12-03-01, 01:37 pm
Good grief, if they get along fine, there is no reason under the sun to separate them! What, did she find bite wounds or something?? If they get along fine, ignore that very bad advice!

Proper cage size for two separated would be huge, they each need 2 grids by 3 grids minimum. So, 6 grids long which is an 8' table. X-breeders are not your best source of housing advice at all. The vast majority of them all use housing which is far too small for pets. That's part of the whole housing problem.

Also, congrats on the new additions.

And most people have an overly exaggerated idea of just how big their 'huge' cage is. I hear it all the time.

cavytopia
12-03-01, 06:00 pm
Thanks for the sound advice again, CavySpirit! I don't think we will be going with the 8 foot long table. That wouldn't even fit in our family room! LOL

I have noticed just a little a bit of aggression on the part of Squeaky against Tiny. Each time it has been over the water bottle when they both want water or when they both want to get in their little igloo type house. Squeaky is definitely "top piggie" and so Tiny retreats. He just waited his turn for the water bottle but when Squeaky wouldn't let him in the house he stayed outside in the hay.

Could I perhaps get two water bottles and two houses? I think too that it might be due to the small space which is still only 6 sq ft for 2 piggies. The water bottle would be no problem but fitting another house in there would be tight. Perhaps I could remove their tunnel like tube and replace it with another house since we are talking them out of the cage for exercise each day.

I noticed on the CavyCages site that the recommended space is 7 1/2 sq ft minimum and suggested 10 1/2 feet. If I understand correctly would this be 2 grids on each end and 4 grids along each side? I would still like to eventually replace the hutch with the cube and coroplast cage. I need to gradually work this in with my husband who is realizing that these "free" guinea pigs are still going to cost in the way of vet visits, bedding, hay, pellets, fresh veggies, etc. I may "just happen" to look at the CavyCages site while he's in the room and mention how much room they offer and how easy they are too clean. LOL

Thanks again for your advice. :)

CavySpirit
12-03-01, 10:10 pm
Personally, I wouldn't house two boars in less that a 2x4 grid cage, yes 4 grids long. That size cage fits perfectly on top of a 5' x 30" table (standard folding work table).

That way, it's easy to follow the n+1 rule when it comes to cavy housing: The number of houses or hiding locations should equal the number of guinea pigs plus 1. That gives them (especially boars) a neutral area when they 'get in a mood.'

Easy to do in a 2x4 grid cage.

cavytopia
12-04-01, 12:46 pm
Again, thank you for your reply, CavySpirit. I am learning so much on this site! We will look at the 2 x 4 cage photos on the site. That should give the boys plenty of room!

cavytopia
12-07-01, 10:19 pm
For now (until I convince hubby to build the cube & coroplast cage) I have attempted to utilize the hutch by making a couple of improvements.

I removed the bath mats which were lining the metal/wire mesh base. That metal/wire mesh was really hard to clean! I scrubbed and scrubbed and couldn't get beneath the wire mesh. I will have to get one of those wire brushes to scrape stuff away. I went to a local flooring store and asked for some kitchen flooring to use in lining a guinea pig cage. They were extremely nice and gave me two large remnants at no charge!

After cutting the kitchen flooring to size I lined the bottom of the hutch with it, covering the metal/wire mesh entirely. I then put layers of newspaper down before dumping in the CareFresh.

To catch the "debris" which is seeping out of the gap between the cage and removable bottom try I cut another piece of the kitchen flooring (which is beige patterned and blends in perfectly with our beige carpeting!). I put this directly under the cage to catch the hay and bedding which seep through the gap.

I moved the hay rack from where it had been hanging along the front of the cage, right over top of the gap. This is where the previous owners hung it so I didn't want to change immediately for the sake of piggie adjustment. The hay rack is now hanging along the side of the cage where there is no gap.

Another important change which I made is to remove the Pigloo and replace it with a Timber Hide-a-Way (after referring to recommendations on the cavycages site!). It is the large or extra large size (I'm not sure) big enough for 2 piggies and with 2 doors. (I will post more on the hide-a-way in the accessories forum).

The cage seems much cleaner and more spacious and though not ideal should be suitable until we can build one of the cubes & coroplast cages.

CavySpirit
12-08-01, 01:19 am
Sounds like you made some really great major improvements! Good going!

And hey, it fits in with your decor!