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Thread: Your Ideas Needed!

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave Silverbeat's Avatar
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    Your Ideas Needed!

    Hey y'all,
    I was recently put in charge of the guinea pigs at my local shelter. This means I get to build them a new caging system, improve their diet, move them to a quieter room, etc. You guys are all so great with your piggins, I thought I'd ask for your input on a few things. Also just so you know a lot of this is in collaboration with the rabbits. So they will be mentioned a lot.

    *Enrichment*
    We're starting something for the rabbits called Thumpin' Thursdays, where we set up ex-pens and put the rabbits into them and people can come pet and meet the bunnies and see them in a more natural environment. The guinea pigs are welcome to participate, but the problem is that like most pigs new to floor time, they tend to just crouch in a corner. I'm wondering what you think I could do to make it a more exciting time for them? I have been growing oat grass for the rabbits lately to give to them on Thursdays, maybe the pigs would like that too. Other ideas?

    *Caging*
    Right now the pigs' cages are small and I really am not thrilled nor impressed. I need ideas for a good caging system that is...
    -easy to clean
    -has a lid which we can secure closed [we have a free-roaming dog at the shelter, and many curious hands]
    -easy to divvy up into sections which we can take down if we have less pigs
    -easy to transport/move [they won't be moving to their new room for some time, and I want them to have more cage space asap]
    -MUST MUST MUST be able to COMPLETELY sterilize and sanitize it. We had a number of outbreaks this past spring and summer and we cannot use anything porous. That means that coroplast and linoleum are out of the question.
    -It absolutely needs to look good, not haphazard, ramshackle, or anything of the like.
    -Low budget is a plus because it's coming out of my paycheck, not the shelter's.

    The most cavies the shelter's ever had at one time was 7, but we usually only have 2 or 3. I would prefer it if my caging system comfortably fit 4 or 5, because we have a ton of superpet cages we can use, should the need arise.

    Any photos or suggestions [for anything - enrichment, caging or otherwise] you have are much appreciated. This shelter is very high-traffic, we have animals that come in one day and are gone the next. Cages get cleaned daily and the kennel staff is always under-paid, under-staffed and over-worked. They don't want anything new and complicated, so I'm trying to do this to make their lives easier. Right now they hate cleaning the pigs' and the bunnies' cages, so they either do a terrible job or they don't do it.

    OH and the room I want to move them into is a 10' by 16' room. We need to have a 4' aisle in the middle, and have access to several of those 6' conference tables to put cages on. We need to be able to fit at least 8 bunnies and 4 pigs in the room with enough space left for overflow.
    Right now the pigs are in a small storage space with a 2.5' x 6' shelf, and two 18" x 4' shelves.

  2. #2
    Cavy Slave SquareWheels30's Avatar
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    Re: Your Ideas Needed!

    To get the pigs moving in the open area you're making, you may try this thing I read about on Guinea Lynx called a "car wash" where you cut up a piece of blanket to make fringes on the bottom, hang it up, and show the pigs how to run through the fringes. Violet loves this!

    Sorry I don't have any more useful advice! You are right that many of the very shy pigs are going to want to stay still in the corners.

    Congratulations on this new opportunity you have to so drastically improve the lives of the guinea pigs (and the rabbits) that you are already doing so much for in the shelter!

  3. #3
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Your Ideas Needed!

    I would think that daily floor time would increase their comfort with being out - but if they are only with you a few days that's not going to do much. Lots of places that they can run to and hide may get them moving out of one corner. I'm a fan of tissue boxes stuffed with hay to get my boys moving around - oh and my boys will venture out if the see a flat of wheat grass - so maybe growing some (you can get huge binds of seed on Amazon faily cheapyly - use old take out containers with holes in the bottom for drainage to grow it - and buy a big bag of soil at any gaden/home center for not much). Once they get a bit brave, paperbags of hay are a hit during play time.

    As for a cage, how about a large cube cage with a shelf top (so many photos on the baords) and a tile bottom? Tiles would be easy to clean, and look nice. You can cover the tiles with fleece and wash it on a sanitizing setting of you have a washer that will do that (toss some bleach in the washer too). the cube cage would let you add dividers as needed

    what kind of bedding do they have now?

  4. #4
    Cavy Slave Silverbeat's Avatar
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    Re: Your Ideas Needed!

    SquareWheels- I like that idea thanks
    Partygirlha- I am only there twice a week so daily floortime isn't very doable, but I like the ideas about growing grass and whatnot.
    A cube cage with shelving as a top is a good idea but the problem is that I don't know how I could secure the lid... perhaps I could use a few carabiners or something.
    I'm not sure what you mean by tiles? Do you mean linoleum? I can't use lino because is is porous.
    Right now they have newsprint for bedding. I want to get them off of it soon, which is why I want to work out a caging system so I know what size to make their liners.

  5. #5
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Your Ideas Needed!

    I have a shelf top for my cage and if the cage is 2 cubes by any length you buy shelves that are about 3 inches longer than the cage is and 16" deep. use zip ties to secure the two shelves to each other (down the center of the "lid") the extra length means that the top is fully supported by the ends of the cage. maybe later when I'm avoiding writting my mid-terms (as I am now) I'll take and post photos.

    for the bottom I was thinking of ceramic floor tiles - 4x4 or even 12x12 from a home center. I'm thinking that something flate (with no sides) will make it easier to divid the cage if you need to. if there are any sheet metal shops near you, maybe they'd be willing to make and donate a pan for you (look at Metal Pans - Rabbit Cages, Rabbit Hutchesto get an idea of what I mean). If you had one made with sides, I'd say ythat you should try to size it so that the cage wals are inside of the pan walls - otherwise it would be difficult to divide the cage if needed.

    If I think of other ideas I'll post

    I just started putting paper bags out during play time and my boys love them - free whit my shopping - just toss away when done. Add hay fro extra fun.
    Last edited by partygirlha; 10-30-10 at 01:06 pm.

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    Cavy Slave Silverbeat's Avatar
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    Re: Your Ideas Needed!

    I like the ceramic floor tiles idea! We could put a plastic shower curtain underneath to catch any leaks [though unlikely if they are on fleece- better safe than sorry!]
    And the metal pan is an awesome idea for the bunnies who need more *structure* in their cages... I will look around for local shops. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Your Ideas Needed!

    I've got metal pans in my chinchilla cages and with fleece they work great. if you can get a local place to make them all the better

    if you go with tiles - cheap pastic table cloths from a party store may be cheaper than showcurtains

  8. #8
    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Your Ideas Needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbeat View Post
    A cube cage with shelving as a top is a good idea but the problem is that I don't know how I could secure the lid... perhaps I could use a few carabiners or something.
    You could use velcro cable/zip ties or binder clips to secure the lid.

  9. "Thank you, guineapigluver1, for this useful post," says:


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