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C&C First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...

HDFXDB

Active Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Nov 7, 2011
Messages
28
O-k, this is my first attempt at a C&C designed cage. I'm a college student, so I wanted to create something that would be practical for my pig(s) yet quick and easy to clean.

I have seen many multiple level cage layouts with intricate Coroplast designs. I can only imagine that they take a bit of time to do a thorough cleaning each week. Even daily cleaning seems it would be a chore, requiring the removal of whatever cubes, pulling Coroplast elements out, etc.

After a short Google search I discovered the Grid Wire Modular Shelving and Storage Cubes from Bed Bath & Beyond.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...

IMO these make for an excellent loft without requiring a full second level, as you can see they come with cube inserts that can be secured quite nicely. This way you keep your cage at a height of 12" and still provide the extra 2 sq. ft. of floor area.

At $19.99 for a box of 4 cubes, I got two to create this design and had only 1 cube and a handful of the connectors left over.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...

Here is the basic layout. It's 2x5 with covered lofts in either corner. The two cube inserts from each box are used to make each ramp/loft.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...

All zipped up. I put a tie on every 4th square and doubled in corner areas. The best advice I can give on this part is to buy quality zip ties. Going the cheap route will leave you frustrated and heading back to the store for more ties.

You want to tighten them down so they're snug. You will get some that break - gotta weed out the weak ones. ;) I would even suggest you stand the cage up on a couple of it's sides just to test for any easy breaks. Mine passed the test without a problem. Regular checks will need to be done with each cleaning to ensure all zip ties are still in tact.

I bought a pack of 300 ties and had about 100 left over.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...

Once I get my Coroplast base built these will be the stands the entire setup sits on. You can see the general design, each was built with 6 cubes and one connector. You don't want to use the connectors on the bottom of the stands - this will make them unstable. A simple zip tie holds the bottom just fine. As for the top connector, a small dimple can be cut into the Coroplast base's bottom allowing it to sit level. One Cube is placed on the top of each to help distribute weight, and a cube is attached the the front of each base for extra support. They're super sturdy!

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...

Here is the temporary setup, minus the towels, toys, etc., etc., until I find my Coroplast. Notice the half enclosed top. This makes for easy access but provides some extra support.

My staffy Bella has been watching over closely to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. She's the reason for the raised cage. Not that she is in any way a danger but better safe than sorry! In reality though she is already quite fond and protective of Butters.

UPDATES TO COME:

A Coroplast bottom shell will be built. It's going to be designed around the outside of the cage, 3" high. I chose for it to be on the outside of the cage rather than the inside to ease the cleaning process; this way the entire cage can be removed in one piece, the fleece & newspaper bottom removed, and the Coroplast shell can be washed out.

The only extra Coroplast elements would be the ramp/loft pieces. I would create a ramp/loft cover much like the carboard ones in the picture. I would then make a fleece pillow case to cover the Coroplast and simply drop them back into place. No need to remove any cubes or other exiting parts of the cage.

My thought in this is to minimize the number of "pieces" needed to be dealt with in the whole cleaning of the cage process.

I'm sure there is more I wanted to say but all I can think of for now. Hopefully I'll have the final updates by the end of the week. In the meantime and critique so far would be appreciated!
 
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It's a good start. I'd change the design of the lofts. With those lofts positioned like that, they don't have any space to run laps. The main running space has been blocked by the ramps and grids supporting the lofts.

Your loft reminds me of my own design that I no longer use. My cage is 28 inches x 8 feet (equivalent to 2x7 c&c) for two pigs. I felt the lofts were blocking their running space so I took them out.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...

You mentioned fleece and newspaper, you'd be better off with something more absorbent like uhaul pads, puppy pads, mattress pads or towels. Newspaper is not absorbent and will smell very quickly and will also leave you with wet pigs.

Putting the grids inside the tray can also make them hard to clean. Some pigs like to backup into corners and you could imagine poos and pee on the grids and in the connectors.
 
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I would completely take out the second levels or just keep one if you really want it. I took mine out because my pigs didn't go up there a lot and it was too small for all of them up there. It was hard to clean under the ramp and they ended up spending most of their time under it. I would make the cage one level, let them try it out and add the second level later if you think they aren't happy with the single level.
 
Nice sized cage!

My first suggestion is to make just one loft at one end, rather than the two smaller ones. You want to have enough room for fat piggy butts to get around the hay rack, and that'll be easier with a larger loft. It'll also be easier to clean.

My second is to make narrower ramps, maybe half the size of a grid, and make them a little less steep. You can either make them longer, or just don't run them all the way to the floor. All pigs except extremely pregnant ones and those with arthritis will be able to hop up on the end, and you could make temporary accommodations if you wind up with any of those. Put one on one side and one on the other, and they'll just be another lane for the racetrack.
 
I was thinking about running space also when I saw your pictures. Can you move the lofts so that they are both on the same side of the cage? If they were side by side that would leave a full 2x3 area to run around in.

It's a beautiful design and I love the little lofts. I wouldn't take them out because I think your pig(s) will like having a cozy place to snuggle up.
 
When I got Butters he was originally in a 12" x 18" x 12" plastic tote. Needless to say - he's loving life now!

First off, the fleece and newspaper. That is a great idea to use a mattress pad below the fleece. I'm sure I could find one that's made to be exta absorbent too. ;) I can see exactly how putting the grids inside the Coroplast bottom can make them hard to clean with the pigs doing business in corners on grids/connectors. Once I get the cage re-arranged I'll be better able to visualize how I'm going to attack building with this Coroplast.

I've read about Cavys being potty trainable, if they want to. It might be a long shot but I put a beer box inside the cage with some of his previously soiled bedding. my hope is that he will see that's the place for that stuff and keep it in there. My theory for this was based on the fact that he was regularly peeing in the same spot in the previous cage. So, we'll see how that works out.

I'm not going to take out either of the second levels. Butters has already show enjoyment of being on top of and under them. I am thinking I should put the two lofts next to each other leaving the 2x3 open area some of you talked about. Two lofts will be better than one, especially when mates are introduced. I can then use one of the ramps placed in the middle which would give access to both lofts at once. Also, if necessary I can lower the lofts by a square or two there by lowering the angle of the ramps. A picture is worth a thousand words. You'll see what I mean... :cheerful:

How long does it take for you all to clean your C&C?

Your comments have given me lots of great ideas that will hopefully make the purpose of this design a success. Thanks
 
Actually, I'm not sure two lofts are going to buy you anything. My prediction is that you'll have two pigs in one loft and no pig in the other. I'd just take the middle divider out and make the loft the width of the cage.

Good idea about the box with a little soiled bedding in it -- anything you can do to encourage them to pee/poop in the same place is a good thing.

Cheap mattress pads are available at thrift stores -- I bought three or four, and don't think I ever paid more than $3 for one. Just be sure they're cotton, not polyester -- those don't absorb.
 
Love your cage! You all make it sound so easy:D! I've been going round and round about making a loft kitchen for my guys but I didn't want to give up floor space. Huey loves running to on end then skidding to a stop, popcorning while preforming a 180 then dashing back down to the other end. On the other hand Roger is a mountaineer and would love a loft! I have a 3x7 cube cage and thanks to all of you, I'm thinking I could put it across the middle with a ramp on each side? I like the whole grid ramps you all used because Roger is hauling a wide load:shhh: and this way if the boys meet on the ramp they have room to get around each other.
 
Here is the updated base.
First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...
The original design worked well but I still wanted something a little more stable and permanent.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...
Half inch particle board was used to create a platform for the cage.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...
Plastic wire brackets were used to connect the wire base to the board. This not only securely fastens the board to the wire base but makes for easy tear down in case of a move.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...
 
Next is the Coroplast bottom for the actual cage

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...
Here is a shot of the bottom. As you can see there were slits cut every few inches around the border. This allows for the border to be secured to the cage bottom almost in a weave fashion.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...
Here is a shot of the border connected. Strips were cut along the bottom edge of the border and fed into the previously cut slits of the Coropast bottom creating the weave between the two pieces. All sections were then secured with Gorilla Glue tape.

First C&C build. Constructive criticism please...
Here is a poor picture of the final result. A twin size mattress cover was placed over the Coroplast bottom and a layer of black fleece over that. All edges were folded in and the entire cage was placed on top of the fiberboard/wire base.

It has been a couple of weeks since I completed the build. It takes me less than 30 minutes to tear down, clean, and replace the entire setup. That includes putting the dirty set of laundry in the wash. I purchased two sets of mattress covers and fleece so I can rotate and always have a clean pair.

There was a lot more details to this build that I didn't include simply due to the upload limitations of the forum. If anyone has any questions or suggestion please let me know!

Disregard the last two pictures, I could not delete them. They were of the previous design where the cage was inside the Coroplast base rather than outside.
 

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2011-11-09 21.35.50.jpg 2011-11-09 21.37.34.jpg
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I think it looks good. But may I ask why are you so intent on having a loft? Instead, maybe you could implement a bunkbed kind of idea at that end of the cage, because really you only have a 2x3 cage right now, when you could have a full 2x5 for them to utilize. The pigs can jump up easily about 4-6 inches to a platform.
 
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