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Fleece New Cage, New Fleece

TinyPiggy

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Jun 20, 2022
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Hi
I currently own two Piggy Bedspreads liners for my Midwest cage. ( don't worry, I'm currently working with my dad to build a bigger cage), and our new cage is huge. It's kind of daunting to imagine having enough fleece liners to fill it, so I'm wondering if there are any brands ( on etsy, on amazon, on various sites) that are big, good quality, and not super expensive. The new cage is going to be a 3 x 5 C&C with a 2 x 3 loft. Another worry is the loft/ramp. I doubt that people make liners for lofts that are big enough for a 2 x 3. Should I just buy a 2 x 3 and use towels or something to line the ramp?
Thank you in advance.
 

CavySpirit

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Even if you could find liners that big, you wouldn't want them. Too big and unwieldy and they aren't evenly wet or dirty to justify washing the whole thing.

Patchwork things in overlapping segments. Contrary to GuineaDad's claims that their liners are good for burrowing, guinea pigs don't burrow. Yes, they hide, but they don't burrow. You really don't want to unnecessarily take up precious run-around room with unwieldy hideys and hard-to-clean pockets. Find whatever maker of liners you want to use and get enough to lay them down with some overlap. The front ones won't be anywhere near as dirty or wet as the back ones, especially the corners.

On our store, we don't recommend 3-grid-wide cages because, in the end, they are a pain to clean. I'm hard-core about keeping cages easy to clean. You can't physically reach across a 3-grid-wide cage, making cleaning impossible without getting inside it (assuming standard 14" grids). Also, you can't reach across a 3-grid-wide cage to get your guinea pigs out. Human arms just aren't long enough, so you have to consider special access to the back and corners.

If you're good with the wide cage build and have that addressed, then I would focus on what you think you need for easy cleaning. There are multiple ways to do overlapped liners. You can pretty much get creative with it.

For the loft, it just depends on how you are doing the build of it and the ramp and base. If you want to post a diagram, sketch, pic, or whatever, I can tell you exactly what you'll need. I do this every day for customers. Happy to point you in the right direction for your final build. :)
 

TinyPiggy

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Here's the current stage of the new cage. We haven't made the ramp itself yet, and are kind of debating on how long to make the ramp, since the size is kind of awkward. ( One grid isn't long enough to use as a ramp). Thank you in advance.
 

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CavySpirit

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Oh, those are non-standard grids. I can guess, but what are the dimensions of those grids? I assume that's the 11.8" version? If so, those inner grid holes are too big to be safe for guinea pigs -- almost 1.7" vs less than 1.5". That's not a 5-grid-long C&C cage the way most people refer to it. If you shop anywhere and assume that 3x5 is what you have, you're going to end up with products that are too big for your cage. You're going to need to be careful about dimensions. Not much else is going to be perfectly compatible.

Generally, the cage as you've assembled it is probably closer to a 2x4 grid length (60" outer length) and a little wider than the normal 2-grid-wide cage. Did you run out of connectors? It's better to use them on the top and bottom for structural integrity if you have them.

Measure the inner length and width dimensions -- the very inner dimensions -- edge to edge. Measure both the base and the loft. Then we'll be able to see how close you are to one of the standard sizes.
 

TinyPiggy

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Hi
It's 61 by 36 inches. I have two boars, how big should the cage be?
Thank you
 

CavySpirit

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The cage size is quite fine for 2 boars, especially with the upper level, with the caveat that bigger is always better. If you cut your coro's length to 56" with 6" walls, it will match the standard C&C 4-grid cage length. Normal cage size width -- internally -- is 27", so your 2.5 grid width will be non-standard for other cage products that cater to standard sizes. Something to keep in mind.
 

TinyPiggy

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Hi
I'm wondering-we have a few extra grids, would it be beneficial to make the cage wider? I would like to have a 2 x 5, and we have the space...with the size of grids, how many more would I need to make the cage equal to or possibly more than a 2 x 5?
Thank you so much in advance!
 

CavySpirit

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Honestly, I would just spend a few bucks now and get the right stuff if you can. You will always have issues with compatibility with those grids which are really too small in size with grid holes that are too big (unsafe: strangulation risk). You won't be able to upgrade to any other cage extensions or additions because you'll have a non-standard solution.

That said, just add another of your grids to your 2x5 to make it a 2x6 and you will approximate (but probably not be exactly equal) to a standard 2x5 in length. Width is a different story. You'd have to overlap a couple of grids of width to reduce it to a standard 2x5 size -- doable with zip ties.

Again, keep in mind that wider than a standard 14" 2-grid wide cage is virtually physically impossible to clean properly without stepping inside a dirty cage. May seem like a cool idea now, but it won't when you are in a hurry to clean the cage for the 200th time.

Try it right now, before you get further. Pretend you have to get on your knees and clean that back corner (spray and wipe down the walls (with some muscle for dried on poops) with a bottle of half white vinegar, half water -- recommended method) underneath your loft. It WILL be the dirtiest, grossest part of the cage. It will be where your pigs will run when you try to pick them up -- where you can barely reach. Now multiply that effort by a LOT of DAYS and months and years. :)

The secret to a happy life with guinea pigs is making the cage as easy to clean as possible.

Just trying to save you from going down a path that seems like a good idea now. There are many very good reasons why we recommend the cage designs that we do. Yes, you can build just about anything. But making it work for the long haul with guinea pigs such that everyone is as happy as possible has already been thoroughly tested over decades. If there were a better solution, that's what we'd be promoting.

That said, you have to do what you have to do with what you have or can obtain. Just know what you are getting into. I share these considerations for you to weigh with your circumstances. And again, if your design works for you, then go for it, as it is big enough for two males.
 

TinyPiggy

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Hi
Thank you so much for your detailed replies. Do you have any brands you can recommend for me to purchase new grids? And what should I look out for so I don't buy unsuitable grids again? And what are so bad about the grids that I purchased? ( Not that I'm doubting your experience and wisdom, I do not doubt you at all) I'm just curious, and I just like to learn from my mistakes, especially when those mistakes have to do with my piggies.
 

TinyPiggy

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And also-back onto the topic of fleece-there are so many different brands and types of fleece that I'm kind of getting confused. I was browsing through a bunch of websites and I don't know what kind of fleece to get. Since the cage may be changed around in size and design, I just need a brand, not a specific product. I'm also considering the DIY route, since I have basic sewing skills, but am also confused on the huge amount of information on the internet ( do I need to have a waterproof layer? Should i just do a blanket of fleece with towels under?), so I will be grateful for any advice. Sorry if this kind of hijacks this thread but...I thought maybe it was better than creating a new thread.
 

bpatters

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You DO need an absorbent layer with fleece,. Many things will work -- mattress pads, towels, U-Haul pads, etc. Fleece itself just wicks the urine through to the absorbent layer, and keeps the pig's feet dryer than they would be otherwise.

You DO also need something waterproof under it, but that is usually the cage bottom. There's no need to put a waterproof layer under the absorbent layer if the absorbent layer is on the coroplast/flooring/shower curtain/whatever that is on the bottom of the cage.

If you look through the fleece threads (please do -- there's lots of info there), you'll find recommendations about what kinds of fleece work best. Avoid polar fleece, for sure -- it's impossible to get it to wick properly.

I had very good luck with thin fleece blankets over wood pellets. But the pellets are VERY absorbent, and soaked up urine very quickly.

Another suggestion is to use loose fleece pieces until you get your cage exactly like you want it, and even after it it's convenient. Big fleece pads are hard to wash and dry, while plain fleece dries very quickly.

And I hate to disagree with @CavySpirit, but I have known pigs that burrowed under the fleece. Most aren't, and those that are may be trying to hide, but they're definitely under the fleece. You may not have a burrower, and that's a good thing. If you do, you can put pieces of loose fleece in the cage for them to get under. Or clip the fleece to the sides of the coroplast. Or weight it down with clean bricks or stones.
 

TinyPiggy

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Hi
Sorry for all these questions-but if I don't make a waterproof layer that is not the coroplast itself, will the coroplast be stained from the pee? The coroplast is going to be white, and I don't love the idea of staining it. And also, will it be dangerous for my guinea pigs if I keep using the grids I have now?
Thanks
 

bpatters

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No, Coroplast doesn't stain. But even if it did, it's going to be underneath the bedding and therefore not visible to anyone except you when you change the bedding.

Your pigs could be injured using those grids. You can buy some others and overlap them so that the holes are smaller, or just buy better ones that have the holes closer together. You could use the ones you have to build a stand for the cage.
 
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