I adopted my first guinea pig in 2016 and immediately fell in love with her sweet and spunky personality. My obsession began when I adopted my second Guinea pig two months later. I have not regretted it for one day. They are always there being cute and always happy to see me (I tell myself this, but I am sure they are always looking for food). I wanted to make their lives as fun and fulfilled as possible! They spend most of their lives in a cage, and since I am their owner, I should be providing them with everything they could ever need (and want) I started by thinking where I wanted them in my house and how to keep them safe from my cat. I went to Habitat for Humanity to find a tall table with ledges. First, try I saw it, and for only $10! I thought I would be waiting and shopping for weeks, but I got lucky.
If you cannot find an appropriate table, the floor is always fine (unless you have cats, dogs or small children that can harm the Guinea pigs). Stackable cubes for storage can also be used for caging and a table! Be sure it is stable! You can even make your table make it sturdy, and it is best if it has a lip on it (so poop doesn’t go flying out of it and the cage will fit MUCH better and won’t slide off the table). Next step was to gather the supplies to make the caging. The list is fluid so whatever works for you is okay. Be sure the cage is sturdy and extremely reinforced. Guinea pigs love running, jumping and pop-corning which causes lots of movement.
What you need:
- Zip ties and Large paper clips
- Wire cube caging (Amazon, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond)
- Foam mats for flooring
- Enrichment (Huts, fleece forests, Wood logs, tubes, soft beds, water bottle, food dish etc.)
Caging size is very important! Allow as much space as possible for your piggy friend to run and popcorn around. The more room they have, the more fun you will have to watch them (which increases their quality of life, and trust me, they will appreciate it!)
Take your time measuring and laying out the caging. Be accurate and safe with it. Since I used a table, I pre-made the grids and placed them on the table. Some did not fit on perfectly, so I overlapped them and used tons of zip ties. Once I had the first-floor outline done, I moved onto the second floor. I made the second floor and started adding the walls and roof. (Second floor is the roof on the first floor).
Once I had a general outline of what I wanted, I moved onto the ramp for them to run up. At first, I was going to use stairs, but I was nervous about my older guinea pig pulling something or taking a tumble.
I used a dollar store dish shelf to allow a smooth transition off of the ramp. They can jump on and off of the small jump (it is maybe 4 inches tall, and they can layer underneath it). I also made sure they were unable to jump off the sides of the ramps by using coroplast and extra caging.
Once the second floor and ramp were completed, I covered the grids with Coroplast (you can use a hard plastic) that I was able to zip tie to the caging to make sure it stayed in place while they ran on it. I also put a layer of Coroplast on the top floor to make sure their feet did not get stuck or fall through.
Be sure to use foam (puzzle pieces available at the dollar store) underneath your flooring of choice. It adds extra softness, and if they jump they have some form of cushion underneath and not a hard table. I put it directly on the table and have the caging over the top so the blankets cover it, and my guinea pigs cannot eat it! I also have a tablecloth over the foam to be sure no fluids can leak through the blanket and ruin the foaming in place. Once finished I made sure to make the cage as fun as possible by adding huts, hay sacks, clean water and food dishes (cleaned daily) and some fleece forests.
Since I use fleece for their flooring, I do spot cleans daily and every other day I change entirely out all bedding and carpet. Enriching your guinea pigs lives is extremely fun and enjoyable. Watching them run and squeal with excitement when you put new things in their cages is fantastic. Good luck and enjoy!
Written by Britney Ludwig ACA,CSR