Need some Cage/Pen Advice

rjespicer

Post   » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:49 pm


I was looking for a bit of advice on cages/pens for our 3 female guinea pigs

Our Current set up is on the floor and about 4 x 6 to 6.5 feet with a tarpaulin as the base to stop the pee seeping through and a number of the Kaytee Hamster Fences around the edge. It isn't a full 4 x 6 though as we have a 2 x 4 Midwest Habitat in one corner but we haven't used it much recently as we were trying to get them out socializing and eating more and have kept it closed for a while so the available space is more of 2 x 6 area with about a 2 x 2.5 L area at one end. As bedding we have two 2 x 3 Guineadads plus a 2 x 2 for the L area.

The main problem is that the Guineadads dont cover all of the tarp so we end up with pee puddles that have to be mopped up and cleaned on a regular basis. Also with no side to the tarp pee and poop has a tendency to find its way out of the pen.

I had seen a lot of talk about C&C cages and found a website selling various kits but then discovered another site (guieanpigcages.com linked to from one of the GuineaLynx pages) that you could also make them yourself. I think the site selling the cage kits may be related to the one that has instructions on how to make them yourself as they have similar website names but cant be sure.

Anyway I was thinking of getting a 2 X 6 with a 2 x 2 loft (Probably the Roomie Zoomie one as one of our girls is quite big) which I think should work for 3 piggies but is a little smaller than what they have now (if you ignore the loft). It means we can use the Guineadads we have as well.

I have a few questions that I am hoping that some of you may have answers and experience you can share.

1. Do you know if the Cagetopia site is linked to Guineapigcages? It is basically the same address as Guineapigcaes but with store added at the end but they may just be playing off of their popularity i dont know. *Edit * never mind just checked and it is the same people.
2. Are there any issues with getting the kits (other than cost I am guessing) as I dont have much free time or space to try and cut and shape the Coroplast myself to make a good fit.
3. Are lofts a good idea?
4. If we were to widen the cage at a later date do we need a divider between the two 2 x 6 sections and if so is it OK to trim the Coropast where the doors would be or does that leave gaps for the pee to seep through.
5. As an alternative to a full extension I was thinking of adding a 1 x 2 section halfway down one side for the food bowls. Would that work? Does the food area need to be covered.
6. Are their Fleece liners any good as we would probably need to get one cut to fit the loft?
7. Does anyone have any suggestions for good hay managers? We were using an Ikea Bag holder but found they eat more if we just put big piles in but that limits their floor space.
8, Any other accessories we should consider putting in (we have a few hideys, one plastic, one woven grass and one Cardboard) they also have the pockets on the Guineadads that they like hiding in.
9. How would we be able to open it up easily to let them out (and back in) for floor time?

Just looking to make their home as safe, hygienic, easy to clean and as fun for them as possible

Any help and advice greatly appreciated

Thanks!

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:22 pm


Guinea Pig Cages Store is owned by Teresa Murphy, who also owns the Guinea Pig Cages site and several others. The products and well made, and the service is good. You can assemble the materials and make the cages yourself, or buy the kits from GPC Store.

Their fleece liners are fine, but the reviews on the fleece flippers are decidedly mixed.

Lofts are a personal preference. Some people love them, some don't. The pigs are indifferent.

The cages are infinitely remodelable -- all you do is just reconfigure the grids in whatever shape you want and zip-tie them together. You can put two of any size together and just take out the center dividing wall. You will need coroplast or some other waterproof liner at the bottom.

You can leave one outside grid open like a door, and just clip it closed with a carabiner when they're in the cage.

But you can also piece coroplast together. Just tape it well from the underside with some kind of tape that can withstand moisture.

Hideys are up to you. Just don't clutter the floor of the cage with them, and make sure they've all got at least two doors. You can cut way down on the cage furniture by hanging fleece forests in the cage.

I prefer hay in a big pile. I think you get fewer hay pokes in the face that way.

The food area does not need to be covered. I just put the plate down wherever there's room. My pigs have always moonlighted as furniture movers, so nothing is ever where it was when I left it.

rjespicer

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:48 pm


Thanks for the info bpatters, it looks like it may be just what we need to try and make things easier on the housekeeping side of things. I know what you mean, a couple of our girls also seem to moonlight in furniture moving as well.

Here is a pic of our 3 girls (If I got the image hosting sorted). It also shows some of the issues we face with the current pen set up in terms of keeping it clean.

We believe one of the girls is an American (Chunkita, on the right), one an Abyssinian (Siouxsie/Suzi, on the left) and we think the other one (Nala, middle) may be a Ridgeback

Image
https://imgur.com/kk1B83C

rjespicer

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:05 pm


And a couple more pictures

Image

Image

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:36 pm


Cute piggies!

Boy, they really like that wheat grass, don't they?

rjespicer

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:08 pm


They go through it like lawn mowers and then pull up the shoots.

We are constantly clearing out our local supermarket of it when ever they have it in stock.

We have started calling it Wheekgrass because as soon as they spot it they start Wheeking big time.

We just have to keep an eye on it as some of it tends to develop a white fluff on top of the planting medium and we dont want them getting their noses in to that so we usually pull it out once they are down to shoot level. When we can get it they go through a couple of pots a day.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:20 pm


They are adorable! Sounds like you treat them right ;-)

rjespicer

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:02 pm


Thank you. We are trying to but there is so much to learn and pay attention to. This site has been pretty much our "GoTo" source of info since we got them in March, especially after we lost Mu Mu. I dont think my wife had any idea what she was getting us in to when she got them and how much work they would be.

They certainly are a handfull and each have their own little personality

Siouxsie is a bit changeable, an intrepid explorer into everything and popping and twisting and running around like crazy one minute then staring off in to space or shy and reclusive the next, my nickname for her, after 4 weeks of having to medicate all 3 of them single handed for different issues while the wife and daughter were away, is "Boopy". As when ever I am doing anything in the pen she comes along and "boops" me with her nose. She always bites me when I pick her up to weigh although usually not too hard although she has drawn blood on a couple of occasions. She has a bit of a head tilt as well, more so if she is stressed, after an ear infection so is a little "wonky"

Nala is super energetic as well an wants whatever I am giving to the others and will barge in to get it. She can be skittish and gives me a run for my money when it comes to picking her up for weighing, she will chatter at me and when I get hold of her she will squeak a bit but then settles down.

Chunkita (or Chunky as call her as she is over 1KG) is the boss girl, she will hurtle around at full tilt on occasion especially during floor time but is a big lass so only does it when she feels like it, the rest of teh time she trots or ambles but will go through everything in her patch (bowls, hideys, her sisters) liek a steam roller. She has a bit of difficulty grooming as she cant reach her butt fully so i have had to sneak up behind her to remove the odd "Klingon" every now and then which usually results in a squeak and a jump but she settles down after that. She absolutely does not want to be picked up and being so big it is tricky trying to corner her so I usually have to use a tunnel or other ruse to catch her. Once I have her she calms down but really doesn't like being handled and will struggle at every opportunity (The vet had to call for help once telling her tech "I have a suicidal piggie on my hands when she was in for a check up) . Every time she hears the fridge door or the rustle of a bag she goes in to full wheek mode and is always watching me when I come out of the kitchen in case i have something for her. Nala is getting the same.

All three were from different stores at different times so no blood ties but they get on well enough.

We love them to pieces but they are a lot of work so I am hoping a better cage/pen arrangement will help reduce some of that.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:00 pm


Some people have cats that love to watch "guinea pig TV" :-)

Check over this page. It might help you avoid getting bitten (gentle or hard).
www.guinealynx.info/handling.html

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RavenShade
Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:08 pm


They are actually similar colors to my trio.

I have a C&C and I use UHaul fleece furniture blankets (the gray ones - and get UHaul, I bought some others off Amazon and could not use them), with fleece over top. Fold-able to any cage configuration. My old cage housed more pigs and was an L shape.

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GrannyJu1
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:14 am


When Scatter (my second neutered boar) died, we combined the two cages into an "L" shape. Not a perfect fit since they were on tables, but it worked. We cut the coroplast so one piece laid down between the two cages and I covered it with a small fleece 'rag'. They didn't use the second cage much so I made it the feeding cage. this made it easy to clean up loose food scraps. (I gave up on using bowls because food ended up on the floor anyway and dumping poop and pee from the bowls was kind of gross.) Both sections had hay piles and water bottles. They liked being able to have a "private" hay pile. I put hideys in both sides. By that time, I only had 2 pigs and was actively looking for at least one more. No rescues around here and no one had any pigs for me to take from a private home, so I finally broke down and got unrelated babies from a pet store, inadvertently introducing my pigs to fungal infections. The last neutered boar didn't live long enough to be bothered, but I did spend a couple of months medicating the remaining 3.

When I got my kittens I had to block the end again since I couldn't make a lid to fit, and the kittens definitely made a lid a necessity! I now use the second cage for storage and kittens.

rjespicer

Post   » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:05 pm


We have GuineaDads that are similar to the U-Haul blankets but with a quilted fleece topping and a waterproof backing plus a fleece pocket for them to burrow in to at one end. They seem to work quite well as long as they pee and poop on them and not the bare areas of tarp. You do have to do a poop sweep a few times a day and they say to wash them once a week but we have been doing that twice a week.

As well as the loft I was thinking of adding a small 1 x 2 T half way down for a food area to try and encourage them to pee and poop there as well but on the GuineDad so it is easier to clean.

Going to try and get it ordered soon and will post pics once I get it set up. Looking forward to not having to deal with pee puddles!

Thanks for all the info and advice

rjespicer

Post   » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:12 pm


Lynx - Thanks I read the instructions and that is pretty much what I do, although I will try the technique mentioned when returning them to the pen and wait for them to stop resisting. I will also focus more on making sure the front leg is restrained.

Siouxsie doesn't bite when I am trying to pick her up, in fact she resists the least when I try to pick her up, but when she is safely settled on my lap. I think it is her way of saying "Put me back where the food is!". She has a bit of a head tilt which gets worse when I pick her up (The vet said this is a common thing related to stress) and can be a little unsettling but once she is back in the pen she is fine and trots of to eat.

JX4

Post   » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:05 pm


We are not DIY's at all, so getting our cage online from the guinea pig cages site is what we did. We made a bigger than normal cage, and they worked with us on how to do that. We have lofts, which we love because we can keep the hay piles pretty much confined to the lofts which helps when it comes to cleaning. We put the lofts half way up the grids rather than at full grid height, so they double as large hideys underneath.

We have tried both the fleece liners and the fleece flippers. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The liners are good in that there are no cracks for poos and pee to fall between, but pigs can root their noses under them along the edges and get underneath them if you have a smaller cage. For larger cages, they can be a bit unwieldy to move around and wash (we have one that is for a 2 x 5 grid cage). Also, if you have a smaller liner, vacuuming it can be a pain as the vacuum can suck the liner up off the cage bottom, especially around the sides.

Now that our cage is 2 x 8 we use fleece flippers. The poos fall between the cracks, but by and large they are what we prefer. We can vacuum poos off of the fleece flippers with no problem -- no lifting up even along the edges that happened with the liner. You can also flip the panels that get used more often (like the ones underneath the lofts) between cage cleanings.

We toss the U-haul liners in their own load in the washing machine (since we have 8 panels there are plenty enough for their own load) and the fleeces and ramp liners in a second load. We have two sets of fleece flippers that we rotate between, since two washing/drying cycles is a long time for the pigs to be without a cage and we can't always supervise floor time with them for that long.

We tried paper bedding in the lofts for a while, but it was too darn expensive. We are back with liners in the lofts that we switch out more often than weekly cage cleanings since they pee and poop far more while they sit in the lofts munching on hay. We have collected fleece liners for the lofts over the years and have a stack of them that we go through as needed and we also use them for lap pads when watching TV with our piggies.

The liners and fleece flippers are expensive as an upfront cost, but after you have them, they last a long time and save in the long run over paper bedding.

rjespicer

Post   » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:34 pm


Thanks for the Info

We have 2 sets of two 2x3 Guineadad fleeces that we switch between so we can put a new set in when we clean the other set. However they don't currently cover the whole area so we use odd fleeces (without the same absorbency) or a couple of smaller GuineaDads, that we initially got for other purposes, to fill in the gaps with variable success.

I tried vacuuming the Guineadads (with a hand held car vac) but the noise scared the girls so I generally use a dustpan and brush or just pick them up, folded in half, and empty the poo and any other debris into the rubbish and then give them a good shake outside to get rid of any other bits. It doesn't take long and they tend to stick to the other half of the pen when I take them out one at a time.

We would need to get a couple of loft liners so they were cut to fit but will take a look at the flippers too but after having invested a reasonable amount in the GuineaDads over the last few months we would need to be convinced that they provided a significant improvement.

We are almost settled on a 2x6 with a Roomie Zoomie Wide loft for now . Just debating colors for now but I think we will go for a neutral color like cream as that kind of matches the decor (for now) but also would allow us to spot any white patches or bits that needed cleaning . It would give them slightly less space in teh main area but with the loft area it would be about the same, assuming they use it. We decided on the Roomie Zoomie loft as the openings are a little bigger (Chunkita is a big girl ;) ) and two ramps would avoid traffic jams or collisions.

Thanks again for the advice

rjespicer

Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:11 pm


Cage is ordered and on the way. Hopefully it will get here in time for the weekend

rjespicer

Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:33 pm


New cage all set up this weekend

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you ........New Guineaopolis!
Image
Image

They haven't worked out how to get to the loft yet although we did pop them up there briefly so they could see what was up there
Image

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:42 pm


Great cage!

It's easier to teach them to go down than to go up, I think. Put them at the top of the ramp and put some yummy treats down the ramps. They'll get the idea pretty quickly. Then you can go in the other direction.

rjespicer

Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:39 pm


OK thanks will give that a try.

Slightly less space on the lower level than they had before so we took out some hideys but they seemed to love the fleece forests so hopefully that should encourage them to explore the loft.

Had to modify it slightly so we can let them out for floor time too but fortunately it came with some offcuts of Coroplast that we could use for that along with the french door kit I ordered.

Will see how it goes but may expand the lower level at some point so give them a bit more space and if they get the hang of the loft might put a narrow one in at the other end.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:44 pm


Oh, that is super! I love it!

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