As an early Christmas gift, we adopted two female guinea pigs from our friend Sheri. We had talked about the possibility for a while, and Kaitrinn and Shealyn were beside themselves with excitement when we made the decision to go for it.
From top to bottom: Shealyn, Angel, and Oreo.
The piggies were small when we first got them, so they fit well in the pet store cage that Sheri passed along with them.
Their original cage.
However, they seemed to be getting bigger by the day. It became clear that we’d need a new cage, so we did some research. It seems that guinea pigs need plenty of room to run around and get exercise. After looking at expensive store cages (which were STILL too small!) we decided on what’s called a C&C (cubes and coroplast) cage. The “cubes” part is modular storage cubes, and coroplast is the stuff that political signs are commonly made of. With some tape and zip-ties you can use these inexpensive materials to make the perfect cage for guinea pigs.
Once we had our materials, we went to work on building the cage.
The girls help with the new cage in progress.
It was pretty amazing how quickly the whole thing came together after a little planning. We soon had the “cubes” part all put together. You can also see where we attached inexpensive closet shelving as doors on top to cat-proof it.
The old cage and the new one. BIG difference!
After we made boxes out of the coroplast (the yellow stuff) and added some other touches, the new cage was finished!
The new cage – all finished.
The new cage. Another view.
Kaycee sewed together an old fleece blanket (washed multiple times so it wicks away liquids) and a couple of old towels for the bottom exercise area. Oreo and Angel run full-tilt laps around that part of the cage. It’s fun to watch them!
Detail showing the ramp on the bottom floor.
I attached a length of cheap vinyl gutter as a ramp, and Kaycee hot-glued some vinyl shelf paper to it to give the pigs some traction.
The top floor "kitchen" area.
Oreo getting a drink.
The top floor is a “kitchen area” with bedding, food, and water. Guinea pigs use the bathroom in their “kitchen”, so they go upstairs when they need to go.
Angel and Oreo are incredibly happy with their new digs. They’re still toddlers and will probably want more space as they grow up, but the great thing about this type of cage is that we can change or add to it whenever we need to!
Here are some things we’ve learned about guinea pigs since getting them:
They’re social animals, and enjoy being held.
They’re extremely gentle, and trainable (if they want to be trained).
While sudden noises/movements might make them run and hide, they tolerate (and even seem to prefer) a busy environment.
They don’t like to pee/poop on you. They’ll let you know vocally and by nibbling on you if they need to be put in their cage to go to the bathroom.
They need lots of room to RUN.
They can only jump a couple of inches.
They call for each other if they’re separated for too long. Then they celebrate when they find each other again.
They ‘popcorn’ to show they’re happy. If they’re really happy, they jump up and down just like a couple of little bucking broncos.
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