How to Make a Guinea Pig Cage

Here are instructions and a list of materials you will need on how to make a guinea pig cage.

Guinea pigs are social animals and it would be best if you had at least two guinea pigs. The rule of thumb is to have 7.5 square feet for one guinea pig and 10.5 square feet for two. Ideally it would be best to have a bigger cage, the more space your guinea pig has to exercise the better.

The cages should be cleaned out about once a week and their food changed daily.

Materials

Cubes – approx 14 inch wire coated-wire grids. Come in boxes with multiple sheets in them and connectors
Coroplast – sheets of plastic corrugated iron, also called Corflute, Coroflute, Corex, Cadflute, Polionda
Scouring knife
Tape
Hay
Housing
Ramps – Plastic or wood
Food bowls

Assembling Cube and Coropast Cages

Cube and Coroplast is the modern way to make a guinea pig cage. You can purchase these items from any department store chain, ie KMart, Bed Bath and Beyond, they’re so easily available worldwide. Your local pet store will be able to point you in the right direction. You can also repurpose office storage cubes like the photo above.

Simply create a design, and join the sheets of wire together with the connectors supplied in the box. It’s up to you how big you make the cage, and how high you want it as well, they not only connect upwards but sideways as well. You can add more wire sheets end on end and create a bigger run. You can also add wooden or plastic ramps up to higher levels for more space to exercise.

Coroplast is plastic corrugated iron and it can be folded in shape to create the base which is easily cleaned out and hosed down. It comes in four foot by eight foot sheets and in two thicknesses, but it is suggested you only need the 4 ml thickness. The corners can be cut and scored and folded into a corner shape to create the box base. They can be taped into shape.

Hay does not have to be spread out all over the flooring.

Benefits of a Cube Cage Over A Hutch

A hutch is guinea pig cage that is more traditional. But who has the time and skills these days to build a wooden hutch? A cube cage can be set up inside or outside or even in a garage. It can be reassembled to another shape to suit your needs, adding more sides the more guinea pigs you obtain. It is less likely to sustain weather damage and your guinea pigs won’t be nibbling on the corners.

D.I.Y Cube Cages

If you aren’t able to locate one of these kitsets, or you want to make a cage yourself, here’s a few idea to do it yourself. You should be able to find wire mesh in a building supply outlet. You don’t want to buy the plastic wire mesh because the guinea pig will eat through it. You can buy plastic cable ties from a hardware supply store. Cut the wire to fit the shape of each side, and connect the corners with the cable ties. Ideally you should have your corrugated plastic box on the inside and that way the guinea pigs go no where near the sharp ends of the wire.

Things To Avoid

Wire flooring and ramps should be avoided as they are very hard on a guinea pigs feet.

Don’t use cedar shavings for bedding. There are numerous other types of pet-safe bedding such as hay and aspen shavings and newer paper bedding.

These are a few simple ideas on how to make a guinea pig cage. With most people’s busy lifestyle we don’t have time to spend hours making and cleaning out cages. A cage that can be hosed down and cleaned out quickly is great, that even your kids can do it.

Guinea Pig – Behavior

An important thing to know as a guinea pig owner, is the behavior of your piggy. This can help to tell you when he/she is not feeling well, when they are angry, or happy, or even lonely.

Piggies are attention seekers by nature. They can get very lonely very quickly, so they will make noise and hop around, sometimes just to get your attention.

Aggression

When a guinea is angry, you will often hear their teeth chattering. It is rare, but if they are directing it at you, they want you to stay away, so please respect his/her space. Piggies rarely chatter their teeth at humans and hardly ever bite, be aware that if they are very mad or upset, they may nip. Pay attention if you have two piggies in one cage, one may be chattering his teeth at the other, this can lead to a fight. It usually happens when two boars (male guineas), or two sows (female guineas), meet for the first time. They are just sorting out their hierarchy. The fur around their necks will raise to make them look larger. They will sway from side to side and slowly show their teeth. If you see your piggies doing this to each other, it is best to separate them before a fight breaks out, just watch your hands. Place a towel over their eyes to confuse them and separate them at that time.

Barbering

Barbering is when a guinea chews on another guinea’s fur. Some speculate it is a sign of dominance, but I think they are just being nice. Other piggies on the other end of the barbering may sit calmly as they are trimmed, others may become agitated and headbutt the other, or worse.

Begging for food

Piggies love to beg for tasty treats. As they grow in confidence, they will start wheeking when they suspect their veggies are on the way, sometimes they will even stand up on their hind legs, just like a puppy! They get very excited and look in your direction with eager eyes, hoping you have seen them.

Biting

Guinea Pigs rarely bite their owners. Most of the time they just nibble or nip as a way of communication, especially the young ones who are still learning. There are a few reasons why your piggy may bite. Make sure you are holding him/her properly, if you don’t the guinea may get worried you are going to drop them and nip at you as if to say “Hey, be careful!” If you have been holding your piggy for a while and they start to nibble on your clothes, this may be a way of communicating to you that they need to use the bathroom, so to speak. Try not to hold your piggy any longer than 10 – 15 minutes at a time. Remember, they can’t cross their legs and hold it like we can. Most piggies will try to avoid doing it on you but if you have a particularly comfortable one who doesn’t mind, keep a towel under them when you are holding them, to protect your clothes. Not all will nibble on your clothes, some may fidget, or moan at you, this means they would like to be put back in their cage.

Some Piggies bite by accident, when you are feeding them. They get excited and forget to distinguish between fingers and food. Also be careful after you have been handling food, wash your hands or they may mistake your finger as the treat. Biting may also be caused by a parasite like mites, if you are pettign a piggy with mites, it can cause great discomfort and they will do anything to stop the pain. They may try to nip the area to get some relief but if your hand is in the way, you may be nipped instead. For more information about mites, please read my health care article.

Biting of the cage bars

Some piggies are prone to biting the bars of their cage. Some will only do this when they want food, or they hear something makng them think food is on the way. They will start wheeking, but if the chef is taking too long thy will start biting the bars out of boredom and/or loneliness, even if you spend a lot of time with them. They do need a cage mate after a while, if you have owned a piggy for a while and are confident in caring for him/her, consider getting another so that they can keep each other company. They will also bite the bars if their cage is small and they do not get much roam-free time. The lack of exercise can stress them out. Please try to provide a larger cage, especially if you plan on getting another piggy, and let your guinea out for a run around the house once in a while. Piggies need their freedom.

Eating Poo

If you notice your piggy duck their head underneath and see they are munching on something, they are actually eating their own poo. It may sound gross to us, but it is very natural behavior for guineas. Rabbits will also eat their own poo. They are not the usual poo you see in the cage, this is softer and smaller. Piggies do this to re-ingest the ‘soft poo’ because their digestive system does not extract all the vitamins from the food right away.

Depressed

If you notice your piggy is hunched up in a corner, looking sad, or depressed, this may indicate an illness. Try to offer them their favorite food, if they show no interest at all, please take him/her to the vet right away. It is very important to do so because a piggy’s health can drop rapidly, it is important to catch things at the first sign.

Freezing

Piggies will often stand still for a short period of time if they are afraid or they have heard a sudden loud sound they are unfamiliar with. It is their way of making themselves invisible and letting others in the group know. Freezing is often accompanied by a small vibrating sound, this indicates they are afraid. This behavior may happen hen the phone rings or someone knocks at the door.

Licking

Like most pets, some guinea pigs love to lick you when you hold them. Think of them as guinea pig kisses. Not all piggies do it, about 3 of 6 piggies love to give out kisses. Some think it is because our skin is salty and they enjoy the taste, I am not all that convince and I believe it is more of an affectionate behavior.

The Mating Dance

Males and Females both participate in this dance. They will swing their hips back and forth and make a vibrating sound, known as motorboating. Do not be alarmed if your female piggy starts the mating dance with another female, she is probably just feeling hormonal.

Mounting

Usually this is seen as a sexual behavior, however, it can also be a sign of dominance towards another guinea. A dom male may do this to a submissive male, usually when they first meet, they are just sorting out who is the boss, or the king of the cage. A female may also mount another female if she is in season or if a neutered male is not paying attention to her. It is all very normal, so do not worry if you see same sex piggies mount each other. However, if males are doing it to each other, watch out for signs of aggression, you do not want a fight to break out.The actual act of mounting, only takes a few quick seconds, but after a rest, the mounting will commence again. Before the mounting commences, there can be quite a bit of a chase involved. The piggy that is being pursued, may sometimes complain and/or become annoyed. As long as you don’t see any aggressive behaviour, the commotion sounds much worse than it actually is. Having said that, being constantly chased can be exhausting and stressful, so if you have a spare cage, it might be a good idea to separate your guinea pigs, so they can have some peace for a little while.

How to Make Homemade Guinea Pig Toys

Guinea pigs are very social, playful animals. They require daily attention and care. It is necessary to provide them with a wide variety of toys for them to play with when they are lonely or bored. Here is a list of exciting homemade toys that your pet will love.

Socks– Everybody has at least a few pair-less socks that are lying around somewhere. Good toys to make with these socks are:

Sock pillows: Fill an old sock with hay and tie the end off. My guinea pig loves to drag these around.

Play-Socks: Find a holey sock and put it in your pets cage. He will likely run into it and stick his nose out of the holes.

Sock Stacks: Simply stack a huge pile of socks in your guinea pigs habitat. Watch they climb up and jump down. Geronimo!

Sock Hammock: Much like the popular ferret’s toy, this is just a little hanging bed. To make, cut open a sock so that it is in the shape of a square. Using a hole puncher, make four openings in the corners of the sock. Tie four separate pieces of string on the corners, then join them at the top by tying them together. Attach to the top of the cage so that the bed hangs two or three inches off of the ground.

Seed Sock: Tie up a sock as you would if you were making a sock pillow. But instead of filling it with hay, fill it with seeds. Tie the sock to the top of the habitat and cut a very small hole at the bottom of the sock (the hole should be slightly larger than the seeds inside the sock). Now your pig can pull seeds out of the sock if he gets desires a crunchy treat.

Tennis Sock: Put a tennis ball in a sock without holes and tie off. He will drag it around and even toss it. Replace the sock if it rips (unless you want the ball rolling around).

Boxes N’ Bags– Guinea pigs love these to hide and play in! Your guinea pig will love these.

Boxes: You can put a plain box in the cage, or a box with out a bottom. You can stack them to build a castle, or cut them up to make a fort. You can even tape them together to make multi-level houses! Guinea pigs love boxes, so be sure to give yours some to play in.

Paper Bags: My guinea pig absolutely LOVES paper bags, and will amuse himself for hours playing in such a simple toy. I think he just likes the way that it crinkles.

Towels– These are good as make-shift beds, forts (if you hang them up in the corners of the cage), blankets, and even separators, if you want to have a wall in-between parts of the cage.

Little things for guinea pigs to roll, toss, drag, sit on/in, and look at-

Crumpled up newspaper, cat toys with bells, tennis balls, little bowls/containers (like butter tubs or lunch meat containers), mirrors, small stuffed animals, plain wooden blocks (without sealants-just plain old dull blocks), bricks (stack them), toilet paper tubes, and tissues. Tissues are my guinea pigs favorite food group.

Have fun!