We have experience of long-term (more than three years) use of two do-it-yourself shelves, so the article was written, as they say, in hot pursuit and on the basis of certain experience.
Read about our history with shelving at the end of the article, but for now – the steps to make a shelving for guinea pigs with your own hands.
Step 1: Rack size
So, the decision has been made: we will make a shelf for the marine. For a start, it would be nice to decide on the size.
As you know, guinea pigs are animals with a broad soul and freedom-loving, therefore, for a comfortable life, they need a lot of space. Ideally 0.7 square meters per capita.
But the ideal is the ideal, and reality does not always allow you to allocate so much free space in the room for your beloved pet. Just remember that with guinea pigs, the more the better.
- The most popular rack sizes are 80×60 cm, 100×50 cm, 120×60 cm, 120×80 cm.
- The most popular form is “bread box”
- The most popular modification is a two-story shelving unit with a ladder.
A large rack is also beneficial because it will be cleaned less often! Yes, don’t be surprised! If you need to clean up a small cage once every 3-4 days, then in a large rack – once a week, and even then it may happen that you can remove not all the filler, but only raw in the corners (where the pigs will indicate their place for the “toilet”).
If your shelving will be two-story, of course, you will need a ladder. Keep it shallow, as due to the structure of the spine, guinea pigs may have difficulty climbing to a height.
For one pig, a smaller rack will be enough, but for two or three it is better to choose a more spacious rack.
A spacious living space is a guarantee of health for your pig. These animals love to drive (if you let the pig run around the room, you probably already noticed this feature). In a cage of 30×40 cm, you can’t really run away, but in a two-storey rack there is a ladder to scamper around the floors, and there is a lot of space for various houses, tunnels and labyrinths.
Step 2: moisture protection
The most important problem that many inexperienced people somehow overlook is protection from moisture . I don’t know whether this is a feature of our pigs, or all of them, but pigs pee a lot. And the liquid finds cracks even through a thick layer of filler and subject to regular cleaning.
I will say right away that the ideal means for moisture protection of the rack frame has not yet been found. Everyone chooses what is optimal and affordable. Most often, do-it- yourself racks are trimmed from the inside with materials such as:
- plexiglass (acrylic glass)
- adhesive tape
But in my opinion, the pallet would be the best option . It is guaranteed to protect the rack frame from liquid and greatly facilitate and simplify the cleaning process.
Step 3: choosing the frame material
Most often, racks are made from:
- solid pine
You can read about the advantages and disadvantages of each of these materials in the article “Rack for Guinea Pig”
In a nutshell:
- solid pine – the most environmentally friendly and durable material, but more expensive;
- Chipboard – cheaper and more environmentally friendly;
- plywood is cheap and short-lived.
Plywood, laminated chipboard, and pine board can be bought at any major construction supermarket. All that is needed then is skillful man’s hands.
When making a rack, in addition to the material for the frame, you will need :
- jigsaw or hacksaw,
- screwdriver or screwdriver,
- screws, nails,
- glazing beads or slats,
- if you decide to trim the frame with plexiglass inside, then also a glass cutter.
And you can not bother with the purchase of material and delivery, and then with a saw, tape measure and dust, but buy a set for assembling the rack .
Ready-made parts made of natural wood, all the necessary fasteners included, and also two removable pallets for perfect moisture protection and easy cleaning.
After assembly, you will get an original lock made of natural wood. A great alternative to a cage!
Step 4: Filling the rack and settling in the pigs
So, the rack is ready!
If you decide to paint it, then the coating will need to be chosen especially carefully. Pay attention to:
- water-based paints (such paints are the safest) – water-based or water-dispersed,
- oil-wax is one of the most environmentally friendly wood products. Modern oils are odorless, easy to apply and dry quickly. They even paint children’s toys.
Tadam! The most exciting moment comes … The settling of the pigs.
Just before that, please do not forget to attach the drinking bowl to the wall of the rack, install the bowl and the sennik.
Your pigs will love the new house!
DIY guinea pig rack: personal experience
We went down the path of giving up the cage a few months after purchasing the gilts.
The seller in the pet store with honest eyes and very convincingly recommended us a Chinese cage 30×40 cm, crowning her tirade with a reinforced concrete “Yes, they have enough for their eyes, as if I tell you!” This despite the fact that we bought a pregnant mumps, and we only vaguely guessed about the number of future offspring.
Thank all the gods, our Matilda in a week was relieved of the burden by only one pig. Luck number of times. And luck number two – it was a female, that is, mother and daughter could quite comfortably coexist in the same cage. In general, we were fully confident that we were incredibly lucky. But for the time being.
When Peppy (where we named the newborn) grew up a little, the girls became clearly cramped in an already small cage. By that time, we had already begun to figure out what’s what, and the size of the cage of 0.7 square meters for one pig began to take on real features.
We did not know what a rack for a guinea pig is, but we didn’t even know that such a miracle structure can be bought or made to order. Dad is with golden hands, so once again he took pity on the guinea pigs pushing in the cage, like sprats in a jar, and sighing loudly, he retired to his workshop with a pensive look.
The next day, the children squealed with delight around the new pig house.
- Double decker!
- With ladders!
The pigs sniffed the new living space for a long time, not daring to go up to the second floor, and, it seems, did not believe their happiness! It’s like moving from a communal apartment to a penthouse.
After 15 minutes, the first turd signaled the recognition of the new home.
The life of the pigs is clearly filled with variety. They divided the floors: Matilda, as the oldest in age, at the same time appropriated the title of senior in the house and assigned her spoiled daughter to the second floor, securing a cozy bed on the first floor. When the mood “Run” rolled over, both of them drove up the ladders with a dashing whistle and hid in the houses. Even a writing corner now each had its own!
It seemed to us that the ultimate dream was it! But after some time, shortcomings began to appear. Read more about them in the video below.