Monday, September 23, 2013

Practical Life: Building a Guinea Pig Cage

My son LOVES Guinea Pigs! He found this love at age two. I'm not sure where it all started, honestly. His first pet Guinea Pig was a stuffed one from IKEA. Over the years he collected more of these stuffed friends because we refused to buy him a live one. We already had a dog and cats and we really didn't feel as if he were responsible enough to care for his own pet at any age prior to now. He really has entered his second plane of development and we have seen a huge difference in him since his 7th birthday early this summer.

He is quite excited that we decided to allow him to get Guinea Pigs. Part of the decision was from his willingness to do research on them. He found out exactly how to care for them, where they come from, what they eat, how long they live, the best type of cages for them, and the best way to obtain a Guinea Pig.

Our Wildlife Treasury Card for Guinea Pig.

Lots of info on this card

What he learned was very helpful in planning for our Guinea Pigs. I say Guinea Pigs, because he found out that they are much happier if they have a companion to live with. He learned that they come from South America and their proper name is Cavy. As pets they will eat timothy hay, pellets, water and fresh fruits and veggies. He learned that they live for about 5-7 years and are not easy starter pets. He found that the best way to obtain a Guinea Pig is not the local pet store. There are lots of Guinea Pigs that have no homes and are living in shelters and rescues all over the country. We did a quick online search and found a rescue in our area. We lucked out and found them right after they had several of litters of new babies from rescued mama Guinea Pigs. Not only are we helping Guinea Pigs who have no homes, we are lucky enough to get a couple of new babies too. We've had to wait until they are 3 weeks old before they can leave their mama so we had time to build the cage and collecting the supplies.

About the cage we found out that they need a lot of space so we chose to do what is called a C&C cage. It is called that because its made from cubes and coroplast. The cubes are wire mesh cubby shelves (we got ours at Target) and the coroplast is a plastic version of corrugated cardboard. My son had to determine how big he wanted to make his cage according to the space in his room. He had to assemble the cubes into a large rectangle. They attach with plastic pieces that you can push on or use a hammer if its too difficult. He had to use the hammer on some and others were easy enough to just use his hands.

He then had to measure the cage and add length and width to makes the sides of the box to be made from the coroplast. We ordered the coroplast from a local sign shop. My son and I went alone in my husband's pick up truck to pick up the coroplast (which was 8x4 feet). I got a lesson from my 7yr old on how to tie down a large sheet of plastic on the back of a pick up truck so it wouldn't fly out. I thought it was pretty cute but I went along with it because he was so sure of what he was doing so I just followed his directions and it worked fine.

If you would like more info on making a cage like we made please check out the page

After he constructed the outer part of the cage he placed some of his precious stuffed Guinea Pigs in it to see how it would look with Guinea Pigs inside.

We had to wait a few days for the coroplast to come in stock at our local sign shop. He chose yellow for the coroplast which I think really looks nice. Here is the cage completed.

We decided to use fleece and towels for the bedding. We've always been very interested in conservation and reducing our carbon footprint. We can use these over and over rather than throwing away a large cage full of wood/paper bedding each week. It is a similar concept to cloth diapers (which we also use) so it was a pretty natural choice for us. This picture also has cardbord boxes lining the cage which is baby proofing since our Guinea Pigs are still tiny. These will be removed after about 3-6 months depending on how fast they grow.

My son made the box hidey and the cardboard hay tray. The lady from the rescue gave us the small fleece blanket and fleece bag (

Introducing our new babies: Edison is the one with the brown face on the left, Franklin has the white stripe down his nose and is on the right.

 A close up of Franklin

He loves his babies! 
(yes he has a new hairdo, it was cut during the time between making the cage and getting the piggies)


  1. Oh my goodness, it is like I am reading about myself! I did just this research a couple of mons ago, wondering what kind of animal we were going to add to our Montessori experience! That cage was exactly what we were thinking of too! I think we've settled on cats with heavy lobbying from my daughter S, but I had to smile reading all this!
    Btw, LOVE T's hair style!

  2. Thanks! We had fun making the cage and its held up great for the last few months. Our piggies are getting big too!
    We also have cats, they are old, we've had them since before the kids. While I love our cats, I will never get cats again. They are just a lot more work than most people expect. I do hope you enjoy your cats if you decide to go that route. They are sweet creatures.