A while back my oldest son wanted a pet and we decided that he was ready for the responsibility (or at least learn about the responsibility) of keeping his very own living, breathing entity.
I now flash back to age 3, and his first pet. A goldfish. Guess. It’s name was Dorothy. She was found…uhhh…“sleeping with the fishes” after his bowl became all too crowded with those wooden letter blocks that mysteriously appeared one morning.
“Dorothy’s not swimming”
So this time my requirement was that it was something small, and not a fish…or a cat.
I’m allergic. To. Cats.
So, something difficult to kill. Either by nature it’s a quick animal as to escape the grasp of relentless handling by an eight-year-old, or its appearance is somewhat threatening discouraging adolescent hands from touching all together.
“Dad! Dad! I gotta GUINEA PIG!”
I hadn’t even formed a mental list for consideration and Star and the kids come home from the pet store with Bob. Bob the guinea pig.
Uhhhhhhhhhhh. I name stuff all the time at work, and naming a guinea pig woulda been fun.
Well, I should cut to the chase.
A guinea pig needs like 7.5 square feet of living space. At a minimum. So most of the cages they sell at the pet store are akin to you living in your car…all the time.
Know how much space TWO pigs need? I do. Cause they came home with another one.
Football. Then the name randomly changed to fuzzball.
I liked “Football” better.
Two of them need 10.5 square feet to run and jump and eat and squeak and do their business. At a minimum.
So I built a cage after looking around online. So this isn’t an original idea, but it worked really good.
And Forrest calls it…
Guinea Pig Acres.
- Some of those metal/plastic grid cube things that, in my mind, teens and college kids use to store stuff
- A sheet of corrugated plastic (coroplast)
- A few wire ties, plastic like electricians/car audio people use to bundle wires
I won’t step-by-step this one. Look at the pics, search the web, you’ll find stuff.
Here’s some tips though. In the event you are building your very own guinea pig palace.
I used an Ikea Expedit bookshelf on its side as a base and to provide some storage for food and such. I extended the depth by adding a 1”x2” ledger on the wall and attaching a sheet of Masonite.
I assembled the cage sides first using the supplied round compression fitting things. And some wire ties when the round compression fitting things didn’t work so well.
The “tray” is formed from coroplast, the stuff all those signs on the side of the road offering to buy ugly homes or websites for $299 are made from. Call a signshop for this stuff. I got a sheet for $20. It was a full 4’x8’ sheet.
I scored the underside of the coroplast with an x-acto knife to form walls about 5-6” high. I used plastic rivets to hold the corners together (the kind used on automotive bumpers, fenders and stuff).
We got all crafty and created a mezzanine level for the pigs to lounge on.
Well, both Bob and Fuzzball are loving it. And they lounge. Like all stretched out, like a dog lays. Weird.