After getting another pair of Guinea Pigs, and quite a lot of persuasion, we decided to turn our old Playhouse into a Guinea Pig shed. The Playhouse has been sitting halfway down my garden for as long as I can remember, but in recent years, it has just been packed full of junk.
The first step was to empty it out, which meant that we had to have a car boot sale, with the profit going to buying materials to make the runs. Then, we had to clean it all out, and I decided to keep the upstairs part to use as storage. The large plastic storage boxes were from Home Bargains and are used to keep the hay and wood shavings in, and everything else up there is just a selection of boxes and trays to keep the rest of my Guinea Pig supplies in.
We took out the old broken Perspex from the windows, and replaced the top ones with new Perspex from B&Q. To improve the ventilation, we put mesh the windows in the bottom, and have since built some sliding windows. These are two Perspex sheets on a rail to keep the rain, wind and cold out.
To make the runs, we bought the wood and mesh from B&Q, and secured it all together using a little wood glue and screws. We built them to fit the size of the playhouse, as I wanted my two separate pairs of Piggies to live alongside each other, but not together. To make one run, we cut 4 x widths (80cm), 4 x lengths (120cm), and 10 x heights (33cm), making the overall dimensions of one run 123.5cm x 80cm x 39.5cm. We used an electric Mitre Saw to speed up the cutting process, as we had to made a lot of cuts, however if you have the time (and patience!) to use a hand saw, then it will also work just as well. To help us visualise how each piece would fit together, we built it by making each side as a panel, attaching the mesh using U pins, and finally screwing them together. We made sure that the side of each panel that had the U pins and edges of the mesh was facing out of the cage, to make sure that there were no sharp bits for the Piggies to hurt themselves on. To make the frame sturdier, we cut an old piece of wood that we found in the garage into a triangle shape, to make a support, and an overall stronger frame. This resulted in a strong, but extremely lightweight run, which I can easily carry out of the playhouse when I am cleaning it.
The chair was already in the playhouse when it was used as storage, so I decided to keep it to sit on while I play with and watch them. Since there isn't an electricity supply in there yet (we hope to connect it in the new year), we bought some battery powered lights that are tied to a nail on the ceiling, and shine brightly when you pull them.
Since the floor is wooden, we were going to buy some lino, to protect the floor, however it is quite expensive. In the end, we went to Dunelm, and bought a grass patterned table cloth, for just £6, which is much cheaper then lino would have been. I think that this is better, as although it will need replacing more often, it is a lot cheaper.
- If you are making this run for a rabbit, you should increase the height to at least 60cm (2 feet), and you could add some doors to help you interact with your rabbit. This is because rabbits are far more agile than Guinea Pigs, and can jump much higher and further.
You need to make sure that there is enough ventilation, without it being to cold. This is because the runs will start to smell very quickly, and will become damp and possibly start to mould. It could also affect you pets health, as the bacteria could spread to their food.
Overall, I think that making these two runs was much better than buying commercial cages, as it was a lot cheaper, and we were able to build it to the specific measurements of our space.