My daughter recently rescued a Guinea Pig which had been left inside its hutch in a shed. I decided to let it have some freedom by building it a large run.
This Instructable shows the steps to make a simple, cheap sectional run for a Guinea Pig or Rabbit.
The whole project cost me only £15. The nearest thing I can find to this run retails at about £60!
The materials you will need are:
6 Lengths of 2"x1" smoothish sawn timber in 1.8M lengths.
32 2.5" Countersunk wood screws.
3M x 60cm Wire Netting (Square holes, see photos).
16 Self tapping "eyes" with a 10mm or so hole. (see photos)
4 Coach bolts with nuts (4 inch or so).
Staple gun with U tacks or a hammer and a bag of U nails for attaching the netting.
Drill with 1.5mm wood bit and 4mm wood bit
Staple gun (mentioned above)
Cross blade screwdriver
Wire cutters for netting
Somewhere to cut your wood (table etc)
Right....lets get started!
Step 1: Cutting the Wood
You now need to make a rectangular frame for the sides of your run.
Lay a length of your wood on the ground and lay the netting onto it starting about a half inch in from the left end of the wood and rolling the netting out along it so that when you chop the netting it will end a half inch from the right end of the wood. This gives you your run length. Chop the wood to this length.
My netting came in 1.5M lengths so both sides are going to be made 1.5M long.
Cut all your side lengths (4) from this piece, this will ensure that your sides are equal.
You need to decide how high you want your run to be now, I estimated 30cm high as my netting is 60cm wide. You are basically making a long rectangle with netting for the middle.
Step 2: Assembling the Sides
Drill two holes using your 4mm drill bit through the ends of the longest parts of your wood, close enough to put two screws through to attach the uprights of your sides.
Do this on all the sides in preperation for the next step.
Assemble the sides and uprights using your long wood screws.
Your side frame should now look like a long mirror frame without the mirror.
Step 3: Fixing the Netting to the Frame
Lay the netting on one end lining it up with the marks you made and stick a couple of staples in the end to hold it in place. Lay the netting out along the frame stapling/nailing as you go making sure the netting is taught.
Once you have stapled your netting down, trim the excess off with your wire cutters (take care, the ends are sharp! - trust me!)
Hammer down the ends of the netting where you have just snipped it to dull sharp ends and sink them into the wood.
The netting goes on the outside of your run so there is no risk of the little critter getting caught and reduces the chance of climbing.
You should end up with a frame with neat netting on the sides as in the final photo in this step.
Repeat this for the other side.
Step 4: Assemble the End Pieces
They are essentially the same as the sides but mine were 1M making the run a rectangle.
Once you have assembled your sides and ends you can now fix the sections together using your self tapper eyes, coach bolts and nuts.
Arrange your sides and ends so that the netting is on the outside.
Mark the position for your eyes on the ends of each panel so that the eyes on one panel are slightly above or below the ones on the next panel as in the photo.
Drill some pilot holes using your 1.5mm drill bit (asuming the thread of the eyes are more than 1.5mm) and screw in the eyes just far enough so the thread doesnt show. The eyes should stick out slightly to give some fixing room.
Align the panels at 90 degrees to each other and slot in the coach bolts as in the photo.
Your run is now assembled!
Step 5: Finished! Content Guinea Pig.
Our Guinea Pig doesnt really climb much but if yours likes to climb then the addition of some wood on the top inner edge to make an internal overhang should stop them escaping! (works on prisons!) or you could make a top frame.
Placed on some nice lush grass (not like mine!) then they are happy to graze all day.
Another nice feature of this run is that it can be dissasembled and folded away when not in use. The sides are a little indipendent of each other so they compensate for the uneven ground.
Another good idea may be to peg the run down so a strong Cavie or rabbit cant nuzzle under it. One of the comments for this ible suggested putting netting over the top to stop cats getting at the Cavie, I have used (but not shown) two halves of a metal fire guard which makes a neat lid with a flap in it for access and a cross member for support.
I am certainly no joiner (electronics engineer so not much wood!) but I enjoyed making this and it was really easy and cheap.