Build a Guinea Pig Cage With EASY Cleaning! (Projects With Kids)

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Introduction: Build a Guinea Pig Cage With EASY Cleaning! (Projects With Kids)

About: I'm a Special Education Teacher with 7 kids. I use donated and salvaged tech to teach STEM with my students and kids. Someday I'll get all of my projects posted up. For now, it's nonstop DIY, teaching and doin…

My kids have their three guinea pigs split between their two bedrooms and two cages. They needed a larger area and putting them together made sense because they are very social animals. But this projects was more about an opportunity to spend time with my son and pass along some of the skills and love of making that my dad passed along to me.

Materials:

  • 1X2 pine
  • 1x4 pine
  • 1/8" plywood
  • 10 feet of 24" wire screen
  • 24" x 36" plexiglass
  • wood glue
  • pocket hole screws

We built the cage using basic lumber and simple pocket hole joints. They consist of a series of box frames connected together. The base was built as a seperate cabinet and then the two were screwed together. The cage measures 60" x 20" x 24" (tall) and the base cabinet is 60" x 20" x 18" (tall).

Step 1: Building the Frames

Using a miter saw or simple hand saw, cut the pine 1x3 and 1x4 down to dimension. Its really up to you what size and shape you create, just keep in mind the standard dimensions of your plywood so you don't run into problems. Each joint is glued, clamped and then screwed into place. Pocket holes are easy and quick joints and a very easy joint to teach to kids. My son liked drilling all those holes and I didn't mind watching him work. Each joint used two 1" pocket hole screws. We first made "L" shaped corners and then cut and joined the long sides and short sides until we had a basic frame. After that we started adding in support where we needed it.

Step 2: Attach the Bottoms and Sides

We glued and nailed the floors and sides in from the inside. No fancy dado slots here. I didn't get as many pics as I would like. We added a sliding door in the bottom to make cleaning easier. I'll explain more in the next step. You can add a lip at the top and simply stack the two together. I decided to go ahead and join them securely with 6 pocket screws down into the base.

Step 3: Sliding Trap Door

Sorry no good pics in here. I'll have to try to get one next time he cleans the cage. With a cage this large, the first thing on my mind was making this thing really easy to clean. If it was hard to clean, it would make it a struggle every week. We came up with adding a pull out bottom in the cage. The yellow trash bin fits under the door. To clean the cage, simply slide the door out and scoop all of the bedding towards the hole.

To make the door we first made the frame that it would slide in, making sure that the door would be smaller than the bin underneath it. Once we cut the 4 sides to dimension, I ran each through the table saw to cut slots in them for the floor panel. The door frame was glued up square and dried overnight. We screwed the frame into place and then used a router to cut an opening through the front of the cage for the door to slide out. The door was cut long so that a handle could be attached to the front. The handle was a piece of scrap with the slot already cut in it from the frame. I cut it long enough to hide the panel and then sanded it smooth.

Step 4: Finishing Up.

After rounding all the corners with a router and sanding the entire cage together, I coated the entire cage with two coats of spray polyurethane. I used appliance paint for the floor to try to provide some moisture protection. Once the screen was attached, I cut the Plexiglas down to 10" strips and attached it with silicone caulk and clamped overnight. We still need to build some cabinet doors to hide the bottom cabinets. The base gave them space for the trash bin and three additional openings for their other supplies.

The sliding "trap" door idea really turned out great. The boys can quickly clean out the cage and put fresh bedding in it. I think they clean this one more quickly than the small ones they had to take apart and dump. After the first cleaning I added 8" strips of scrap 1/8" ply over the wire at the bottom to keep the bedding inside the cage.

The boys and the guineas seem much happier now. They have a good view of each other and it is easy to reach in and interact with them.The only regret I have for this project is working so fast, we didn't take enough pics. It was a great project to do with kids. This cage can easily be scaled up or down to suit your needs. We plan on building a narrow platform level for the guineas across the back. (That's the reason its 24" high.)

Please let me know what you think. Comments and questions are welcome!

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    24 Discussions

    0
    mar6837
    mar6837

    1 year ago

    im sure you put so much effort into this cage but it really isnt enough for three guinea pigs. they neeed more room and the cage is so sparse. ideally for three guinea pigs you need for hides, which your cage doesnt look like it would hold. alos you should never have guinea pigs on their own, its not just a matter of them being social animals they get quite depressed when theyr kept on their own and as prey animals they really arent meant to be on their own.

    0
    bizydad
    bizydad

    Reply 1 year ago

    We switched bedding pretty quickly after this pic. The cage now holds 2 and has room for 2 hides in it with room to sun around. I planned on building a tiered level for them to have along the back wall as well. Do you think guinea pigs would use the ramps and slightly elevated areas?

    0
    elvenlizzi
    elvenlizzi

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    With ramps it completely depends on the pig! I have two piggies and the younger one loves to run up and down the ramp she has in my current set up, I think the older one finds the ramp a bit too steep.

    0
    JoannaP36
    JoannaP36

    Question 3 months ago on Introduction

    This is amazing! I need to build this - do you have any more specific directions/dimensions for building-challenged people like myself?? LOL

    0
    NorN6
    NorN6

    1 year ago

    can does guinea pig jump above the glass i want to build it

    0
    bizydad
    bizydad

    Reply 1 year ago

    Ours never did, but they liked to stand up on it to get attention. I used the short wall to encourage my son to play and socialize with them more often. It worked great with our guinea pigs. However, I am going to build some doors with either plexiglass or wire screen to just make sure they are a little safer from our curious dogs.

    0
    Montana4Marie
    Montana4Marie

    1 year ago

    Hi bizydad, this is AWESOME!! I absolutely LOVE the 'poopy trap' part, and think it's ideal if I want one of my kiddos to help, too! I am trying to build something similiar out of either this lil shoe stand & lil bookshelf combo, or a bunch of scrap wood (like plywood & 2x4's & 1x1 strips), though I have little experience and am having trouble taking the first step from imagination into production. Could you help a mama out & explain just a teeny more of the trap door part? Say I just cut a circle into a shelf, what do I 'build' for underneath/attach? Or if that's actually NOT simplifying what you've done, could you explain a lil more how you did this part? Maybe I really should know based on what you've already described... but I can't quite envision...! Regardless, that's awesome you did that with one of your lil guys... great to see a daddy engaged... kudos to you & your (large!) family!!

    1
    bizydad
    bizydad

    Reply 1 year ago

    I made a frame for the sliding door and cut a slot in 3 sides to support it. Think of it as a tight fitting drawer. It needs support on all 4 sides. You can do something similar with L shaped metal or gluing two strips of wood into a L-shaped support.

    0
    Montana4Marie
    Montana4Marie

    Reply 1 year ago

    Awesome... I can visualize... thank you!!!

    0
    dizzxy
    dizzxy

    Tip 2 years ago

    Hey, while that cage is pretty cute, and I'm glad you put all your guinea pigs together, you're using cedar bedding which can kill them, and the cage seems pretty small for 3 adult guinea pigs. Also, unless they were bonded already, there's a high possibility that they will fight. They also need a ton of hay in their cage (24/7 for their digestion.) I really love this idea, and although it can be improved on, it is a really cute design and I love the trap door idea for the poos.

    0
    Craigwaldrip
    Craigwaldrip

    3 years ago

    What does pdf download include?

    0
    FamilyC1
    FamilyC1

    3 years ago

    nice! I am definitely doing it!????

    0
    ansmithgie
    ansmithgie

    4 years ago

    Also an oportunity to use all those fancy tool

    0
    BeckyW34
    BeckyW34

    4 years ago

    Great cage!

    0
    FluxR
    FluxR

    4 years ago

    This is really beautiful! A very elegant and spacious cage; ideal for the guineas [not the elegant part, they don't care :P].

    Question: Don't wooden floors smell after a while? The urine must penetrate them, so what do you do when a more thorough cleaning is required? I really don't like plastic cages, but the truth is they're easy to clean with water and vinegar.

    1
    bizydad
    bizydad

    Reply 4 years ago

    I was worried about that too. I painted the floor with an epoxy paint made for refrigerators to help seal it. No problems so far. But I can replace the floor in a couple years if it becomes a problem. My son has been much better about keeping it clean now that it only takes about 10 minutes to do it! They now have a third in the cage and it has held up nicely, but the quick cleaning trap door has been such a good thing.

    1
    FluxR
    FluxR

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you for the quick reply. The epoxy paint sounds a fantastic idea; the trap door is genius. I really like what you're doing, keep up the good work!

    0
    LukeH33
    LukeH33

    5 years ago

    This looks like a great cage. We just got two guineas for our girls. I am thinking about making one with this design in mind. How much did this cost roughly if you don't mind me asking?

    0
    bizydad
    bizydad

    Reply 4 years ago

    I think it was about $150-$200 with all the wood, plexi glass and wire. You could build it cheaper if you recycle the plexi glass from something or just use wire.