Monday, October 10, 2011

Cage Revamp Part II

I obtained coroplast during the week, so I was ready to complete the other half of my combining cages project.  Last week I pieced together the grids (Cage Revamp Part I), this week I added in the new coroplast base.

First, I gathered all of my tools to measure, cut and assemble the coroplast.  There are a good set of instructions on how to do this on the GuineaPigCages.com website: How to Make a C&C Cage. I measured the grid size of Willow's cage multiple times and wrote it down, and then double checked.  I am a big believer of "measure twice, cut once," mostly because I'm prone to transposing numbers and adding the wrong bits together.

Normally, you want to cut the bottom of a cage in one solid piece. I cut Willow's in two pieces, in part because it was the most efficient way to cut the large piece of coroplast I had.  It's also an odd-shaped cage, with a partial wall on one side.

I brought the coroplast in to test-fit it a number of times when I started taping the ends together.  It was going to be a snug fit, which is good:  I find that if the coroplast and grids are tight, the whole cage can be moved about with little risk of anything coming apart.

I did not zip-tie Willow's cage to the Newbie's cage.  The three edges that touch (two side edges and the overhang on Willow's cage) are connected to the Newbie's cage with binder clips and a grid connector.  This is to keep the cages portable.  Occasionally I use my dining room as <gasp!> a dining room and the pigs aren't invited.  There is no way I could move this monstrosity in one piece from one room to another.

I duct taped the seam on the bottom, from one cage to another to keep urine from leaking under the cage.  I realized after I had done this that it would have been better to make a 1.5" wall to each side of the cage and avoided trying to make a common seam altogether!  At this point, it's done.  If the tape starts to come up or when I have to pull apart the cages, I'll rework the two cages with their own individual thresholds.  Sometimes the most obvious solutions don't present themselves until after you've tried something else.

The new layout
Willow's cage gained about one square foot of space from the reconfiguration.  Over half of that extra space was due to replacing the store-bought bottom with coroplast.  Store-bought cages are deceptive because the sides slope in at an angle, but the measurements are usually taken at the top of the cage (at it's widest point).  It's amazing how much space is lost on the bottom!

I'm glad I had cut her fleece a little long, so it still fits across the bottom with no gaps.  I had to replace her perching shelf with the stool because it no longer has the support it needs.  I'll have to figure out how to best re-attach that.  In the meantime, the little stool is giving her something to hide under.  She no longer has to perch in order to see into the Newbie's cage.

The girls' first reaction to the new cage?  Not quite what I had expected.  But that story will have to wait for another day.

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