When you decide to build a cage for your guinea pigs, you may think of a multi-level cage just like other small pets. Question is, Can guinea pigs have multi-level cages?
It’s not necessary for guinea pigs to build a multi-level cage as they aren’t natural climbers and they prefer flat open spaces more. So, instead of a multi-story cage, build a large cage for a guinea pig to provide open air. However, some people put the second level in a corner of the cage or build a multi-level cage when they have 2 or more piggies. In that case, you have to use flat and stable ramps or ladders to allow them to go up and down safely.
Before making a multi-level cage you need to take some precautions. In this article, you will know when you need to build a multi-level cage and how to plan a multi-level guinea pig cage.
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Are multi-level cages good for guinea pigs?
Multi-level cages aren’t so comfortable for guinea pigs and they are also afraid of climbing. So, you should try to build a large cage with flat ground. However, if you have multiple guinea pigs with limited space at your house, you can consider multi-level cages.
But, make sure that you have enough open space and that your guinea pigs can navigate the ramps and don’t fall down frequently.
When do people want to have multi-level cages?
The most common cause for which people want to build multi-level cages is to have two or more guinea pigs. But, it becomes a problem when they have a lack of space inside their house.
So, they decide to increase the space vertically. But, you should know that the piggies need horizontal space more.
Even if you build a multi-level cage, it should have the same space as is required for 2, 4, or more guinea pigs.
Don’t expect that your piggies will go upstairs and downstairs frequently. In fact, they would love to move or walk on the same floor.
What is a multi-level cage made of?
Usually, a multi-level cage is made of the same materials that you use to build the cage structure. You will require a rod as the fence of the cage or plastic to build the floor of a multi-level cage for your guinea pig. You can use a piece of plastic, coroplast, wood, or rod for the ramp.
You also need to use a ramp cover or something that’s soft like a towel for protecting your guinea pig’s feet. You have to prepare the bedding for the top level as same as the bedding you use for the ground floor.
How to design and plan a multi-level cage for guinea pigs?
Planning for guinea pig’s cages isn’t the same as the other small pets such as ferrets or rabbits. Let’s take a look at the planning for a multi-level cage.
If you are using a C&C cage, it’s an easy task to make the top levels of the cage. Buy the same types of rod that you used for the fence of the cage. You can also use cage plastic.
You need to use a fence so for the top floor to protect your guinea pigs from falling down. They can climb up to 12 inches. Fence height should be more than. Use a similar rod or plastic structure as the ground floor to make the floors for the upper level.
If the height of the fence is ideal, you don’t need to put a top for the top level and make it stacked, though some people use it.
Use the same bedding that you are using on the ground floor. Fleece can be a great option for upper levels.
Check out the best fleece for guinea pigs.
If you use aspen or Kiln dried pine shavings, make sure you use a good liner for the top floor.
Check out the best bedding for guinea pigs.
Ensure open space on the ground floor. Follow the guidelines to measure the size of the cage floor.
You may think a multi-level cage increases space, but you are absolutely wrong.
You have to give your little piggies the same required space horizontally instead of vertically.
So, if you plan to build a multi-level cage for more than 2 guinea pigs, you will need some amount of space on one floor.
Guinea pigs need more open space to run or walk whenever they want. Moreover, they need open air that makes them healthy and happy and helps them exercise.
However, if you struggle to provide enough flat space, you may consider a stacked cage. Know more later in this article about the stacked cages.
Still, I will suggest you not go for a stacked cage, for the betterment of your guinea pig’s health.
Check out the best flooring ideas for guinea pigs.
To connect the levels, use a ramp or ladder for the guinea pigs. The ramp can be made of plastic or a piece of rod that you used for the fence. A wooden ladder or ramp can be used for the wooden cage.
Veggies between the wooden ramp should be as close enough as possible. This allows your little piggies to make a good grip on the surface. However, the wooden ramp may not be a great idea for the little piggies.
Whatever materials you use to make the ramps, you must put some soft cotton cloth or fleece so that your guinea pigs can make grip them and their soft feet don’t get hurt while walking through the ramp.
You can’t let the wire grid open, since it will hurt your guinea pig.
You can use a small towel, coroplast sheet, or buy a ramp cover for better.
The most important thing to build a ramp is to maintain the steepness. It should be between 20-and 40 degrees. Low steepness ensures your guinea pigs use the ramps.
Another important thing is to protect your guinea pigs from falling down the ramps while walking.
So, you should put a small fence for the ramp. You can take help from the coroplast while building the ramp and design it in such a way.
You can also use a tunnel for their protection.
A ramp also has to be steady and solid so that it doesn’t move or shake when they walk, otherwise, they will be afraid.
Read my article about ramps for guinea pigs.
Hideout, water bottle, and accessories
Since you are creating a multi-level cage, you need to have more hideouts, water bottles, and other essential accessories inside the cage for them.
Making guinea pigs using the ramp and levels
After you make a multi-level cage, your little piggies won’t use it normally. But, never force them to use it, instead, you need to encourage them to use the ramp.
You can follow different techniques like putting their favorite toys, hay, or stuff in on the ramps so that they reach the top of the cage.
You should also put a few things that attract them on the top floors. By doing this, they will soon realize they should navigate the ramp to get that stuff. So, they learn to go up and down the floor quickly.
But, you need to put essential stuff near them until they learn to use the ramp.
Our recommended product:
Kavee C&C cage for Guinea Pig
Can you use a stacked 2 level cage for guinea pigs?
It’s not recommended to use a stacked 2 level cage for guinea pigs because guinea pigs need open and horizontal space where air can flow freely. However, you may still think of using stacked 2 level cages for 4 or more guinea pigs. You can use a ramp to help them visit the different levels. But, it’s better you provide them adequate space instead of blocking it with a ladder or ramp.
If you can’t afford enough horizontal space, you should plan properly to build a stacked cage. But, how to build an ideal stacked cage for guinea pigs?
Provide enough room for one level in proportion to the number of guinea pigs. Don’t use a ladder or ramps since it will block the open and horizontal space.
If you make the cage for 4 guinea pigs, put 2 in each cage and provide space that is required for 2 guinea pigs in a level.
Moreover, many experts will never recommend you go for a stacked cage. I won’t suggest it to you either. So, try to avoid this type of cage.
What are the drawbacks of a multi-level cage?
Multiple levels for guinea pigs cage has many disadvantages. This type of cage doesn’t make an appropriate guinea pig’s cage.
You have to build a ramp or ladder that doesn’t block the open space. This doesn’t allow them to exercise freely.
If you build stacked multiple levels, it blocks the area of the bottom floor and restricts the air to flow properly.
Another drawback is that the guinea pig doesn’t like multi or two-level cages.
If ramps aren’t flat and stable enough, it will be more frightening for them to use them.
How does a multiple-level cage differ from one level?
Let’s take a look at the difference between a multi-level and one-level cage.
A multi-level cage that has a top-level in one corner of the area must have a ramp. On the other hand, the one-level cage may not need any ramp.
Some large cages have a divider in the middle of the cage. In those cages, it has a ramp to navigate those two areas. In case you use a stacked multi-level cage, you may not need a ramp at all.
Another difference is open space and ventilation. The single-level cage provides more flat space and ventilation than the multi-level cage.
How big should a guinea pig multi-level cage be?
A multi-level cage should ensure the same space that is required for a single-level cage.
Here is the recommended required cage size for the guinea pigs.
|Number of guinea pigs||Minimum size||Preferred size|
|1 guinea||7.5 square feet||10.5 square feet|
|2 guinea pigs||7.5 square feet||10.5 square feet|
|3 guinea pigs||10.5 square feet||13 square feet|
|4 guinea pigs||13 square feet||16 square feet|
The height of the fence should be about 12 inches all the way around, even for the top levels.
How to make a multi-level guinea pig cage at home?
Today people look for DIY stuff for everything. You may also want something like that to build a multi-level guinea pig cage.
You can do it on your own easily with the same materials that are used to build the main cage. You just need to buy some stuff and attach them nicely to finish the work.
Use the same cage materials to extend the wall.
You can use mesh wire, odorless wood pieces, or plastic used to make a pet’s cage to build the floor.
After you decide, you have to set the piece of rod one by one.
Then, you need to put a cage liner like a puppy pad, mat, or fleece for the base of the level.
If you use aspen shavings or kiln-dried pine for the cage, you can make the bedding in the same way you did for the ground floor.
Which precautions should you take for a multi-level cage?
You should ensure the following things if you want to build a two or multi-level cage for your little piggies.
Build flat and solid floor and ramps.
The floor of the top levels and ramps should be solid and rigid enough to support the weight of your guinea pigs. The surface should be flat as they can’t use irregular surfaces. There must not be any wire grid on the floor of the top cage.
Ensure enough flat space on the ground floor.
Guinea pigs need more open space horizontally than vertical. So, before building top-level, be sure that you can provide them with the required space on the ground floor.
Provide enough open air.
Don’t use a cage cover if possible for the upper level. Just build the wall. Even if you put a cover, it should be wire meshed and allow air to enter the cage.
Good ventilation is mandatory for guinea pigs to encourage exercise, and keep them stress-free and healthy.
Ensure that guinea pigs can navigate the ramp.
Usually, guinea pigs don’t prefer to use the ramp and go up to the top levels initially as they aren’t good climbers.
Train or encourage to do so by putting hays or other stuff on the ramps and the top floor. But, you shouldn’t force them, as they will be stressed out.
Put a safety fence or tunnel for the ramp.
You need to protect the piggies from falling down off the top of the ramp while going up. So, put a safety fence or tunnel around the ramp.
Make sure the ramp is not so steep.
Guinea pigs won’t use the steep ramps because they are bad at climbing. So, it should have a very low angle and be almost flat on the ground floor.
Protect your guinea pigs feet while walking.
Cover the ramp with an ideal ramp cover and use bedding materials for top levels to ensure the guinea pigs don’t get hurt in their feet while walking and have a bumblefoot or other problems.
Use soft bedding like fleece to cover up wire, metal bars, wood, or all areas of the floor of the top level.
Ensure the cage door doesn’t hurt.
Some guinea pig owners make a door for the top level, especially for the stacked upper cage. In that case, you have to smoothen any pokey surface or metal bar of the door to protect your guinea pigs from getting hurt while going up to the top floor.
Is there any alternative to the multi-level cages for guinea pigs?
Build a large cage ensuring required open and flat space in proportion to the number of guinea pigs instead of a multi-level cage. If you have enough space, you can use an extra-large cage for multiple guinea pigs.
Check out the best extra large cage for guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs have two-level cages?
Although guinea pigs are scared of height, you can make two-story cages if you can build them with proper measurements. Make sure that there is enough open and flat space on the ground floor and your guinea pig should be able to navigate the ramp and ladder.
If the building structure has a metal bar, make sure it doesn’t hurt the piggies.
Guinea pigs can live in two or multi-level cages if you ensure that they can navigate the raps or ladder properly and the ground floor has required space with enough ventilation. However, you shouldn’t use a stacked multi-level cage that restricts the air to flow freely.
It’s recommended to use a large cage instead of a multi-level cage as guinea pigs aren’t good climbers and it blocks the horizontal space.
If you use multi-level cages make sure that the ramp is flat enough and the ground floor has the required space for the piggies.