Cagetopia Floor Time Extravaganza
by Laurie Dirkx
Laurie Dirkx rocks the green planet with her astounding Cagetopia Creative setups and manages our private Guinea Pig C&C Cages Facebook Group, which we'd love for you to join! She's also a world class photographer and one of Cagetopia's #1 Fans! Be sure to visit her website for some stunning wildlife photography that she shoots in her backyard and woodlands of upstate New York.
No, this is not a cage! This is Laurie's fabulous floortime run that she changes up frequently to give the piggies lots of fun and challenges. Enjoy a creative solution for interactive playtime that doubles as a safe piggy retreat during cage cleanings. We'll feature her cage in an upcoming post.
If you like the setups, but need a more temporary or fast assembly solution, you can omit the connectors and just use zip ties. Zip-tie your grids together in an accordian fashion (two zip ties per grid, not too tightly -- to act like a door hinge, one inner grid hole above the corner), leaving one end open so it will fold up into a one-grid square footprint, and open it up quickly when needed. Just secure the open end with a couple of binder clips. It doesn't look quite as cool, but can be a more flexible way to go.
ALSO, please see this related blog post about using a folded Coroplast cage base along with the grids to provide a waterproof (but still temporary) home base! It works great.
Worried about leaks? Floortime is a temporary time and shouldn't cause much, but you can also throw down some rubber-backed bath mats (or other light plastic under fleece) in their favorite potty area as well.
Photo Gallery of Floortime Layouts
Video Gallery of Floortime Layouts
Quick Distraction Floortime
Piggy Ninja Warrior Games - "The Tube"
Shopping Guides for both stores
Please note, prices are base prices. Adding features and options can increase an item's price.
Create the "Zig Zag Run" with the following components:
Create the "Corner Wrap Run" with the following components:
Create the "Quick Distraction Floortime" Layout with the following components:
Create the "Piggy Ninja Warrior Games" Layout with the following components:
- (1) 2x1 Cage Liner in Fuchsia/Pink - starting at $43.99
- (1) 2x1 Cage Liner in Turquoise/Orange - starting at $43.99
- (1) Corner Hammock in assorted fabrics (this is our version of what Laurie has and will work just fine) - $25.99
Create the "Floortime in the Square" Layout with the following components:
Photo Gallery of the Residents!
A Passion for Nature
I've always had a passion for nature and our wild world. Having grown up in a naturalist environment, the shift into outdoor photography came easily following a 31-year career elsewhere. My goal has always been to leave the viewer with a sense of wide-eyed wonderment, in hope they too, will choose to preserve and protect natural habitats. Such habitats provide life to all living creatures, including ourselves. My credo is "the best you can be is a good example and the best gear you can have is your heart and brain."
I've been sought to give talks and write articles on the ethics of wildlife photography - for how not to stress the wildlife one goes to photograph. I've also worked with and contributed photography to conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. I've taken a great interest in regions where timber rattlesnakes call home. It is a privilege and an honor to be among a species that commands such respect and understanding. I've had the guidance of some great people that helped nurture this admiration and for me to stay safe by.
I reside on 7 acres near Lake Ontario in NY, and am fortunate to have raised two children here along with having my Arabian mare with me. My mare and I have been together now for 23 of her 25 years. A German shepherd is always by my side - another aspect that helps make my life whole. When I'm not at home, you can find me in the Adirondack Mountains; climbing, kayaking and getting my outdoor medicine.
My Path into Guinea Pig Ownership
My daughter received a guinea pig from a friend for her 16th birthday. He was a boar she'd named Bumpkin. It was then I began research how to best own one. I realized the cage that was gifted was way too small. It was then I found Guinea Pig Cages Store and Guinea Pig Market. Following this, began my love for these amazing companion animals. Next thing you know, my dining room had a 2x5 cage with a wide loft on a stand from the websites I now am hooked on.
The grand task of picking a kitchen size and fleece bedding, their water bottles, feed dish, hideys and all else, was a very exciting venture. The immense pride we had in Bumpkin and his chateau (as we endearingly called it), because he could look out on the world of his home and mine, had begun what is now a lifelong love for guinea pigs. I've come to understand a home without a guinea pig just doesn't work! Trust me, I tried.
Bumpkin was a rescued, aged boar who happily lived out his life with us. It seems he was equally pleased with us as we were with him. Upon his passing, which was so very difficult, life wasn't the same without him. He was so gentle and loving right to his last moment while being held and chutting his contentment.
The Guinea Pig Love Affair Continues
How does one not have more guinea pigs after such an amazing first-time experience? I went about 2 months, and then couldn't take the quiet anymore. Because, after all, there was no more working in the kitchen without the thought of what fresh produce Bumpkin could have and of course this would always pair with his wheeking...cheering me on to bring him a treat. It was then I rescued two, young sows that were already bonded - I'd found them on Guinea Pig Finder, another sister site of the cage chateau and supplies sites.
I learned pigs shouldn't be by themselves being they're a herd animal, so now, having two made great sense. I also rescued a lone, aged boar, who wasn't getting the care he needed. I set up his condo, a 2x4 with loft, near the sows so they could see each other in their version of piggie TV. Sadly, my Moosey, as I'd come to call him for how strapping he was compared to the sows, had passed from a stroke. Another heartache - yet how important he got to live out his life in an environment he was so happy in.
I dove into proper guinea pig nutrition and how to safely let them enjoy some outdoor time. My home has become a kingdom for creativity in how to best keep my pigs stimulated and healthy. I love creating all sorts of "turnouts," as I call them, for floor time inside and for their outdoor grazing time. Each time I create their floor time turnout inside I change it up from the prior design.
I even have a mini kitchen in place, because how can a piggie possibly go without hay for any length of time, or so they make sure to communicate with me! Yes, I admit they own me, versus my owning them. I make sure their food is of the healthiest standards and I know how to balance fresh foods to not cause bladder stones. I make sure they get their daily vitamin C since piggies cannot synthesize this on their own. They need fresh foods to provide this, such as red bell pepper.
When you come to my home, you cannot visit without my showing off my sows, Ruby and Diamond. Ruby, because she has red eyes, and Diamond because she is one in the rough for her growling. Ruby is my love bug and Diamond is my diva. Both are precious gems.
When not attending to my two, I admin the Guinea Pig C&C Cages Facebook Group. I greatly enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge I've gained ever since my daughter was given one - which really was a gift to me as well.