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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a hard time with finding a good cage as a first time rat owner. I know all of the qualities that I need and want in a cage, but at this point I can't find one affordable & I *really* don't want to have to fuss with upgrading later. For some reason around here you can get empty bird cages in the size I need for about $20 less than a small animal cage. I know how to make shelves and ladders, but I'm wondering what I can do about securing the sliding doors. Maybe some kind of closure?
The other downside is that they may not have the bars horizontal for climbing, but I can attach some wire inside so they can climb.

And ideas are completely welcome and appreciated! I tried to go through the forums and find an existing post, but didn't have any luck. If anyone has pictures that'd help as well!!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just realized that if it has all vertical bars that I won't really be able to add shelving in, so would have to look for one with horizontal ones
 

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on page 16 of the cage pic thread I have a photo of a the girls old cage which was a bird cage. It worked great, was about the size of a single critter nation turned on end. It didn't have sliding doors that some bird cages have however. It had 1 huge door in the front, a small door inserted in that door. Then a door at the top which sat open like a platform. It had two small doors that locked on both sides of the cage for the bowls. It was fairly inexpensive and the girls loved it. I only got the dcn because of Gooses litter and needing more space. I plan on keeping the boys in the old cage till they are large enough for their big boy cage.

It has vertical bars in the back and front and horizontal on both sides. The girls used to climb up the horizontal sides and then slide down the vertical side. :) Adding shelves wasn't difficult. Though we just did wood shelves with the bolts that can screw on and off easy. That way we could wash them off and when they got too gross we could toss em and put in new ones. Other than those we used wicker baskets from the second hand store and some of those large corner ferret litter boxes. We just put holes in them and hung em with the curtain hooks. We hung tubing as well.

I really like the cage. It was easy to clean, easy to decorate. Loved the platform, all my girls could stand on it and get snuggles when I walked by since it was right at shoulder level. We got in at petco when they had a sale, it was a little under 100 for it. I do wish the dcn had the same type of wire, the bird cage has really heavy duty bars compared to the dcn one.
 

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I'll get pictures of how our boys cage is being secured when I get home. The girls are in it, and its a bird cage, right now, the one i posted in the Tea Leaf Progress thread, and they have no problems climbing the bars! I was worried it would be an issue but they scale them like its nothing.
 

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Ok so here i how we have ours. Originally we used the metal clips off of badges to keep them closed, and they worked great. However i hated having the slidey doors. Almost cost a few toes and a curious head a few times. So I popped one side of the hooks that held the door to the cage, bending them to where they hold the door closed, and unable to be pulled up. Then i used the clip as a temp door lock for added safety.
 

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Mine live in an altered bird cage. I really like it, it's nice because the door is so large. Way better than the small animal cages on the market.

They will figure out how to get around. You can hang hammocks too, that helps give them something to climb on. Mine use the hammocks to get up and down- I have more than one hammock, partly just because and partly because I rescued some very sad rats who can't climb at all and need a very low hammock to be able to get into it.
 

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Get a few branches rather than making it easy for them to get around. Saying that fit rats can climb up verticle bars well, they just might struggle as they get older. I would also not use shelves. Instead get a couple cat litter trays and drill/melt holes into each corner and use keyring clips to hang them on the inside of the cage. You can change there positions easily and because they are deep you can put litter or substrate in so they dont become smelly urine traps like most shelves do.

In terms of the door a karbiner is a good rat safe lock, as is a keyring clip or similar
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you Isamurat! That idea is a lot cheaper than making a wooden shelf.. for me anyway. There's all kinds of wood branch bird perches at the pet stores around here & I like the way they look so hopefully I can get those soon too. I'm not sure what kind of clip I'll be able to find but I've come up with an idea for a closure that's using your guys' ideas but also a little creativity of my own. I'll post pictures of the shelves & closure when I get the cage, which may not be until Friday but will hopefully be the next day or so!
 

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I have a birdcage. To close the small sliding doors I just used cable ties pulled extra tight, and cut off the rest of the cable. They've been like that for months without the rats chewing them,so it works well. I found wire rat / other cage shelves that fit, and just put them in as extra levels, covered with fleece. I am planning to do the cat litter tray thing too, some time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I found a bird cage that's 2.5" tall for only $10 used!! Thank you so much for your advice guys. If you're interested to see how it turns out keep an eye on my post in the meet my rat forum. I'll be updating my journey to rattie mommyhood on there over the next week.
 
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