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Discussion Starter #1
For those of you who are considering buying or who currently own a FN, and are wondering if they should put hardware cloth on I would say it is a resounding YES!

First I would like to say I still LOVE this cage, and you are going to have a bar spacing issue with most bigger quality cages anyhow, so this really shouldn't be a huge decision maker but at least you'll have the information.

If you have ratties that can fit through but don't seem to want to escape you should still do it! It worked out for me without it for several weeks but if they are determined to escape they will. I have an average size 6mo old who escaped......here is a link to a more detailed story if you're interested........

http://www.ratforum.com/Forums/viewtopic/p=32019.html#32019

You can find vinyl coated hardware cloth in the garden center of Home Depot. It's approx 8$ per 2x5 I think and 11$ per 3x5 (I can't remember the measurements exactly) I bought the smaller rolls and one roll covered 2 sides and one door on the top........so you will need two rolls for the bottom (this does not include the bottom of the bottom) and 3 rolls for the top. If you're good at math I'm sure you can figure out a more efficient method. I would highly recommend the v. coated (it's dark green) and they have cool neon zip ties to give it a funky flare!!!

Do what you will with this information :) I hope it helps!
 

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how easy is that stuff to cut? i don't have a FN but i do have larger style cage with major bar space issues. how easy is it to keep clean? is there urine build-up between the bars and mesh? does feces get stuck in it? how well does the vinyl stand up to chewing? what do you do for toys that attach to the bars (i'm personally thinking of the parrot ropes with the screw ends and the chinchilla dust bath flower if that helps)?

ideally i would just like to find someone or someplace that could add bars to the cage but i've had the cage for 2 years now and haven't been able to find anyone.

here's a picture of the cage in question actually, maybe that will help to clarify my concerns with it:

i had it set up for some huge boys i had for while and they were fat enough that they couldn't get through the bars but when i tried to have my females in there even my fat spider walked in and out without a problem.

the doors have double latches that i'll need to leave room for and the levels hook over the bars which would push the mesh away from the bars, so i would be concerned that the rats would be able to get trapped inbetween the two sections.

anyway, any advice or experience you can share with me about the mesh would be greatly appreicated. i would love to finally be able to use this cage.
 

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I'd suggest wearing heavy gloves when cutting it... it can be quite sharp.
 

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Forensic said:
I'd suggest wearing heavy gloves when cutting it... it can be quite sharp.
Agreed.


As far as how easily it's cut, I got by with a little extra effort and tin snippers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok I'll try to answer all of your questions.......

CUTTING THE CLOTH

Truthfully it is a bit of a pain to cut! I bought heavy duty snippers but it left a jagged edge, and because i'm a bit crazy about thing looking neat I wanted to cut it, so that no pointy pieces were sticking out!

the cloth is in a grid, so you can cut in a way that leaves no pointy edges, and while they are not completely smooth it is a lot safer IMO.

I think the best thing for cutting it is a tool that is smaller with a cutting edge. I don't know what they are called but hopefully I can take a picture of it later when I'm back in Rochester!

CLEANING THE CLOTH

I just put it on a few days ago but I don't think it will be too hard to clean because it's on the outside. I put hardware cloth (non powder coated) on the other cage, and the only noticeable difference in cleaning was the sponge getting caught on the zip ties. I haven't noticed any urine buildup, and I don't think it would happen.

the squares on the hardware cloth I bought are close to 1/2 inch big there is a hardware cloth with a much smaller grid but it is more expensive, so I didn't bother buying it as the other mesh served my purpose. I believe there WOULD be a slight buildup on a smaller grid!

CHEWING

again I haven't had it long enough to say for sure but it SEEMS like it's coated as well as any powder coated cage. The wire is a lot more thin though, so perhaps it makes it easier to chew. It's really not very hard to bend but I think that helps attaching it to a cage. What I would worry about more is the ratties chewing through the zip ties keeping it on. Just look over it every day, and make sure they didn't detach any, and replace the ones they do. Honestly if my ratties ever figure out that they can chew all the zip ties off to escape then i'm screwed lol................well not exactly there is always crafting wire that i'm sure they'd have a harder time chewing through.

ATTACHING TOYS

if you get the mesh size I have then you shouldn't have too much of a problem. The screw of my pedi-perch fits right through the squares. I don't have personal experience with the toy you are talking about but if it can fit through a 1/2 square (or slightly smaller square) then you should be good!

i don't think your ratties will get caught, and if you use the tool i'm talking about it will be easy to cut a square right in the middle of a bigger piece for the door.

I'm not in Rochester right now but i'll try to finally get some pictures up when I go home......so hopefully later on tonight I can post some examples! :)

edit: html muck up
 

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thank you for the help. i know there was a lot of questions to answer but i wanted to make sure all my bases were covered. my landlord would probably have a hernia before kicking me out if one of the rats escaped and chewed any of the wood in the apartment. i'l be looking forward to your pictures.
 

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Im not sure what to do with that cage but if u buy harware cloth u can just wrap it around the cage.. Thats a very nice cage i really like it. I think if u juss use it forthe males and get a smaller barred one for ur females ull be allright : )
 

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that cage is huge and i only have two males now. i want to have everyone in it eventually. the males i have now aren't nearly as big as the males i had then either so i think they may be able to get out if they wanted too. the bar spacing an inch and a quater. when i bought the cage i thought "how much more difference could a quarter of an inch make...?" apparently a lot.

i'm going to have to break down and get hardware cloth for it though. i've been looking and asking people if they knew of anywhere i could just get more bars added on with no luck for about 2 years. the cage i have now works i suppose (3 hagen chinchilla cages stacked and zip-tied together). but its not very deep and the doors though not tiny are certainly not as large as the ones in the black cage.

what stopped me from just wrapping it hardware cloth before is that the galvinized rusts and holds odor and looks really ugly. i didn't know it came precoated or that there were sprays you could get to coat it yourself. if i can get some black coated hardware cloth i don't think it will look so bad and the coating should stop the rust and odor problems. i'll have to take a look at the gauges to see which one would work best for my situation.

the only real concern i have with the HC now is how well it stands up to chewing. with bar spacing as large as i have my rats will easily be able to chew it. rats are not ferrets but they are still rodents so i don't know how thin is too thin that they can chew through. also if the coating is only plastic and not powder i think they will be able to chew the coating off too easily.

i also once had a bunch of hamster and bird cages wired together for my first cage. the urine would get trapped between the bars where i could wipe and build up, i am concerned that this would happen between the wire and bars as well.

i think i will hold off for a bit on getting the coated HC and see how well it works for mopy, learn by her experience so to speak (honestly its not a guinea pig thing at all.... *shifty eyes* :lol: ). but if this cage is to ever work for rats i know i will have to use some sort of wrap job.
 
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