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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, ​sorry if this has been posted before!

so I have a pretty small cage for Daisy at the moment - big enough to fit her, a few toys, a hidey home, food and some space to roam around, yeah, but I feel bad that it's not super high or super wide. Like when I look at people's cages I go, 'whoa, those rats must love it!' So I would like to DIY one for her......and I would appreciate if I could get some tips maybe :) It would help if you guys could show me some photos of ideal cages in terms of size/space, cost etc. to help me figure out what to make for her.

Thanks! <3
 

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Many people have found success in building their first DIY cages out of dressers and/or bookshelves. Perhaps you can start from there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tip. :) I'll look into that! I will go to some charity shops to see maybe they have some good shelves that I could use. Would you happen to know of any tutorials?
 

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Pinterest has some great diy cage ideas out of dressers, bookshelves etc. just be careful with the wood. Once the ratties pee on it, it is almost impossible to get the smell out.
 

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I'm not very good in the DIY department, but some basics I do know are -

- In terms of size, tall is better than wide. You do want to have enough space for them to move around, of course. And having at least 2 floors/shelves is ideal.
- They need around 2.5 square feet per rat. (2 square feet being the bare minimum) So, to give you an idea in measurements, the PetCo Rat Manor (a decent starter cage) is 22.5" W x 16.5" D x 32" H. According to a cage calculator, it can hold up to 3 ratties. (though it is a bit of a tight fit).
 

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Most people either tile the floors or cover it with a laminate. I'm sure you could also treat it with rustoleum or something... but I'm not sure if that's just for metal. You can drill holes between each "level" to give access. For dressers, some people give access to the drawers but keep them closed (you can't seen into them) and fill it will burrowing material.
 

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Or you can put down a place mat or something like that under a towel and the fleece on top.
 

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I honestly don't know how people can make DIY cages. I am sure there might be good ones out there. I have even seen some pretty ones.

But I just don't get how they work well. If any urine gets in contact with the wood it is never going to come clean and start to smell very badly very quickly plus is just yuck. Plus it worries me with chewers. Even if the wood was coated with something it is likely they would chew on it (which worries me if the coating would be safe?) and sooner or later expose the wood or chew through the cage depending on how it was made.

I have found that many people who do DIY cages end up having to replace them often. (not always ofcourse possibly)

Plus the cost is still fairly high to make a good one.

I'd just stick with really good well built store bought cages personally.
 

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I would say your best bet is honestly a pvc frame with 1/2" wire nailed or ziptied to it. You can make it whatever size you would like, and anything you ziptied to the mesh would make shelves. You could even potetially make pvc frame shelves, though it would take a bit more work. Make sure the mesh is on the inside of the fram and not tacked to the outside for the most chew proof and you're golden.
 

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You want the cage as big as possible, the 2sq ft per rat rule is only a guideline, and in reality the minimum size cage you want is big enough for 4. Once you get over about 10 on the cage calculator you can fit extra rats in if you set it up well as well.

In terms of making your own I would first think of the following

1, Where do you want to put this cage, what space is available. - If your looking to have the cage in a specific corner, on a worksurface, free standing etc it can matter. Getting a feel for the maximum external dimensions will help you work out how big you want to build it and what style to use.

2, How many rats would you like to keep, minimum and maximum, you will want at least another friend for Ruby and a rolling group of 4 is a very good starting point (adding a pair of new babies every 12-18 months). This will make sure you build a cage that's at least big enough for the number of rats you want to aim for

3, Whats your budget, some designs of cage are expensive to make but very well built, others are a bit trickier but cheaper and may need replacing more often. Your budget very much defines the materials you are going to be able to use.

If you can answer those questions I can give you some ideas. I will say though that a well made home made cage is often more expensive than buying one new, or adapting another home such as a hutch or joining cages. Second hand cages are often excellent value.
 

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Here' mine it's 2ft deep 3 ft' tall for my 2 girls .Cage calculator says it can hold 6 ( I wouldn't ) So I put 2 book cases together , by the time I bought wire , hinges , door locks ,staples , boards to make frame of doors ,laminate to cover over exposed bare wood . Hooks to drill into sides to hook toys/ hammies . It cost well over $ 100.00 . Wish I had thought it through in deeper detail . Yes it's nice , but knowing I'll have to replace it - I would say 6 months tops . Not worth it , better off getting a steel or metal frame to start with . Or a good real cage :) BTW I'm a terrible picture taker LOL
 

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While I am defiantly a DIY sort of guy... sometimes commercial is literally cheaper.... Amazon has the double critter nation right now for 175. While you could build a wood/mesh cage of similar size for less, it wouldn't be all that much less, and the DCN is pretty sweet... 'just sayn.... ;)

Seems like a pretty ideal cage solution for not a lot of effort or money...
 
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