Build a Chinchilla Cage
If you've found that none of the store cages out there meet your needs, you've come to the right place! Build a cage!
I've found that with a little skill and planning one can build a cage that is less expensive and often better looking than what we can find in stores.
Why? First of all, one of the biggest complaints of chinchilla owners is the mess that their chinchilla creates daily. Chinchilla's kick out shavings, food, and droppings. If you have a multiple level cage even their urine can be sprayed outside the cage.
I was eager to find a solution to the mess!
I also wanted to build a cage that was more customizable... shelves, bridges, etc. I went through several different designs and I'll outline my learning here. I don't build exclusive wire cages, but you could certainly build those yourself, too.
I started with a melamine pressboard cage. The reason everyone uses melamine in building their cages is that it is a durable material that is easy to mantain. It does not absorb water and wipes clean. The problem with pressboard is that it is HEAVY! The cage was very difficult to move. It was also rather ugly. I threw away that cage two years later... I had another idea!
Next I built a large cage (5 feet high, 2 feet deep, 3 feet wide) out of a nice plywood with melamine panels (much lighter) glued to the inside. Still too heavy and a bit too expensive.
Next I built four cages from pine 2x4's, creating a large box. Between each 2x4 I attached a melamine panel (very light). I added a ventilation window in the back of each.
With shelves, wheels, and some other additions these made great cages! Still a bit heavy, but I can still lift each one by myself with some effort. I put wheels on the bottom of two so I could easily clean behind them.
I love these cages. They're made to last. I still use them. But, as you could probably guess, I didn't stop here!
I was looking for something a bit lighter. The only thing I loved about wire cages is that they were easy to move around. I loved how clean I could keep my new cages.
I thought about it. The only thing making these cages heavy was the 2x4's. Could I substitute a narrower wood and still keep it stable?
I sure could! Using pine 1x2's I created a frame. This can be used on any size frame.
I love this design! I can lift the cage over my head, so they're easy to move.
I can't imagine a better design - I can make it any size but it's light AND easy to clean.
But my story will continue...
Now I'm going on a new mission to build a cage, a breeding run! I hope to see what I can do to imitate what I've purchased, but it won't be easy. Check back here this summer to see how I'm progressing!
If you need help building a cage let me know!
I'm working on an ebook to offer complete instructions on how to build chinchilla cages. I hope to have it done once the weather warms and I can get into the garage again. To get updates on its arrival sign up for our newsletter! All newsletter subscribers will get the ebook free!
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