Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

KeithBR
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:03 pm
nobotspam: No
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 4
Contact:

Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby KeithBR » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:10 pm

So I've decided to make my flyer a handcrafted home. I figured I have the no-how and I want plenty of room, so there was no substitute. I drew on much of what I saw in the "housing pictures" thread, and drew up this design. My goal was a great deal of vertical room for the little dude/dudette to explore.

Image

Some parts need elaboration. The base will not be purely plywood, just the top/bottom. In my friends' experience with small mammals, they have a huge tendency to tip over and scatter food bowls, etc. My answer for this was to actually build the food bowl into the shelf, as well as put in sides that would contain a removable water bowl. There will be 2 hinged doors, one covering the upper half, one the lower.

My first concern is the fact most of it will be made out of wood. All rodents have a tendency to chew, chew, chew, and wood and has a terrible tendency to smell like urine FOREVER. My thoughts on this are to lay down a non-porous rubber padding over the wooden base and the shelving? Could be anything, from a yoga mat or something I find at Home Depot. Does that sound feasible? If not, what do you use? If I need the treat the wood, which product is best?

Another chief concern of mine is the wire cloth. Would just any chickenwire I can find at the home depot do? Preferably steel? I know plating is absolutely off limits. Is there a specific material I'm looking for? I saw a thread up top advocates www.wireclothman.com however I can't make heads or tails of anything on that side products-wise, even after brushing up on the terminology. Which product is best for the cage?

Finally, I'm just curious about what should be put in the cage from the great outdoors. Many articles and websites advocate putting in branches and other bits of nature in the cage. However, I've stumbled across a few threads/articles about folks who had trepidations concerning this or some vague problems. Is there anything I shouldn't put in the cage from outside? What should I be aware of?

Sorry for the bombardment of questions, thanks in advance! :)

Joan
Site Admin
Posts: 9051
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 3:30 pm
nobotspam: No
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 4
Location: Fleming Island, FL
Contact:

Re: Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby Joan » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:10 am

KeithBR wrote:... In my friends' experience with small mammals, they have a huge tendency to tip over and scatter food bowls, etc. My answer for this was to actually build the food bowl into the shelf, as well as put in sides that would contain a removable water bowl.


Make sure the food bowls are removable too. They get messy.

KeithBR wrote:... There will be 2 hinged doors, one covering the upper half, one the lower.


I found one large door to me much easier for cleaning and adding large branches. You may need a "go-back" door on the side as it can be difficult to get them back in if they don't want to go.

KeithBR wrote:...My first concern is the fact most of it will be made out of wood. All rodents have a tendency to chew, chew, chew, and wood and has a terrible tendency to smell like urine FOREVER. My thoughts on this are to lay down a non-porous rubber padding over the wooden base and the shelving? Could be anything, from a yoga mat or something I find at Home Depot. Does that sound feasible? If not, what do you use? If I need the treat the wood, which product is best?


My entire cage was muticoated with polyurathane paint. Any padding will likely be chewed up. Branches have to be changed out every now and then due to odor. I also paint nestboxes ... inside and out.

KeithBR wrote:...Another chief concern of mine is the wire cloth. Would just any chickenwire I can find at the home depot do?


Most chicken wire has openings much too large and is more feeble than hardwire cloth. I used hardwire cloth and it was painted along with the cage.

KeithBR wrote:...Finally, I'm just curious about what should be put in the cage from the great outdoors. Many articles and websites advocate putting in branches and other bits of nature in the cage. However, I've stumbled across a few threads/articles about folks who had trepidations concerning this or some vague problems. Is there anything I shouldn't put in the cage from outside? What should I be aware of?


I drag stuff in from the woods all the time. Most branches are fine esp hardwoods. I wouldn't use pine because of the sap.
"A lot of people spend time talking to the Animals, but not that many people listen. That's the real problem! ... Winnie the Pooh

spiritedaway20
NFSA Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:52 pm
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 1

Re: Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby spiritedaway20 » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:06 pm

Oh awesome! Will you show us the cage when it's done?

I used hardware cloth for my cage. I got it at home depot. I also used Poplar to build with (it's a good wood and non-toxic). I decided not to paint it with anything for fear of toxicity (i'd rather replace the wood at a later date if it gets THAT chewed). I clean it with a hand-held steamer that takes away the smell. I also use F10 biocare now, which is nontoxic and does a great job at getting the smell out (much safer than bleach).

It's inevitable they will chew the cage, no matter what you do to it. I have not had much damage done to my cage at all, but expect whatever you coat, cover or don't cover with it to be chewed.

For the branches, I collect branches from non-toxic trees that I know for a fact aren't sprayed with anything. It's hard to find good branches in the area I live in because everything is almost always sprayed, next to a highway or street (bleh) or from an unidentified species. I'd ask some neighbors if you have neighbors with trees in their yard. I know a woman here who has a willow and I know it's a strange request, but some people don't mind. I'd stay away from parks since those trees are probably sprayed. Maybe try a trail/nature area is a good idea too. Some of the best branches I found were birch branches at my BF's house in Maine. I sprayed them with F10, rinsed, scrubbed with a stiff brush with dawn, and then let dry. The first set of branches (in pictures) I peeled the bark off, but he will soon be getting new branches with the bark once I go back up to Maine in a week or two. You can also find some cool branches and perches online made for birds. Most things made for birds are safe for squirrels because birds are very sensitive health-wise.

Also...rope! If you can find untreated sisal rope, go for it. I can only ever find the treated kind that I used for my out-of-cage playground, but some soaking and washing can do the trick. You can find that at home depot too. Not sure where to get the untreated kind.


here's my cage. it looks a bit bare right now, but I'm working on redesigning it and haven't added all the new stuff I got yet!
Attachments
his cage.jpg
his cage.jpg (113.06 KiB) Viewed 2299 times

violetlady
NFSA Member
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:03 pm
nobotspam: No
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 4
Location: Alabama

Re: Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby violetlady » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:44 am

Hardwire cloth will probably be the easiest wire to find. I prefer 1/2" x 1" welded wire, but it can be hard to find. Both welded wire & hardware cloth are produced in various widths & sold by the ft. or by the roll. I've seen rolls of both sold in 25' 50' or 100'. The reason I prefer welded wire is that cages can be built with little or no wood (depending on size) because its much stiffer than hardware cloth. We use "J" clips & J-clip pliars to attach wire to wire. These clips are made of both aluminum & galvanized material & are cheap & easy to use. For the wooden base/floor of your cage, a piece of rolled floor tile glued on the wood surface prier to assembly would create a non porous easy to clean cage floor.
Ziggy's cage is not large enough for me to walk in, so we made a large hinged door in the top (plywood) of his cage for access to replace tree limbs.
HOF to Ziggy

KeithBR
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:03 pm
nobotspam: No
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 4
Contact:

Re: Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby KeithBR » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:52 pm

Joan: Thanks for the good tips. I can see how an emergency "oh my god you little monster get in this tiny door before I feed you to the cat*" door could be helpful.

Spirited: You'll bet there will be plenty of picture, I'll be so proud!

I'm not too worried about branches. I actually live within 5 minutes of a large forest reservation area, I'd imagine there'd be plenty of fallen branches there.

Every cage I've seen appears to have a fair bit of bird toys and perches, so clearly that's preferential. A good friend of mind fancies herself some sort of craft goddess, and she's expressed a desire to put together all kinds of things for the cage (rope, all kinds of cloth things to climb through that appear popular on ebay, etc.) The little dude/dudette will be kept busy.

Violet: Ya the more I look into wire the easier it appears be. And as for the tile idea, that is brilliant and I'm shocked that didn't cross my mind. Would be a very simple job.

Thanks all! You'll be kept up to date!



*I do not have a cat I am aware of the issues with that

violetlady
NFSA Member
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:03 pm
nobotspam: No
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 4
Location: Alabama

Re: Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby violetlady » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:36 am

Be sure to use fleece for the fabric projects, cloth that ravels can be harmful. The threads can become entangled in their wee feet, toes & legs. There is a post on this forum that offers easy to follow instructions for no-sew projects using fleece.
HOF to Ziggy

franp
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:37 am
nobotspam: No
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 4

Re: Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby franp » Tue May 04, 2010 1:46 pm

I have a dumb question! What is 'F10' cleaner? Also, Spiritedaway20 what kind of hand steamer do you use to clean your cage with? That sounds like a great tool to use for urine smell! Thanks!!

spiritedaway20
NFSA Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:52 pm
How many feet does a squirrel have?: 1

Re: Cage design draft/questions, nature's furnishings

Postby spiritedaway20 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:34 pm

No question is a dumb question ;)

f10 biocare is a veterinary disinfectant. It's nontoxic, kills everything, and safer than bleach.

I got the shark hand held steamer: SHARK PORTABLE STEAM POCKET it's called I think. I got it from bed bath and beyond. You can get it cheaper elsewhere though most likely.


Return to “Flyer Housing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest