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Modifying cages safely.

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Contributed by Alli713

There are some easy ways to modify a cage you’ve bought for your chinchilla. Whether it is a cage from the pet store, Quality Cage Co, or Martin’s Cage, there are some simple things that you can make at home to make your chinchilla’s cage safe and fun for them.

The first thing would be to remove any plastic shelves if you have a pet store cage. Many chins will chew the plastic. Or if you have a wire cage, you may want to consider replacing the wire shelves to prevent injury. You can easily make your own wood shelves.

If you would like the shelves to run the whole length of the cage, just measure the length of the side you want to go across. Or you can make some ledges in various sizes. Many are around 6” wide.

To make the wood ledges, get some kiln-dried pine from the hardware store. Poplar wood is also safe, but it tends to be more expensive. Most people just use the 6” wide boards that are 1” thick. You’ll also need some hardware. The type of hardware most commonly used is a hanger bolt (which looks like half screw, half bolt), wing nuts, and washers.

Pine is so soft that you don’t even need to drill a hole into it to put the hanger bolts in. Just put the wing nut on the hanger bolt and take pliers and screw it into the wood. Do this to multiple spots on the wood and then you have new shelves!

Another thing to do would be to remove any ramps in the cage. Chins don’t need ramps as they tend to jump from spot to spot. If you have wire ramps in the cage, it just gives another area for their toes to get caught in.

Another easy option to making your chin’s cage safer is to put down some tiles on the wire bottom. These give the chin an area to rest its feet from the wire and they like the cool feeling that tile gives. You can find squares of marble or granite at the home improvement store. Make sure it is natural stone like marble or granite, not the kind that they can chew apart.

Finally another option for your chinchilla’s cage is to make some fleece items. Make sure and use fleece because fleece is hard for them to chew apart. If the chin tries to chew it apart, little tufts of fluff come off, not strings that they can ingest. You can make hammocks easily by just sewing a square of fabric and put tabs in each corner to hang it from. Or make a corner hammock by making a triangle. The options for fleece houses are endless. To hang fleece items, many people will use binder rings, pear clips, or metal S hooks.

If you don’t know how to sew, there are some sites out there with directions to no-sew hammocks. Just do a google search and you should find them. The only thing that is suggested that those sites don’t mention is to turn the hammocks inside out so that the hanging fleece ties are inside and don’t give your chin something to play with and want to chew.
 
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