October 2013 Cages of the Rodents of Hammy Happenings Tour!

Alrighty! October’s Cage Tours of all my rodent babies. And of course – pictures of my rodent babies! All of these pictures were taken today and tonight except the one of Bob. The picture I took of him tonight wasn’t so great. But I had taken the one I posted a few days or so ago and love it.

OKAY THEN! So!

Let’s start with Penny. Ladies First! She had been taking a nibble at her chews.

penny chews pennys cage collage

Penny is in a Marchioro Kevin 82cm Cage. I purchased this cage for $119 at PetStore.com but it is also available at ThatPetPlace.com. It usually ranges between $119-$134. In the United States it’s one of the best sized cages you can get for any species of hamster but especially Syrian’s. It has 7mm bar spacing so ideal for as big as Syrians to as tiny as Mice and Chinese Hamsters.

Up Next! Bob having a moment beneath the toad stools

bob toad stools bobs cage collage

Bob is in the Ware Luxury Rabbit Cage. It retails a bit over $100 bucks. I got mine used for $20. It has 1” bar spacing so it needs to be meshed for hamsters. This is an awesome cage. It has casters and opens from the top and a large front door. The tray slides out for easy cleaning and then slides back in. I wish I could find another just like this for Penny. The height is much less scary than the Mamble which I had her in before. It’s long and narrower so it takes up less space without sacrificing footprint.

Now Strawberry as he lounges in his space pod.

strawberry space pod sb cage collage

Strawberry is my eldest hamster (I think!). He’s a hybrid Cambells/WW or “Russian” hamster. He has slowed down. Looks great. Healthy. Eating and such. But really not very active.  I have plenty for him to do now. And I love his “retirement” cage. A Grreat Choice Pet Home for Small Animals cage from Petsmart. It’s 24 inch long, 15 inch wide, 14 inch tall. Below the RSPCA guidelines for a dwarf hamster cage. It’s suitable for a retirement cage for a dwarf and honestly, it depends on the hamster. Strawberry has never liked large cages. I’ve tried. He has been really happy in here so far. I find it easier to interact with him and get him out and check on him in this too. And it’s easier to make a jungle gym for him in there. He loves to climb though I can tell he’s struggling with it nowadays. The high base is ACE for my little digger. He has epic tunnels going on around the entire cage.

 

Gabriel’s Turn! He likes to meditate and other business in his sand box.

gabriel sand gabriels cage collageMy Chinese hamster is also older. In fact he probably is older than Strawberry but I will never know. He is adopted with barely any known history. I’m his 3rd and final home! He is in the FOP Gabbia Tamburino Linera Natura – a hybrid of a tank and cage. I had hammocks and suspension ladder toys and the like going on in here and other cages I tried putting him in – he had no interest. Today I decided to leave the top grill off (the grid lid) because he cannot climb out. This gives me better view of him from above and I don’t have to meddle with lifting it up and putting it down (it’s loud because it needs a handle). Anyway, he prefers his environment low to the ground and with plenty of hideouts. He does like to climb driftwood and such. I go with a forest floor type of habitat for him.

Finally, for the hamsters –  the Roborovski’s Snow & Patch! Having their nightly sand bath.

snow sand

patch sand

robos cage

The Roborovski brothers were separated due to my ignorance. I began with them together when I brought both home from the shop. I had one wheel. Multiple platforms. One house. If you are to keep your robo’s social due keep in mind – no platforms. A home and toy for each. Two Robo’s = two wheels, two food bowls, two houses. Or some will say better to have no houses but instead numerous hide outs. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late. They were drawing blood. Snow reminds me of this whenever I see the sections taken from his ear by Patch’s past nips. So, I did a DIY cage out of a book shelf that a neighbor was throwing out. It was a dollhouse style bookshelf. I simply put vinyl tiles down for the floor. Contact paper along the walls. And made a partition that is removable for clean out. It’s also vinyl and is attached from the inside with heavy duty velcro. They cannot climb out. I forgot the measurements but it’s as long as Bob’s rabbit cage and a little narrower in width compared to his. It’s the most space they’ve ever had and it’s easy to clean and fun to and easy to watch them. They’ve never been happier!

Last but not least: My Gerbil’s Mercury and Lennon! Waiting patiently for their treat. They also give me kisses!

gerbils posinggerbils cage collage

My gerbils have sampled many a layout/aquarium. I had them originally in a tall 28 gallon. Then 20 long. Then a 110 qt Bin cage. And finally a 40 long. Then I DIY’d a topper to put on top. I change around their set up every time I clean out. I have large pieces of drift wood I trade out each time to keep it fresh. Various tunnels and bridges and such they bury down into the bedding. You can barely see the current drift wood I put in there. It was a smaller piece than usual. In the topper they have water bottles, a sand pot where they do all their business. A Gnawsome hut to chew on and they prefer to snack within with the treats I give them. The topper has 2 floors. Or two separate “lofts” where I put their food dish. Or just for a perch and look out. They are pretty spoiled methinks. They are worth it. My little daytime buddies!

And that is the October 2013 cage tour of the Rodent’s of Hammy Happenings!

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Bob’s cage tour for August 2013

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So as of now this is Bob’s set up. He is in a rabbit cage by Ware which I got used for $20 dollars and covered the wide bar spacing with sections of 1/2 inch grid mesh. I secured the mesh to the frame with cable ties. Though I took these photos last night and today I finished snipping the white cable ties and replacing with dark red cable ties which are also skinnier so it looks cleaner and less tacky. I had only got half the cage done by last night. I have hated the original ties I used and am so glad I finally redid it.

Also I used a doubled up screen mesh and attached it from the inside of the front door so it wouldn’t interfere with the latching mechanism.

The dimensions in inches are: 41.5”W x 17.5”D x 26”H
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I made the wooden mushroom platform with wood dowel rods and wood plaques from the craft store and used kids nontoxic paint to make them look like mushrooms. I then covered it with a paint water proofing sealant.

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Also I have a Senior Wodent Wheel 11″ and several plastic shelves and Rittles N Bittles custom set of quilted hammocks for more space and enrichment.

He has a hanging coconut hideaway which is his favorite toy ever and several wood ledges and an edible perch which he thinks is absolute fun to use like an obstacle course. A blue small igloo house, a space pod (which i just realized isn’t actually in there right now. I switched it out for awhile) a bendable bridge, tissue box, fleece tunnel, and a couple high back litter pans with sand for a potty. An earthenware food dish and a bird ladder which I plan to cover the back of for no slip throughs. A hanging bell toy he likes to make jingle.20130819-213628.jpg

I use ProEarth or Carefresh Crinkle paper substrate. I initially used it exclusively for Bob as he is long haired and it was the only substrate I had ever found that didn’t stick in his skirt. Now I use it for all my hamsters and my gerbils because its the least dusty and least allergenic of substrates. My son has severe allergies and asthma and I found that aspen irritated all our noses. The nests the hams can make with wads of this crinkle paper are amazing so I think we are all happy.

Converting a rabbit cage to hamster cage

This isn’t a detailed instruction. Lets hope photos can show the obvious but if you are happening upon my blog and want to ask a question about doing this please do. I might take a few days to respond but I will!

I got a used $20 rabbit cage with the footprint in inches: 41L x 20 H x 18 W – from a local pet Facebook group I am a member of and purchased 10ft of mesh that was 24 inches in height and 1/2 in spacing as to convert this to a hamster cage I had to cover over the 1 inch bar spacing which is too wide to contain a Syrian (an obviously smaller dwarf species) hamster. I would have needed a couple more feet of mesh had I not used the metal coated grid that came with it (used for the floor with rabbits and guinea pigs if you are old school but is not recommended at all) to secure to the back to save me time and mesh/ hardware cloth.

What you need:
1. Hardware cloth either 1/4 or 1/2 spacing. Amount of feet depends on size of cage but get more than you need is rule of thumb to cover mistakes.

2. Cable ties

3. Wire cutters and needle nose pliers (mine is both needle nose and a cutter)come in handy to thread ties through hard to reach areas. You’ll know what I mean when you begin cable tying the mesh flush to the sides while reaching an arm inside the front or top door to reach as far as possible deep inside.

4. Measuring tape or ruler.

For the shape of this cage that had thick bar framing and arched top I decided to measure (forgot to to snap photo of measuring tape) it in sections and cut out the mesh. For sharp ends I added a couple inches to the width and height of the sections so I could bend an inch over to have a non-sharp edge all around.

I decided to put everything inside as I wanted it set up so that I could find where I might have issues hooking hammocks to the top once meshed over or the shelf connected to the sides or water bottle. And adjust as I went along. I found that this was best and that I came to no issues except with the shelf I found I needed to cut squares in the grid in the back and the mesh on the right side to be able to remove the shelf if need be.

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I was in a rush and to secure the mesh tightly and flush and uniform to the cage it requires much cable ties all over in any place you notice the mesh sticking up away from the bars. I would recommend not to be in such a rush and place your ties less haphazardly. Not that how I randomly did so is any less secure but normally I am fixated on appearance of cages and liking things to look organized and symmetrical. If that matters to you then take more time.
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It has a front and top door and the entire arched top opens like a door but I cable tied that closed but meshed the top and front doors separate so I could continue using them. With the front door I came across the issue of the bars under the door where when it opens down it would be stuck by the mesh under the hinges so I used steel thick wire I had in hand with a steel cutter I have TI attach with cable ties to make a bar in the middle of the spacing to give it 1/2 inch spacing which will contain a Syrian hamster. Same with the spacing above the door. For extra security with the steel wire and the grid metal backing I criss crossed the cable ties like an X over sections where the original bars of the cage criss crossed.

The door itself I left the middle unmeshed as the way it opens you squeeze the latches like a spring. That area has a bar running down to make it cubed spacing and i felt it makes it small enough an opening I wasn’t concerned with my hamster being able to squeeze through. But you have to keep every possible vulnerability like this under consideration.
20130519-112947.jpgIt took me a few hours in total and as always a few scrapes to the skin as I am. A little clumsy. Gloves would probably be wise. It’s also not the most attractive cage on the outside but oh how it’s perfect size and with so many options for set up and my Bob LOVES his space and toys and levels. As my girl Penny runs about on her turn free ranging I watch Bob run about the entire perimeter of his cage and its so fun!

And I love a project. And I love to share my projects for both pride in accomplishment and public small pet awareness.

This is yet another alternative for spacious and cheaper housing for your hamsters in the USA or any country where it is difficult to find hamster cages that are humanely sized.

I also have a video compilation of Bob using every bit of his new cage and cheeky Penny makes a couple appearances (she was in heat that day and teasing poor Bob dreadfully). I am using a wordpress app for iPad which doesn’t let me embed youtube so if you come here before I can edit this to add the video please come back a little later to refresh.

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Lastly here is a shot of my updated hamster room. I rearrange it when I vacuum the entire room. I have placed Snow in the Tamburino and Strawberry is now in the Kevin. Patch is in the 20 gallon as he has slowed down lately and been not coming out much. When I put him back in a 20 gallon tank he has resumed his activity. Those Roborovskis of mine have always preferred tank like environments. They appear to not like cage bars/ mesh. Too many smells and sounds perhaps. Maybe the scent of other hamster species freak them out. Rest assured all my hams seem very content now and so am I. Finally.

As of now I believe I have finished cage purchasing and DIY. Next year we’ll be getting a bunny and DIY cages will resume. For now I am going to begin posting other people’s set ups (with credit and shout outs whenever possible). Because I still LOVE to see creative cages!

I want to twist my friend Kerri’s arm to share her process here as a guest poster for her IKEA Billy hack for her dwarf Smudge.