Here’s a tutorial I’ve been working on for a while about how to build a wire cage. I’m building a larger cage than the regular size for expecting does and their litters.
This one is 4 ft long and 2 ft deep, custom made to fit the shelves I have. That’s probably the best thing about making your own cages, you can make it any size you want!
Here’s the Supplies:
- 1 2 x 15 ft roll of 1 x 1 inch wire mesh, for top and sides.
- 1 4 x 2 ft piece of 1 x .5 inch wire mesh, for the floor
- A piece of the half inch wire (1 x .5 in.) an inch larger on all sides than your door hole.
- Tin snips
- Tape measure
- Needlenose pliers (not pictured)
- J-clip pliers
- A mallet or hammer is useful, but not totally necessary
Also, an important note:
Never use hardware cloth for the wire mesh! I used hardware cloth for the floor on my first cage, and I ended up having to rip off all the clips and re-cut and clip a new floor out of the 1x.5 in. wire. Hardware cloth is just not sturdy enough, very saggy, and doesn’t have large enough holes to let the droppings through, which means I would always be cleaning it.
Okay, step one is cutting a 7 foot long, 2 ft wide piece of the 1×1 inch wire.
This makes the top and end pieces of the cage.
Measure 18 inches from both ends in toward the middle of the 7 ft length of wire and mark it with a Sharpie. Now Bend the 7 ft length of wire up at the 18 inches mark on both ends. Do. Not. Cut. The ceiling and the end pieces are all one piece! You can kneel on a wood 2×4 at the 18 inch mark and bend the wire against that, however a 2×4 is not absolutely necessary. This is where your hammer or mallet comes in handy. You can bend the wire against the 2×4 by tapping it lightly with the hammer until you get a good 90 degree angle. (Sorry, I don’t have pictures of this step. It’ll make more sense in the next few steps.)
Now, cut two 4 ft long, 18 in wide panels out of the same 1×1 inch wire.
You cut the width of this panel the same height as the end pieces you just bent.
You bent the end pieces up 18 inches, therefore you cut the width of the side panels 18 inches too.
On one of the panels cut an opening for the door, but make sure that you have enough wire to make the door for it!
You can make the door whatever size you want (see? is custom made not great?), just don’t take so much wire out that the cage isn’t sturdy.
Now, I’ll introduce you to my favorite tool, the J-clip pliers!
Seriously, this is a fun little tool. I bought both my pliers and my j-clips on Amazon and I really like them.
I’ve also tried the kind Tractor Supply stores carry, but I dislike them. The pliers make lopsided clips, and the clips themselves are really hard to to clip.
The brand I got on Amazon is Pet Lodge Miller Manufacturing.
Okay, now place the clip in the pliers, with the curved end of the clip in the wide end of the pliers.
Now just line up the wire pieces you want to clip in the curved end of the clip and squeeze the pliers.
Now you can use the pliers to put together your cage!
Clip the side panels to the top and end piece. If you bent the end wall the same height as the side panels they should line up!
This is what your cage will look like with one side panel clipped on.
See how the top and end walls are all one piece? That’s what I mean by bending the end walls up.
Here’s the cage with both sides on and the door but no floor.
(and the the big bunny that likes to play in the cage 🙂 )
You can put the door on with J-clips as hinges. On my past cages I have put the door on the outside of the cage, swinging out, but with this one I tried putting the door on the inside of the cage swinging up into the cage. If you do it this way you’ll have to put the door on before you clip the side panel to the rest of the cage.
Now the floor! Almost done! Cut a piece of the 1 x .5 inch wire 2 ft wide and 4 ft long.
Now, your wire probably came in a roll. And that means that your wire will want to curve the direction it was wrapped on the roll. So before you put the floor on, you’ll want to flatten the wire some, but leave a little curve in it. When you put the floor on, make sure that the curve bows up, into the cage, and this will help prevent sagging! If you accidentally put the floor on with the curve facing down, than your floor will already start to sag.
Aaannd…. You have finished construction on you very own, custom made, all metal cage!!
Now for the finishing touches. You will want a latch for your door, and maybe you want to install a feeder!
One nice thing to have is door guards to put over the raw edges on the door frame, and you can get those door guards (and door latches, and everything else rabbit related!) at this link: http://www.bunnyrabbit.com/price/cagequip.htm.
For door latches, you can use dog leash or key ring clips, or make your own like I did with wire and j-clips.
This latch is pretty self explanatory, and it works quite well! I’ve used this style on my first cage that I made almost a year ago, and my bunny has never escaped from it.
Here’s the finished cage! (except the door latches)
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