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Old 02-24-2009, 01:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
ana
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Default Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

I'm not sure where, but I remember reading somewhere about wood cages being bad for one reason or another... So, my question here is, outside the obvious cage constructions outlined in previous threads (such as the one stickied above) - i.e. bins, C&C, etc., what materials are acceptable for DIY cage building?

I was reading up on cage construction, though many of the resources I've found have been for building reptile cages, and what I really liked were enclosures that had a floor, 3 solid sides and 1 glass or plastic (plexi-glass) front side - presumably some sort of sliding door. (I believe Mika posted a pic of something like this in the cage examples thread also...)

With proper ventilation, would melamine coated mdf be an acceptable material to use? ...and, just for the sake of discussion, what other materials are ok? Obviously we know Coroplast is ok, and I'm going to go ahead and assume that acrylic and plexiglass are ok... but what about linoleum? laminate flooring? resin-coated materials? formica? vinyl wallpaper? paint? (enamel? acrylic?)

I know I'm throwing some pretty random stuff out there, but I'm curious. We just moved into our house in October and have been doing a lot of renovations/home improvements and, well, not only am I'm really inspired to build something fantastic for our little girl, but I also think it'd just generally be a good idea to have an "acceptable materials" list (as well as one for unacceptable materials - including obvious things such as treated lumber) for other folks that might be considering building something from scratch as well.

Obviously working with solid materials, as opposed to wire cages, ventilation would have to be one of the primary concerns... and, while I would most likely still want to have an open-top cage, I would still think think that installing a few vents lower on the back/sides would be a good plan just to ensure plenty of fresh air. Would a register towards the lower back of the cage, like the kind found in most homes, be safe/acceptable? Would something else be preferable? A very small/fine wire mesh + plastic combo? (I'm looking at my cup-o-mealworms right now and admiring the top on it, actually, lol... it's very similar to this: http://mantiskingdom.com/images/container.JPG)

I know it's a LOT of questions... but, perhaps, with enough answers, a good DIY guide to alternative, even decorative, cages could be put together. I'm sure there are probably other folks out there that would love to have not only a functional and comfortable home for their hedgie, but also something unique that could even add to their home decor. (I'm a sucker for modern decor, myself. )

Additionally, the "acceptable materials" list could even go so far as fabrics and materials that are OK for things such as custom bedding/liners/etc... Like, I've been curious, I've seen lots of fleece liners, but what about other soft fabrics? i.e. suede/ultrasuede? jersey knit? faux fur? (the short, kind of slick kind, not the fluffy stuff) corduroy? (Presumably anything other than fleece would have the edges serged to avoid lose threads - or even, for padding, sewn together with fleece on the underside.)
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

While i do not know any of these answers, i would like to say i support your DIY'ness.
I hope to see many answers regarding the safe/unsafe things for a hedgie.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

I'm from the UK, and a large number of people here (including me) keep their hedgies in 'vivariums', with extra ventilation at the back. I bought a flat pack viv, but a lot of people make their own. I think they're great, as I think the hedgie feels more secure whilst still hearing all the noise around them, and they can be at eye level so you're not looming over them. They also keep any smells in, and can make a really attractive piece of furniture. People over here tend to make them out of 'contiboard', a kind of veneered MDF, similar to higher end flat-packed furtinture, and then seal the edges/corners with aquarium sealant.

Here is my vivarium (minus his wheel) to get an idea....


The white vents that came with it weren't enough, so I added one of these...


And here's my boy ..


I know the husbandry methods differ between the UK and the US, just thought you were describing pretty much what I have. Hope it helps.

Amy x
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

Amy, YES! That is exactly what I'm talking about! ...right down to the vents even! Thank you!!

Your little boy is so cute too!
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

I have to say, I love the dimensions of my cage now, but I would kill to have a classy looking thing like that. Maybe I'll make my own. Seems like loads of work though.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

Your vivarium looks great but IMO, doesn't have anywhere near enough ventilation. If it keeps the smells in, then the hedgehog is breathing in stale air and it is not healthy for them. Adding grid sides to provide more ventilation would not detract from the looks but would be healthier for the hedgehog.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

So if I built something like this, only open-top, would it be ok to use a vents like the one in hers (that looks like a standard home register) lower on the enclosure? or would there be any sort of safety risks? I can't see her hurting herself on something like that, I want to make sure I'm not overlooking something obvious and don't know it. :P
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

bartleby your boy is awsome its like hes smiling!!
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

I loved the look of the vivs but was worried about the ventilation issue, so intead of using glass I made mine with fiberglass fly screen mesh (type used for reptile cages). It is incredibly tough, looks just as good as glass but is far cheaper and allows much better airflow. Here's a couple of pics....




I made the cage as big as possible to give the hedgehog lots of room to run around, for comparison the cage on top is a Marchioro 120. I've now got all 3 of my hedgies in cages like this.

This is a link to the mesh that I got on ebay here in the uk.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1800MM-FLY-SCREEN ... 240%3A1318
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building from scratch... acceptable building materials?

Oooo, the mesh looks really nice, plus the ventilation it allows for is nice too... but I'd be worried about my little girl getting a nail stuck in it or something... I'd hate for her to snag a toenail or something.

I could definitely see using some sort of mesh like that for windows/vents though.
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