Most people will not have the time or skills to build their own DIY Chinchilla cages but if you do then this page will give you a good guide on how to begin. If however you just want to get your Chinchilla cage and get going with owning a pet Chinchilla then see our Best Chinchilla cage recommendations page.
HOMEMADE CHINCHILLA CAGE
Do be very careful if you are constructing and building a DIY Chinchilla cage because if you don’t get it right you might find your Chinchilla gets his feet and legs trapped in a corner of the cage. Also be careful with the materials you use for the cage because many types of wood are treated with toxic chemicals which can poison and kill your pet. Make sure the wood is untreated.
Do not build your Chinchilla cage with wire mesh that a Chinchilla can get caught up in if the gaps are too large. Unfortunately, many well-meaning people try to save money by building their own Chinchilla cages and they don’t realize the dangerous environment they have created. Do not use any plastic – your rodent Chinchilla will chew on it and ingest the plastic.
Be careful with shelving inside your Chinchilla cages because they must be solid, your Chinchilla will jump and leap about from shelf from to shelf. Be careful not to have a situation where falling or slipping from the top shelf means your Chinchilla falls all the way down to the bottom, stagger the shelves.
BUILDING CHINCHILLA CAGES
Why build Chinchilla cages? You will save money. Animal cages, if you can find them locally, are still quite expensive. A large cage could easily cost you $300 or more. If you are shopping on the Internet or mail-order (which you might have to do with limited local options) and now you’ll have to add in high shipping costs. Building a cage for your Chinchilla, even a large one, should cost well under $200.
Even more importantly, though, is the opportunity to build the Chinchilla cage you want. If you buy one in a pet store you are settling for someone else’s design. The cage you find might not fit your space, or be particularly attractive. If you build your own cage you can create the size and shape you want – in addition to a few, convenient upgrades you won’t find in a pet store cage. I’ve noticed the average Chinchilla owner will want to upgrade about two years from their initial purchase: so why not build the cage you really want in the first place?
CHINCHILLA CAGE PLANS AND DESIGN
For the frame, I recommend 1×2 lumber (ash or pine, whatever is inexpensive). Get enough to create a complete 3d box for the frame of your cage. You’ll some 2-inch wood screws to build the frame. The melamine panels (get them cut where you buy them, or cut them with a circular or table saw) fit inside the frame, attached with Liquid Nails or another adhesive. You can caulk the edges to make them watertight.
Build a door or doors the same way (a frame of wood) but staple wire to the door so you can see inside the cage. Other considerations include covering the outside with a plywood (for a nice furniture look), staining the exterior pine, building shelves, and attaching wheels to the base if you want to move the cage around easily.
Although the process may sound daunting, all of these steps could easily be completed by a beginner. Just carefully plan your Chinchilla cage before you buy anything, and ask for help at the big box store or lumberyard you buy at (have them make the cuts for you). Eventually, you will have the Chinchilla cage you’ve always dreamed of.
For more help and ideas, be sure to read some of the DIY Chinchilla cage post in our Chinchilla Cage category. I’ll have pictures and many more details there, and I’ll be happy to help you through the process.
VIDEO ON BUILDING A CHINCHILLA CAGE
This video below is a very clever use of shelving units. This gives you a good idea of whether you can do it yourself or whether you are better off just buying a Chinchilla cage right now with no hassles and no time wasted! Watch the video on how to build a Chinchilla cage:
Treasures of many have an Etsy shop where she crafts fleece Chinchilla cage covers. I’m going to try out some of her items as well as items from a few other places. I’ll let you know what I think of the products once I’ve had a chance to test them out.