Hamster cages sold in pet stores can be expensive. Fortunately, you can create your own cage inexpensively using a plastic container, plus some materials and tools. Before creating the new home for your pet, it is important that you add a suitable ventilation system and provide it with the materials and elements necessary to develop in the best way. If you can build the habitat and give it the food, water and bedding it needs, you will create a healthy environment for your little one.
Part 1 of 3: Measuring and cutting the lid
Step 1. Get a clear plastic container with a 15-20 gallon capacity
You can buy a plastic container with a lid online or at a department store. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), you will need a space of at least 75 x 40 x 40 cm (30 x 15 x 15 inches) in volume for each hamster. In this way, the animals will have enough space to move and play.
- If you have dwarf hamsters, you can keep them all in one cage, but you still need to take the number into account when calculating the size of the container.
- In the case of Chinese and Syrian hamsters, each should have their own space.
Step 2. Trace the outline of a rectangle on the lid of the container
Leave a 2-inch (5.1 cm) margin between the line and the edge of the lid. This space will serve to hold the metal mesh so that the cage has good ventilation.
Step 3. Cut the center of the container lid
Once the outline of the rectangle is ready, pierce the line with a utility knife or knife so you can start cutting. Then, use scissors to finish cutting along the line and pull out the rectangular piece of plastic.
Step 4. Drill holes every 7.5 cm (3 inches) down the outer edge of the lid
Using a marker, create small circles around the outside edge of the lid, about 3 inches (7.6 cm) apart. Then, put the lid on the container and use a drill with a 6 mm (¼ inch) or larger bit to create holes at each mark.
These holes will allow you to attach the metal mesh to the top of the cage
Part 2 of 3: Placing the wire mesh
Step 1. Cut a piece of metal mesh the same size as the lid
Get wire mesh online or at a hardware store. The idea is that it is made of metal so that the hamster cannot chew it to escape from the cage. Measure the length and width of the container's lid with a tape measure or ruler. Then cut a piece of the mesh with the same dimensions.
- The mesh will help keep the cage well ventilated without hamsters escaping.
- Use a wire cutter or sturdy scissors to cut through the wire mesh.
Step 2. Attach the metal mesh to the lid with ties
Pass them through the holes in the mesh and through the perforations in the lid. Secure the headbands and pull the loose ends to fit snugly against the cage. Repeat the process until you have attached the cap to each hole.
Step 3. Trim the ends of the headbands
Cut the excess from each headband so that the material does not protrude. When finished, you will have a cage with ventilation. But before placing your pet in its new home, be sure to make the necessary preparations.
Part 3 of 3: Prepare the cage
Step 1. Clean the inside of the container with a diluted bleach solution
Fill a bowl with cold water and a drop of bleach or bleach. Put on a pair of gloves and dip a rag in the solution. Use it to sanitize the inside of the container, the wire mesh and the lid. Then dry the entire interior with another clean cloth or a little absorbent paper.
By cleaning the cage with bleach, you will prevent your pet from getting sick from ingesting harmful chemicals that may have been left over from the time the container was manufactured
Step 2. Lay a layer of bedding material 2 inches (5.1 cm) deep
This material serves to absorb the urine of the animal, in addition to giving it a comfortable space to create its burrow. You can find paper, cellulose fiber, or poplar chip bedding online or at a pet store. Simply pour the material to the bottom of the cage and spread it out in such a way as to create an even layer about 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) thick.
- Don't compress the bedding material so the hamster can burrow; Ideally, the layer should be 6 to 7 inches (12 to 15 cm) deep.
- Avoid using pine or cedar shavings, as these can splinter and injure the animal.
- Use a material without dye or color to prevent the hamster from getting sick to its stomach.
Step 3. Get a wheel for the hamster to exercise
A wheel will allow your pet to run and exercise even if they don't have a lot of room in the cage. Young hamsters have to exercise more than old ones, so make sure you have a wheel so your little one can grow up strong and healthy.
For a dwarf hamster, a 15 cm (6.5 inch) diameter wheel is the best option, while for a Chinese, Syrian or other large breed hamster, you will need to get a wheel around 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter.)
Step 4. Set up a drinking fountain so the hamster can drink water
You can get one online or at a pet store. Put some double-sided tape or Velcro on the back side of the waterer and stick the other side to one of the walls of the cage, at a point that your pet can reach. Hamsters like to drink fresh water, so you will have to change the contents every day.
Do not use a bowl full of water, as the hamster could drown
Step 5. Place a food bowl in the bottom of the cage
Get a small bowl online or at a pet store and place it on the bedding material. You can feed your pet about 10 g (0.35 ounces) of food a day. You can also provide him with some fruits and vegetables sporadically to supplement his diet.
- Hamsters store food on their cheeks and then hide it in the cage.
- Change perishable food, such as fruit, every day to prevent mold from growing.
Step 6. Give your hamster toys and accessories for entertainment
You can place small houses, wooden chewing toys, wooden balls and other similar accessories. This way, your pet will have something to do and places to hide and store their food. Remember that these animals feel calmer when they have a space to hide than when they do not have toys or accessories.
Step 7. Clean dirty areas daily and change the bedding material once a week
Hamsters usually relieve themselves in the same place in the cage. Therefore, you can clean that specific spot every day to facilitate subsequent deep cleaning. You will need to change the bedding material and clean the entire interior of the cage with a diluted bleach solution at least once a week to keep its habitat in good condition.