Melamine, metal, and other issues

Erikah asks…

Okay, after observing the ups and downs of many different cages, I've decided to take on the project of building my own (which is not much of a problem thanks to the many posts I've found).

Sadly, I've caught myself at a dead-end on the melamine situation. I want the inside of the cage to be melamine, yet I do not know how you can purchase large slabs of it rather than tiny shelf pieces.

Also, I want a type of metal drawer at the bottom of the cage which will hold the bedding and make it easier for me to clean it out. Where can I get the metal from and, lastly, how can I get it fitted for my cage?

In conclusion to this post, I would like to know how install the screen portion (the part which allows for the animal to breathe while keeping them from hopping out of the cage) of the cage, which confuses me also.

Thanks so much for the help (and, alas, for bearing with me)!

Infolific answers…

We used melamine for the bottom portion of my cage. We created a large 5-sided box out of it. And then within that box we placed a pine box in which we put the bedding. It doesn't quite slide out like a drawer, but we also don't have to fill the entire bottom of the cage with wood shavings.

As for the walls, we used wire shelves like the kind you can get from the Container Store. You'll want to look into whether these wire shelves are painted or not and go for whatever is safer for chins.

It's tough to explain fully in an e-mail post, but we have take some time to post a fuller description and picture on my site. Feel free to check out our chinchilla cages post.

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  1. I recently took my chin Flapjack to the vet er and she didn't make it. She was having seizures and other things in an instant when she was fine a half hr ago. They did tests and was thinking it was a tumor located on her pancreas I believe but asked if she had anything toxic. Of course I wouldn't let my chinchilla go near anything of the sort but then I took a second look at her cage and she would pull on the cage with her teeth when she wanted out and such and there is paint stripped off the cage. But it looks like a good thick bit. Do they paint the cages with a non toxic paint for smaller animals. I put my full name in my last post. Didn't mean to. Take it off if you can please.

  2. I also built a cage for my chinchilla. My idea was to use galvanized metal. It was easier to find and it is for chinchillas.

    • Melamine is and excellent countertop, but when it comes to mammals it is very unsafe. Expecially with rodents-Because they will chew the wood to file their teeth- Malamine is a metabolite of cyromazine when injested by mammals, and it's basically pesticide when it turns into cyromazine...or something like that. My best answer would be to check wiki on "malamine" and "cyromazine".

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