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How to build a rabbit cage.

An all-wire cage has many advantages over a wooden hutch. Here's how to make one.

For each cage you will need:

15' of 1/2" x 1" (36" wide) galvanized welded wire

12' of 1" x 2" (36" wide) galvanized welded wire

Cage clips

Wire cutters

Needle-nose pliers

Special pliers for cage clips

Heavy steel ruler or similar object

1. Cut off a six foot length of the 1/2" x 1" wire. Snip the wire as close to the cross wire as possible so the cut ends don't snag and scratch you or your rabbits.

2. Lay the wire on a hard, flat floor (concrete, not wood or vinyl) with the 1/2"-apart wires on top and the 1"-apart wires below. (This is so the rabbits have more support for their feet in the finished cage.) This will be the floor of the cage.

3. Place the steel ruler along one long side of the wire three inches from the edge. Stand on the steel to hold it in place, and bend the three-inch edge upward. Work your way along the length of the piece until the entire three-inch edge is at right angles to the floor. Try to make the corner as sharp as possible. (I stand on the steel with my left foot and, after lifting the edge as far as I can bend it with my fingers, kick back with my heel toward the steel - as if clicking my heels.) If the comer is rounded, you will have trouble fastening the ends, so make sure you keep the steel in the proper position so the angle is sharp - not rounded.

4. Repeat along the other edge. You should end up with a 6'x 30" wide cage floor with a three-inch rim along the two long sides. Now set it back out of the way for a while.

Make the top

5. Cut off a six-foot section of the 1" x 2" fencing. This will be the cage top. Trim off six inches from one long side so the cage top matches the 30-inch width of the cage floor. My preference is to trim off the edge that will be at the back of the cage, since the cut edge is not as smooth as the uncut edge. Always place the wire so the smaller dimension (one-half inch in the 1/2" x 1" wire, one inch in the 1" x 2") is toward the interior of the cage. Set the cage top back out of the way with the cage floor.

6. Cut off another six-foot section of the 1" x 2" fencing. Cut in half lengthwise for the two long walls of the cage. If you are making only one cage, you need to trim both walls to the same 16 inch height. If you are making two (or any even number) cages, you could use the 16-inch sides on one and the 18-inch on the other. (Cutting fencing in half destroys one square of the fencing: cutting a 36-inch wide length of 1" x 2" gives you one 16" wide piece and one 18" wide piece.) Set the walls out of the way.

7. Cut off three 30" lengths of the 1/2" x 1" wire. These will be the end pieces and center divider. Trim them to the height of the cage - remember to include the three-inch upturned rim on the floor (16" wall plus 3" rim = 19" high; 18" wall plus 3" rim = 21" high).

Assembly begins

8. Now you're ready to begin assembly. Lay the cage top on the ground, upside down (i.e., with the side that will be inside the cage, facing up). Put the rough trimmed edge at the back. Then lay the back wall on top of the cage top with the "inside" down. Align the edges and clip them together to form the top rear corner. Put two clips in the corner square, one in the next square, and one about every four to six inches across the cage. You can get away with fewer clips but I prefer the sturdier cage. The extra clips at the corner also help keep the wire in alignment as you work. As you clip your way across the cage, make sure the two pieces stay lined up so you don't have one sticking out further at the end.

9. Cut the front wall into three pieces: two 16" long and one 18" long. (If you are using self-feeders, measure their width [usually ten inches] and snip out that length of the bottom row of the 16" sections to accommodate them.) Start with one of the 16" pieces and clip it to the top piece, starting at one end. Then skip 11" for a door and attach the 18" piece in the center. Skip another 11" for the other door and finish with the other 16" piece. Reinforce all the corners with extra clips as on the back.

10. Now lay the cage top upside down (inside up) on the ground and spread the cage back and cage front out to the sides of it and attach the ends and center divider. I try to put the original edge (untrimmed and so smoother) attached to the cage top so there aren't rough edges sticking up from the cage top. Remember to put the 1/2" apart wires on the inside of the ends. Do the center first so you don't walk on the ends to get at it last. After the center divider is attached, fold down flat on the cage top so it's out of the way for now.

11. Now attach the cage bottom to the cage back. Lay the cage bottom right side up (rims up, inside up) next to the spread-outcage back. Make sure they're even to start and keep them straight as you slip them together. Make sure you're clipping inside-to-inside in case you've had to move things since the last step.

12. Once the cage bottom is attached to the cage back, flip the cage front pieces onto the cage top, then roll the cage top (with all its attachments) up into position above the cage bottom. Use the ends and center divider to hold it up in place. Flop the front walls up onto the roof out of the way.

13. center divider to the cage back starting at the top corner where the top, back and center divider meet. Clip down the back then across the bottom. Use extra clips at the top and bottom of the back and on both upturned rims of the cage bottom, for reinforcement. This is where you'll be glad/sorry you did/didn't bend good right-angle corners on the bottom rims.

14. Flop the cage front pieces down and attach them to the upturned rim of die bottom. Use double side-by-side clips at all the corners to avoid bending the wire in use. (Note: When I built the first cage I did #14 before #13. I like this way but you may prefer to do it the other way.)

15. Go back to the trimmings left from step #7. Cut out two doors, each 13-inches wide and one square longer than the door opening. Place them inside the cage and clip the top of the door loosely to the wall/top corner to act as a hinge. Close with whatever catch you have. A small, blunt "L"-shaped hook hung from the cage top will hold the door up and open.

Things to remember:

1. Measure twice or more, cut once.

2. Cutting cage wire destroys the square you cut through. Allow for the loss when you measure and figure materials needed.

3. The narrow space (1/2 inch apart) wires go on the inside (upside) of the floor!

4. Work where you can sweep up all the sharp little bits of cut wire.

5. Wire bending can gouge wood or vinyl tile floors.

6. Cut out all the pieces before you start to assemble them. If you cut something wrong and want to adjust something, you don't have to dismantle anything to do it.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Wells, Cindy
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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