Hamsters are a family pet but they come with expenses. Food and toys for the hamster add up, so consider making your own wire hamster cage. Using just a few tools and the right type of wire mesh, a unique and custom cage is easily within the typical parent's reach.
Choosing the right wire
Hamsters are small animals so a small wire mesh is necessary to build the right kind of cage. Choose a sturdy wire mesh that has holes which are between 13 and 25 mm (1/2 and 1 inch) wide. Cage wire, or mesh wire is fine for most cages. Chicken wire however, is not as suitable, unless you plan to build a sturdy frame for the cage out of metal or wooden boards. The chicken wire itself is malleable and bends easily, so anyone who leans on it or drops something on the cage will dent it. Refrain from using sheathed mesh wire as hamsters will chew the sheathing off.
A hamster cage is a simple square box with a bottom area. The cage portion should be sturdy and made of a single sheet of wire if possible. Plan to create a space that is about 60 cm (2 feet long) and 45 cm (1.5 feet) wide or up to 90 cm (2 feet) long and 90 cm (2 feet) wide. This gives the hamster plenty of room to roam, but reduces the surface area you need to clean and keep littered with bedding materials. The bottom portion must be solid. A large, shallow plastic container used for storing shoes or clothes is one option, the other is to build a wood box from plywood. Or, insert a single plywood sheet as the bottom of your cage.
Putting it together
One way to build the hamster cage is to start with a long sheet of metal wire that is six feet by four feet. Cut off the corners of the wire, leaving two 60-cm (2-foot) sections and one 1.8-metre (6-foot) section in the shape of a plus sign. Then fold over the 60-cm (2-foot) sections and the ends of the 1.8-metre (6-foot) section to form a cube shape. Secure them with 12-gauge wire or zip ties. This is attached to the bottom portion. Or attach another bottom section of mesh with wire to the cage to complete the box shape. Slide a piece of plywood into the cage before your attach the last side to install the bottom of the cage.