You'll need to do a bit more thinking when building a ferret cage than you will when building other animal habitats because of this critter's sneakiness and ability to escape from and break into various cages and coops. Using the right materials and construction techniques, you should be able to make a safe, secure, and jail-break-proof homemade ferret cage for your pet. Make sure your state allows ferrets before adopting this pet.
Choose your location
Before you start measuring, buying materials, or putting together a ferret cage, think about where you'll place it. Will you move the cage indoors and outdoors depending on the weather? Will sunlight, wind, and rain affect it? Do you need to easily get your hands and forearms in and out?
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Think about your need to reach into the cage once it's in place and any other factors that might make certain locations better or less comfortable or safe. If the cage will be placed in an area that's lit much of the day, you'll need to build an enclosed sleeping/bed area for the animal to sleep comfortably in the dark as they do in their natural habitats.
Calculate the dimensions
Ferrets spend most of their day sleeping (as much as 16 to 18 hours daily). Once ferrets are awake, they are raring to go and should have room to play. Your ferret(s) will need room to turn around, run, jump, and climb. The smallest a ferret cage should be is about 2 feet high, 2 feet wide, and 3 feet long.
As you start to build your own ferret cage, if you decide you want to provide more space, think about going up rather than wide. This will allow you to provide different levels for the ferret to climb. Many cage materials let you easily hook or snap panels or other materials onto them to create platforms ferrets can use for climbing and jumping.
Ferrets generally weigh 1 to 4 pounds and grow less than 2 feet long, so make sure any items you create off the ground can support them.
DIY ferret cage amenities
Will you put any ferret cage accessories in the cage with your pet? Will you have toys? A separate bed area? What about feeding and watering? Lay out your design on a piece of paper using to-scale dimensions so you can visualize your cage and plan how to size and build it.
Ferrets can be litter trained, so plan on space for a bed area and a litter pan or box. Decide where you want to put the food bowl and water source. Many ferret habitats have tiny hammocks that let the critters lounge comfortably off the ground.
Choose your materials
The quickest way to make a ferret cage might be to buy premade cage panels you can put together in a modular fashion to create the size you want. You should be able to buy a floor, sides, and a top along with a door. Don't use a dog crate alone because ferrets will be able to easily squeeze through the grate.
You can attach rabbit (not chicken) wire to wooden posts to make a ferret home. Chicken wire isn't sturdy enough to withstanding ferret chewing. You'll also need to make sure you staple the rabbit wire using plenty of staples close together to prevent the ferret from raising the wire between staples and squeezing out.
Put the cage together
Follow the directions on cage materials you buy. If you are buying stand-alone materials, place the floor panel first and experiment with attaching one of the walls to it. Follow the process for the other three walls and the door and top. Taping or looping wire around the two pieces won't work because your ferret will simply unwind the materials. If you can easily flip open a door latch, your ferret will probably be able to do the same.
Purchase cage pieces that hook or snap together and leave no gaps. It might be easiest to buy a commercial pet cage and then cover it securely with rabbit wire. You'll need wire clippers to cut your pieces to size, including a separate piece to cover the door.
Place a piece of nontoxic plaster or other material on the bottom of the inside of the cage so your ferret can walk and lie on the floor. You should not use wood flooring since it can become contaminated with excrement. Build a sleeping area using five small pieces of wood screwed into a small bottom piece. Three of the side pieces should be the same size, with two smaller pieces used to create the fourth side with an entry/exit hole. Place a top over the sleeping area.