Things You'll Need
Untreated pine (do not use plywood as it is toxic to chinchillas)
Heavy3/4 inch metal mesh (16 gauge minimum)
Staple gun and 14 mm staples
Liter tray (available from pet supply vendors. A link to one is provided at the end of this article)
Handle for litter box (if needed)
Hinges and latch
Angle braces for shelves
Wire cutters for mesh plus standard carpentry tools
You may prefer a side door for your chinchilla cage. To do this you will need to construct the front panel with a frame inset into the panel for the door. The top can then be fastened down with screws instead of installing hinges and a latch. The advantage of a top-opening cage is that it gives better access to the cage, making cleaning easier.
Chinchillas are great pets but they do need to be confined when not under supervision. A chinchilla cage needs to be large—about 3 feet high and at least 2 X 3 feet (6 square feet) in area. If you are handy with tools and want to make a chinchilla cage for your furry friend, it's not very difficult. This guide describes the steps needed to make a chinchilla cage. Because specific measurements will vary depending on how much space you have, specific measurements are omitted.
Build the base for the cage. This will also act as a frame for the litter tray. Fasten 2x4 pieces of wood together for the sides and back with screws arranged to form a 4-inch deep frame. The front piece should be cut to leave a gap at the bottom for the litter tray to slide in (about 1 inch, but this will vary depending on how high the front edge of the litter tray is. If the tray does not have a handle drill holes in the front and fasten a handle to it (available at any hardware store). Fasten a sheet of thin wood to the bottom of the base with screws to hold the litter tray in place.
Make the panels for the cage. You will need five for the font and back, sides, and top. Each will be a rectangular frame (1x2 boards can be used here) with a vertical piece inset at the center to provide added support.
Cut the mesh to fit and staple it to each panel. For safety, any wire ends that are within reach of the chinchilla must be filed down. The mesh should be positioned to be on the inside of the cage. This prevents the chinchilla from reaching the wood and eventually chewing it to pieces!
Screw the side, front, and back panels together, forming a 4-sided box open at the top and bottom. Hint: if you measure the sides so that they fit flush between the front and back this will give a nicer appearance to the front of the cage.
Fasten the assembled cage panels to the base. You can do this in two ways. You will either need to drill holes through the base and use very long screws (5 to 5-1/2 inches) or countersink the screws.
Install shelves. Chinchillas need shelves to mimic their natural mountain habitat and to provide exercise. For maximum stability, use angle braces screwed to the wood frame of the sides or back of the cage and a thin piece of wood screwed to the angle brace for the shelf. Be sure to sand the edges of the shelves so they are rounded to prevent injury to your chinchilla.
Attach the top to the cage using hinges with a latch on the side opposite the hinges.