How to Make Your Own Chinchilla Ledges
Chinchilla ledges are wooden ledges that attach to the sides of your chinchilla's cage. These are an important part of the cage and each one should have several ledges.
Chinchillas love to jump between them. They should be spaced far enough apart that they can safely hop between the ledges. Be careful not to space them too far apart, or your chinchilla may hurt itself hopping from one to the other.
Besides providing exercise for your pet, the ledges also provide a place for your chinchilla to rest. This is especially important if your cage has a mesh bottom which can hurt your pet's feet.
Adding ledges to the cage will also increase its usable space since chinchilla cages have more height to allow for climbing. This is why your pet's home should be multi-tiered instead of one flat level.
Ledges will help you utilize the extra vertical space in the cage.
Make Your Own!
You could purchase ledges from your local pet shop, or you could make your own.
You can make them from a piece of wood and a couple things from the hardware store. Creating ledges is a very easy DIY project that only takes a couple minutes.
What You Will Need
- 1 - 6 Inch Piece of 1"x 5" Kiln Dried Pine
- 1 Hanger Bolt
- 1 Wing Nut
- 1 Fender Washer
- 2 Hex Nuts
- 2 Wrenches
- Socket and Socket Driver
- Tapered Drill Bit
The size of the nuts and washers will need to match the thread size of the hanger bolt and the size of the socket and wrenches will need to match the size of the hex nuts.
Types of Wood
The most readily available type of wood that you can use is Kiln Dried Pine. You can purchase this type of wood from most lumber yards or home improvement stores.
There are better woods for chinchillas, like apple and other fruit woods, but you are not likely to find these at your local home improvement store.
While it is not the absolute best wood, kiln dried pine is generally safe for them and you will find plenty of chinchilla products made from it.
Some chinchillas can have allergies to pine wood so keep an eye on them if you have never given them anything made from pine before.
Step 1: Drilling the Pilot Holes
The first thing you will need to do is drill a pair of pilot holes. Drilling these out helps keep your wood from splitting. It also makes it easier to start screwing in the hanger bolts and keeps them straight.
Measure one of the long sides of your piece of wood and mark the points that are 1/3 from each of the ends. Then use your taped drill bit and drill two straight holes in the side of the piece of wood.
Step 2: Attaching the Hanger Bolts
Next, we will attach the hanger bolts. A hanger bolt has one side that has wood threading and another side that has machine threading. This lets you screw the hanger bolt into wood and attach a nut to the other side.
- In order to screw the hanger bolt into the wood, we will need to lock two nuts on it. This is done by threading both of the hex nuts next to each other on the hanger bolt.
- Then, take your two wrenches and turn the bottom nut counterclockwise while turning the upper nut clockwise. This will lock the two nuts together, so they will not move.
- Now you can use your socket and socket driver to screw the hanger bolt into the pilot hole. Screw it in until it reaches the point where the wood thread ends, so only the machine threaded side is showing.
- Remove the hex nuts by taking your two wrenches and turning the bottom nut clockwise, while turning the upper nut counter clockwise. This will unlock the nuts and free them, so you can remove the nuts.
- Repeat this step with the second hanger bolt to insert it in the other pilot hole.
Step 3: Attach It to the Cage
Now all you will need to do is attach the ledge to your chinchilla's cage.
- To attach the ledge, just insert the hanger bolts in between the wires of the cage.
- Place the washers on the ends of the hanger bolts.
- Then, screw the wing nuts onto the hanger bolts to secure the ledge to it.
Don't Forget to Sand
You can also round the edges if you like.
You do not want your chinchilla to hurt themselves on any sharp edges, so you should at least use some sandpaper to round the edges of the ledge.
If you have a sander or router you can use those to further round the ledges. However, I usually do not put much effort into rounding, as the chinchillas will round themselves by chewing on the ledges.
The Poop Guard
Another thing I like adding to the ledges for my chinchilla's cage are Poop Guards. This is just an extra piece of wood that extends above the ledge, keeping things from rolling out of the cage.
This little extra piece of wood will save you plenty of time cleaning up after your chinchilla.
You can add a poop guard to your ledge by taking a second piece of wood the same length as your ledge, but not as wide.
Take your two pieces of wood and form an "L" shape with them, and screw your hanger bolts through both pieces of wood to join them together.
More Than Just Ledges
These techniques can be used to create more than just ledges.
You can measure your chinchilla's cage and create custom-built shelves. These shelves can run across the entire side of your cage and fit perfectly into your chinchilla's cage
You can also create hanging boxes that your chinchilla can sit inside of.