Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cage Revamp Part I

I never intended to have Willow in a cage all by herself, let alone the old store-bought cage I stopped using eight years ago when I built my first C&C cage.  But that's what happened after her fallout with Pinni and Bertie (Good fences make good neighbors).  When I separated them, Willow had been in declining health and had lost her daughter less than 6 months before.  She was not very mobile.  I honestly thought she would be in that cage for less than a year.  However, 16 months later (at 7.4 years old!), Willow is not slowing down one bit.  In fact, she's in better health than she had been the year or two prior!  I can't house them together, but I'd like Willow to have a bit more company.  It was time to bite the bullet and reconstruct the cages to allow for more daily contact.

Two cages, one wall
My plan requires attaching the two cages together, replacing the store-bought cage bottom and removing one coroplast side of the main cage.  The girls will be separated simply by a pair of grids.  I had done a similar design years ago, when trying to integrate Vicky, Pippin and Willow into a single herd.  Vicky and Willow enjoyed laying next to each other on opposite sides of the grids.

Willow is a nosy old lady:  she often watches the Newbies from her second level and tries to rubs noses with Bertie.  I think the new design will let Willow be closer to the Newbies without them stealing her food.

New grid layout but still the old store-bought bottom

I normally tackle cage redesigns on cleaning day, so I had my day all planned out.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough coroplast to construct the bottom of Willow's cage.  I plan to pick up the coroplast during the week.

Regardless, I took the opportunity to reassemble the grids.  I hate deconstructing a cage.  Clipping away zip-ties makes me feel like I'm wasting good work.  But the end results should be worth it.  Both cages now share two grids as a common wall and the coroplast along that wall was removed.  Willow's cage has a sturdier base and was lengthened to a full three grids.  So far, it all looks pretty good.  All I have left to do is the coroplast.

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