American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2010 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Pet Projects

Making AFRMA Mouse Show Boxes

By Karen Robbins

Go to Making AFRMA Rat Show Boxes

With the death of my dad in 2004, it has left a big hole in the job of making show boxes and repairing them. It will be up to the exhibitors to build and provide their own show boxes based on the plans provided below. AFRMA show boxes must be made to these specifications and colors.

If anyone has show boxes they bought from AFRMA in the past and are no longer using them and they are in good condition, recycle them back to the club as we have new exhibitors that are in need of some.

From the AFRMA Show Regulations 2012:

    1. Rats and mice must be shown in small individual boxes similar to the ‘Maxey’ cages of the National Mouse Club in England.
    2. One animal per show box except in Most Matched Pair class or the Progeny class offspring which may have more than one per box if the animals are small/young. [Effective October 22, 2005]
    3. Bedding used in show boxes to be the material provided by the Association. [Effective October 22, 2005]
    4. All rat and mouse exhibitors are required to own their own rat and mouse boxes and maintain them in good condition. The Association has the plans available for members and exhibitors to make their own show boxes. The show boxes must follow these specifications (may be bought from the Association if available) to keep the same type and colors.

Supplies Needed
  • ⅜ inch plywood for body (actual size)
  • ⅛ inch hardboard for bottoms
  • 1¾ inch finishing nails to make latches (2 per show box; placed 1½″ down)
  • jumbo paperclips for cage tag (1 per show box)
  • pan head phillips sheet metal screws size 8 x ⅜ to fasten paper clip to box (1 per show box; drill hole 1¼″ down and 1¼″ from right side on right side of top)
  • brads/nails and automatic brad nailer
  • primer paint
  • Blue outside: Red Devil Gloss Polyurethane oil Empire Blue #20 for body
  • White inside: Rust-oleum Glos White #7792 paint
  • ½ x ½ inch hardware cloth wire for mouse box door

Blue Paint

Mouse Box Mouse Box

Specifications – Mouse Box
(overall 62732″W x 5¾″D x 4H–back x 1½″H–front/11316″H–front sides)

Cut Plywood Sizes Needed (if making several boxes, cut strips out of your sheet of plywood, then cut the pieces for each part from each strip, i.e one strip for tops, one for fronts, etc.):

  • 1 bottom 5¾″ x 62732
  • 1 top 2″ x 62732
  • 2 sides 5¾″ x 3½″ (back) x 2″ (where top is) x 11116″ (front corner)
  • 1 back 3½″ x 6316
  • 1 front 1716″ x 6316
  • 1 wire door 6″ x 4″ (grind cut edges smooth; put vertical wires facing out on box; horizontal wires underneath)

1¾ inch finishing nail bent to make latch.

Wire door

Wire door. Bottom protruding wires are “hinge” into box, top wires are stops.

Overall dimensions
AFRMA Mouse Show Box dimensions

Maintenance to Show Boxes
  • Clean with warm soapy water and dry.
  • Do not use boxes as permanent living quarters or let your animals play in them.
  • Do not soak boxes in water.

  • Paint used:
  • White: Rust-oleum Glos White #7792
  • Blue: Red Devil Gloss Polyurethane oil #20 Empire Blue
  • For clubs that want to use yellow instead of blue:Yellow: Red Devil Gloss Polyurethane oil #28 Mandarin Yellow

Wire Door Replacement
Diagram showing how to replace the wire door of the show box.

  • For Minor Dents, Dings:
  • Repair with spackling paste. Sand smooth. Touch up paint.

  • For Heavier Breaks, Gnaw Marks:
  • Use fine sawdust packing into damage. Use instant glue on sawdust. Allow to harden. Sand smooth. Touch up paint.

  • For Loose Latch Holes:
  • Remove latch by pulling straight out. Put a drop or two of instant glue into hole. Allow to harden. Re-drill hole using a 116 inch drill or insert latch using a twisting motion.

  • To Replace Wire Front:
  • Open front and grasp front at sides and slowly bow wire front to retract axle pins from box sides.To install: reverse procedure, hand straighten wire front.

Put your name and address on the bottom of each show box you own so if they are left at a show, they can be returned to you.

Maxey Cage

For those that have asked, “What is a ‘Maxey’ cage?” it is the National Mouse Club’s show box for mice designed by N.M.C. founder Walter Maxey. I’ve included a diagram from the book Exhibition and Pet Mice by Tony Cooke, L.R.I.C. They use 2 versions: one is lidless, and one is lidded. Some exhibitors will transport their ‘Maxeys’ in a ventilated traveling box which holds several show cages. They are painted Middle Brunswick Green on the outside and Signal Red on the inside. Walter Maxey was a postman and had access to free red and green paint because the mailboxes were painted those colors. These colors were adopted in 1904 and remain in use since.

Maxey Cage

Update: In going through my old NMC books, I found the 1979 Rules and Standards book had plans for the Maxey show cage which are the same as the ones in Tony Cooke’s book.

In the NMC 1987–1988 Year Book are plans for the Maxey show cage which are slightly different in size.

Go to Making AFRMA Rat Show Boxes

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Updated January 30, 2020