American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2015 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Pet Projects

Making Wire Shelves For Rat Cages

By Karen Robbins

This is a simple idea and easy to make but gives a big impact to a cage. I came up with this idea to add additional square footage to my existing rat cages by giving them shelves so they would have another level in their cage. These were made to hang on the wire in the back of my cage units. Since they hang on wire, they can also be used in the wire cages most rat owners use, so as to give their rats more surface area to utilize.

While my rats loved these additions, they would sit on the shelf and pee which then ran down the back of the cage to underneath the pull-out trays which made a mess. So, after a while I ended up taking them out and no longer use them since it is not practical for the type of cages I use. However, I am giving the plans here for those that would find these a good addition to the cages they use.

Supplies Needed For Making Wire Rat Shelves
  • ½ x ½ 18 gauge welded wire (stainless steel is great as it is easier to clean, but the galvanized is fine if you get it powder coated)
  • Wire Cutters
  • Grinder to grind the cut edges smooth so you nor the rats get cut on the edges
  • Sheet metal bending brake to bend the wire
  • Pliers or needle-nose pliers to fold the wire prongs to make the hanging hooks and connect the front bottom lip to the side lips

Specifications (can be made to your specifications; following are what I used)
  • 5″D x 10/12/16″W x ½″H lip x 2″H back piece (make to your length; I made some 10″, 12″, and 16″ wide)

  1. Cut out the wire; allow a hook every 4 inches on an even size shelf (i.e. 12 or 16 inch); for a 10″ shelf have 2–3 hooks
  2. Grind cut edges smooth
  3. Bend the wire to make the back piece; bend the bottom lips that will add strength to the shelf
  4. Fold the wire prongs on the front lip to the sides to hold them in place; fold the wire prongs on the back piece to make the hooks to hang the shelf
  5. If not using stainless steel wire, get the shelves powder coated so they are easier to clean
  6. Hang the shelf inside your cage

Various sizes wire shelves for rats
Various sizes wire shelves for rats. Front: 10″ and 12″; back: 16″. Photo ©2013 Karen Robbins.

Rat wire shelf
Rat wire shelf. This first plan didn’t have a lip all the way around the bottom, just in the front. We later modified to have a lip all around the bottom for added strength to the shelf. Plans by Harley E. Hauser.

Rat wire shelf plans with side and bottom lip
Rat wire shelf plans with side and bottom lip. Plans by Harley E. Hauser.

Another set of plans for a rat wire shelf
Another set of plans for a rat wire shelf. Plans by Harley E. Hauser.

A finished 10 inch rat wire shelf
A finished 10 inch rat wire shelf that has been powder coated. This has 2 hooks to hang the shelf. Photo ©2013 Karen Robbins. *

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January 2, 2019