Non-Galvanized Mesh?

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Non-Galvanized Mesh?

Post by susb8383c on Thu 10 May 2018, 5:17 pm

I got so inspired by some of the videos on YouTube showing foraging walls that I decided to make a mouse condo out of Ikea's Detolph cabinet. A lot of hamster owners use this cabinet horizontally but I'm going to have a vertical set up. I figure it's like a tank, but I can put shelves in or out to make it as small or big as I want. I can attach foraging walls where I want, and the walls are glass so they won't be able to chew out.

The only problem I'm running in to is how to make a door. Making a wooden frame won't be hard, but my ideal is to have hardware cloth that is NOT galvanized. I really don't want them chewing on anything zinc. I didn't think it would be so hard to find hardware cloth made of aluminum or stainless steel, but it is. Well, finding where I can buy it in a small quantity is the most challenging. What I'd really love is a roll of the same stuff they make aquarium covers out of.

I nee something about 15" x 5 feet.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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Re: Non-Galvanized Mesh?

Post by susb8383c on Thu 10 May 2018, 6:18 pm

Hey, I think I found something! There's stuff called modeling metal mesh, used as a base when you make a paper mache sculpture. It looks like it's small enough, strong enough, and comes in the size I want. It's made out of aluminum, so no galvanizing at all. Check out this woman's video at about 1:47:
https://youtu.be/EHHsThdK-sw?t=105

If I could find a way to rig it to a metal frame using a DIY Window frame kit, I wouldn't have any wood at all.

What do you think?

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Re: Non-Galvanized Mesh?

Post by Jadamouse on Fri 11 May 2018, 1:14 am

The mesh looks fine, it doesn't really make much difference if the mesh is galvanized or not. make sure you get 1/4 inch sizing at the largest though as mice can very easily slip out.

Another thing, i personally don't think having the detolf vertical is the best idea as the floor space would be far under the minimum. it actually is much better to have as large of a floorspace as you can, as the height of a cage is much less important, and you would still easily be able to put foraging walls in the cage.
another thing is if you have the whole front of the cabinet as a mesh door your substrate would probably get pushed through the mesh and go all over the floor unless you have a barrier of some sort, which would make the floor space even smaller. The other issue is if you have the door open while you are doing something on one of the higher levels the mice/mouse could easily escape out the bottom without you noticing.

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Re: Non-Galvanized Mesh?

Post by susb8383c on Sat 12 May 2018, 11:28 pm

I know a lot of people use galvanized metal, but I've read that rats, birds, and I assume mice can get zinc poisoning from chewing the bars. The galvanizing material is zinc, which is poisonous. If there's any alternative I can find, I'll use that just to be safe.

The floor space of the Detolf is actually bigger than a 10 gallon tank, according to the calculator. It's 15 x 15 which can fit 3.3 mice, as opposed to a 10 gallon which can fit 2.9. So that should be fine. I do have four mice, but one is really small (which is why I kept her; she's a bit of a runt) and combined with all the levels I'm going to have, it should be fine.

I do realize I'll get litter spilled out. But I'm planning on making some kind of tray for the bottom with 3 inch high walls to contain it.

I'm having second thoughts about the modeling mesh. One reviewer said it can be ripped by hand, which says to me that a mouse might be able to chew through it. My guys bit through a twisty, so I realized just because something is metal doesn't mean it's chew-proof.

I found another option, though--An aluminum powder-coated car grill! There's a website that sells these and some have 1/4 inch openings. It's strong enough that it needs to be cut with shears. And they have a section of cheaper defects. It has 70% space which will be good for ventilation. It isn't quite as big as I need (only 48 x 16 and I really need about 60 tall) but maybe I can use part of the Detolph for storage instead, or combine the grill with a smaller piece.

I do realize I have to be careful when opening the door. But it should be similar to this type of set-up:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez41-90JACY
It looks like she has one big door. I think we'll be fine. I also have it up on a table about 8 inches off the ground, so for a mouse to escape at the bottom, she'd have to jump to the floor. Possible, but not as likely as running out at ground level.

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Re: Non-Galvanized Mesh?

Post by CallaLily on Sun 13 May 2018, 8:21 am

Just wanted to pop in with a reminder that the calculator shows the bare minimum amount of space for the number of mice shown. Once your mice have been tamed, most would do better with more space. Height isn’t usually counted because, though they will climb, they’ll generally spend most of their time in the floor space. On its side the detolf would be a great space once a sturdy lid is made. I wish you luck on however you decide to use it. Smile

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Re: Non-Galvanized Mesh?

Post by susb8383c on Sun 13 May 2018, 10:01 pm

Ah, that makes sense. We'll have to see how it goes. If it looks like they're not utilizing the space, I can always go back to my tank (I moved them from a 10 to a 20L a week ago). They're all pretty tame and want me to hold them whenever I take the lid off to feed them.

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Re: Non-Galvanized Mesh?

Post by susb8383c on Thu 17 May 2018, 6:22 pm

So just to document what I'm finding, now I'm trying to decide between:

Perforated aluminum sheet. The hex hole version has an opening only 1/4 inch and it has 77% open area. It's a lot cheaper than anything I've found. One sheet is enough to cover what I need if I cut it in half. I can put the cut side edges under cover of an aluminum window screen frame (HD sells kits so I can cut exactly the size I need for the door). Problem is I think Grainger might only sell to businesses.
https://www.grainger.com/category/aluminum-perforated-sheets/aluminum/raw-materials/ecatalog/N-gd8?okey=aluminum+perforated+sheet&mkey=Aluminum+Perforated+Sheets+&refineSearchString=aluminum+perforated+sheet&NLSCM=5&EndecaKeyword=aluminum+perforated+sheet&searchBar=true&searchRedirect=aluminum+perforated+sheet&sst=subset&nls_boost_words=noContent

Option 2 is a car grill sheet. Now this thing I really like! I got a small swatch sample in the mail. The black gloss version seems really easy to clean. It's thick enough aluminum that you have to cut it with shears, not scissors, which makes me think it will be chew-proof. Problem is it's really expensive. Another con is that the normal 48" sheet is about a foot too short. But if I go with their large diamond pattern, it is 60" which is perfect. The opening is about 4/10 which should be ok for my guys.
https://www.customcargrills.com/proddetail.asp?prod=Hex_XXL_Sheet

This is turning into an expensive project!

Just heard from my husband. He thinks I should just order the expensive car grill which is the perfect size and be done with it. Leaning that way...

Incidentally, and a little off-topic, I saw a great video of someone who wanted to figure out how small a hole a wild mouse could fit through:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGXYZwZEZa0


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