Help-issues with my boys' C&C cage?
I'm a bit of a newbie, as this is my first time posting here. I'm a little low on funds and cannot afford a new Martin's or FN cage at this present time. I go back and forth between vet bills for my pets (I just treated a myco flare up in one of my rats, and a heat-induced skin infection in one of my doggies. Thanks, California weather), and until I can find a second job I cannot spoil my ratty boys as much as I would love to.
I've decided on making a homemade cage myself. Long story short, after racking my brain over which materials to use, I have decided on making them a C&C cage (out of the fine mesh grids, not the grids with 9 big squares). I literally looked for those ridiculously hard to find grids for a little over a week and FINALLY found what I was looking for. They are currently on their way, so at this present time I'm trying to piece everything together on paper. That way I'll know exactly how I want to set everything up when the cubes arrive.
Although I have looked through many pictures, I have some concerns about using mesh cubes and have kind of hit a brick wall. For one, I'd have no IDEA how to install doors. I planned on using the provided plastic connectors to set the cage up, much like ginger_fish and fadedcoat did (if either of you happen to see this post, you did a beautiful job on your cages). In fact, my version of the cage will be identical to theirs in height/width, but I don't see how the "doors" could open out while being attached to the connectors. I noticed in the pictures of fadedcoat's cage that they used some type of straight wire to keep the doors hinged. I know that it isn't rocket science--I don't mean to make it be that way-- but its hard to figure out by looking at the pictures with a short description. I had considered using j-clips for hinges on one side, (since my boys will likely eat away at plastic zip ties), but another issue is the size of the mesh. One advantage to the square grids would be the ability to apply zip ties or cage clips from the very bottom to the top of each grid. With the mesh grids, I'm pretty sure the only place I'd be able to use zip ties or cage clips would be on the open corners that most of the mesh cubes have. Would j-clips or zipties with a wire for a hinge work to keep the door grids opening correctly? I'm also hoping they'd stay in place on the front of the cage and wouldn't fall off that way. Placement of water bottles is also slightly confusing as I'm not sure how I'd set them up.
..Oh, and for those people that chose to use the plastic connectors, I've been wondering what keeps your ratties from chewing the heck out of them? As sweet and precious as rats can be, it is almost as though they live to chew up and annihilate their cage accessories. Does anyone use some type of make-shift cover for the connectors, or maybe even replacements bought online? I've noticed that a lot of people have the connector ends exposed on the inside of their rat's cages.. So I'm assuming it isn't that much of an issue.
I apologize if these are repeat questions! I did a search in this section of the forum and had hard tine finding the answers I've been looking for.