Project Degus: Houses

As I mentioned on TNET, we’re getting pets. More specifically, we’re getting degus. We did all our learning and deciding whether degus will make good pet for the little one, and then we went into the planning phase. Degus are day active and very active, so they need space, but holy fuck, those cages are expensive. Luckily, my grandma’s old kitchen was still up so we took that.

First of all: WORKSPACE!!!

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Look at it. A counter and cupboards and drawers. I still need to put up a shelf or two, power outlets that are not just extension cords and light. I also need to think about ventilation, because the window you can see is only about 20cm high. I basically grew up in that kitchen and I never noticed that all the drawers have different widths. Matching that kitchen is a high cupboard that we’ll turn into the degu home, but before that transformation can start, we’ll prepare some other things that they need, mostly huts.

Degus are rodents, which means they’ll gnaw everything, which is why the German word for rodents in “gnaw animals”, so stuff has to either withstand their teeth or be constantly replaced. For the huts I decided to do both: light plywood houses that will need replacement and terracotta pot houses that will last a while, so the little one and I went to the DIY store. While I was pushing 75 bucks worth of material she happily chattered how making your own things isn’t just so much more fun, but also so much cheaper… Now, she is right in general, but I had to explain that it doesn’t exactly come cheap.

OK, back to the houses… For the wood ones the standard house is an ugly box, and like most commercially available pet supplies way too small, so I designed them to be a more like hobbit houses and of course large enough, so I first cut out all my pieces on my brand new bandsaw. I didn’t know how much I needed a bandsaw before I had one. Sure, I thought, it would be nice to have one, and a small one is only around 100 bucks, so I treated myself when my contract got renewed. Holy shit, I’m in love. It’s so easy to saw things. Not just the plywood, which is to be expected, but also resin pieces that usually are such a pain in the ass. So I cut out all the pieces for two hoses and then the little one got to sand the edges.

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Next I glued pieces of a square bar to the front and back, let it dry and then glued on the sides.

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This is actually the backside. You can see there’s a second exit in the back, which is something many commercial rodent houses are also missing. This is an absolute must because two degus might get into the same house and one may decide it doesn’t want to share. And while degus do fight, they mostly prefer just to leave. Having just one exit means that a degu may be trapped with another one. Having two means that the second one can just leave.

Next step we carefully glued strips to to the roof, which was a bit fiddly, but not too hard. Ta-daaa, degu/rodent house version 1:

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  1. Ice Swimmer says

    An artificial hollow log. I like it, hopefully the degus will as well.

    I think you already, know but i feel that I must say this: Bandsaws prey on fingers. My dad got away with getting his nails cut by a bandsaw (and he sawed quite a few beef and pork bones using one) but many cabinet makers, joiners and people cutting meat have got their fingers cut off by one. Be safe.

  2. kestrel says

    Nice! These sound like really interesting animals that would be cool to have around. I am guessing the paint is safe for them to eat? Here they sell a special paint for chicken coops, since we all already know chickens are going to peck everything. :-) They don’t need to be rodents to destroy things.

  3. says

    Ice Swimmer
    Yeah, paying attention is advised. They also come wit a neat stick to push the wood with,to keep your fingers safe.
    These are not painted at all. They’ll need to be replaced frequently enough. But I did buy special paint for other wooden parts (next project apart from the cage itself will be a big running wheel and yeah, that needs some protective coating). Holy cupcake, the small, small tin was 20 bucks, but I hopefully won’t need much. The cupboard will get several connected floors of beech wood and those will have have tiles on top for protection and easy cleaning. We still have quite a lot floor tiles left from our own floors.

  4. says

    A small bandsaw for 100 bucks? It just might be you got the same one I did. I did not cut my fingers off yet, but I did break a belt by over spanning it. And it is not very powerful or precise. But for small jobs like this -- a godsend indeed.
    I hope you will have fun with your pets.

  5. says

    I ordered the saw in the Lidl online Shop. I think it’s a rebranded Steinhell. So far I can’t complain about the precision, I found guiding the wood for the front and back easy.
    As for more powerful, I now got a small scroll saw, a very good jigsaw (Makita), a handheld circular saw and a miter saw (unfortunately static). The last two technically belong to my father in law, but he doesn’t really need them anymore and is happy to have more space in his hobby room.

  6. Jazzlet says

    Workspace and storage!

    Lovely degu house, I look forward to seeing the completed set up!

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