I have seen all of your beautiful homemade cages and I need a new cage for my chinchilla so I'm thinking of building one. I have a few concerns though. How does the wood not stink with all the pee and such. Also my chinchilla magaged to chew the bottom of his last cage. It was one of the metal pet world ones you buy with a plastic bottom. How do you assure they don't eat a hole out or chew through anything?
Please do not put anything plastic in or near your chinchilla's cage. Any chewed plastic ingested by your chinchilla can cause internal injury and death. Your cage needs to be mesh, with a removable metal tray for droppings and debris. Have you looked on John Hopewell's web site, John is a lovely person and can custom build a cage to your desired spec.
Home built cages with plain wooden surfaces usually rely on deep substrate absorbing urine, and you can protect any particular potty areas with tiles and saucers. Over time, in my experience, shelves do start to smell and need replacing. I would recommend building with melamine faced chipboard as the base and shelves, and then they are fully cleanable, but you must make sure that all edges are covered, eg all holes between levels must have edging so that they can't get their teeth onto an edge becuase it isn't safe for them to chew.
Thank you for all the feed back. I'm in Canada and am not interested in paying shipping fees to get a cage over here, when I can build one for a good price. Yes as soon as I noticed him chewing on the plastic I removed it and got a metal base. I was very surprised he chewed the plastic though because I have seen tons of chinchillas in that type of cages and never had I seen them chew it. At least I know for next time not to buy it.