Need Help Deciding On Which NIC Cube Set To Get - Zip Ties Etc.

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BunnyMommaDrea

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I looked 1st for a post already started for such and decided (IMHO) that there really isn't one for this exact questions and information I am trying to establish before making my final decision and purchase for building my bunny a safe and bige enough place to be able to stretch and binky around in as recommended.

Now I have cats and 2 big big dogs and so allowing him run of the house which I would LOVE and PREFER is not an option unfortunately. The cage he was given to me in isn't good enough for me and I am more than sure it isn't for him. For a safe place to rest it can surely become a part of the interior of this setup I am thinking about making him but otherwise I want to get him out of there ASAP! So I have a bedroom that is my office where I spend a good 10 or more hours of my night in though a cat or 2 and the dogs will come in here or cry outside my door which I can't have while I am working so I have to build something for my bunny that is safe, secure and big enough for him to stretch and play. With that said I have read that bigger is better so I will assume that too big is not possible, though perhaps too high is not safe? I am afraid he could fall from heights and get seriously hurt? There is a good 5' Foot X 5' Foot area with 9' of ceiling height above at least to build in.

I saw a 4 cat condo as its called or apartment.
It's a Eiiel Large Cat Cage Indoor Cat Playpen Metal Wire Kennels Crate Small Animal Cage for Kitten Guinea Pig, Bunny and Chinchilla Ideal for 1-4 Cat
I counted and I believe as it shows a total of 80 Panels AKA Grids which are 14" in X 14" without the platform. They say it comes with 150 Zip Ties and a little wooden mallet as well as all the connectors to build a (51" in X 51" in X 51" in) Enclosure with doors as shown. That's 16 Grids per 4 sides and another 16 for the top, and none across the bottom. I have ceramic tile floors and whatever carpet or mats I get to keep it safe and comfy for bunny and easiest to clean.
It's quite pricey at 144.99.

The 2nd one I am comparing it with is from a different seller, it's a KOUSI 14"x 14" Wire Cube Storage, Metal Grid Organizer, 25-Cube Modular Shelving Unit, Stackable Bookcase, Ideal for Living Room, Bedroom, Office, Garage and I figured it out to be 85 (14"in X 14" on) Panels/Grids with connectors and I don't believe the zip ties come with it. Wooden mallet either way I don't care I've heard mixed things about the ones that do come with the storage cubes and I can use a rubber headed mallet.
This one costs $109.99 and has an additional 5% off Extra savings coupon so it will be $104.50.

So for $45+ less I can get 5 more grids to build ramps or whatever else with if purchasing the 2nd listed unit.

So has anyone had any experience with either of these Setups/sellers and if so how sturdy are the grids? Are the included Zip Ties good or is buying some others in another brand suggested (recommendations "4" Inch or 8", Lb Capacity, etc.appreciated). I am afraid of cheap wire grids that could chip, rust, break and possibly hurt my bunny as well as inferior zip ties that won't last long or hold up and bunny can get out when not supervised. Door to room is kept closed most times when I am not home and other pets are not allowed to remain in the room without my being in there, however a cat has every now and again somehow snuck in and remained inside without my seeing her until I've returned.



I hope I am not asking too many questions and or confusing anyone with the way I am wording my questions. Also I hope no one thinks I am doing something wrong by linking to the exact products I currently have in my cart on Amazon to show what I am referring to. I just not yet able to make a final decision on what to buy and it's hurting my heart that bunny is in a cramped cage probably since way before I acquired him. Please help us TIA
 

John Wick

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I do not have experience with either of those brands specifically, but from extensive experience in NIC cage building, I always err towards expensive brands, in tandem with looking at the review pictures. Many manufacturers make these grids and some people do not realize that all grids are not made to the same quality-- cheaper brands may have several grids in a pack that aren't actually truly square, meaning you cannot use them in a structure, and if you do, they compromise the structural integrity. So in pictures, you want to look if all gaps are of equal size and everything looks relatively straight (at the same time, it could be user-error in review pictures, so the pictures are informative, but not definitive). Just based on pictures, I'd suggest the Kousi grids. The single customer image from the Eiiel, the bottom center grid seems warped/curved. Also, if you look at the top two connectors in their photo, you actually see the connectors are "bulging", which is not a good sign-- that is likely to crack/break if hit the wrong way. While it could be user error that they inadequately built it to cause the bulge, those connectors don't seem especially weight bearing, so I think it speaks more to the quality of the connectors, as well as the fit of the connectors to the grids.

I don't want to minimize overall cost, as my NIC cages have typically cost me over $200 total, but I wouldn't worry if the zip-ties come with it or not -- I always end up needing more. I have always used TR Industrial black zip ties and get 200, 4" or 8". The difference is 18lb vs. 50lb. Price-wise, they are almost the same. I personally liked to use the 4" to secure grids that aren't necessarily weight-bearing because smaller ties are easier for me to work with, but anything that is a platform or is a part of the weight-bearing system, I will use the 8".

If you end up buying additional grids, I highly recommend getting them from the same brand-- it has been a nightmare for me to mix and match different grid brands. I personally err on buying more than less, because you can end up using extra to expand or be rabbit-proofing measures elsewhere.

The only grids I've purchased that have rusted in areas that I felt uncomfortable using them further are the cheapest ones I bought that are also super warped, so I think as long as you're in this higher-end, expensive NIC bracket, you should be OK from rust unless your rabbit's urine/water is consistently hitting something.

... Grids, zipties, and connectors aside, there are other components to consider with NIC cage building. If you are only using these grids to make pen walls, you want to make sure it is high enough. Most rabbits will not go beyond 3-grid height (more than 3.5ft). 2 grids is too low for many rabbits and can be jumped over. If you are planning to make flooring to walk on and actual structural elements inside, you need to consider what flooring to put over the grids, as well as what additional support beams you need in order to handle the weight.

nic_cage.png

Personally, I will do additional zipties (always), support beams, and/or grids underneath any 2+ grid floor stretch that is unsupported to the ground directly. In the picture above is an old cage I made for over night restricted time. I've highlighted where I perceived the most additional support is needed. As is apparent from the rabbit in the litterbox underneath, there is nothing attaching the highlighted portion to the floor-- it's just floating, in addition, it is holding the weight of the floor on top of it as well. Because of this, there are many zipties, an added diagonal grid underneath taking some weight from that platform to the back wall that you cannot see, as well as structural support beams running underneath to the ends of the cage to help distribute weight (added after this picture was taken). This held fine for a 7lb rabbit.

If you are designing something, you need to consider how your structure is made and where you might need to take these additional measures. If you notice connector bulging, that is a sign that weight is really hitting those spots and extra support is likely needed (or the grids and connectors are poorly fit).

Rabbits may jump off the top, so if you structurally build high, you need to block it off. I actually had to add an additional layer on top because my rabbit jumped off the top layer to the ground when I assumed she wouldn't try because it was so high:

top.png

I do a lot of sketches and such before building structures, so if you are doing more than just walls, I recommend doing the same! It is very helpful for me to make sure I am building the biggest, but safest NIC cage space.
 

BunnyMommaDrea

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I do not have experience with either of those brands specifically, but from extensive experience in NIC cage building, I always err towards expensive brands, in tandem with looking at the review pictures. Many manufacturers make these grids and some people do not realize that all grids are not made to the same quality-- cheaper brands may have several grids in a pack that aren't actually truly square, meaning you cannot use them in a structure, and if you do, they compromise the structural integrity. So in pictures, you want to look if all gaps are of equal size and everything looks relatively straight (at the same time, it could be user-error in review pictures, so the pictures are informative, but not definitive). Just based on pictures, I'd suggest the Kousi grids. The single customer image from the Eiiel, the bottom center grid seems warped/curved. Also, if you look at the top two connectors in their photo, you actually see the connectors are "bulging", which is not a good sign-- that is likely to crack/break if hit the wrong way. While it could be user error that they inadequately built it to cause the bulge, those connectors don't seem especially weight bearing, so I think it speaks more to the quality of the connectors, as well as the fit of the connectors to the grids.

I don't want to minimize overall cost, as my NIC cages have typically cost me over $200 total, but I wouldn't worry if the zip-ties come with it or not -- I always end up needing more. I have always used TR Industrial black zip ties and get 200, 4" or 8". The difference is 18lb vs. 50lb. Price-wise, they are almost the same. I personally liked to use the 4" to secure grids that aren't necessarily weight-bearing because smaller ties are easier for me to work with, but anything that is a platform or is a part of the weight-bearing system, I will use the 8".

If you end up buying additional grids, I highly recommend getting them from the same brand-- it has been a nightmare for me to mix and match different grid brands. I personally err on buying more than less, because you can end up using extra to expand or be rabbit-proofing measures elsewhere.

The only grids I've purchased that have rusted in areas that I felt uncomfortable using them further are the cheapest ones I bought that are also super warped, so I think as long as you're in this higher-end, expensive NIC bracket, you should be OK from rust unless your rabbit's urine/water is consistently hitting something.

... Grids, zipties, and connectors aside, there are other components to consider with NIC cage building. If you are only using these grids to make pen walls, you want to make sure it is high enough. Most rabbits will not go beyond 3-grid height (more than 3.5ft). 2 grids is too low for many rabbits and can be jumped over. If you are planning to make flooring to walk on and actual structural elements inside, you need to consider what flooring to put over the grids, as well as what additional support beams you need in order to handle the weight.

View attachment 56827

Personally, I will do additional zipties (always), support beams, and/or grids underneath any 2+ grid floor stretch that is unsupported to the ground directly. In the picture above is an old cage I made for over night restricted time. I've highlighted where I perceived the most additional support is needed. As is apparent from the rabbit in the litterbox underneath, there is nothing attaching the highlighted portion to the floor-- it's just floating, in addition, it is holding the weight of the floor on top of it as well. Because of this, there are many zipties, an added diagonal grid underneath taking some weight from that platform to the back wall that you cannot see, as well as structural support beams running underneath to the ends of the cage to help distribute weight (added after this picture was taken). This held fine for a 7lb rabbit.

If you are designing something, you need to consider how your structure is made and where you might need to take these additional measures. If you notice connector bulging, that is a sign that weight is really hitting those spots and extra support is likely needed (or the grids and connectors are poorly fit).

Rabbits may jump off the top, so if you structurally build high, you need to block it off. I actually had to add an additional layer on top because my rabbit jumped off the top layer to the ground when I assumed she wouldn't try because it was so high:

View attachment 56828

I do a lot of sketches and such before building structures, so if you are doing more than just walls, I recommend doing the same! It is very helpful for me to make sure I am building the biggest, but safest NIC cage space.
Thank you so very much John for such an informative post with pics of your own NIC setup. I love it, it looks like an amazing bunny setup.

I wondered about height and think no more than 3 levels high would be perfect. Afterall Peanut is a small bun maybe not but a few pounds (need to weigh him), and as far as I know he's been in this 1 story Living World cage all his life at ground level.😪 He is a jumper, at least he's tried once while I was cleaning his cage recently. I hope when I finally get him neutered he calms a little, I think it's mostly buck energy if you know what I mean.🐇

I've seen Tespo cages are slots not little 1.6 or 1.7" inch squares and they have lots of good reviews but are taller and shorter not square like storage cubes. They only seem to come 12 panels to a set from what I have seen. But Ido have a few different drawings and some ideas to secure the levels or any load bearing area where I am thinking of using 1x1 or 1 x 2 lumber. The cost of lumber these days is crazy but these are affordable and I've actually already have a few of them out in my garage if needed.😁

I notice you have solid color storage cube panels used on the lower level, is that best for keeping bunny from chewing baseboards and cords?

I really appreciate your in depth reply and help.🤗🐰
 

John Wick

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I would not recommend the slotted grids for rabbits -- I actually have a set (I do not remember if they are Tespo) and the tiny rods going across pop off the outside rim with sometimes very little effort. Realistically, a significant amount would need to pop off in order to actually impact structural stability, but the one or two that do pop are little safety hazards and if a particular rabbit is fixated on yanking on them, it could be risky:

PXL_20210808_220921231.jpgPXL_20210808_220928477_2.jpg

The solid panels are actually to prevent bar-chewing and add a nice sense of security to the bottom floor for their sake. I also really like the look of them, haha, so it was aesthetics too! I do not think they are necessary as they technically are not as structurally secure (but clearly they still hold, since I use them in most my NIC cages). I would never use them as floor grids though, as the material on them bend to weight-- they are only for vertical walls.
 

odyssey~

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Hey! I saw that you commented on my video asking for help on this topic :)

The grids I personally use are these- https://www.amazon.com/AHOME-Storage-Shelving-Bookcase-Shelves/dp/B07DMDW6G7?ref_=ast_sto_dp&th=1&psc=1 It's 34 pieces and you've seen my cage so you have an idea of what it can build.
Minimums are debated but I say try to have at least 20 sq ft :)
I always, always, recommend using zipties as a reinforcement. The connectors alone are usually not enough. I used conduit tubing as well and it makes it SO much more sturdy.
Perhaps you can make something like I have? Then you can use the current cage as well which will provide more room.
Keep in mind most bunnies can jump over 2 grids high so you'll either need a lid or taller than 2 grids high.
unnamed.jpg
my cage for reference.

If you have a spare room, or if you could bunny proof a room and not let your other pets go there then it can work. Or if you have a spare walk in closet.
 

BunnyMommaDrea

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I would not recommend the slotted grids for rabbits -- I actually have a set (I do not remember if they are Tespo) and the tiny rods going across pop off the outside rim with sometimes very little effort. Realistically, a significant amount would need to pop off in order to actually impact structural stability, but the one or two that do pop are little safety hazards and if a particular rabbit is fixated on yanking on them, it could be risky:

View attachment 56888View attachment 56889

The solid panels are actually to prevent bar-chewing and add a nice sense of security to the bottom floor for their sake. I also really like the look of them, haha, so it was aesthetics too! I do not think they are necessary as they technically are not as structurally secure (but clearly they still hold, since I use them in most my NIC cages). I would never use them as floor grids though, as the material on them bend to weight-- they are only for vertical walls.
How can I thank you again John, pictures and clear explanation of the Tespo type of panels, the aesthetically pleasing solid panels which alao deter chewing and all. I think I can finally make my decisions based on all of that and not procrastinate any further with what I shall be purchasing.

Sitting here now with Peanut while watching TV before I have to go into my office and work and my heart is hurting again seeing him crowded with litter boxes, toys, hay feeder and all in what he currently lives in is torture. I have to act fast and if I buy anything that isn't enough I can always add to it but anything will be better than what he has now.

I will be allowing him the safety of his current cage in addition to the added NIC I come up with. I do feel so much more informed and able to make this final decision thanks to all of your wonderful help. 🤗🐰
 

odyssey~

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Maybe for now you can let him free roam in a bathroom while you get this whole housing thing sorted out? I find most people usually have bathrooms easiest to quickly bunny proof- all they usually have to do is move a trash can or two, and then put in a litter box, water bowl and toys and then it's done! At least he can get more space.

If you can do the 5 by 5 pen that'll be awesome though! Generally I count levels as enrichment, not extra floorspace since rabbits aren't exactly climbers like rats.

I've actually had Odyssey chew out of a pen made from those plastic ones so I'd be careful if he's a chewer :)
 

BunnyMommaDrea

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Maybe for now you can let him free roam in a bathroom while you get this whole housing thing sorted out? I find most people usually have bathrooms easiest to quickly bunny proof- all they usually have to do is move a trash can or two, and then put in a litter box, water bowl and toys and then it's done! At least he can get more space.

If you can do the 5 by 5 pen that'll be awesome though! Generally I count levels as enrichment, not extra floorspace since rabbits aren't exactly climbers like rats.

I've actually had Odyssey chew out of a pen made from those plastic ones so I'd be careful if he's a chewer :)
Thanks Ally, actually my bathroom is about as big as his cage and if I start putting all his things in there with him and all its the same. I just wish I could keep the dogs away from him and let him free roam, he seemed to have litter box training down when I 1st brought him here and now he is just marking his territory in his cage with poops. I nicked named him "Sir Poops A Lot".

My Shepherd doesn't pay any attention to him at least while bunny is in his cage, but my female Mastiff Lab/Retriever mix looks like she wants to be a momma to him one minute and then perhaps eat him from jealousy of my love for him the next. Both dogs have lunged at the cats before and even if that's their way of playing I'm not taking any chances and don't need Peanut having a heart attack. I do appreciate the suggestion, if I had a bigger master bathroom like bath I wold have done that from the start but 2 bathrooms in the house and both have minimal space to move around, walk in past the sink, to the toilet and then your in the bathtub.

I have 1 senior cat who hides in my bathtub because I suppose its cool in there laying on the porcelain and behind the shower curtain she feels safe from the other kitties who do pick on her. The idea of giving Peanut as much room as possible to run and binky around in is where my mind is at so I am placing my order tonight and what I get I get and will make due with it rather than have nothing yet at all and have him remaining much longer in the cage.

I did look into the plastic sided grids like John Wick has pictures with his for the lower level to give bunny privacy and more security. I do love the idea of his feeling safer because the dogs will lay and lick him through the cage. Kitties have reached in and pawed at him a bit. They are more gentle I think but still again not wanting to take chances though the plastic ones are different sizes than the metal open grid ones I had found. I thought he wasn't a chewer but yesterday when I got up to clean his cage I noticed he chewed up the bottom of his new pet bed. I take it that this was his version of a temper tantrum? He has another brand new bed with a dome over the top but its too big to put into the current cage with him so it's going to have to wait.

So for now I think I will just make something similar to the new one I saw you made for Odyssey. If any areas are open and the cats can get in with him I am sure of at least 1 or maybe 2 of them that will jump in there with him because they can jump way higher than he can, but I have a feeling he is going to grab them and go energizer on them if you know what I mean because as I said before he isn't fixed yet and don't ask me how I know this LOL

So Everyone needs to adjust to his being here now with us. Here in my office I can be a little mean to the kitties and not allow them in here once Peanut is all set up with his new stuff as I get it put together.

I'm also looking into finding a local vet accustomed to caring and neutering bunnies, its for Peanut's best interest. I checked the thread here for that but didn't find one all that local to me...closest is about 90 minutes from me. All in due time.

I will be showing pictures when I get everything and have it all set up and Peanut in it.

Thanks again to you and John for all the awesome help.
 

BunnyMommaDrea

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Odyssey, when you say the plastic ones, do you mean like this? This is what I have, though I just purchased some of the wire ones to add to the set up.
asts a neat looking one for the plastic privacy parts I believe John Wick has with his. His are black as you can see in the pics he had attached to the post here above. The one you show looks nice, has ramps and a shelf. He said though the plastic should be used only for the vertical walls and not any levels or ramps because they are not that sturdy. So many different ones they show so I have had my job cut out for me trying to get the right stuff because I did read somewhere how hard it is to put together different size grids properly and so that there is good security and safety for the buns.

Nice to meet you Flipgirl24
 

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