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Old 10-30-2009, 08:51 AM   #1
Catherine Spark
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Default Liberta (2 Tier)


This is the cage I got for Oakie.

I cooled towards it almost as soon as I got Oakie into it. First it is difficult to fit together, particularly the top of the cage, which contains the door and is fitted onto the walls of the cage separately. It is notoriously difficult to fit the top on and actually bends the bars out of shape in the process. Because the one I got was second hand the door catch is loose too, and I weight it down with a moderately heavy book about the universe, so Oakie doesn't push the door open and escape. So far this has worked.

Secondly, notice that the wheel has rungs rather than flat plastic. Another bad sign. I left it in because it made Oakie stressed when I removed it, and he doesn't really use it anyway. And it doesn't turn well either, as the mechanism to fix it to the wall catches in the bars. Also because the bars are horizontal there is nothing to hold the wheel in place so it scoots across the wall of the cage when Oakie tries to use it. Naturally he has trouble using it for more than a nice bench or a way for getting from the second to first floor quickly. Mostly he just snoozes under it or lies in it, or uses it as a climbing prop. I should mention that this version of the cage in the picture is not Oakie's, but almost identical except that it has more sensible verticle bars, and the base of Oakie's is purple rather than green. The furniture in his cage is also arranged slightly differently.

The cage has a pull-out tray that is supposed to make it easier to clean - you just pull the tray out and scrape off the shavings. Good idea but completely doesn't work in practice. The sides of the cage still get dirty from shavings and have to be cleaned, plus to take all the shavings out through the tray you would only be able to fill it a little less than the depth of the pull-out tray - about 2cm. No fun for digging, not soft for if he falls climbing, and not great for absorbing moisture either. I was also outraged that it came with a little base you could fit within the tray within the main base...which was made entirely of hard metal rails (the same kind as those making up the walls and second tier). Presumably this was to make the clean up even easier, so they don't even intend you to HAVE shavings where the poor hamster would spend all his time standing! A bit like what they have in the cages of battery hens so the clean up is easy.

Another problem when we got it was that the water bottle didn't work, so I provided Oakie with a dish of water and ordered a new bottle, whereupon the bottle began working spontaneously, and we haven't looked back. Still, it doesn't give much confidence in it and I check it at least in the morning and evening.

The little house has worked ok so far, but I use it with the lid off, partly because it's hard to get the lid on and make it stay on, and also so I can see when Oakie is moving around and that he is alright. The bars are 9mm apart, which is a good size for preventing escapes, but they do move if he chews them, encouraging him to keep chewing. I check them every day in case they have grown dangerously wide. They can be pushed back into place if you have small fingers.

The design of the cage makes it very difficult to include interesting toys. Because the door is on the ceiling you cannot hang interesting toys from the ceiling, and the wheel and water bottle make it difficult to hang them from the sides as well. There is just enough floor space for a couple of chews and tunnels, but not much more. We take him out at dawn and dusk - when hamsters are most active - so he can have his fun in the bathroom or hall - hamster friendly places in our flat. At the moment he is only 8 weeks old, so has enough room in the cage, but I will need to find a bigger one for him soon. It's also difficult to get him out of - usually I end up removing the wheel and the ladder before I can get to him, and even then it's a struggle.

The last problem I have been alerted to is that the second tier has metal rungs rather than a flat shelf, which could hurt his feet. Luckily the only thing he uses the second tier for is sleeping in. The only good thing about it is the food dish, which is a good size, easily removable and washable, and has high sides, making it difficult to spill the food.

Overall NOT worth the money, or effort of setting it up.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:18 AM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: Liberta (2 Tier)

Thanks for the good review Catherine. All in all not recommended for anything other than a travel or temporary cage in an emergency I am guessing. As you mentioned you have a bigger one at home I'm sure he will be happy in that when you return in a few weeks.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:28 AM   #3
Catherine Spark
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Default Re: Liberta (2 Tier)

Hi, thanks for the feedback. Yes, I guess it would make a safe travel cage for a long journey, or an emergency one. It's very cheap (9.99 on most sites,11.99 on ebay), and looks good when displayed in a photo, so i'd imagine large scale pet-shop breeders who don't care one way or another might use them for their hamsters as well. The one at home is 3-tier, with plenty of floor space for toys, and a really good wheel. All I need to do is line the tiers with carboard or something so they don't hurt his feet. I think I'll introduce him gradually though, as he does now see the liberta as 'home' despite its inconveniences.
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