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Old 10-20-2019, 08:37 AM   #1
Kyrkogrimr
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Default Barney cage for syrians

Hey all,

I'm looking at possibly getting a second hamster in the future (probably December/January at the earliest) and I've been looking at options for cages/tanks etc. Sadly I don't have a long space for a second detolf, and I have been thinking about DIY-ing a cage, but I'm concerned my rudimentary diy skills might not be equal to the task, so I've also been looking at cages. Barney has come up as one of the biggest I can find (I did have a look around the cage review forum too) but as I'm thinking of possibly getting a syrian this time, I was wondering about how people have found it for syrians? It looks small compared to the detolf I have, but photos can make it hard to judge scale and perhaps I've just been spoiled by the floor space available in a detolf?
I want to be fair to hypothetical future hamster and currently I don't think I'd be able to upgrade floorspace if this wasn't enough. (If I did make a diy cage, I'd be able to give them a second floor at least - I know that's not as good as unbroken floorspace but better than not expanding their space at all, I would imagine?)
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:08 AM   #2
flowerfairy
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

I have used the barney for syrians. It is a great size for them. My lively active feamle, Kashi did very well in her barney cage. Lots of places to burrow, a nice big 12 inc h wheel and plenty of interesting tunnels and hides.

Good luck.

Ps I have a barney cage for sale if you live anywhere near Petersfield in Hampshire?
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:40 PM   #3
Kyrkogrimr
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

Thank you for your feedback

I'm afraid that's a few hours from me and I'm not going to be ready to buy/build a cage for a little while yet, but thank you.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

No probs. I love hamster cages and set ups. It is so interesting to see all the lovely enrichment ideas.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:09 PM   #5
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

I think the Barney is a great cage for a Syrian. I've used it for our last two syrians. It comes with the basics - a good shelf and good house. Most people paint the wood items with plastikote water based enamel paint so they're wipe clean (it's pet safe). It then has a lot of scope for enrichment and you can use the bars as well as the floor area. I usually create a "roof run" - eg an additional shelf, hanging rat sputnik and a large rat tunnel tied to the roof between them. I also use large cork logs instead of the wood ramp - makes a nice dark tunnel and an interesting texture to climb over.

It has a lot of floor space. The extra 4cm depth (it's 54cm deep) really makes a lot of difference to usable floor area. The only thing with more floor area and good depth is the eco habitat - but I prefer barred cages. Or the 120cm Borneo cage from Germany but that is very tall and difficult to set up to be safe possibly.

For comparison, the detolf works out about 960 square inches - a lot of length but not much depth. The Barney floor area works out at about 835 square inches, with the base filled with substrate.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

Thanks for all that info, Serendipity, it's really helpful. Can I ask why you prefer barred cages to tank style enclosures?
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

Well I think the tanks look lovely and visually they can look nicer generally. But I don't like the "walls" and like having a front door! With a cage you can interact more with the hamster I think - especially with a front door. The ventilation is very good on cages, and I like being able to attach a lot of things to the bars and the roof. There are pros and cons to both - easier to have very deep bedding in a tank but I find 5 to 6" of bedding is ok in a cage and if the hamster wants it deeper they pile it up somewhere! Then you add a bit more to fill the hole.

The detolf is a bit different - because it's so long and not particularly tall, even though it's solid sided, you can put your arm in at an angle easily so not quite like a hand coming from above. I like the detolf but haven't had one. I have only had the Kerry which I found too small to easily access from the top. The perspex duna tanks are better for that.

Mine is a personal preference maybe, but I'm sticking with cages. The exo terra terrarium 90cm is a great tank style as it has front opening, but they're very expensive and not as much floor area as a Barney.

I currently have the Savic Hamster Plaza, the Barney and the Savic Mickey 2XL. The last one isn't quite tall enough to easily fit a syrian wheel. Of those I prefer the Barney for easy accessibility. It also has 7mm bars so the substrate doesn't fall out if you have it deeper somewhere. Not much anyway!

You can make a tank style interesting with lots of enrichment but it's more difficult attaching things to the roof (which lifts off) and you're limited to free-standing things like platforms on legs.

I find hamsters like a fair bit of overhead cover to feel secure in a large cage. If they don't have it they can hide away a lot. So I like being able to attach extra shelves and hang rat sputniks from the roof - this gives somewhere to go and sit and also provides overhead cover/something to sit under. Will add a few photos of recent set ups in the Barney. Basically it's about adding as much enrichment as you can.

These are all set ups in the Barney

P2040937 resized 650.jpg

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Old 10-22-2019, 01:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

This one was a set up in the Barney for a very old hamster with no levels and everything at ground level. Moved the shelves up to roof level so he could still "sit under" them and not feel too exposed.

2016 Sept new cage layout (25).jpg
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:46 AM   #9
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

I just couldn't get on with top access only and find it easier to interact with the hamster with a cage with a front door. Ours have always come to the front door to come out. They can then just climb out into something you're holding - have used a ball or a fleece cube toy for out of cage and they walk in and you can carry them to where you want them out of the cage. You can lower something into a tank for them to walk into as well, to lift them out, but I quite like them coming out of the front door!
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:59 AM   #10
Kyrkogrimr
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Default Re: Barney cage for syrians

Thanks for all the pictures. Is 5-6" of substrate usually enough? I though syrians needed 8-12" for burrowing? I'm also concerned about bar chewing - I know it's a way to indicate that the environment isn't meeting their needs, but I worry about the risks of broken or misaligned teeth, and I think I'm reasonably good at spotting when Cadmium isn't satisfied with something without her having bars to chew to tell me something, does that make sense?
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