Hey everyone! So here is a project which is long overdue on this blog. Last summer, Joe created from scratch a purpose-built home for our pets. It’s absolutely humongous and completely amazes me. We’ve continued to make changes since then but I think now it’s fit for sharing. If you’ve ever thought about building a shed or constructing an outside structure for any reason, I hope this is interesting to you! I’m so proud of what Joe has done here. He loved doing it too. So here he is with part 1, explaining how he made Ferret Mansion.
(FYI, there is a mix of Joe’s cameraphone pictures and me sneaking about with the big girl camera as Joe calls it!)
Back in 2013, we introduced two new pets into our family. Not the most conventional of animals but very much in need of a loving home. We rescued 2 female ferrets who’d been abandoned in a plastic carrier bag and left to drown by a canal (what is WRONG with people?). We promised to give them a life of luxury.
I surprised Karen with a 4 foot wide hutch (see the post here) for her birthday which did our small ferrets for a year but they can get bored easily with their surroundings so after a lot of Googling I decided to spend that summer building them a new home – one which we’ve since named Ferret Mansion.
I drew out my initial ideas on a whiteboard and then off I went to buy several packs of 2” x 2″ timber to build the frame. (In the end, I didn’t even stick to the plan, oops.) I built the frame into 3 sections. The first, where the door is. The second, the middle piece which is more exposed so we can see the ferrets and they can see outwards. The third was going to have another door just in case we wanted to partition the structure into two halves, if we ever adopted more and needed to keep them separate. Well, it turns out we did adopt two more (two gorgeous albino boys – also abandoned) but they all got along perfectly so instead I turned this area into a small hatch with a wooden door. It provides shade for the fuzzies to shelter from the sun/rain but it also gives us easy access to top up their food/water quickly if we need to.
On to the DIY…
I built each section as a whole with their accompanying sides and then screwed them together. I must have used over 500 screws! The frame was erected (ha ha) fairly quickly and left in the middle of my garden for a while until I figured out what I wanted to do with the floor. The idea of all this was to be structurally sound without being mega expensive.
As you can see, I created a fun shape with the floor. My thinking was that it should be able to carry weight where ever you stood – distributed evenly – not just for the ferrets (even though they’re super light!), this was for when we got in there to clean.
If you’re wondering why the structure is green, I used Cuprinol in Forest Green to protect the wood from weathering. Plus, we love the colour and have since painted our shed to match.
Once the carcass was made up, I bought a coil of wire mesh from eBay that was 1 inch squared and galvanised. I think there was 30 metres by 1 metre, so there was a LOT of cutting involved to fit the areas I needed. (Tip: Tin snips cut so much better than normal wire cutters for projects like this.) I’ll post pictures of this in the next update!
I built it all in the middle of the garden, then cleared space at the far back of our lawn, and moved it into place.
You can see the scale of the construction from the picture I took at the end of the day when I took a well earned rest! You will also notice a sneaky peak of the ramps and shelves I built (again from scratch *takes a bow*) for the ferrets to play on. All to come in the next update!
So what do you think so far? Is it something you’d do yourself? I love it, and so do our fuzzy friends. Thanks for stopping by.