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Rat Advice

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by CharleyRogan, Aug 15, 2009.


  1. CharleyRogan

    CharleyRogan PetForums VIP

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    Hey, all your rat owners, do you have any advice for me?

    I have cat litter stuff for their bedding, I thought they could use wood shavings, but the nice man at P@H was very informative, and told me that was a major NO NO! What substrate do you all buy? As the one in P@H is £4.99 and lasts a month, is there anywhere i can get dust free cat litter in a big quantity so I don't have to keep going back....... because I WILL come out with more than just bedding :D Do they need the jay cloth stuff that you can get for hamsters, and do they hoard food?

    Food wise: P@H rat nuggets at the moment, anyone got anything they swear by?

    Toy wise: Where to get toys, all my hamster stuff is too small and I'm scared of them getting stuck, even though they have collapsible skulls and if they really had a wish to get through somewhere they would :D

    Groups: I have 2 at the moment, Males, could you add more to the group or is that also a no no? And how many rats can I have in a Savic Freddy 2 Rat Cage?

    LMAO I'm such a muppet. I came out of work (which is out in the sticks and miles from anything apart from the M6 and an industrial estate) and got the bus which took bout half hour to get to P@H and then on the way back I got the bus again and realised I actually only live about a 10/15 minute walk away..... DOH! So I coulda gone back into town and done it much quicker that way... and now I now how close I live to it..........:D
     
  2. pa2k84

    pa2k84 PetForums Senior

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    I use something called abiouse for the bottom of my cages. Its is horse bedding sold in lots places try looking up for somewhere local. Costs me about £5 for a large bale which lasts me for months and thats with a double tier cage and 8 rats. As for food try looking up the rats shunamite diet. Uses a type of rabbit food, dog biscuits, pasta and variety of cereals love making it up putting diff things in each time to add to variety.
     
  3. Lavenderb

    Lavenderb PetForums VIP

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    Ok...some use wood shavings, I personally don't. Mainly because the little monkeys would flick it out all over the place. I use newspaper on the floor and biocatolet in their litter tray. Mine don't seem to hoard food (greedy lol).
    I also use p@H rat nuggets, combined with normal muesli, a dried vegetable mix and dried dog biscuits. Plus they get fruit and veg every 2 days, plus leftovers from our meals. They have a very varied diet and everything goes.
    Toy wise...make your own. Hammocks are easy to make up. Get some old trousers, cut the legs off and you have tunnels you can hang which they love to run through and hide in. Cardboard tubes and boxes are a favourite. I wrap up treats in paper like sweets and they love those. Your hands are a good toy. My boys love a good rough and tumble with my hands, rolling around on the floor and play biting my fingers. Get some cheap tissues in a box and let them rip and tear their way into it.

    Yes you can add more males. Do it in a neutral area such as the bathroom, or even in the bath. Just be aware they can jump out. If you visit 'Fancy rats' website, they have a cage calculator. Just type in your dimensions and it will tell you how many you can keep.

    I keep my 4 boys in a abode. Its suitable for 6 rats but I prefer 4 as it gives them more space to have timeout if they want.
     
  4. CharleyRogan

    CharleyRogan PetForums VIP

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    The guy told me that woodshavings where extremely bad because the dust in them causes respiritory problems. I also use BioCatolet!

    I have just bought some ledges, 2 suspension bridges, a vegetable thing which hangs and they can get veg out of it, and a chew mat. Cost me £20 including postage. They have a hamock, do I need 2 because of dominace issues or is 1 okay? I'm trying to look for inventive toy ideas. They have a silent spinner huge wheel (that is defo not silent!)... do rats use them? and the box them came in at the mo for their bed, but not much hanging stuff at the moment!

    Also do Rats make noises? I cannot work out whether one is sneezing, or whether its communication, it seems to be very regular like every couple of minutes. It wasn't doing it in P@H. Is it happy or is it ill? I couldn't cope with another pet of mine dying so soon, or the vet bills till next week. In my vet its £20 for consultation, and then money for whatever meds.
     
  5. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    Dust has to be kept to a minimum because they are very prone to respiratory infections, so do not use sawdust or woodshavings. I use cardboard substrate, called Finacard from this company.

    www.finacard.co.uk

    In my rats' litter tray, I use Back To Nature litter, which has virtually no dust and is very hygenic. Starts to smell a little towards the time I need to clean it out, but it's not too bad.

    Really, only 2 males can comfortably fit into a Freddy 2 cage. If you want more rats with your 2, then you can buy a larger cage, such as an Abode, Freddy Max 2, Chi Chi 2 etc.

    You should have 1 more place for them to sleep in than there are rats, for example, if you have 2 rats, you should have 3 places to sleep, such as 2 hammocks, and an igloo.

    My rats sneezed a little for the first 2 weeks that I got them home. This is usually due to a new environment and usually passes. If it doesn't after 3-4 weeks, then I'd say take them to the vet to be safe.

    Rats will squeak as communication, but they are generally quiet animals.

    I use the Shunamite diet, which consists of Alpha Herbal Deluxe rabbit food, Burns Chicken and Rice dog kibble, cereals (eg Ryvita, weetabix etc) and wholemeal pasta twirls. If you want more info on the shunamite diet, just PM me. :)

    Mine don't use bedding and sleep in the open, but I do put an open tissue box in their cage for them to shread and move about if they want to use bedding.

    They can hide food because they learn that if they hide the food they don't like (with mixed food), then the bowl gets filled up with their favourite bits of the mix, so you need to search the cage and make sure they are not hiding food when you fill up the bowl.

    Hope I have been of some help. If you have any other questions, just PM me. :)
     
  6. CharleyRogan

    CharleyRogan PetForums VIP

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    What size Igloo should i be getting? I don't wanna get it from P@H cos they really expensive and cheap to buy online.

    How big are they gonna grow? They are dumbo rats, is the only difference their ears? It was a bit weird yesterday, getting them into the cage, they are more resiliant, and they have tails..... I'm not used to tails!

    I'll get on to buying another hammock. What is fighting, and what is playfighting?
     
  7. Lavenderb

    Lavenderb PetForums VIP

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    It depends on the rat how big they will grow. My dumbo is the largest in every way while my 3 top eared boys are more slender. Fighting is chasing and screaming and sidling up to each other. Then pining down and biting. That is what I have observed anyway. Whereas with my 2 brother rats they tend to tumble around the cage pinning each other down but there is no screaming and they really seem to be enjoying it.
    You can tell when fighting starts as they usually get quite vocal and injuries can result.
     
  8. jaxx

    jaxx PetForums VIP

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    I use megazorb for my ratties. It's actually for horses but it's ideal for small rodents as well as it's dust free and paper based. It's also very absorbant, hence the name I would imagine! lol

    I get a huuuuuge sack for less than £10 delivered to my door and it lasts around 6 months.

    Here's a link to a site. It's the cheapest one I could find. https://www.farmway.co.uk/search.html?query=megazorb&search=&select_brand=
     
  9. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    I like Megazorb too, I used it for years with my rats in preference to anything else. I have heard the cardboard bits are good, I think you can also now get shredded cardboard, but TBH Megazorb was more absorbent and a little bit softer for the rats to walk on. I always think about them walking on their little hands... have seen some pet stores use wood pellet cat litter as bedding, surely that must be like walking on Brighton beach in bare feet, but in your own home?

    Disadvantage: they tend to fling bits out every which way. Do not have your computer anywhere near the rat cage if you use it: one little fragment will kill your printer! But in that respect it is far better than wood shavings, which tend to knit themselves into your carpet and you run the risk of getting into bed at night finding a shaving stuck to the sole of your foot.

    Have also used Aubiose (hemp-based bedding) but it is prone to mould if kept in damp areas, some horse places keep the bales outside. This isn't good AT ALL if you have rats with respiratory issues and even if you don't, I did notice mine sneezing a lot more even when I had Aubiose from a dry source. That's when I switched to Megazorb. It works out a lot cheaper than Biocatolet too so you can afford to be generous with it. My hamsters really liked it too.
     
  10. Akai-Chan

    Akai-Chan Banned

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    Not much advice about the bedding. I use sawdust cos I've never had any problems with it! However, ShreddyBed is an AMAZING bedding. No smell and really absorbent and a large bale lasts months :)

    As for the food however, rats are intelligent creatures and require different food to stop keeping them bored rather than just one nugget! I mix 2 cups of rat nuggets with one cup of pasta, 1 cup of cereal, half a cup of oats and some ferrets food/nuts etc just to pack it out. I also feed them fresh veg :)

    Boys can be introduced when they're at a young age. I;ve found it difficult to introduce rats while they're maturing sexually as they get massively territorial but it is possible. If you have them as a pair they should be more accepting.

    2 rats in a freddy 2 :)

    Rats do make noises, they make sorta chittering sounds which is them crunching their teeth together. It is called bruxing and they do it to keep their teeth short. They also tend to do it when they're happy, though it can be when they're distressed.

    Peace
    Akai-Chan
     
    #10 Akai-Chan, Aug 16, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  11. CharleyRogan

    CharleyRogan PetForums VIP

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    OOOH I'll buy some of that megazorb stuff, looks good, but then I still have a bag of that cat litter stuff, well... we do have 3 cats so I'll just give it to someone :D

    I'm going to look at making a diet for them, any ideas would be welcome. How often should i be feeding them anything other than rat food? Is stuff like bread and crackers and stuff like that okay for them?

    My 2 are about 6 weeks old apparently, so not sexually mature. I have a book I got with the cage on Fancy Rats, are Fancy Rats and Dumbos basically the same thing with exception of the ears?
     
  12. Akai-Chan

    Akai-Chan Banned

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    Basically anything that isn't high in protein, fat or sugars etc is ok to feed them. Avoid citrus fruit though as this is bad for their stomachs and kidneys.

    To be honest so long as you have a staple rat food for them you can mix most things in with it. The diet I offer mine gives them variety and keeps them interested, then they get occasional tidbits on top of that :)

    Dumbo rats can be fancy rats... Fancy rats are generally ones you show because they have specific colours or patterns etc, whether they are dumbo or top ear.

    Peace
    Akai-Chan
     
  13. pa2k84

    pa2k84 PetForums Senior

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    All rats sold are fancy rats. the only difference is the shape of the ears dont believe pets@home they do not live any longer or grow any bigger than top ears.
     
  14. cherrie_b

    cherrie_b PetForums VIP

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    I checked on the rats last night and one is very friendly whilst I haven't seen the other. I think I love rats! :D
     
  15. Akai-Chan

    Akai-Chan Banned

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    Told you so :p They're wonderful little critters which is how i seem to have ended up with 18 of them...

    Peace
    Akai-Chan
     
  16. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    Rats need about 3-4 different types of veg daily, with 1 piece of fruit given every other day. You can give them virtually any fruit and veg apart from raw sweet potato, and citrus fruit.

    Up until the rats are 8 weeks old, they need a protein food each day. You can give them tuna, chicken, cooked chicken bones, salmon, egg etc. You can start decreasing the the amount of protein you give them from 8 weeks old, until they are 14 weeks old, when you give them a protein food once-twice a week. You can also give them eggfood, such as EMP, used for rearing baby birds.

    I make up 2kg of food each time I mix the food. I put in:

    1kg of Alpha Herbal Deluxe rabbit food
    200g Burns Chicken and Rice Dog Kibble
    200g of cereals (such as Ryvita, cornflakes etc)
    600g of wholemeal pasta twirls

    I top the bowl up each time it gets empty, there's no set time really, and they get their veg in the evening.
     
  17. Akai-Chan

    Akai-Chan Banned

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    They don't need veg everyday, it's just a good supplement to their normal diet. When given too often it can mess up their digestive systems as veg has loads of fibre in it. Be careful with giving them too much protein as this increases the risk of tumours.

    Peace
    Akai-Chan
     
  18. CharleyRogan

    CharleyRogan PetForums VIP

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    He is still in there isn't he? He is probably in the P@H box, as I'm using that for their bed at the moment. I have some stuff coming from UK Pet supplies soon for them :D
     
  19. CharleyRogan

    CharleyRogan PetForums VIP

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    I have bought some bird toys from wilkos, only 99p each, bargain! and I bought this coconut thing, its for birds but will rats be able to have it, its perfectamundo for their cage, and I bought a dog toy which I can hang, and then I have stuff from UK pet supplies comin.... going a bit crazy :D
     
  20. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    when they are babies, they need veg and protein. They need 80% dry food and 20% fresh food (protein, fruit and veg). Once they are adults, they don't need as much. Please read my post again.
     
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