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Freerange ? Happy without?

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:44 am
by oowie
I have 4 young boys who live in a CN single level.
Until now i have taken them out daily for an hour freerange on the large couch.
This morning i saw that they had destroyed the couch in different places.
My husband doesn't want them to go on the couch anymore.
They will get lots of attention sitting bu the cage or on our lap, i don't have any proper and safe place for them to freerange. Is this gooed enough for them?
Can they be happy with attention and cuddlee without freerange?

Re: Freerange ? Happy without?

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:12 am
by oowie
could i let them freerange in the bathroom maybe? i am afraid this is too cold for them on the floor.

Re: Freerange ? Happy without?

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:23 am
by [cub]
I'm honestly not sure about this one. I've never had rats who seemed to completely enjoy being out of the cage; mine approach it with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation, with some rats more curious and others more nervous, but nobody being entirely comfortable. They'll usually spend only about 15 minutes exploring, longer if I've hidden food around the place, but then find somewhere to hide. When it's time to go back to the cage, they're always very eager to do so. I do think it's good for them in general: it's enriching for them to explore a novel environment, and it also allows them to run around in a way that they can't do inside the cage. But my rats seem to feel the same way about playtimes as I do about going to the gym: it's good for you and all that, but it's nice not to have to. :lol:

On balance I'd say it's a good thing for them to have, but perhaps not strictly necessary if your cage is big enough. Certainly if they're in quite a small cage (e.g. something the size of a Furet Plus) then being able to stretch their legs outside the cage becomes much more important. If they're in a huge cage then they probably won't be as much affected by not coming out. It is good to give them the option though, especially if they seem to enjoy it. If your bathroom is rat-proofed then by all means let them out in there; lots of people use bathrooms. I don't recall anyone ever commenting on the cold floor being a problem. Unless your floor is literally made of ice they should be fine.

Re: Freerange ? Happy without?

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:53 am
by cyber ratty
If you think the floor might be cold, then lay something over it - an old sheet, or a piece of fleece. They will also have the fun of tunneling under it! :)

Another option would be to use a hallway if you have one.

[cub] wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:23 am
I'm honestly not sure about this one. I've never had rats who seemed to completely enjoy being out of the cage

I think you must have something odd in your environment that unsettles them, plenty of rats really do enjoy free ranging.

Re: Freerange ? Happy without?

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:02 pm
by Feolthanos
I'd say it's a nessicity to be honest of having rats to free range. It's not so much for exercise, they should get that from climbing up and down the cage, but more for enrichment value.

Now do I think it's okay if they don't get out for the odd day or too, yes absolutely, don't beat yourself up about it. Unless you have the smallest, most bare cage that you never change around, the rats will be fine. Not giving them some additional mental stimulation for their entire lives though I'd really urge against.

My rats, given time to build their confidence will also climb up/jump down from a sofa, so do be aware of making the rest of the room safe should you continue with the sofa.

May I ask how your keeping the rats inside the cage when you're sitting by it? Is it high up? The first 3 weeks of owning my rats they didn't jump out the cage, but then their confidence grew and they now know the floor is safe. It's open all the time now during free range so they can come and go as they please. I also wouldn't be able to keep my two boys on my knee for long either, other things are far more exciting! I sit with my boys for a bit in the morning and talk to them, hand feed etc, but evenings are free range and they can decide if they want to come to me or not (they always do, sometimes more than others) and can make there own decisions about what to explore.

If you cannot free range in the same room as the cage, then is there a hallway or bathroom (careful if holes around pipes) you could use? Or perhaps you could either build/buy a playpen to either contain the rats or block off anything unsafe.