Keeping the cage from stinking?

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jawarrhajjim
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Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by jawarrhajjim » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:09 am

I love rats so much and want some more so badly, but my parents hate the smell and even I had a tough time with it, and I have an awful sense of smell. How do I keep the rats from stinking up the house? What type of cage do I need? How often do I clean? What bedding do I use? I had 2 female rats a few years ago and they stunk like crazy. It made me so sad because they brought so much joy to my life but I can't get more until I find a solution. Any ideas?

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cyber ratty
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Re: Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by cyber ratty » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:09 pm

Rats will always have a smell, like dogs will always make a house smell of dog, but it shouldn't be unbearable.

Young rats need a higher level of protein and will have smellier poos, but that's only for a few weeks.
The food given will make a difference - feed a good quality dry mix like Rat Rations #11 and they will be fine, but feeding PAH nuggets will make them smell bad.
Use a deep layer of loose substrate (such as shredded cardboard or kiln dried dust extracted shavings) on the floor and provide two toilet corners (top and bottom of cage), don't have flat shelves as they are just pee magnets and don't benefit the rats at all (fill the cage with ropes, perches, baskets, etc. instead).
Don't clean out more than once a week, otherwise they will over scent mark to compensate, although toilets can be changed twice a week.
Wash hammocks and ropes regularly, alternate with the substrate change so their cage isn't ever 'over-clean'.
Choose a cage with coated bars rather than mesh.

What did you do last time?

jawarrhajjim
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Re: Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by jawarrhajjim » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:29 pm

I actually don't mind the smell of the rats, like i've been around male rats before and the "musky" smell was just fine. But the smell of the poo and pee was just awful, it stunk so bad.
I'll go check out the rat rations, that sounds great.
I love the idea of no shelves and just ropes, hammocks, etc. because I do remember pee just flooding the shelves of my critter nation. It was disgusting. Plus you're right, they won't use shelves nearly as much as the fun stuff. Might as well do that
So replacing just a fraction of the bedding each cleaning is the best way to go?
Last time I had a critter nation with a few hammocks but I don't remember the bedding. And I had those rat pellet things (I forgot what they are called but they are basically just blocks of dried food), which I realize now is a big no no lol.

jawarrhajjim
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Re: Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by jawarrhajjim » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:04 pm

Oh and I forgot to ask, is Pine bedding good for smell control? And is it one of the beddings that hurt the rats? I can't remember for the life of me and i'd rather here since everyone knows rats best

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cyber ratty
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Re: Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by cyber ratty » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:24 am

Some people do change a percentage of the substrate each time, but I was meaning instead of having a full clean out on the same day, you could change all substrate one day, and a few days later change the hammocks and wash the accessories.

I find the best substrate option is a mixture of finacard (shredded cardboard) and pureflake extra (large soft flakes of kiln dried dust extracted softwood), but if you can't store two large bales, then I'd recommend just the cardboard.

Pine shavings are okay so long as they have been treated properly (heated to remove most of the phenols, and non dusty). Look for bedding sold for horses as they have sensitive respratory systems too, avoid small bags sold in pet shops.

jawarrhajjim
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Re: Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by jawarrhajjim » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:32 pm

Ohhh I see. And that will help prevent overmarking?

Okay great I will look into that. I actually have a cardboard shredders and lots of boxes, so I could even make that myself.

The horse pine would probably even be cheaper because it’s sold in bulk, right?

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cyber ratty
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Re: Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by cyber ratty » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:10 pm

Yes, I think a big bale is generally around £12 - £15. If you can't find pureflake, then I believe megaspread is another soft brand.

jawarrhajjim
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Re: Keeping the cage from stinking?

Post by jawarrhajjim » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:04 pm

Great, thank you so much for the help!

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