I need a new cage

Discussions relating to the housing, environment, free ranging and enrichment of rats.
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acapae_wolf
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Sat May 16, 2015 12:28 pm

It's arriving tomorrow. I'm quite excited :D
Maidenhair Moxie wrote:I think XL's are great cages, actually one of myfavourites. I find lifting the cageoff the base to clean it a pain so i decided to turn the whole front into a door so i just open the front and use a dust pan.

To do this i used a dozen small split rings to replace the plastic spports on one corner to create a hinge and then slid the support on,off the opposite corner to open close the front. Was very succesful.
I'll probably leave as is, but I don't suppose you have a photo of that? :)
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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acapae_wolf
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Sun May 17, 2015 4:52 pm

It's annoying me that the litter tray is being pulled out of shape (I put it in before the branch, which proved very complicated to secure). But other than that whole saga (and not being able to find a very specific rope) it was a pretty fun layout to do :D

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Spending 2.5weeks in a C2 as part of Whin's reintroduction/ slowly building muscles up again seems to have hit Fen mobility-wise quite hard. I might have to make the layout easier in a bit, although I'm hoping that Fen's muscles and balacing ability will build back up again instead. For now, having watched him struggle and fall doing relatively simple manoeuvres, I've made a couple of alterations to the above:
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Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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ami_j
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by ami_j » Sun May 17, 2015 10:49 pm

Looking good :D loving the hammock but Ozzy wants his jacket back :D
Ratless
Owned by: Dexter (dog) Ozzy, Loki and Marceline (Cats) Dylan and Darcy (Rabbits) Halo + Tony (Syrian hamsters) Snufkin (Winter White hamster) Toffle (Roborovski) Firefly (Leopard Gecko) Launch and Rocket (Chipmunks) Rebecca (Ribbed Newt) Neo (Cockatiel)

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acapae_wolf
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Mon May 18, 2015 10:29 pm

Haha! That's a Fuzzbutts one that came to me via Jude-maulde :D
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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ami_j
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by ami_j » Tue May 19, 2015 1:08 pm

acapae_wolf wrote:Haha! That's a Fuzzbutts one that came to me via Jude-maulde :D
I had some of that fabric in pink on some of my fuzzbutt hammocks (think I had one in black too so many hammocks I can't remember) and loved it and was always gutted when they shredded them. So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out that Mynwood had it :D
Ratless
Owned by: Dexter (dog) Ozzy, Loki and Marceline (Cats) Dylan and Darcy (Rabbits) Halo + Tony (Syrian hamsters) Snufkin (Winter White hamster) Toffle (Roborovski) Firefly (Leopard Gecko) Launch and Rocket (Chipmunks) Rebecca (Ribbed Newt) Neo (Cockatiel)

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Mayamy
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by Mayamy » Sat May 23, 2015 4:16 pm

Told you I would get around to posting eventually :oops:

Love the layout - how hard are they to furnish access wise? And how did you attach/wedge the branch? I need to work out how to cut and then use my hazel!
Amy - with Pixel, Dora, Ren, Vex, Nova & Tali

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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Mon May 25, 2015 11:39 am

Haha, yes!
Mayamy wrote:Love the layout - how hard are they to furnish access wise?
I know some other people have problems furnishing them, but I think because I have the same method for layouts regardless of the space itself it's not an issue for me? I always start by visually breaking cage space down into smaller sections, rather than one big space. With accessories that will, in part stay there fairly long term. Set object and routes. Rather than a panic of "err so much giant space in all directions" and shoving things in anyhow. And then getting stuck.

The first thing I put in was the parrot ladder at the back. It's big and solid and I use it a lot for older rats, It's active and climby, but solid and relatively easy for if agility is dropping. Even rats with fairly progressed HLD can still manage it. And then at the top of that I stuck the hammock, as my rats prefer sleeping up high. Also even though the reason for a new cage was people not being litter trained, some still are! And the way I make sure they remember, is to have the litter tray very near bed. So that went in, in such a place that emptying it (with a dustpan as a scoop) is okay. So I knew I had to provide a way for all to get up to the start of the ladder itself. But once they were there, accessing the important things was sorted and I'd not need to think about essentials like that later. The first steps are also better for being 'harder' for rats as they age than higher up. Noting that the youngest in the group are 20-21 months heh.

By that point it was considerably less of a big open cube. The space was lower in height, and the top-space that was left was a rectangle up one side/ the middle. So therefore me being able to visualise what would fit in the space and work well was easier. Amzy had suggested I used my big bit of hawthorn, so I stuck that in (eventually). I basically just put it in in a few placements and tried to hold it while also seeing what would work? Mostly in terms of how I'd secure it and what was best that way, rather than what would work layout-wise best. After that, the wheel went in. At the back because I don't need it near a door. And it can stay there.

And by that point, it wasn't one big cube any more, but lots of smaller spaces of varying shapes, which are more easily manipulated to 'change' by sticking varying smaller accessories in :) Which is the same as with any other cage, rather than anything about "ahhh XLs are too big and cubic!". Made more-so easier to visualise by the green rope - which is partially an accessory for them to use, but it's also holding the lower section of the branch still. It's easier to change the feel of the layout as a whole by varying what's in the smaller spaces each time. And I also find it easier to visualise in advance how the layout will work as a whole, rather than having to put things in to see.

That was rather long-winded, but I couldn't think of a clear way to explain otherwise :lol:


Will get some close-up branch photos...
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Mon May 25, 2015 12:06 pm

Mayamy wrote:And how did you attach/wedge the branch? I need to work out how to cut and then use my hazel!
I usually attach branches with chains on metal curtain hooks. Sometimes I'll double or even quadruple up some garden wire and tie them on instead, but that requires a bit more 'perfect fit' in terms of cage dimensions and branch shape. Which I definitely did not have here! The trick with the chain and hooks is to have the curve of the hook making up at least 2cm or so of the circumference of the branch, rather than the chain going all the way around. This ensures that even if there's a bit of movement, that the chain will be super snug and trapped toes won't be a thing.

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The bit that made it hardest was that I wasn't sure if the branch would fit. And the litter tray was held up with the clips and chain in a different order. So I ended up attaching/ undoing/ reattaching all the metal when it was already in the cage, rather than in advance. Which involved rather more dexterity and finger strength than I had :lol:

If you can, it's also handy if there's a knobble from a bit of uneven growth or branch offshoot or something behind where the attachment is. That helps when you're actually attaching it given - unless you have a helper - you have to do one end first!
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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Jemma
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by Jemma » Tue May 26, 2015 7:02 pm

i use garden wire to secure branches in mine. i also often wedge them or fasten a few together to make a branchy web. this is handy to hang other things off so makes making the most of the cage space easier in a cage with full frontal doors. garden wire is generally my friend lol.

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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:24 pm

Well hilariously, most of them have remembered how to use a litter tray since moving cages :lol:
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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Re: I need a new cage

Post by Jemma » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:53 am

i think litter tray usage is directly proportional to how easy it is for them to get to it from where ever they are sleeping and not somewhere you don't want them to go. lazy rats

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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:59 am

I agree that that's a contributing factor. However it can't be the only one because I *always* have the litter tray next to bed, and as evidence in the last few months shows, usage still varies.
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:25 pm

This is their current layout. Whin and Talla are currently in the mini brio though.
They've had it for a while (small changes) and will probably have it for more of a while because I don't think 'resting for at least 2 weeks following moderately invasive surgery' really includes that :lol:
acapae_wolf in http://fancyratsforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=453#p267460 wrote: Image

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Fen, 27 months, kept doing that old rat 'I'll fling myself into space' in the food rush. So the bamboo bridge is an easy way for him to moderately quickly get down to the base for food in a safe way. However because bamboo is shiny and the bridge is very long, it's still providing a fair workout for the return journey.
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This little perch is a sort of a floating groundline to warn of the gap :)
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The bamboo ladder is really working for Fen. He tootles up and down it all the time, and is much more keen to get out of the hammock for a little wander downstairs throughout the day. Lots of small bits of movement, rather than bigger chunks of exercise less frequently. He sometimes climbs up the front of the cage into the litter tray too. I'm very happy with him. The girls (Iris and Aurora, 25 months now) really like it too, because they can be lazy :P

I cleaned them out this morning for the first time since moving into the XL. I've done a soggy patches removal before, and frequent litter tray things, but not anything bigger as yet. My mum is going home on Thursday evening as I'm sort of drifting back towards feeling human again, but I wanted to clean them out while she was still here in case anything went wrong.

It was really easy :) I sat on the floor with the binbag next to me and did the standard dustpan scooping. I could almost reach the far back corners with it - turning the pan upside down and pulling the last bits towards me like that worked well enough. Even the branch being unhelpfully in the middle of the door didn't really hinder anything. Sweeping up the dust/ husks using both arms was a bit harder, but I think that's because my right arm isn't really working at the minute (I'm right handed), rather than anything to do with the cage itself. I put the cardboard back in by myself, and then my mum helped with the hay/ straw, in terms of getting it completely covering the substrate into the back corners.

Moving the cage out away from the wall to sweep around it was a little more challenging. As was putting it back. Because being on carpet it wouldn't just slide. But it wasn't too hard either. I just did it very slowly. With rests. They're not being too bad about kicking stuff out, so I've abandoned the vinyl offcut idea as tbh just sweeping up with a dustpan brush every week or so is alright. There is quite a lot of stuff caught on the lip of the cage. But it's all dry. And I wasn't bothered enough about it to lift the wire on and off to sweep it away!

But yes, really pleased. It's working so well :D
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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[cub]
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Re: I need a new cage

Post by [cub] » Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:35 pm

Glad to hear the new cage is working for everyone, including the one supposedly on bed rest. :lol:

Where did you get that bamboo ladder by the way? It looks really handy!
Poo-shoveller to: Lita, Xeltan, Calyn, and Din.
Fondly remembering: Lia the scruffbag, Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit, Falere the contrary, Mirala the best and finest, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.

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Re: I need a new cage

Post by acapae_wolf » Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:41 pm

Bed rest is boring :lol:

The bamboo ladder is meant to be a flowerbed border! it was from Wilkos, but a couple of years ago now. I had a looksee for another one when I was last in, but they don't have anything similar this year :( It's lovely though - sort of like a bigger version of those long bendy mouse/ hamster birch ladders?
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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