New rat mummy - need some advice please

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Julie020
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New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:27 pm

Hi

I’m new to the forum...so hi..and a new rat mummy.

I hope you can help with a couple of questions I have?

I’ve kept all sorts of different breeds of hamster for the last 10 years, but first time with rats. I have 3 girls, Madge, Joyce and Loretta all about 14 weeks old, they all get on very well. I’ve had them 2 weeks.

They live in a massive 3 tier cage with lots of hammocks, beds, tubes, nesting material, 12” wheel, etc. We have playtime in a pen attached to cage so they can run back in if they get anxious. They climb all over me, take treats, a couple will sit on my shoulder for a few minutes and they completely ransack the inside of my dressing gown. I’m scared to free roam yet as they still a bit jittery being actually picked up/handled.

The problem I have is the place I have put cage, which cannot be moved. I have 4 rooms downstairs, no doors but doorways, so.. semi open plan. There’s only 2 of us living here and husband works all day, I work from home. The cage is in 3rd room, next to 4th room which is the kitchen. I work in 1st room, living room. These are my questions:

1. Do household machines i.e. washing machine, tumble dryer hurt them? It’s fairly close but on a separate concrete tiled floor, they are not on the same floor. They’re not on that much, 2/3 times a week.

2. Do household smells i.e. cooking, bother them? Mostly bulk cook at weekends only, occasional cook on odd evening, then mostly heat ups in microwave.

3. Their room is mostly quiet all other times and all day, (some quiet traffic walking through during day to get refreshments) except the distant sound of the T.V, is this ok for them?

4. Do they mind a bit of talking during day (not much or often)?

5. Do they mind being cleaned out whilst they are in their cage? Or does this stress them, and should I move them to another smaller cage I have?

It’s mostly very quiet where they are, but I can’t help some noise and smells, they absolutely have nowhere else to go in my house.

Any suggestions/answers very welcome!

Thank you!

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:08 pm

Welcome to the forum, and congrats on choosing rats this time. :D

Firstly - rats don't mind noise, they positively thrive being in the middle of everything, so don't tiptoe round them at all. They will love being talked to, they will enjoy the TV or radio being on, and even if you're not the best singer, they do seem to go into a trance when listening to someone singing. (A few rats get audiogenic epilepsy, often triggered by a hoover, but it's rare, so don't worry unless you see one having a fit - racing round the cage uncontrollably and then collapsing.)

Secondly they love food smells, and although they will plead with you to give them the food being cooked, be strict with their diet so they don't get overweight. ;)

Thirdly - for free range, you could erect a barrier across a doorway to confine them to one room, but you do need to reach the stage where they will come to you willingly before giving them that much space.

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:57 am

Oh thank you so much Mary...can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear all this! I always kept my hamsters in my bedroom but I read rats like to be in the heart of the home, and my rats truly are!

I am trying to train them to come to their names, I say their names all the time. I have enlarged their playpen and they won’t be leaving it until I’m more confident with them, and not until they let me pick them up. I actually made some progress with that this morning.

One more question if you don’t mind, this is so helpful.

I go to bed early say 8.30pm -9pm. My rats have long out of cage time in the morning as I’m a very early riser, say 5.00 - 6.00am. They get between 1-2 hours, as long as they want to be out really. Sometimes it’s less, but that’s their choice.

Is it ok to leave them early in the evening with much less playtime, until they can hang out with me in the living room, which they can’t yet, it’s definitely not a safe room and very difficult to make safe?

Thank you!

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Feb 03, 2021 2:27 pm

Yes, once a day is fine, and being crepuscular they will enjoy being out at 'dawn'. They are very adaptable, so they'd get used to coming out at whatever time is convenient for you. :luck:

The difference with hamsters is that they are nocturnal solitary creatures - whereas rats are cooperative colony animals who can fit into almost any set of circumstances, hence their natural success. Think of them more as miniature dogs than as a rodent. :love:

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:47 pm

Oh excellent!! Thank you again Mary, I could ask a million questions, I’m researching a lot and get lots of my answers that way. :D

Miniature dogs :D love it! So glad I got rats! My hamsters were super spoiled and my rats will be too, can’t wait for lockdown to be over so my family can meet them.

Thank you
Julie x

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:42 pm

Ask away, that's what we like :D

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 7:51 am

Oh that’s so good, now I probably won’t stop :D thank you Mary, it’s just I’m so new to this and I don’t want to get it wrong.

Maybe just a couple more then ;)

Do they sometimes blow hot and cold, sometimes they’re super friendly, another they revert to being more timid?

Do they like new toys in their playpen, they seem to be nervous if I change things?

The reason I ask is because I want to put a very large hamster cage in there so they get used to it for clean out days. I struggle cleaning them out because I’ve had to cover the cage with mesh because the gaps are 3/4” wide and they are still small. The doors are smallish too. Also, they just follow me round, either trying to help or trying to stop me, not sure which and whether clean out annoys/distresses them.

I can’t leave them in the pen as they need supervision.

Last one :D for now, can fully grown girls get through 3/4” gap, I really can’t wait to take the mesh off.

Thank you so much, appreciated

Julie x

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Feb 04, 2021 8:05 am

Oh yes, I forgot to answer about the cleaning out - rats love to 'help', and it will take twice as long if they are in the cage when you clean out (aka play time), lol!

They are neophobic by instinct, so can be very suspicious of new objects/food/noises etc. and that might explain their mood swings. The more things you can expose them to the better so they learn to cope with new situations.

I'm afraid that unless they grow to be particularly large girls, that bar spacing is always going to be too large. There are some great cages with small spacing on the market though, and to keep costs low, I'd suggest considering the coco 100 which is big enough for 5-6, and also has nice big doors. Use code FANCYRATS for 10% off anything from the website (prices seem to be rising unfortunately, so the sooner the better if you're going to invest in a new cage)

https://www.littlepetwarehouse.co.uk/pr ... x54cm.html

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 10:04 am

That’s ok, you are being very helpful to me :)

Yes, took me 2 hours with them....helping! :lol: hence the need to get them out and somewhere safe.


I suspected you may say that about the cage, now my dilemma? Do I completely disrupt and possibly start all over again in a new cage, or just leave the mesh on forever?

The cage they have is 3 times the size of the one you have mentioned, like 3 of that one on top of each other. It’s from Cozy Pet RABBIT / GUINEA PIG 3-TIER CAGE BY COZY PET 100CM INC STAND RAT CHINCHILLA HUTCH, because it said rat I didn’t think of bar spacing at first. Only when it arrived I wondered and luckily put the mesh on before putting them in there.

The one I’m looking at is this, Little Zoo Trekker Cage at www.mydegu.com

So my new question, do I move them now and what effect will this have, or should I just leave them, they love their cage?

Thanks Mary

Julie x

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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:14 am

Yours is bigger that's true (although only twice as big), but can you live with the mesh?

The little Zoo Venturer is a great cage, and allows for more vertical climbing than your current one - but it is a lot more expensive. Personally, I would say it's worth it, because the fully opening front style of cage is really nice, it allows you to properly get into their space.

They would get used to a change of cage, especially since their accessories would all still smell like 'home', but it's entirely up to you, it is a big expense which isn't an actual necessity.

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:44 am

Ah I think you’ve made my mind up! ;)

No...I can’t live with the mesh and the doors on their present one are so small for such a big cage! The mesh around the doors have sharp bits where we cut it to fit, I have managed to tape it so the rats don’t get hurt, but it’s a risk that they chew it off and get hurt. It’s also a nightmare to reach the corners! It looks really messy at the moment.

Not too bothered about the cost because as you say worth it for their well-being, and mine at clean out time :lol:

I’m going to order it now, I feel better about it already. I’ll sell this one to help with the cost.

Thank you so much Mary!

(So glad I came to this forum) :)

Julie x

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:47 am

I’ve done it!! :D It’s on it’s way...yay!

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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:21 pm

Whoo! Exciting :luck:

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:07 pm

:D I’m quite excited!! :D I’ll let you know how it goes and I’m sure i will have plenty more questions ;)

Thanks Mary!

Julie x

Julie020
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Re: New rat mummy - need some advice please

Post by Julie020 » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:20 pm

Hi Mary

I'm back..OK new cage is great..they love it, except it has vertical bars, I've solved that though!

OK my question, which I'm going to put in another topic in case you don't see this.

They've been absolutely fine in new cage, coming out to play etc..but they have all suddenly gone really skittish..and haven't come out for 2 day's now!

I don't think where the cage is there's enough stimulation. They can't see us...unless we walk into the room. Should I move them closer to the living room?

Trouble is tv is on all day..not too loud! They won't be next to it..in fact in the next room but its open plan!

We go to bed by 9pm..they just don't want to come out anymore 😕

Any advice welcome

Julie x

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