Litter Tray Problem

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JackieRS28
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:47 pm

Litter Tray Problem

Post by JackieRS28 » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:15 am

Hello all. Further to my November post about my lone male rescue rat from Pets at Home, with amazing support from two ladies, I am now the proud owner of two little female rats too! The group have bonded extremely well and I am delighted with my new pets. They are in a Jenny cage, and have a good selection of hammocks and tubes. HOWEVER my original male, Hercules, was extremely clean when housed alone and used his litter tray at all times. Now they are a group, I still put a litter tray in the cage, but one of the females favours this as a bed and always moves the bedding there! I have tried moving the tray to the top shelf (which is nearer to where Hercules always sleeps) and put a Sputnik bed on the lower shelf with bedding inside. And of course the little female proceeded to move the bedding up to the litter tray. The Sputnik keeps getting thrown off the shelf, so I’m guessing they don’t like it! Should I provide a second litter tray, or just let them get on with it? Also, how often does everyone here clean out their cages? With the three of them, it gets pretty smelly after two days. Thanking you all in advance

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cyber ratty
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Re: Litter Tray Problem

Post by cyber ratty » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:06 am

I take it you got him neutered okay then?

A second litter tray would be a good idea anyway - I like to provide one high up next to the main bed, and another on the floor, the high one gets most use. Maybe choose one of a different style in case the doe recognises it as still her bed. The sputnik is best fixed upside down to the roof, but I recommend drilling some drainage holes. ;)

Cleaning out should not be done more often than once a week (toilet corners can be emptied twice a week), and if you are finding they smell before that, it's possibly due to your layout...
...you mention shelves, and since rats love to pee on them, it's best to remove them from the cage (replace with ropes, perches, baskets, etc.).
...what substrate do you have on the floor and how deep is it?
...do you change and wash their hammock(s) regularly?
...how old are the girls? If they are young and on a high protein diet still then they will smell more.
...what food are they getting? Some foods can make them smell more.

Incidentally, if you struggle with access (the tiny jenny doors are a pain!), it may work better for you to move the big roof door to the front of the cage and block the top off with a cooling rack or mesh panel.

Feolthanos
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Location: South Yorkshire

Re: Litter Tray Problem

Post by Feolthanos » Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:54 pm

When I just had two rats I still had 2 litter trays in each back corner, as this is where they preferred to go (the corners). They were wonderful at using it, would even pee in there.
My next two boys were too lazy to go down to the floor, so I put an additional tray up high. This one gets used the most, but it did take my original boys awhile to realise that it wasn't a bed and to stop sleeping in it. I've recently changed it to a hanging basket/plastic organiser as they were kicking the litter out of a corner tray and then it did get stinky very quickly as they'd pee in it and there wasn't enough litter to absorb it.
My most recent additions are hit and miss at if they use the litter tray. They do for the most part, but they are manic little things :roll:

I clean the litter trays fully once or twice a week (depends how much fresh they've had :sick: ) and do spot cleans in between.
Hammocks again are once or twice a week. If it lasts the full week, it does get fresh bedding however.
Substrate gets changed every two weeks, when I also wipe down the cage bars.
Ropes and other cage items get washed on rotation about every 3-4 months.

A cage really shouldn't smell after 2 days especially with only 3 rats. If they are still on a high protein kitten diet however, then you may have to just grin and bare it up until about 12 weeks old.

JackieRS28
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:47 pm

Re: Litter Tray Problem

Post by JackieRS28 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:14 am

Hi, yes, I got Hercules neutered by an exotics vet recommended to me. He is definitely a lot calmer now. So I have a mixture of rat nuggets and rat muesli but this has never gone down very well - I have on order a special mix from Rat Rations which looks far better. So maybe where I am going wrong is giving them too much fresh food. In the morning they normally get either porridge or weetabix with a few cornflakes and some banana and blueberries. In the evening they often get leftovers comprising of potato, peas, carrots, tiny amounts of protein such as chicken, or a small amount of scrambled egg. On inspection yesterday, the source of the problem is definitely the bedding that the does move to the litter tray as it was obviously urine soaked. I put in a further litter tray so will see what happens. For the substrate I use a mix of Carefresh and paper cat litter pellets. I put in about an inch. However, I have now bought some Megasorb to try as it works out so much cheaper.

Feolthanos
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Location: South Yorkshire

Re: Litter Tray Problem

Post by Feolthanos » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:46 am

Definitely move away from the rat nuggets. Also be aware that if you're combining foods together you can be upsetting the nutritional balence of the food. I'd only ever recommend mixing foods together if you know that one lot is low in something that the other food provides.

I had my rats briefly on reggie rat after rat rations stopped new orders early Jan and yeah, it smelled. The poo really smelled and they were pooing more frequently too. Good choice on the rat rations, they make good mixes. Make sure you're supplimenting in line with the mix you've brought.

And yeah, rats don't need fresh everyday, particularly fruit which is high in sugars and carrot everyday could be making the poo quite loose as well. Porridge is fine, but make it with unsweetened plant milks or water. Also consider kale and other leafy greens, as they're high in calcium (avoid too much spinach, which will limit the body's ability to absorb calcium).

Switching the food and adding another tray and you should see a world of difference :D

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