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DD is getting pet rats- just a few questions!!

(30 Posts)
tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 19:16:19

My lovely DD has saved and saved and is getting her first pet rats- yay!!

We are doing lots of research as the litter we have picked from sh

tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 19:17:28

Should be ready this week!

We want to know;

What is the best dry food?

What bedding can they have?

Do they mind walking on mesh?!

Fuzzymum1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:20:17

They definitely don't like walking on mesh, it's very uncomfortable for them and can cause bumblefoot which is a very painful swelling and infection in the foot.

They love hammocks to lounge in (check out rattieangels3 on ebay - it's a friend of mine who both breeds rats and makes hammocks for them.)

Don't use pine shavings or similar for them as it's not good for their (fairly delicate) respiratory systems. I recommend finacard. They love shredded paper, kitchen roll or tissues for nest building. They like boxes etc to hide in, though it's best not to give them too many hiding places until they've learned to trust you. I recommend putting on a dressing gown over your clothes and putting the rats inside to snuggle - they will quickly learn that snuggling with you is a nice thing to do :D

As for food - there is a lot of variation in what people suggest. My friend feeds a mix of fruity rabbit food, hamster food with added dry pasta and low sugar cereals. There are plenty of rat mixes available, some better than others but it depends really on what they're eating at the moment.

tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 20:22:55

Ok- the cage we have has mesh levels so guess we better cover them with s

Fuzzymum1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:25:58

Vinyl flooring is quite handy for covering mesh - sticky tiles can be cut to size/shape quite easily - they're easily scrubbed clean when they inevitably get peed on. the glue can be washed too and once left to dry goes sticky again.

tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 20:26:07

Aaaaaahhhh! Bloody phone!

We better cover them with something. Not sure what! hmm

I looked at beaphar care plus rat food- it's quite expensive and we will prepare fresh food for them too but I think the option of a bit of dry might be nice.

We are shredding newspaper ready.....

I have bought them a hammock, a swinging soft hive and a nesting ball too so plenty of places to chill out.

The cage we got is a lazy bones triple level so quite big- ill sort the mesh levels out.

Does this all sound ok?

Fuzzymum1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:32:36

Sounds good to me :D

I can recommend the FB group Brammocks Rattery - it's a very helpful and supportive group. If you request to join feel free to say that Jane L recommended you do :D All of the group admins are lovely and everyone will happily answer questions :D

tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 20:41:56

Yay! Thanks, I will request to join and me and dd will have a look through.

We get the phone call this week to say the babies are ready then it's a sprint to get them- I'm so excited!!

I had rats as a kid but feel like a newbie!

trice Sun 16-Mar-14 20:48:29

I loved our rats. I found free ranging in the bath tub worked well when they were babies and getting used to us. They liked to lick plain yogurt from a teaspoon which helped tame them.

Good luck.

Fuzzymum1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:49:18

Where are you getting them from?

tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 20:56:38

Just for pets.

It's a litter that had been bred (by accident I think!) in the shop. I was planning on going to a breeder but we stumbled across them in the shop, was able to handle mum and dad (both lovely and placid) and look at all of the litter. They were all very healthy and glossy and so alert. Me and DD fell in love!! But loads of people have expressed interest so we are just praying we get there in time to get 2 boys grin

Fuzzymum1 Sun 16-Mar-14 21:06:28

If you're unlucky, let me know what area you're in (or post on brammocks) and someone will tell you who is local to you.

tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 21:10:10

Ok thanks smile fingers crossed we do get 2- they were lovely grey and white dumbo rats, just scrummy.

Fuzzymum1 Sun 16-Mar-14 21:13:40

They sound lovely, I love dumbos, they remind me of teddy bears :D

tametortie Sun 16-Mar-14 21:15:22

They have such daft docile faces I love it!

Do you have other pets as well as rats? How many rats do you have?

Fuzzymum1 Tue 18-Mar-14 16:59:26

I currently don't have rats but my friend over the road, breeds them - she has close to 100 :D

I have seven cats, four degus, a russian dwarf hamster, a tank of fish, and two giant african land snails that belong to my 16yo son. We're contemplating adding a couple of house bunnies to the mix too :D

haggisaggis Tue 18-Mar-14 17:05:32

Just a wee thing - newspaper is not recommended for rat bedding - something to do with the ink.
They are good fun - one of ours would watch tv with me! There is a rat forum which is good for help - Found them helpful when our rats got ill. (no rats any more - dc left the looking after of them to me and I don't have the time)

Fuzzymum1 Tue 18-Mar-14 17:46:30

Newspapers are fine these days, the inks are all animal safe now.

ConfusedPixie Wed 19-Mar-14 22:55:23

Look up the shunamite diet, it's pretty well rounded smile

I now have four rats, they are all spoilt! Two boys and two girls. In two separate cages. You really want to try have at least two as they are sociable creatures. We are currently using megazorb for the substrate bedding. We 'accidentally' leave things like old socks/clothes and rolls of cheap toilet tissue on top of the cages and they make their own bedding to sleep in!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 19-Mar-14 23:00:01

I read on one post that if you put a cover over their cage, they'll drag it through the bars and shred it/sleep in it.

my guineas just look hmm "Mums put the cover on. Night Night" with no thought of anything energetic.

Just imagining them hauling a fabric through the bars with their little rat feet grin

ConfusedPixie Thu 20-Mar-14 07:09:15

70 it really is a sight to behold! Ours boys only started being destructive the past few weeks and the girls are brilliant at it! We'll weave things through the bars for them and just watch them get it through and run off with it.

Dp left his shirt within reaching distance of the girls cage and within five minutes it had a few extra... features grin

dollyholly123 Thu 20-Mar-14 14:13:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ormirian Thu 20-Mar-14 14:21:13

How lovely! I had rats for years (officially they were the kids' rats but really they were all MINE!). Sadly I developed an allergy and couldn't give them the attention they need - and they do need plenty of interaction out of the cage.

I found that any rat mix will do but mine never much cared for the science diet sort of stuff - woudn't eat it.

no to mesh floor.

Re chewing fabrix - yes they do!! Someone put DD's sleeping bag next to their cage once - when I tried to move it away I couldn't as they had chewed it and pulled loads if it into their bed..

BTW please be aware they they aren't long-lived and are subject to some nasty illnesses. None of mine made it much past 2 years and it is heart-breaking when they go sad

MizTiggle Thu 20-Mar-14 14:29:45

I stupidly left my rats cage near the curtains once... At least they seemed to enjoy their new bedding! I do miss mine sad

ConfusedPixie Thu 20-Mar-14 14:34:58

You'll need a few hammocks, we change ours midweek as they like to pee on them. But then we also use old t-shirts with safety pins in as hammocks!

Make sure that you have a few baggy jumpers that you don't mind being wrecked. Our boys started out by being chucked in a zippered jacket, now when out they will dive underneath it. And into my bra hmm

RE illnesses, in the past month we spent £25-30 on getting one checked out for a respiratory infection and ABs for it, £100 on another who had his eye poked out when play fighting and I think that we're going to have to convince the vets to give us some more ABs as three of them have definitely been sneezing, but whether that's changing the substrate or not I don't know confused We'll wait until next week. They can be expensive little buggers.

If you get females you'll need to seriously consider having them spayed quite young as they are prone to tumours, which spaying will radically reduce. We've been quoted from £40 to £100 per rat for this though our girls are rescues that we got at a year old and the vet has said that it wouldn't be worth it for them because of their age now, it would only partially cut the chances of tumours now but they'l still have over 30% of getting them. Had they been done younger it'd be less than 10%.

Don't let your DD get discouraged if they are shy either, they could be really friendly immediately, or it may take a few weeks if not longer for them to be happy with being picked up.

I've only had rats for a couple of months but I'm obsessed, love them! DP is unimpressed by my notions to get more though sad

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