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getting our first rats on saturday!

(10 Posts)
lu9months Wed 03-Dec-14 19:59:59

hi all, we are getting two baby girls on saturday, we have a lovely big cage and lots of nice toys and hammocks for them. has anyone got any advice about getting them settled in/not loosing them/ helping the kids to care for them properly? thanks

CleaninQueen Wed 03-Dec-14 21:16:45

Ah, baby rats are lovely we have 8 boy rats that all live together, the youngest 2 being 12 weeks old. We handle them everyday, litter trained them to keep smell down and keep the cage cleaner for longer. The shelves get cleaned daily though for food mess. They make lovely pets and are very interesting to watch at night. All of ours love being handled by DSD. We've always left new rats alone for 24 hours to settle in and get adjusted. Good luck

lu9months Wed 03-Dec-14 22:10:24

oh thanks thats interesting, i thought we should handle them straight away but maybe that would be too much for them. i was hoping i could get away with a full cage clean once a week, is this a bit optimistic?! also how to you litter train them?

PixieofCatan Wed 03-Dec-14 22:18:33

Rich the, will come back on Friday when not on my pad but:

Our two cages get a big clean every 5-7 days and smaller cleans between. 3 rats per cage for us.
Are you getting rats from a breeder or shop? Depending in the breeder so. E rats will be handle able from day one, some may need some getting used to you time. Our boys have never liked cuddles but are happy shoulder rats, our girls from a different breeder were cuddly from day one, young daughter of the breeder was handling them in the breeders shop and so on.
I can highly recommend the Fugly Rats and Rodent Rescue group on Facebook, it's my local NHS breeders page and she's brilliant, lots of people from all over on it and great for advice.

CleaninQueen Wed 03-Dec-14 22:26:59

We clean them out every week and the shelves everyday. We bought a rat potty and dust free cat litter and put it in a corner of the cage and whenever the went toilet put it in the litter tray and they learnt that was where they were supposed to go toilet. Took them about a week, we clean the litter tray out in the evenings.

lu9months Wed 03-Dec-14 22:30:30

thanks thats helpful. we are getting them from a breeder we found from the national fancy rats association. they are both girls,. she has been handling them daily so hopefully they will get used to us quickly. thanks for the tips!

PixieofCatan Thu 04-Dec-14 07:19:37

Please ignore the typos blush was rushing to finish as I finished work! Nfrs not NHS too!

PixieofCatan Fri 05-Dec-14 08:51:18

Glad to see that you're having NFRS rats smile Our two big boys are from Rivendell in Kent, our two younger girls and baby boy are from Fugly/Seagull Stud in Brighton. All of them are gorgeous and so lovely smile

If you are anywhere near Brighton, the Fugly owner has a shop and sells things at internet prices or cheaper 99% of the time, and her hammocks are ridiculously cheap and well made. She's also extremely knowledgeable about rats.

Have a google of homemade toys for rats and also ferrets, tonnes of good ideas that you can get your kids on. It's second nature for us now to keep boxes and cardboard and scraps of fabric. We also buy kids jeans when they're on offer in cheapy shops or charity shops as they make great fabric tunnels! our old jeans get cut up as well.

Never underestimate how many hammocks you'll need. Some rats are big chewers and will go through tonnes. Our girls shred them, our boys are usually reserved!

If you haven't already, find a vet now who has a rodentologist or experience with rats. Don't feel funny about asking them questions, when things get bad for rats, they go downhill very fast, you do not want to be scrabbling around trying to find a vet who can actually treat them well in that scenario. A lot of standard vets are quite ignorant about rats, they last one I saw told me that I should put down my baby who had had some seizures, it's treatable, she just didn't know much about it.

Have a google for sounds rats make when they have respiratory illness. Rats are almost silent, so wheezing should always be checked out. They're prone to respiratory issues and if you can 'diagnose' it before it gets bad, you'll be better off for it smile is a good website for general ailments. There are photos of conditions on there, but if you're worried about anything you can find out what likely treatment would be if you took them to a vet, how to care for them at home if they don't need vet treatment but need some R&R, etc.

The main other thing I'd say is to buy a large hamster cage, online (much cheaper), no more than 50cm high and not too big that you can't fit it somewhere. Rats can have accidents and may need a hospital cage at some point. We're unlucky and ours is out more often than not it seems hmm One of our girls injured herself repeatedly and in a four week period spent about five days in her actual cage!
We have a tiny cage as well that we use to take them to the vet or to go to local rat events. Slightly bigger than a carrier so can fit three in at once without squishing them in! grin

lu9months Fri 05-Dec-14 21:20:42

thanks so much, thats really helpful. my parents are down in brighton so will check out the lady you mention

PixieofCatan Fri 05-Dec-14 21:41:37

Ah, brilliant! I do go on about her and the shop but she really is brilliant. Here's her shop's FB page:

And the FB group:

They are hoping to do meets once a month or so too, I missed the one last week but went to the one in November, it was good fun smile Lots of people brought their rats along so it was nice to see lots of other rats. One of my girls spent the entire time down my bra hiding but the other two girls enjoyed it! But then she was recovering from a sprained leg. Again -_-

I am officially a crazy rat lady hmm

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