New rats - age and cage advice please. X

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SherlockandRafferty13
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New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by SherlockandRafferty13 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:19 pm

Hi all, am new here and after some advice please. Forgive me if I'm posting in the wrong bit, wasn't quite sure where to put it.
I haven't had rats since I was a teenager. I've recently bought two rats from a young girl locally. She claims they are six weeks but I'm not so convinced. They seem to be eating fine. We have the runt of the litter who I didn't want to take because I was worried but actually he is the more adventurous and the better eater of the two. They are so sweet and we are so bonded but I have a desire to fatten them up. Any idea how I can get a better idea of their age?
Also I bought a cage that once arrived I realised is way too big bar spacing wise. But I hate sending things back and do love the height of it. The bar spacing is 2cm, will this be too big for them even when they are grown or should I cover in chicken wire? The rats are boys. Its this one:
http://www.cagesworld.co.uk/p/Lazy_Bone ... Wheels.htm
Thanks in advance. Any advice on how to add photos and I will add some of the boys. X

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Caza66
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Re: New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by Caza66 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:31 pm

I had a single level version of this cage that I used as a temporary cage. The bar spacing is too wide for babies. I had a smallish girl in there but she didn't get out but whether that was more luck that she didn't try. the bar spacing will be okay for older bucks but you may need to mesh it for babies.

How much space do you have to put a cage? What about a mamble 100?
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cyber ratty
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Re: New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by cyber ratty » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:40 am

Rats develop at different rates, but as a general guideline, their coats will change from being soft and fluffy to being smooth and shiny at around 6-7 weeks, so that may help you to estimate their age.

They will need feeding well for several more weeks, but avoid letting them get fat as that will just be bad for them in the future. This article has details on the sort of diet they need now.

The cage you have may seem big with nice height, but it has very little floor space, something that boys in particular benefit need, and in terms of overall size it's borderline big enough at all. I would sell it on (or keep it as a holiday cage for when they are adults), and replace it with something like the mamble 100, which is only £40. :)

SherlockandRafferty13
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Re: New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by SherlockandRafferty13 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:06 pm

Unfortunately I don't have room for the mamble, I have my hamster in a barney and which is 100cm and can't fit two. She was here first! I did debate getting her a different smaller cage but felt so bad! I plan to have the rats out for most of the time we are at home, if that makes any difference? I was surprised at how small the floor space is in this cage. Hmm, what to do. Maybe I'll contact them about sending it back. Any other suggestions for something not quite as big as the mamble? Or should I turf the hamster out? She gets lots of time in her ball but isn't handleable which makes me feel bad. Was worried the barney wouldn't be tall enough for boys. Also while I'm here what is the best substrate for the cage floor? Preferably something I don't have to buy online? X

SherlockandRafferty13
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Re: New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by SherlockandRafferty13 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:08 pm

Oh and in terms of age I'm guessing they are younger than 6 weeks then as very soft and fluffy and just seem tiny. They don't seem interested in anything other than rat food though and mealworms. Have tried milk based soft stuff but they turned their noses up! X

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by cyber ratty » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:10 pm

Having them out while you are at home is great, but that will still be much less than 24 hours. The barney is no bigger in volume than the other cage you have (see the cage calculator), but the height of the mamble makes a difference. Could you sit it on top of the Barney (or vice versa)?

If you feel that your hamster needs the space of the barney, then when you consider that adult buck rats can be 10-12 inches long in their body alone (have you met any adult bucks?), then surely you can appreciate they need even more space. ;)

Alternative suitable cages which aren't quite as wide are:
Savic Freddy Max (80 x 50 x 80)
A tower made from two Ferplast Furet Plus cages (77 x 48 x125)
SherlockandRafferty13 wrote:Also while I'm here what is the best substrate for the cage floor? Preferably something I don't have to buy online? X
Finacard make shredded cardboard - you can probably buy that over the phone.
SherlockandRafferty13 wrote:Oh and in terms of age I'm guessing they are younger than 6 weeks then as very soft and fluffy and just seem tiny.
Poor babies are probably only 5 weeks then. Keep trying with the same foods, and they may start eating them after a few days - rats are instinctively wary of anything new in case it turns out to be poisonous.

SherlockandRafferty13
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Re: New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by SherlockandRafferty13 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:52 pm

You are right, it's not big enough. Ok, have emailed about sending it back. I'm not keen on the idea of stacking them. would they be ok side by side? Don't want them to upset each other.
How about this one: http://www.littlepetwarehouse.co.uk/lit ... -rat-cage/
Or this one: http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/pets/rat/cages/334289

I suppose swapping them to the barney is totally out?
Poor little things do seem very young but they seem to be doing ok, very friendly and confident. Hope it won't be bad in the long run though.

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acapae_wolf
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Re: New rats - age and cage advice please. X

Post by acapae_wolf » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:00 pm

It would be incredibly disruptive to your hamster's wellbeing to swap them around, so I would leave the hamster and their cage out of the ratty consideration :)

Cages near each other is generally fine after a little while of setting in. But you'll need to make sure that there's either a big enough space and/or a sheet of something solid (e.g. corrogated plastic) between the cages themselves so as to avoid actual contact through the bars.
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