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Discussion Starter #1
As a lot of you already know, we have a lot larger of a mischief than I've ever had before! I've had ratties for several decades and never more than 3 at once. We've always done the clean water dish and any veggie/extra dishes daily. Do the big clean up once weekly. Some of the boys I've had in the past required a little extra spot cleaning during the week cause they were lazy boys.

Now it's going to be 2 big groups. 7 girls and 8 boys in separate cages. So far, with all 12 babies and Goose together I noticed today that the cage was pretty woofy. Thats after a single day. I've cleaned water bowls too many times today to keep count. The babies are throwing all kinds of food into it and making stew it seems. The woofy was the litter box, so I cleaned that out. I can't find any poop outside of the litter box. The substrate in their box looks and feels clean.

I'm guessing once I have two big cages full of rats the litter boxes are not going to go a full week. What do you guys do with big mischief's? Daily or every other day box changes? How about the rest of the cage? I don't see it making the week. I'm praying to the rat gods that the boys take after their Mom and aunties and have good potty habits.

I'm thinking all things fabric will need daily checks and removed and replaced if soiled. How about during the week spraying the bars with a light solution of natures miracle or a vinegar/water solution to keeps things fresh smelling?

I have a pee rock that isn't used, cause the girls are rather tidy. I'm thinking maybe sticking it in the boys cage though just in case. I've never had anyone pee on my walls either. But now there is a lot so I've been pondering tacking an old sheet on the wall behind them, that can be taken down from time to time for a wash. Any better solutions?

Anyone have any excellent tips or tricks to keep things sanitary and smelling fresh?
 

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I use coroplast boards behind my cage for wall pee - just propped against the wall. Works a treat and wipe clean.
Can't comment on the rest. I have only three boys and do daily or every other day litter changes coz of allergies and the fact my living room is small therefore smells become fairly noticeable quick. Wiping down the bars and walls and maybe the floor around the cage will help - old pee is the worst smell.
 

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With 7 rats (4 girls and 3 boys), I find myself doing thorough cleans every 3-4 days. That includes taking out all fleece (some is taken out before depending on how messy), spraying down all pans and bars with vinegar solution and wiping any toys or huts that may be soiled. Every couple of weeks, anything that can be taken out (houses, ramps, wheels, toys, etc.) gets thrown into a bucket with bleach water and then soap water and then a final rinse with clean water. Since all of my rats will poop in their litter pans, I'll clean those just whenever they look dirty or smell (usually every other day). Unfortunately, they all absolutely love peeing on fleece >.< so that's why that gets cleaned so often. I would really consider switching to water bottles since it's so easy for water to become contaminated with so many little feet shuffling around. Other than that, there's no way to really tell what you'll need to do until they get older.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thank you both!

Erg on water bottles. I just hate them. Even when I sheltered ferrets, that is with an average of 100 ferrets adopted a year through us, I always used bowls. I put them at a good eye level that I can see them easily every-time I walk by. Water bottles have too many little parts, that too me are hard to clean and/or have leak/plug issues. They put their feet and tongues on the bottles too so I don't see much of a difference for contamination-but with my bad eyesight I can see the problem better with bowls.

coroplast is a great idea. I was going to get some of that to attach to our old ferret pens. I have a couple of the fence playpens I use to help coral my girls. They climb right up straight vertical bars of those, and they tight rope on the tops. :) I thought if I go at least half way up the bars with the coroplast it will stop the climbing. So we can get extra for the wall.
 

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I used to use bowls too when I only had a couple of rats, but once I got more it just became impractical (especially with pups running around). Some water bottles are worse than others, but soaking the spouts in hot soapy water every other day keeps them clean. I suppose if you're home all day and can promptly change bowls that get dirty then that's fine, but I am at school or work most of the day and just can't imagine leaving an accidental poop in my babies' only water source while I'm not here to do anything about it >.< I swear, before I switched to bottles, one of my rats would put poop in the bowl just to spite me lol
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ya, I'm home most of the time so that does help. Plus you probably have better sight than me lol! The babies are really horrible with the bowls, I'll give ya that. But then I have tiny ones on the floor because I wanted to make sure they could easily get water. My normal ones are the hanging bowls, which stay well above floor level, which discourages hanging out and pooping in it. The ones on the floor are temporary while they are littles, but ya..gross. They are taking food and what appears to be purposely dropping them into the water bowls. :O Within the next few days I'll remove floor bowls and see how that goes. They are getting around easily, so I don't think I need to worry about them getting to the high ones in the next couple days.
 

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I have twelve rats. I use puppy pads because, with that many rats, fleece doesn't last more than two days. I double layer puppy pads and clean out once a week, with spot cleaning half between.

Things that will be your friend:
Baking soda. Put a bowl atop each cage, sprinkle in litter boxes and between layers.
Vinegar. Get a spray bottle and mix one part vinegar three parts water.
Ferret descenting spray. Safe way to spruce up the cage smell and rats smell.
Somethig inside hammocks like fleece, or paper towels, or puppy pads. This extends the time before you have to wash hammocks greatly.

I also recommend multiple litter boxes with pee rocks. As long as you change the litter every day or every other day they'll still use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Lots of great ideas nanashi! Do you worry that the rats will sniff up the baking soda in the litter boxes? I use the ferret spray now, just cause I like the way the herbal one smells. :) I use two litter boxes in one cage now, but i may have to up that number and find more pee rocks!

I love both baking soda and vinegar. So many uses for those. I'd love to find a good spray bottle that doesn't mess up eventually. I always have terrible luck with those.
 

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My rats have never paid much attention to the baking soda. I use grated litter pans though. Puppy pads are so expensive nanashi >.< I don't know how you keep up with that. Even though I find myself washing fleece A LOT, it's so cheap that I can't really complain. Jo Ann's remnants section is the best!
 

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No, mix the baking soda in with litter.

I buy puppy pads from SAMs club or meijers, it's $10-20 for 100 or so and they last a while. Maybe three months to six between purchases. I hated fleece with a passion and the price is comparable to three yards of fleece.

I also wanted to mention using litter in cages. I use litter in my single CN add on with a bass co pan and it helps a lot. Not only is litter a toy but it works well for cleaning. With some sprucing up my litter can last like three weeks.
 

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Oh I wanted to add I got a spray bottle from the dollar tree that works but Sally's beauty also sells them.
 
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