Rat Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, everyone! I am about to venture into the world of rat keeping and am working on finding a good temporary cage. I will be purchasing a DCN within four months of bringing my rats home and they will be coming home as pinkies (hand-raising) so they should have plenty of room in a smaller cage for this time period. I am looking to spend not much more than $60 ($65 would honestly make me a little uncomfortable) on the cage as I will be buying the larger cage so soon. The other catch is that it needs to be available locally (Petsmart) but all of the ones I'm considering are. I would start out with the larger cage from the start but my husband will be leaving for a 6-month trial period at a new job all the way in Alaska and I will be moving in with some of his family in a few months (when I will buy the new cage) so I'd like the ratties to be older and not move a giant cage, too.

I have been looking at bird cages, specifically -

Rectangular Top (14"L x 10.5"W x 18"H)
House Style (14"L x 10.5"W x 18"H)
Parakeet (5.75"L x 20.5"W x 16.5"H)*
Prevue (16"L x 14"W x 18"H)
Prevue Flight (26"L x 14"W x 20"H)
Pagoda Style (18.5"L x 14.25"W x 28"H)
Barn Style (23.5"L x 15"W x 23.5"H)

My personal favorite is the last one listed, the barn style, but I am concerned about a cage with a plastic base and I'm not thrilled about the price. I don't know if these rats will chew or not and it's a big concern of mine to have them getting loose in my home seeing as we rent and our landlord inhabits the apartment under ours. The cage I starred, the Parakeet cage, seems to have a metal base but it's hard to tell. I also think the listed dimensions for that cage are incorrect and they meant 15.75" not 5.75". I hope so at least, haha.

What is the smallest you would recommend for two 4 month old rats that will spend all day and most of the night outside of their cage?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to add that the babies will be in a kritter keeper at first so they can't fall out and have better access to their heating pad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
I'm not sure about the chewing of the plastic base but I would worry with a couple of those that have the pull out trays. I could imagine them playing and pushing the tray around enough to sneak out the hole maybe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
Keep in mind that they will be mostly full grown at 6 months, and if they are boys, they will get bigger fast (since females stay small). So even at 4 months they will need tons of space. Actually, the more I think about it, baby boys like to run around a lot, and females run around regardless of how old they are. Seriously, it's like they never run out of energy. That in mind, I think the ones you posted will be too small after they are more than 2 months old. But that's just my opinion, and I currently have 3 boys at 9 weeks and 4 girls at 6 months.

The problem with the cages you've posted is that none have solid levels. Rats like having lots of "up" space. Yes, a hammock is great for lounging, but they will need a wheel (12 inches) and room to run and play. Even if you plan on having them out of the cage for a few hours a day, that still leaves them with 22 hours of cage time. I don't know if those cages would fit a wheel, and levels might be a pain to add.

Honestly, I'm looking at cages online trying to find a small one for a good price, and I'm thinking you might be better off getting a SCN now and then buying the add on in 4 months. Most of the cages that I'm seeing that would be an okay size sell for about $100, which is about what the SCN is selling for right now (ferret.com). I got two SCN off craigslist, one for $75, the other for $80. Both were practically brand new. You can find really great deals sometimes.

I'm super poor, so I totally understand not wanting to spend tons of money right away, but in the long run, you will be happier spending a bit more now (and less later since the add on is about $120), than if you spend $30-40 on a cage and then realize after a month that it's just not gonna work.

Edit to add: I just looked over the prices of the cages you posted. Since they range from 40-60, I think spending the little bit extra to get the SCN is a super good idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I cannot transport a CN, single or double. I CAN, however, move early. I just want these rats to be at least two months old before I put them through a two hour car ride. It's not money that is the issue, I just can't transport the cage and need them aged before I go. As far as the levels, I forgot to mention that I will be adding wooden levels covered in coroplast and fleece. I am aware of the arboreal needs of rats I just need the best option for getting them aged and moved. :)

ETA - About the being in the cage for 22 hours thing, I'm a stay at home mom and they will have supervised play time from 5-6am until 9-10pm at night, if not longer. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
As far as I know, rats travel extremely well. I would ask others, but I've heard that they can go really far and be okay. I drove my first rats from Florida to California when I moved, a trip that took 5 days, and they were fine. I also know from experience that you can break down the SCN to be entirely flat (I have a very tiny subcompact car...).

I don't know for sure, but I would guess that by 5 weeks they could easily travel. They could probably make due in a pretty small cage until then. Five weeks is the age that most say it's okay for the babies to leave their mom, that's the age I got my boys, and I drove them 30 minutes to get home. I know that's not two hours, but I seriously doubt they would have had trouble with the extra time. You just need to make sure that they are at a comfortable temp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
Also, I just noticed that you're heading for Alaska. I might be wrong, but I think there was a thread a few weeks ago either in the rants section or the lounge section about how rats were becoming illegal there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They'll be coming home as pinks so we definitely won't be going right away. My issue with space is I've already practice-packed our car (we aren't renting a truck) and I'm lucky I have room for the carrier. There is no way anything else can get in the vehicle and they'll be too small for a CN at first anyways. If I don't have the cage for long and I keep it in good condition, I can always box it back up and take it back to get the money towards my CN, lol.

White pet rats are legal in the part of Alaska we're going to. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,055 Posts
You can get a 10 gallon tank for $10 at petsmart. A tank is really the best place for little ones. If you do decide to go with a cage, go with one with a deep plastic bottom (no grate) and the smallest bar spacing possible. Once those little eyes pop open they'll be all over the place!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,141 Posts
I would not recommend a plastic base because you will never know if your babies will be chewers and if you plan to return the cage you probably want one that is durable and won't show wear and tear as much as plastic does. As far as the space is concerned, there are plenty of cage calculators available online. The new standard is 2.5 cubic feet per rat and I always advise to get room for 1 rat more than you are planning on keeping - although you can never have too much room. Since this cage will not be permanent and you say that they will be getting a lot of playtime, you can sacrifice some space till you purchase your DCN or permanent setup. Bird cages make great rat cages since vertical space is really important for rats but you have to be careful about bar spacing which needs to be at least half an inch small to prevent potentially dangerous escapes. If you do go with a bird style cage, make sure there are plenty of low hanging hammocks to cushion a fall should one happen. I cannot say that I have any personal experience with any of the cages you have listed but you really have to make sure the bar spacing is okay for young rats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Would a tank or a similarly sized bin be better? I am concerned with the fact that winter is fast approaching and glass gets SO cold even at room temp. They wouldn't be directly on the glass but still. I can get a nice bin for cheaper and use it for storing rat food once they're older and in a cage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,055 Posts
Bins work wonderfully. I used to use a tall-ish storage bin for litters. Works well from birth until their big enough to jump without keeping the lid on. Of course you can also drill holes in it and keep the lid on. Might actually be a decent means for transporting them when you move too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
908 Posts
I'd go with a bin cage. Here is mine that I used when my rats were 4 weeks until they reached about 2 months.


You will need a bin, some 1/2" mesh (you can get 1/4" if you're really worried about them getting out), some aluminum wire, and some tin snips (to cut the mesh and wire. A soldering iron comes in handy too, to melt holes to weave the wire though.

I would cut the openings high on the tub so that you have a deep "tray" to hold bedding in. then, cut the mesh larger than the holes so that it overlaps the edges on the inside of the tub. Space the holes about 1.5-2" apart and attach the mesh by "weaving" the wire though it and the holes.
Here are some more pics:
Outside of lid to show weaving


Inside of lid to show mesh "overlap" to prevent chewing


I'd get a bin with the handle "clips" but also get one with a thin rim / edge / top thickness so that you can secure the sides using bulldog / binder clips just in case they push against it.
I was able to put hammocks, rope, water bottles, etc. In this cage, hanging things from the mesh just like you would with a cage. Just be prepared to get cut a lot by the wire (gloves would be a good idea) and spend about 1-2 hours making it. When soldering the holes, you'll want to open a window as well as it makes pretty gross fumes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,527 Posts
Bin cages can be great but considering you are thinking babies, from 2 weeks on they need a wire cage or they'll never learn to climb. I have tank raised kits and cage raised kits and the ability and confidence is so different between the two. They're also not fool proof and hardly differ from tanks.

Bird cages can work but need modified. They need shelves or hammocks installed to use the vertical space.

Four months is a long time. Maybe you should consider just dealing with the hassle of moving. They'll need the minimum cage requirement of adult rats still. 2 sq ft per rat, 12 in width and length is a minimum and is literally just so they can stretch flat...

Maybe start camping on craigslist. My first cage was a guinea pig cage I covered in hardware cloth to reduce the spacing and installed shelves in it to use the vertical space.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
908 Posts
Just wanted to say that because of the mesh on the sides of my bin cage, my rats were able to practice climbing and have had no issues... They were in a glass 20gl long where I adopted them at, so the mesh on the bin was sufficient training before they graduated to a wire cage. Many bin cages have no mesh on the sides though (only the top) and this could be an issue wiht those.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am going to go ahead with a small bin while they are teeny and get them a Petco Rat Manor since they are on sale right now and I know they fold small. They may be in that cage until we move just so a DCN isn't taking up space we may otherwise need. Due to the depth of the pan on the cage, I would opt to keep babies there but I fear for the temp fluctuation of that metal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
908 Posts
The rat manor has served me well... I too scored it on sale for $49 last Christmas season.

I would advise removing the smaller shelves though (and replacing with hammocks) as they are hard to clean. I also took the ramps out of mine. The doors are very small to fit litter pans and things into, so keep that in mind. I use bedding in the bottom tray (aspen) and it seems to work well. I like this cage a lot and it is holding my 3 adult females (and has been plenty of room for them) but it might be tight if you have males and they start to get very large. I would not house adult males in it, but since you are getting a DCN anyway, that is a moot point.

Wear thick gloves for making the bin... Trust me when I say that the wire will cut you. :p
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top