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Hi there,Brand new to rats and loving them so much already. I bought a large cage at the thrift store for $15.00. I believe it's for ferrets as the bar spacing was too wide ( found that out at 3am when our rat Olive got into bed with my daughter) I covered the outside with hardware cloth and that has been fine..but the doors are small making it hard to clean and arrange. So, I ordered a double critter nation. I'm sooo (maybe too) excited about it. But I have a couple of questions...is this cage just too much for rats? Do they really use all the space? Also, does it come with a ladder for the rats to get in and out of it? If not, what do you all use?Thanks!
 

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It is definitely something to be excited about! My rats do seem to use every inch of their DFN, but they're also young which probably influences their activity. I don't think it comes with an external ramp (got mine used with some pieces missing), but honestly, if your rats are young and fit they don't need any ramps whatsoever. If they do need a ramp then you can probably make one out of excess or used hardware cloth after you've got the DCN. I love these cages because they really give you room to be creative with arranging and decorating, I hope you enjoy yours too!
 

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Hello.

I have the DCN. It is a very popular rat cage and I can assure you that rats LOVE all the extra space. We have 4 boys in ours and they seem to like it quite a bit. You will greatly enjoy the massive doors - it makes arranging and hanging things really easy and is a huge perk of owning this cage. If you ordered it new, it should come with 3 ladders and 2 shelves. Most people (including myself) then decorate it with hammocks, tubes, houses and toys. It might be a fun thing to do with your daughter as rats are pleased with even the cheapest of cage accessories and you can make/sew some together.

Here is a photo of mine for reference.

 

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I just got my DCN so I'm excited to decorate it too. So far I love it, but the full doors can make it a bit difficult to keep all the rats from leaping out whenever you open them to do something. As for an external ramp, I found a bird ladder at a thrift shop that i put out for them to use during free range
 

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Since Goose and her babies are still in a maternity cage, I have only two rats in the dcn and they use all of it. :)

If I were to improve upon the cage the only thing I can think of is to add a small door in some of the large doors, like they do with parrot cages, that open up and lay flat like a platform. Their old cage was a parrot cage and I loved that about it. You can open it and they all stand on that little platform for kisses and treats.
 

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Do they use the space? XD lol sorry I'm just picturing our girls going nuts inside our DCN. Ours love it, and i'd say it isn't enough room! We're getting another to make them a Quad once we can merge our two female groups. That'll be 10 females in a quad. You could probubly fit that in a DCN, would be a bit tight. Our boys will be in a medium/large bird/small animal cage. If I ever get a chance I'll get them a DCN to. I understand why they cost so much, quality isn't cheap, but i wish they were cheaper! XD
 

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Thanks for all the positive reviews! My husband is a little miffed with me for spending so much on a cage...I'm really hoping it does make cleaning easier. As much as I love my rats, I'm not too crazy about the smells ;)
 

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Thanks for all the positive reviews! My husband is a little miffed with me for spending so much on a cage...I'm really hoping it does make cleaning easier. As much as I love my rats, I'm not too crazy about the smells ;)
I think you will appreciate it. It's very easy to clean. I think the cage you have now is galvanized, which tend to really hold animal odors. Other than normal cleaning of all the toys/bedding, something I do with all animal cages is lightly spray a vinegar mix or nature's miracle on all the bars after I clean it. Let it dry naturally and it seems to take all the odors with it. All things that don't go in the washer, toys, bowls, even ropes, ladders and wicker baskets get soaked in a vinegar/water solution. Rinse all the bowls and plastic stuff and let dry. I hang all the wicker basket, wooden and rope items to dry, without a rinse.
 

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I think you will appreciate it. It's very easy to clean. I think the cage you have now is galvanized, which tend to really hold animal odors. Other than normal cleaning of all the toys/bedding, something I do with all animal cages is lightly spray a vinegar mix or nature's miracle on all the bars after I clean it. Let it dry naturally and it seems to take all the odors with it. All things that don't go in the washer, toys, bowls, even ropes, ladders and wicker baskets get soaked in a vinegar/water solution. Rinse all the bowls and plastic stuff and let dry. I hang all the wicker basket, wooden and rope items to dry, without a rinse.
Thanks so much for the tips! Do you just keep extras of everything so while you soak/wash, you refill the cage with extras? How many extra fleece liners do you keep on hand?The cage I have now is galvanized. I've covered the floor with fleece, but they burrow underneath and then poop (and I'm sure pee) thru the floor into the pan below. Since I had to cover the cage in hardware cloth, I can't separate the cage from the metal pan on the bottom to clean it out. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to having something easier to deal with.
 

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Try keeping a puppy pad or old towel under the fleece to catch the urine.
 

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I have a lot of extra toys/blankets/hammocks and stuff from previously running a ferret shelter. I don't do fleece liners, my girls dont like them. Instead I use one large fleece blanket that is folded and put on one floor. (just those cheapy fleece blankets you can get at pretty much any dept store) Buttercup likes to sleep on top of it. On the bottom floor I use a play mat, I have a few human baby and animal ones. the DCN has plastic trays that sit on top of the wire, so if yours pee in places other than the litter box, you can just change out the bedding and wipe down the floors. Once a week soak them in a vinegar/water solution along with all the other stuff. If you are looking for an even easier solution for quick clean ups in-between the big weekly, you could buy the nature miracle wipes and use those instead of making a solution. I have to pinch my dollars, so I make my own solutions and use rags to clean/wipe down stuff.

Wicker baskets I pick up at the second hand stores. Wooden blocks, balls and such we either get them in bulk for making your own, craft stores or we just cut up our own safe woods. I make a lot of toys with those/sisal rope/large plastic beads and bells. My girls like to chew wood, so I like to have a lot of extra's. Places to dig is nice too for most-some kind of nesting/dig box. I use materials that can be easily tossed when they get soiled. Go by what your's like. Mine like any kinda of paper-such as newspaper, party streamers, packing paper, toilet paper ect-they like to rip it apart themselves. They don't like the already made paper pulp type ones, but other rats love that stuff, so go by what your's like.

I only leave a few things in the cage from a previous week, mostly the whole thing gets changed up with different toys, hammocks and stuff. Mine are not timid and they really like to investigate new things. I do leave a few favorite items from one week to the next. Monkey loves her plastic super pet tunnels-those are cleaned and dryed and put back in. Any hammock that is not smelly or dirty I also will put back in-so there area few familiar items for security and lots of new things to explore.

I only have one pic of the top half of mine, but this is it. The bowl on the door is a toy box, filled with things to stash and chew up. the plastic rings towards the back has party streamer looped onto it for them to remove and use as they see fit. :)
View attachment 180570
 

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We have one clean set of liners always on hand. We use one layer of fleece sewn onto one layer of u-haul furniture pad to absorb the urine that wicks through the fleece. We change liners every 5-7 days and spot clean daily. Litter boxes get changed every two days.
 
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