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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was saying good morning to my girls and they got up and started playing around in their cage.

One of them went into their litter box area (it's a plastic storage bin type thing) and picked up a piece of poop and started eating it!

Will she get sick? :(
I clean out their letterbox every night to ensure it doesn't get dirty and clean the bottom of their cage every morning so it's not a cleanliness issue.
 

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This is a perfectly natural and safe behaviour for rats, its just icky to us humans. To a rat its a way to recover any nutrients that got missed in the first digestion period. Sometimes this is because they feel like they are missing something in terms of vitamins etc, other times its jsut because they want to. Dont get freaked out and dont overclean because of it. Realistically you shouldnt need to clean a litter tray or cage out more than once a week unless its tiny compared to the number of rats living there. OVer cleaning has a similar affect on rats as humans, in that it can weaken the immune system.
 

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This is a perfectly natural and safe behaviour for rats, its just icky to us humans. To a rat its a way to recover any nutrients that got missed in the first digestion period. Sometimes this is because they feel like they are missing something in terms of vitamins etc, other times its jsut because they want to. Dont get freaked out and dont overclean because of it. Realistically you shouldnt need to clean a litter tray or cage out more than once a week unless its tiny compared to the number of rats living there. OVer cleaning has a similar affect on rats as humans, in that it can weaken the immune system.
How full should the litter tray be before you do clean? My wife is a clean freak, and if the trays aren't cleaned out at least once a day (usually twice a day), then she will go nuts. Is my litter tray too small?

For reference, I'm posting a picture of one of two litter trays. We last cleaned out the tray 18 hours ago. Well, by "cleaned" I mean that we scooped out the poop. We left the litter pellets in and do replace those every week or so. Maybe that's what you meant. But if you do mean don't scoop more than once a week, then this will change how we treat the cage.

This picture represents one litter tray. The other one is on a different level. It has some turds in it, but it's not as numerous as this picture. For reference, this tray is 8 inches to a side with a hypotenuse of about 12 inches. This gives it an area of 32 sq inches. In a normal day of activity, this tray would be scooped out a few hours ago.

Blue Crochet Textile Plastic Art
 

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i wouldn't clean the let tray out at that stage. It really isn't bad at all. You'd find by the next day the rats movements Ave absorption of the litter should have completely dried out the droppings so there would be no smell at all. It doesn't look a bad size to have 2 of those for a couple of rats. If your worried then moving the let around so the droppings drop down helps. Im not familiar with that litter though. i use something called back to nature which is very absorbant i also use full sized cat litter trays in mine but that's because they double as a shelf.

i will try and get you a photo of a typical semi used litter tray but It might be towards the end of the week before mine full up enough to give you an idea. Really as long add the litter is dry and it doesnt smell your pretty safe though. The main thing to clean away is old wet food and veg. That needs to be done every day or so
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What type of litter is that in the photo you've posted? I don't use any litter at all because I find they put it outside of their litter box. So they're just pooping and peeing on the plastic which is probably why I'm finding myself cleaning it so often (because it gets smelly because nothing is absorbing the smells)

What are some good litters that are cheap that I could use? The only store available here is Jungle Pets and PetSmart.
 

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What type of litter is that in the photo you've posted? I don't use any litter at all because I find they put it outside of their litter box. So they're just pooping and peeing on the plastic which is probably why I'm finding myself cleaning it so often (because it gets smelly because nothing is absorbing the smells)

What are some good litters that are cheap that I could use? The only store available here is Jungle Pets and PetSmart.
The litter we use is Kaytee's Critter Litter (http://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-100079488-Critter-Litter-8-Pound/dp/B0002DJG0U). My wife picked it up, and the rats have gotten used to it now, so I don't foresee us changing, even though the reviews indicate that this litter may be on the expensive side. On a bright note, my web search shows an 8-pound bag for $8, which is half the price of what my wife just got it for yesterday. I may just need to buy five of these bags for the free shipping and keep them on hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The litter we use is Kaytee's Critter Litter (http://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-100079488-Critter-Litter-8-Pound/dp/B0002DJG0U). My wife picked it up, and the rats have gotten used to it now, so I don't foresee us changing, even though the reviews indicate that this litter may be on the expensive side. On a bright note, my web search shows an 8-pound bag for $8, which is half the price of what my wife just got it for yesterday. I may just need to buy five of these bags for the free shipping and keep them on hand.
I think I've seen that at PetSmart actually! Do you find it's dusty at all or does it have an odor to it or is it scentless?
 

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I think I've seen that at PetSmart actually! Do you find it's dusty at all or does it have an odor to it or is it scentless?
No, we don't have issues with it being dusty. If they get too pee-soaked, they crumble, but that's kind of the purpose. It's mostly scentless, though recent poop sitting on top will smell until it dries, but I don't notice much of a pee smell.
 

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I thought rats ate a 'special kind of poop' out of their rectums that is different than regular poop.

ETA: Okay, below the copy & pasted info is the link to where I read about this a while ago: This practice is called Coprophagy.

Rats excrete two types of feces, similar to those observed in rabbits. One type, hydrous feces, is not found in the cages of free-moving rats. It differs in smell and texture from the usual more firm feces obtained after conventional feeding.
Hydrous or soft feces (caecotrophes) are held within the anus and usually eaten directly from the anal orifice. Termed caecotrophy, this behavior has been described as being specific to rabbits. Sukemori, Kurosawa, et al. (2006) suggest that this behavior may also take place in rats, as hydrous feces are not found on the floor of their cages. However the behavior is not specifically described.
It is believed that the soft or hydrous feces is covered with a mucus membrane that, once entering the stomach, slows down the digestive process of the feces and promotes fermentation, thus allowing a more effective breakdown of nutrients.

http://ratguide.com/care/behavior/coprophagy.php
 

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What type of litter is that in the photo you've posted? I don't use any litter at all because I find they put it outside of their litter box. So they're just pooping and peeing on the plastic which is probably why I'm finding myself cleaning it so often (because it gets smelly because nothing is absorbing the smells)

What are some good litters that are cheap that I could use? The only store available here is Jungle Pets and PetSmart.
Your best bet is a paper based cat litter, i'm not based in the US but have heard that yesterdays news is a pretty good one. Definitley worth using one of these in the litter tray rather than nothing. If they dig a bit and it comes out then try offering them a deeper digging box. digging is a very nautral and good behaviour for rats to do and should be encouraged to help them live healthy happy and enriched lives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Your best bet is a paper based cat litter, i'm not based in the US but have heard that yesterdays news is a pretty good one. Definitley worth using one of these in the litter tray rather than nothing. If they dig a bit and it comes out then try offering them a deeper digging box. digging is a very nautral and good behaviour for rats to do and should be encouraged to help them live healthy happy and enriched lives.
I went to PetSmart this evening and got something very similar to Yesterday's News. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Your best bet is a paper based cat litter, i'm not based in the US but have heard that yesterdays news is a pretty good one. Definitley worth using one of these in the litter tray rather than nothing. If they dig a bit and it comes out then try offering them a deeper digging box. digging is a very nautral and good behaviour for rats to do and should be encouraged to help them live healthy happy and enriched lives.
It's all living things brand fragrance free premium rabbit litter. It's ingredients are recycled paper, zeolite and baking soda.

Tell me if this is okay to use?

When I asked the girl about it at the pet store she said she uses it and it works well and it's pretty much the same as yesterday's news
 

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I'm a bit cautious of litters that arent 100% paper, the zeolite is a mineral type thing and whilst its not toxic i stay clear of them because i know your mineral style clay cat litters can cause issues if ingested. Id probably use up what you've got but then look for yesterdays news or a similar 100% paper litter
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm a bit cautious of litters that arent 100% paper, the zeolite is a mineral type thing and whilst its not toxic i stay clear of them because i know your mineral style clay cat litters can cause issues if ingested. Id probably use up what you've got but then look for yesterdays news or a similar 100% paper litter
Thank you all :)
I will keep it as I got a 10lb bag for 6$ because they had a special deal going on yesterday. I will look for litter boxes with grates and possibly use it along with that so they can't eat it.
 
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