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Hello everyone! I have had rats in the past (a pack in high school, 2013) but I recently adopted 3 girls from the same litter when they were able to leave their momma. They are about 3 months old now. Anyway, I've read a lot about how much rats love dig boxes because of their natural instincts and I would love to be able to make one for them! I am on a bit of a budget right now but I do not want to skimp out and get anything bad or toxic for them. If anything I will save up.
I just need to know the entire process so I can get it right!
-Should they have a dig box in their cage or only for playtime?
-What's the best but most affordable soil to use?
-How often do you change the soil?
-Do you have to have plants in the soil? I know you should put stuff in the soil so they can forage, but as far as planting goes I'm not sure I will be up to par 馃槀

Thanks in advance and I appreciate any help! I just want my girls to have as fun and safe of a life as I can give them!
 

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Hello. While I do not have a dig box of my own yet, I'm going to be getting/making one soon and I'm fairly experienced about them. For your first question, either would work really. But I suggest putting it in their cage, that way they can enjoy themselves and become enriched through out the day. You can always take it out if you'd like during their playtime. -Again, either one would work. I also recommend coco fiber as digging substrate. You can always get a small, clear tub/bin and put it on a shelf or platform in their cage, or hang/hook it up. Fill it a little less than half way(If you fill it any further you'll have dirt everywhere on the floor.) and then toss in some healthy treats in there for them. Baby puffs, seeds, cereal, mealworms..

You don't have to have plants in it either. Some like to put in plants because it adds in some extra fun and pizazz but its definitely not required.
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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I had a small dig box that used to be in the cage, then I moved it to the play area, but then I upgraded to a large one and they LOVE it!! Coco coir mixed with dry grass clipping from my yard (all organic) and I keep it moist by watering several times a week. A full change of medium every 6-8 weeks is fine if they aren't using it as a litter box or bury food in it. A dig box in the cage if you have room is nice because they are so busy at night. Mine get the big box only for a few hours in the evening.
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And definitely a lid for the small box, they will fling soil everywhere. My big dig is 108 qt sized container. I only fill it 1/3 of the way, the ladder is for them to get in and out.
 

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Hello everyone! I have had rats in the past (a pack in high school, 2013) but I recently adopted 3 girls from the same litter when they were able to leave their momma. They are about 3 months old now. Anyway, I've read a lot about how much rats love dig boxes because of their natural instincts and I would love to be able to make one for them! I am on a bit of a budget right now but I do not want to skimp out and get anything bad or toxic for them. If anything I will save up.
I just need to know the entire process so I can get it right!
-Should they have a dig box in their cage or only for playtime?
-What's the best but most affordable soil to use?
-How often do you change the soil?
-Do you have to have plants in the soil? I know you should put stuff in the soil so they can forage, but as far as planting goes I'm not sure I will be up to par 馃槀

Thanks in advance and I appreciate any help! I just want my girls to have as fun and safe of a life as I can give them!
Hi there! On the dig box, you鈥檝e probably already got something sorted out. There is another option, though, that allows for digging without the worries about soil and food spoiling. You can also use crinkled paper to create a great dig box 鈥 FiberCore Eco Bedding works really well for this. The way the paper is cut and crinkled makes it expand to fill up the area, and it is very 鈥渄iggable鈥 for rats. You can sprinkle dry foods/seeds/foraging mix into a bin or box with the paper, and let the ratties dig around for the goodies. Some rats will even burrow and sleep in the paper. Look up 鈥淪hadow the Rat鈥 on YouTube and search her channel for info on this type of dig box 鈥 she has great video of how to make a box using this paper, plus really cute footage of her rats playing in a glass aquarium filled with the crinkle paper 鈥 you can see the rats digging into the paper through the sides of the aquarium, it鈥檚 adorable. The paper is a little expensive when first purchased, but it lasts a super long time and stays pretty clean, no concerns about mold or food going bad from the moisture as with soil. Hope this helps!
 

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I use the shredded paper for presents that I get from the $ store. I have a wooden crate from Menard's with that in it in the free roam area. When I free roam them, I like to hide treats in there for them to find.
What a great free-range set up! Lots to climb, to hide in, a dig box plus foraging treats. The rats must love their time playing there!
 
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