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I just signed up and this seems to be the only place I can post?

I live in a unit (in Australia) and would hate owning a dog with no yard space and I am not a cat person. So having owned mice before and my partner having a rat (ages ago) I bought two female rats about 2 weeks ago. Have a few concerns so thought I should join and read up and learn more from other Rat lovers.

Our rats are Iris Loulabelle (Mine) and Kallieanta "Kallie" (Partners)

My rat, Iris, is a coloured pink/red eye rat, She is white with a caramel sort of colour. She is pretty chill and snuggly but does love exploring and I think she has learnt to nip when she needs the toilet

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My partners', Kallie, is whit with Black/Dark Grey. She is rambunctious and has alot energy. She is being trained to sit on shoulders and is just learning to nip to go to the toilet (I'm hoping this is good to learn?)
On the ledge.JPG

HEALTH QUESTION - My rat (Iris) sneeze a fair bit more than my partners', she has not been gaining as much weight. I read that the first sign of sickness is red at their nose and eye. I have uploaded more photos of her trying to show those areas but as she was in an adventurous mood it is a little blurry.

Next question is food. The store bought food is mostly twigs and leafy stuff, they tend to pick out the dried corn, sunflower seeds, dog biscuit looking thing and a rat nut (what I was told it is). It makes a lot of mess them digging these select things out, Should I just mix up my own? What would you advise putting in? One likes oats (uncooked rolled) I gave her 3 and she loved them, another likes corn thins a gave her a tiny tiny piece and she loved it.

On top of the... hut.JPG Hi world.JPG Looking out.JPG

Any help and advice appreciated.
TIA
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Some rats can be quite sneezy when first coming to a new home. What type of bedding do you use? And what cage are you using. Rats have sensitive lungs and a well ventilated cage and nondusty bedding helps.

If she continues to sneeze she may be getting a URI and needs to be taken to a vet for meds. Since you have had the girls together, they will both likely need meds.

I am not sure what types of food are available in Australia. In general seed mixes are not that great. Usually filled with junk- seeds are a bit too fatty for a daily diet, and corn is pure junk. It will also cause them to pick & choose what they want and not get a balance diet. In the US we generally feed a lab block/kibble type food. But idk if that is available where you are. You might try a more UK type diet.
 

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From what I have been reading is that the types bedding to avoid are pine and cedar, these are hard woods and apparently very very strong in scent. It is is pretty harsh on their respiratory symptoms.

Moonkissed pretty much has it nailed on the head, those seed mixes are sold pretty much every pet supply store and are pretty much useless. The brands that are recommended are called food blocks and the three names that I see repeated over and over again are Oxbow, Native Earth, and Teklad. If they are getting a high quality food block then that should be 70-80% of their diet and the other 20-30% should be veggies and fruits. Meat can be given a couple times a week, but avoid anything too high in fat, it is difficult for them to process as they do not have a gallbladder. Hopefully some of this info helps.
 

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Some rats can be quite sneezy when first coming to a new home. What type of bedding do you use? And what cage are you using. Rats have sensitive lungs and a well ventilated cage and nondusty bedding helps.

If she continues to sneeze she may be getting a URI and needs to be taken to a vet for meds. Since you have had the girls together, they will both likely need meds.

I am not sure what types of food are available in Australia. In general seed mixes are not that great. Usually filled with junk- seeds are a bit too fatty for a daily diet, and corn is pure junk. It will also cause them to pick & choose what they want and not get a balance diet. In the US we generally feed a lab block/kibble type food. But idk if that is available where you are. You might try a more UK type diet.
The bedding may be the cause. We have a wood shaving bedding as for what kind I am unsure. I am going to the pet shop Wednesday (4 days) so may pick this one up - http://www.petbarn.com.au/small-ani...paper/back-2-nature-small-animal-bedding.html - Is that one ok? Or lucerne pellets is at the one we bought them from?

At the moment we have a medium/large bird cage and have cotton washers down where they sleep and eat etc so they are not standing on wire. I am in the process of getting a different cage due to reading more etc and thinking of getting this - https://petsplus.com.au/pet-shop.asp?id=3237. Due to renting we like to have the cage easily movable so the big ones I have seen on here are not really for us unfortunately. This cage is the only one I have seen that will fit the bill although it does come in under the recommended size. They do come out for a play at LEAST once a day for about an hour.

Are blocks like these? http://www.petbarn.com.au/small-ani.../vetafarm-delixstix-small-animal-bar-80g.html ?
 

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Health Update
Went to the vet.
He said they were fine as their was no reddy build up, they look "attentive" and active and he can hear their heart fine and no congestion. They are sneezing less with the new bedding and he suggested that it may have been to dusty for them. But He said IF I keep worrying I can go and get the meds for them when I have enough money.
 
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