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Discussion Starter #1
Just thought i'd introduce myself... my name is Ryan and i'm from Virginia Beach (if that wasn't evident in the title :lol: ) I just brought home my first rat yesterday after getting to know my sister's new rat and learning a little about them. My rats name is Lucy ("Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" my girlfriend insisted that this was the only way I could name her Lucy :lol: ). She is six weeks old and is grey with a white belly. For now she is living with her sister Mindy (we got them from a breeder my sister knows) in a long 20. gal tank and they couldn't be happier together. Well I hope to learn alot more about my new fuzzy friends and meet some new people. Gotta go.
 

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welcome abroad! you said that "for now" they live in a tank. i was wondering what cages you were looking at and what plans you have for them. i love setting up new cages and halff the fun is looking. anyway, i was just curious. welcome to the forums
 

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I haven't settled on a cage yet, but I have seen some nice multilevel cages online specifically designed for rats. They seem great in the tank now, but it seems it could get a little stuffy and humid... and there isn't much room to hang up toys and ladders. I did just get them a wheel and they love it, I shoulda bought two though, they try to get on it together... it gets real funny when they both try running in opposite directions. It is amazing how fast they catch on and learn from each other too. Do you have any reccomendations for a cage these two can thrive comfortably at there full size? I know I need powder coated 1/2inch wire and pan for the bottom... I will be covering the upperlevel and ramps with something as well so the rats aren't walking on the wire. I was thinking that green carpeting stuff you use in reptile tanks. Any suggestions?
 

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welcome welcome!! u'll have to post pics of your little ones!! they sound cute
 

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i use 2 chinchilla cages stacked on each other and connected myself (1 cage can fit 3-4 rats and with the 2 put together the cage calculator says it can fit nine) with lots of hammocks and toys but i was looking at the martins cages today online and have found that the cat cages seem bigger and cheaper but still suited great for rats. they also sell cages specially made for rats and tons of accessories. and at pretty good prices too. mind you i don't know what the shipping costs would be. and the conversion to canadian dollars... ferret cages are also popular so long as the bar spacing doesn't exceed 1 inch and perferably less. but even a quarter of an inch more and the rats will be walking in and out as they please and that kinda defeats the purpose of a cage... you could make your own cage of course. there are many sites with different how tos for many different models. this tends to be the cheapest way to get cages but can be a lot of work and depending on the model hard to clean. but there are others that are great too so really its a matter of looking around. personally i would go with the cages with good ventilation as ammonia build up so very fast in solid walled tanks and cages and they're much harder to clean. try to avoid using too much unsealed wood if you make one as they hold ordours like mad.

on a side note you do realize that for our information we demand cute pictures of your rat babies as payment right? *grins impishly*
 

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Welcome! :)

Martin's Cages would be your best bet for your new rats. Though, I suggest using something more like linoleum rather than flooring for reptiles. For two girlies to be very happy and have tons of space, I suggest the R-695. It's big enough to hold 5-6 rats technically, but I think "the bigger, the better" when it comes to cages. Basically, get the biggest cage you can afford, since there's no such thing as too much room.

Tanks can get very humid/stuffy, it's true. Honestly, they're not very suitable for rats, but since you plan on getting them a real cage ASAP, it should be okay. Just make sure to clean it a LOT (3-4 times a week) so there's no smell build-up, since that could cause an upper respiratory infection.

Wheels are great for rats! Just make sure it's a solid running surface and it's a good size (so the rat doesn't have to arch its back that much while running on it).

Also, what bedding are you using for them currently? What are you feeding them?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am considering Martin's cages but I have alot of stores locally that I still haven't checked out yet.

For bedding we are using Kaytee Aspen shavings and for meal they are getting Nutriphase Rat & Mice formula (I know... terrible for them, just can't find anything else right now) They seem to like the occasional pea, nibbling at carrots, etc. I work in restuarants, what kind of fresh produce or meats can they eat? Would little bits of steamed chicken be bad if it was fed occasionally? I want to switch the bedding to that clumpy fiber stuff, the aspen shavings still seem a little smelly. Thanks for the advice.

Oh and pictures! I'll try and get some pictures of there tank soon.

Lucy is the solid grey. Are these a certain 'species' of rats? I am still getting the hang of the different types. Thanks again

 

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Although the picture quality isn't too great, I'll take a stab and say they're mink - they look very brown in that picture. All pet rats are simply fancy rats - there aren't separate species unless you're looking into wild rats and such. There are, on the other hand, many different coat, color, and marking varieties.

Personally I'm not a fan of aspen. I find it doesn't reduce odor, it smells quickly when used, and plus it's very light (not an issue when using a tank, but when you have a wire cage, it gets kicked out left and right). You can try using Yesterday's News, which is a favorite of mine.

Nutriphase, like you said, sucks :p Are you familiar with Suebee's Diet? It's a homemade mix of organic cereals, dry pasta, dried fruit, and more. You just have to make sure to put high-quality premium dog food (Innova, Wellness, Solid Gold) and a good lab block (such as Harlan Teklad, which you can buy online) in the mix to get the necessary protein and nutrients.
 

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when it comes to feeding the rats "human" food a good rule of thumb is what is good for you is good for them and everything in moderation. having said that there is a list of foods that is harmful for rats. you can find it all over the net pretty easily but i can post the list that was from a couple years ago. i don't think anything on it has changed.

Foods to Avoid
• Bleu Cheese - the mold in it is toxic to rats
• Carbonated Beverages - rats cannot burp, so the gas can cause severe discomfort.
• Green Bananas - inhibits starch-digesting enzymes
• Green Potato Skin and Eyes - contain solanine, a toxin
• Licorice - suspected to cause neurological poisoning in a rat
• Orange Juice - forbidden for male rats only, d-limonene in the skin oil, which gets into the orange juice during squeezing, can cause kidney damage and kidney cancer due to a protein that only male rats have in their kidneys. Pieces of the orange fruit are okay if you wash the orange-skin oil off of it after peeling it.
• Raw Artichokes - inhibits protein digestion
• Raw Bulk Tofu or Meat- can contain bacteria, packaged raw tofu is safe
• Raw Dry Beans or Peanuts - contains antinutrients that destroy vitamin A and enzymes needed to digest protein and starches and causes red blood cells to clump
• Raw Red Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts - contains antinutrient that destroys thiamin
• Raw Sweet Potato - contains compounds that form cyanide in the stomach
• Rhubarb - contains high levels of oxalates
• Sticky foods such as Peanut Butter, some Candy, and Dried Fruits - poses a choking hazard. Peanut butter can be "cut" with jam or honey to make it more liquid, and reduce the possibility of choking.
• Wild Insects - can carry internal parasites and diseases
• Alfalfa- rats can not digest this

Foods to be Cautious Of
• Dried Corn - can contain high levels of fungal contaminates which has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats
• Mashed Potatos - Choking hazard due to the pasty texture (recommended due to personal experience)
• Citrus- for males. Some people are cautious of citrus in general for their male rats for the same reason that orange juice should not be given. It has not been proven that it does in fact cause harm but some are wary of it.
(keep in mind this is a incomplete list but it is good start. Sources: The Rat Fan Club, RMCA, AFRMA.

Choosing a good kibble
By Raven Wilson

Though a good rat lab block would be better not all rats will eat them and the good ones are hard to find. You can always buy them online if you have access and if you look around a bit. A good lab block to look for is “Harlen Tekland” brand, Kim’s Ark will sell these. When you can not find a good lab block or if your rat decides that he just won’t eat it then choosing a good kibble with supplemented fresh fruits and vegetables is required.
Before we get into details I would like to mention that Innova Senior dog formula and Nutro Cal dog food is highly recommended among the rat lover’s community (both contain 18% protein). However if you can not find these brands you will need to look for your own alternative.
When looking at a bag of dry dog or cat food look to the ingredients and keep in mind the age and current weight of your rat. You shouldn’t get anything higher in protein then 24% and nothing lower then 14%. The higher protein kibbles are better suited to pregnant/nursing moms and first foods for young rittens; also good for thin or ailing rats. The average healthy rat should have a kibble that is closer to 18% protein but there are some rats that are protein sensitive so a kibble that is 14% protein would be better suited for them.
Next make sure that there are no ingredients that are harmful to your rats. If you have male rats make sure that there are no citrus additives as you can not be sure which citrus it is from. Also check for alfalfa, this ingredient cannot be digested by rats and should be avoided.
Now check where in line the corn ingredients are. The further back the better as too much corn can be harmful to your rats and are not a great source of nutrients.
Remember that a kibble alone is not a full or sufficient diet and should be supplemented with fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Again Suebee’s mix is recommended.


this is an excerpt from my booklet. its a couple years old and is up for revision but all this still holds true.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the advice. I am going to buy a new bedding tommorow, and I am going to order some foods online tonight, as the best thing I can find is Nutriphase in all the local pet stores I have checked.

Anyways the sisters are doing great. It's amazing how smart rats are, I never would have even believed it unless I have seen the things these two do, for example... earlier they were taking turns on their wheel after realizing running in opposite directions was getting them nowhere :lol:
 

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*chuckles* wait til they start responding to their names! so very cute. and when you start to be able to teach them tricks. i've seen rats who will fetch and i once had a rat that would roll over. mind you its really not as much fun when they learn how to open cages and close them behind them... not all rats will learn this thankfully but trying to figure out just how they got out then how to keep them in can be fun if you like to problem solve... what i'm saying is that you are going to love have your little babies and will never be able to go back completely to not having them in your life again...
 

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Haha! Welcome!

My girls fight over the wheel. It's a popular snoozing spot for my girls, I think Meromi has the complete control of the wheel. Acid get on just a few minutes every night while Meromi is sleeping...xD
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I just read your quote... funny stuff. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.... was not aware that was actually a popular acronym until my girl told me... go figure. Eh anyways, on a lighter note the sisters are great.... they actually run in the wheel side by side now, Mindy is getting a little faster though. Lucy is a very sociable rat, she doesn't even run when I try and pick her up and is better about new people and meeting my other pets.
 
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