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Discussion Starter #1
hello.
im new here, this is my first post. i have a problem. i have four sweet little girl ratties (translated.. they are hyper and mischevious!). they live in a ferret cage, which they like.
my problem is this.. i used to let them out to roam alot. but they destroy everything. i have to keep their cage in the kitchen (i live in a very small house) and they have already chewed holes going into the walls through a cabinet and through a wall. I dont know what to do i want them to be able to come out and play but i have no where for them to play.
i would love for them to have their own rattie room, but since one isnt available in my tiny house i thought about buying a shed and converting it into a rattie paradise. the problem with that is it would have to be heated and cooled, making it very expensive.
any suggestions?
PS i do take them out and play with them but i have a 9 month old baby and not alot of time to do this, especially individually, and if i let them out one or two of them instantly dissapear.
sorry this is so long!




 

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I personally have a similar problem to this....My rats are in my room....they can't just run loose without my monitoring so they can only play a couple of hours....I know that lot of people build playpens for there rats....if you have enough room you could attach a tall playpen from their cage and put toys in it(there is already a post about building playpens on here)This way your rats can play for a while and not leave the area. Maybe have it away from the cage...sorry...i just thought that they may climb it and get it out.

There have been sites i've been to where people add large ledges to their cages with like wires and cables coming from the edge of it and then they attach it to the cage....it gives them a lot more room...and in your case saves you room....they can still get outof their cage but only on the ledge so they can still socialize with you but relieves them of just being in the cage.

You might also consider connecting two cages together using a tunnel or something to give them more space without buying a giant cage.

Sorry this is long but I wanted to give you some ideas....I'm going to try add some links for you in another post to show you what I mean about the ledge thing....
 

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Here are some links for ideas

http://www.geocities.com/jmorneweck/camelot.html

http://www.ratsauce.com/ourcages/




Free ranging rats

There's not many things more enjoyable than letting your rats free range. Watching them leap and zoom about in excitement, explore dark corners, and sleep in a comfy spot of their choice makes a little bit of effort on your part so worthwhile.

Before letting your rats free range you need to rat proof the area. Obviously the most important thing is to prevent danger to your rats from electrical cords, escape routes and other dangers, etc. Secondly, reducing the potential for other trouble such a chewing, or climbing to places where they shouldn't go.

Some ideas for electrical cords:

Remove any cords that are not necessary.
Remove cords from the rat's path. Rats will tend to run along the walls and lurk in corners, and will chew what they feel is "in their way". You can either re-direct the cords, or tape them to the wall high enough to be out of rat reach. There's stick-on clips available specifically for this purpose (e.g. 3M Cord Clips).
Cover any exposed cords in a split piece of garden hose.
Block off an area of the room that contains electrical cords using a barrier - See The Rat Run for how to make a simple home made cardboard barrier.
Install an electrical safety cut-out switch, just in case.
Some ideas for blocking escape routes:
Strategically placed bricks, pieces of wood or furniture can prevent your rat from getting into small places s/he shouldn't go, like behind the tv unit or under the sofa.
A sheet of masonite or plexiglas makes a handy "gate" to block off a doorway to keep rats in, while still permitting you access by climbing over it.
See The Rat Run for how to make a simple home made cardboard barrier to block off part of the room.
Preventing other dangers:
Many houseplants are toxic to rats. Either remove them or ensure the rats cannot chew on them.
Always be careful where you sit, especially if you have a rocking chair or sofa bed... rats love to explore dark hidden places.
Remove shoes before walking in a rat zone and learn the "ratty shuffle" so you don't accidentally tread on anyone.
Ensure all other household pets are locked elsewhere. No matter how much you trust them with the rats, instinct can overwhelm them and accidents can happen.
Taping some cardboard so that it projects over the edge of bookshelves will prevent your rat from climbing up too high.
Some ideas for preventing chewing:
Remove anything you don't want chewed or peed on.
Provide lots of chew toys and fun things to keep your rat occupied while free ranging, to divert attention from your antique furniture. See Rat Toy Ideas.
Consider trying some preventatives on problem spots, like bitter apple spray, ginger, tabasco or similar sauce.
Cover problem chew spots (like skirting boards) with pieces of cardboard or lino.
Double sided tape can also discourage chewing and climbing.
Pieces of plastic carpet runner are handy for covering carpet in corners that rats like to graze on.
Some other ideas for preventing rat trouble:
Litter training ASAP and provide a litter tray in the free range area. Details here.
Provide food and water in their free range area if their cage isn't accessible to them.
Teach your rat to come when s/he's called (have treats on hand).
Large flat river rocks can be placed on top of the dirt in potted plants to discourage digging.
Carpet runners placed upside down (bumps up) can make an area you don't want your rats to go significantly less fun to hang out on.
And remember: Rats will always be rats. Expect some damage and admire it for what it is: ratty artfulness.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks so much for the help and the links :) the idea of having another cage or playpen thing they can play in occasionally is a great idea cause then they feel like theyre getting out once in a while.

i will think of something, i just want them to be happy. thanks again! :)
 

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I'd suggest letting them loose in any closed off room where you will be doing something so that you can watch them. Playpens and such are nice, but you have to get a cover for them or the rats will just climb out, and they are just like cages anyway. I don't think that you can get a playpen large enough to mimic a room really.... the only think I can think of is watching them. :/ I would be worried about them getting lost in the walls where they've chewed those holes though. It must have taken them a long while to do that....
 

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I built a playpen for my 2 gerbils one time, out of a whole bunch of cardboard boxes with no tops, I just cut a hole through the sides and taped them together and viola! Not sure that'd work with rats though. And hey, aren't rats not suppost to be away from drafts and cold spots? The fan makes lots of drafts, just wondering, I'm new to rats so maybe I could be wrong.
 

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i made a massive "rat run" once, took me ages, and they jumped straight out! i want my two big girls in my room but i have loads of stuff under my bed. i am going to clear it all out and let them run around in there today as they deserve treat. they have the whole hallway but it must get boring after a while! think also i may try another introduction with my babies on my bed...bring out the vanilla essence!
 

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beckoned keeps on at me to let one or more ratties loose in her room, but if i did that, we'd never see them again!! i let our ratties freerange either on my bed with me watching them to make sure there is no bunjee-jumping; or else (and this is my preference) i close all the doors leading into the living room, block it off from the kitchen using a spare shelf from a bookcase and a large flattened cardboard box and let them run free. so far, they havent shown any interest in chewing cables as there's too much other stuff on the floor they can destroy... like the crappy carpet, books, shoes...
 

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Hi, I have one of them dining tables with the drop down sides. I let the rats play on there. It makes a good place for them to play and they wont jump off coz it is to high. Once they have done I fold the table back up. I'm like you I have little room for my rats to play out and they get fed up of sitting on my shoulder all the time.
 

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lina: hi there *waves* the table is a good idea! i have weird rats though (ellie and leeloo) they will jump off anything, they are so abnormal! i put them in my bedroom yesterday under supervision and they loved it! i didn't see much of them for an hour...they were too busy exploring! it's more fun than the hallway!
 

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i don't think i'd trust my rats on a table, they're crazy haha. once zekie launced off of my shoulder to a plate of pizza that was four feet away. he made it to the pizza.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
lol about the pizza.

yea my rats would jump off too. unfortunately they have gotten on my kitchen table bfore which is a big no no as i always have food and medicine up there.

i let them run around some in the kitchen under "some" supervision, but let them stay out all night because they were hiding when i went to put them up lol.

oh and about the fan.. rats should be away from drafts that will make them cold, but since its summer here and very hot (we dont have central air and the acs are in the living and bedrooms) the fan helps keep them cool and its actually good b/c it will help keep them from getting resporitory problems smelling foul air.
 

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that is so funny about the rat jumping on to your pizza.

5 out of my 6 rats will play happily on my table. it is well big when I put it up and they have loads of toys on there. I put a water proof picnic blanket on top so they dont slip or pee on the wood. I think one of my rats would jump off so she goes in a rat ball. I dont like using the ball but once she is on the floor she hides in my sofa and wont come out So it's the only thing I could think of doing.

Hum I could put a harnesse on her with some string tied on that way I could just look for the string. that's if she didn't chew if off.
 

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harness? these are so hard for me to use! my kids (ratties!) look at me like i am crazy when i try to put it on them, they humour me for the minute i struggle to put it on them then they just move slightly and wriggle out of it! :)
 

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i just close my bedroom door and let my rats roam. my room is a disaster, and although picasso is good and will come out when i call her, i can lose mozart for a few hours at a time. i just close the door and hope for the best when i get home, and it's worked okay for me. :p the only place my rats haven't gotten yet is the top of my dresser. bed, nightstand, windowsills, dresser drawers, closet (all the way to the top), have all been gotten to (and probably peed on). but i figure, as long as they have stuff to explore, they don't eat anything. closet doors need to be open so that they don't chew them to get behind them, and bitter apple along the carpet that's right under the door, cuz picasso knows that somehow, you can get on the other side, so digging must be the way out. mozart is a hider though, and won't explore my room for chew-things, just a nice place to avoid me for a few hours. :p it's worked okay for me so far...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
i made the mistake of letting my girls out in a room with a dresser once. i came back a few hours later and found an entire drawer of clothes shredded into a nice rattie bed.
 
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