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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have obviously done a tonne of research since picking my rats up at the weekend but the internet can be a funny thing spitting out a ridiculous amount of different answers to my questions!
I'm hoping that you guys (the experts) will be a bit more helpful!

1. Water- how much water should a rat be drinking per day? All three are boys- roughly 3 months old
2. Water again- I know they need fresh water every day but does that mean replace the water in the bottle everyday even if they've only drank a quarter of it?

3. Food- Do rats need set feeding times? I haven't really got in to a pattern yet so I wasn't sure whether I needed to? I intended on always making sure they had a bowl of rat biscuits but for treats etc
4. Food- Should I be offering them treats every time I open the cage and interact? It was useful the first couple of days to help coax them out but tonight I didn't have a treat and they still came out and walked around my legs a little- but they were probably looking for treats so is that mean?

5. Cage- The woman in the pet shop said she only cleaned her's out once a week but I've read online people saying 3 to 4 times a week, with some saying everyday! We've had them three days but I had to clean them out tonight as the smell was quite pungent!
6. Cage- When cleaning, I'm guessing I don't remove all the litter so that they relate some of it to their own smell but do I change the bedding too? (Its in a little wooden house box).

I think thats all the questions I have for now :D
 

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Hi, nice to meet you!

1)I think rats will drink from 10-20 ml depending on their seize and the weather.

2)I would suggest refilling the water everyday and scrubbing the bottle while at it :D Bacteria can grow fast on plastic or even glass bottles and you really don't want your rats to get sick from it. I like to think that if I wouldn't drink from there, my rats shouldn’t either.

3)No, it's not really necessary. They should always have food and water available; it easier for both you and the rats. Just try to make sure that you don't feed them things too high on fat so they don't get too fat.

4)I don't offer them treats every time because I visit them like 10 times a day and they would definitely get fat fast, but apart from that I don't want my relationship with my rats to be based on food. Sometimes I give them treats and leave right away, sometimes I play with them in the cage. Sometimes I just pet them, sometimes I take them out and give them treats after playing, sometimes before, sometimes we play with no treats involved... I just make sure to let them know that I'm giving them a treat when I do(they go crazy I love it)or I save the treats to reward them when they behave or do something that I like.Making them work a bit for some of the treats is good for them, behaviour and health-wise. Sometimes I give them treats out of the blue; I just don't want to condition them to think that if they see me they will be getting a treat. I want them to like me!

5) This you will have to work out alone :p I clean the cage once a week (this means I apply disinfectant to shelves and litters, scrub the bars, put clean fabric on the shelves and change the litter in the pans and so on), but in the middle of the week I replace part of the litter and even change the fabric if needed. The smell can be caused by a variety of reasons apart from cleaning. Boys are supposed to stink more than females. If the cage is small (I hope not too small if that's the case!), you will have to clean it more often of course. Litter-training reduces the need of cleaning A LOT so if your boys aren't litter trained yet I would run to start with it. Some people puts a few drops of apple cider vinegar in the drinking water and they say it works really good to reduce the smell. If you've had them for a short time, it could very well be that your boys are still fighting over who is the boss and so they will mark the whole cage all the time, this is going on with my girls right now.
Once your boys are aprox 8 months old you should switch their food to one with lower protein. High protein foods make rat wastes smell worst and cause kidney problems as well.

6)I usually leave a hammock or some not-so-dirty stuff they had in the cage so they can smell some of their own smell but I can't. I usually change all the nesting material with the weekly cleaning.

Well, I hope this helps and if there's anything you'd like to know don't feel afraid to ask! I am a rat caretaker of only 2, maybe 3 months but it's not really hard to get used to your rats needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi lost_whisper, thank you so much, thats really helpful!!
The litter training started tonight (I only put litter in their litter box and changed to strips of material for the rest of the cage/bedding) so we'll see how that goes! I placed a cup of bicarbonate soda in the room about half an hour ago and I've already noticed a huge difference!

Off to replace the water and go so Hi to my little guys! No treats tonight, they've already had yoghurt drops... which they LOVE by the way for anyone who hasn't tried it!!
 
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