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Discussion Starter #1
Some of my girls chew on the cage bars and it's driving me crazy! Why do they do it?
 

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I read that sometimes they chew on the bars to help wear down their teeth (especially when they have nothing else to chew on). I also read that some chew on the bars when they are stressed, bored or lonely.
 

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My rats are rarely in the cage, but when they are first plopped in they will chew the bars frantically. I don't know about your crew, but mine chew to get out. They try to walk backwards out the door while I'm putting them in, and then they chew the bars until they realise how futile it is.

How often do you have them out during the day? Most people say an hour, but mine are out for hours and hours every day and still chew their bars for a little bit before they settle down.

Your rats are probably bored and frustrated.
 

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My rats chew the bars too, and part of me believes they even bent one of the bars. But that was probably something I did and my rats don't have superrat strength.

In any case, I know they have plenty to chew on, so maybe it is just a case of boredom? Not all the rats do it, only a couple have really. I'm not sure what might help, maybe even more things to chew on?
 

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If you don't already have hard foods in their diet you should start introducing things like dried pasta and raw vegetables (carrot is one favourite of my rats). My Doris was so frustrated and bored today she started ripping the carpets up in my room. I gave her a few pieces of dry pasta and she chewed those instead.

Like CJ mentioned, putting more things in the cage for them to chew on could be a good idea. Blocks of wood and hard foods are good.

The thing is, if you don't have them out of the cage enough, nothing is going to stop the trouble they're making. They'll go from chewing the bars to tossing the bedding, scraping the floor, heaving food around the cage, climbing all over the bars and making that annoying echoing clanging sound, and the chewing of the bars will continue, and your cage will lose a lot of value when you go to sell it in the future if you decide to get a different or bigger cage.

There is no replacement for time outside the cage. You can fill it with hammocks, balls, chew toys, other rats, interesting foods - it all helps. But they will still need to be outside of the cage for a bare minimum of an hour a day.
 

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One of my boyfriend's boys chews on the bars incessantly, because we've accidentally reinforced his chewing by giving him treats right after he's chewed. I haven't figured out how to get him to stop chewing... but I'd advise that you're careful with treats and taking them out right after they chew, otherwise you'll accidentally train them that chewing is a GOOD thing.

Also, it seems like the rats that get the most time out of the cage are the biggest chewers. It's like the "Truman Show" effect - once they realize there's a bigger, more interesting world out there, they'll never be entirely happy in a cage. And even if you let them free-range in a whole room, once you let them see that there's a door to the outside, they'll chew the doorframe/carpet to get out there.

That's the problem with keeping such intelligent animals in a cage! It just means you need to keep them occupied by changing the cage around regularly, putting their food in something that makes them work to get it out, and providing a wheel for them.

Some ideas for keeping them occupied:
I like to hang non-pellet food above their heads to make them climb, jump, and generally work to get it. You can also wrap treats in newpaper in lots of layers, so they have to rip thru it to get the treats. Then they'll spend lots of time nesting with the paper. Also, I hang a lot of pieces of twine from the cage, especially by the door and corners, so that they get distracted with the twine and don't chew as much.

But most of all, I think the wheel is what keeps my rats from being unhappy. They run like maniacs, most of the night, and some have learned how to run simultaneously with others. I think every rat should have a wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My girls are pair'd up 2 to a cage and each has a wheel and they have lab blocks mixed with the food I give'm and each cage has a large salt/mineral lick thing AND I take each one out indiveduely for at LEAST 45 min and if I can manage I'll take 2 out at a time. *Gasp*

I think they do it for the attention.... all I do is say NO or BAD or STOP CHEWING YOUR CAGE and I'll tap the cage if I'm near but is that what they want? Attention? Even if it's negative?

My rats are to smart for their own good... :roll:
 

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Sky14 said:
My girls are pair'd up 2 to a cage and each has a wheel and they have lab blocks mixed with the food I give'm and each cage has a large salt/mineral lick thing AND I take each one out indiveduely for at LEAST 45 min and if I can manage I'll take 2 out at a time. *Gasp*

I think they do it for the attention.... all I do is say NO or BAD or STOP CHEWING YOUR CAGE and I'll tap the cage if I'm near but is that what they want? Attention? Even if it's negative?

My rats are to smart for their own good... :roll:
Not to be rude, but you said in the pregnancy thread that they were in aquariums, which really aren't enough space or very healthy for them. Also, how big is the wheel? Do they run on them?

Also, rats don't need salt licks, that's something for small rodents. They get all the sodium & vitamins they need in the lab blocks.

Your final resort is always earplugs. ;) They're your best friend.

(And I say this about aquariums as I watch my stubborn 4-wk baby girl in the quarantine aquarium jumping and hitting her head on the aquarium lid, over and over... ignoring her wheel, toys, and paper she likes to shred, to futilely wham against the mesh repeatedly in the hope that she'll get out.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sky14 said:
at LEAST 45 min
Like I "said" at LEAST 45 min if I have more time you can bet you a** I spend it with my baby girls.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I NEVER put my rats in those hot things!!
 

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Sky14 said:
Sky14 said:
at LEAST 45 min
Like I "said" at LEAST 45 min if I have more time you can bet you a** I spend it with my baby girls.
I'm not trying to make you sound like a bad rat mommy. I'm just saying, AT LEAST 45 minutes is not enough. One full hour should be the least amount of time your rat spends out of the cage on average. It should never fall underneath that. One hour is already very little time. There's 24 hours in a day - I can't imagine spending 23 in a cage, let alone.

I'm just trying to help you. If they often get only 45 minutes a day out of the cage, chances are the chewing is because they want out.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I calculated that EACH rat spend at least 1 hour and 25 min with me a day. :)
 
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