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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, to start off, I've got two lovely female rats for about a month now and definately adore them. I, with my Da's help, built a cage for them that, according to the cage calculators, is big enough for 4 or 5 rats. (It's 12 wide, 30 long, and 30 high with 3 fair sized shelves) What I was wondering, and have already done numerous searches on this site for, is if I should invest in my GGMR and get more rats.

I understand that if I get one or two more I'll be sure to want even /more/ after that, and I don't want to get into that, but honestly, they're so adorable! It's hard to go into pet stores for food/bedding and not just buy up the poor souls in the cages.

Another thing to keep in mind, or at least has been on my mind, is the temperment of my girls now. I've got a fairly hyper, not particularly aggressive but dominance seeking (if that makes any sense) girl, Chu, who is constantly trying to flip her larger, more passive cage mate Tobi. What I'm wondering is if I get one more rat, would it be at all helpful, if she turns out to be a passive, lazy little thing like Tobi or a hyper, playful thing like Chu, to my current mischief? Meaning, if I end up with a girl who's like Tobi, will it make Tobi's life easier to have someone else to snuggle with and maybe convince Chu to stop trying to nibble her ear while she sleeps? Or, on the flip side, if she ends up like Chu will she occupy Chu's time better by playing and not disturbing Tobi?

And lastly, should I go after the larger, and my ultimate limit, of four girls, meaning I'd get two new rattikins instead of just one? I've already got a place to go in mind, where I got Tobi after Kaze (Chu's first cage mate who died of what I suspect was an upper respiratory infection, though Chu and Tobi both seem perfectly healthy) so I'm currently reining in my impulse to go bring in a whole load of rats by attempting to find out if it's actually a good thing or not.

And, by the by, I do hope I posted this in the right forum...I couldn't decide between here and Rat Behavior, so feel free to tell me to bugger off and move to a different forum if I'm wrong x.o
 

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that cage is hardly large enough for 5 rats... I don't care what the calculator says.

So consider this...

Chances are if you go back to get more girls you just might come home with a pregnant rat. That means 5, 10, 15 or more additional rats will soon enter your mischief. So then what? Well that cage will definitely not accommodate those numbers.

Then you have the issue of a home built cage. Unless you have a non-porous surface (meaning that is is constructed of something other than natural wood) you will soon find yourself to be the proud owner of a slimey, stinky, bacteria invested petri dish that you use to call a home for your rats.

Since I have no idea what you constructed the cage out of, that is kind of a reach but give it time... you will soon find that the 3 you have are going to out grow those dimensions by the time they reach 6 months with the original 3.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I apologize for the mix up, (or at least I assume mix up) at the moment I only have two girls, not three.
Also, again I apologize, the cage is constructed of hardware cloth and aluminum corners with, I honestly don't know what kind, but some sort of metal pan.
It is good to have someone's feedback, though perhaps some reasoning behind your assumption that my cage is too small for what the calculators say? Not that I'm questioning your input, I've had two rats for a month now, not nearly enough time for me to consider myself anywhere near knowledged in rat-ology.
 

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sorry, misread.. thought you said had three getting 2 for a total of 5. I read now that you have 2, feel the cage would hold 4 or 5 & you want to get more but did not state how many more you plan to get. It sounds like you made a cage that will last a good long time... an all metal cage is really the best way to go. Be sure to clean it very good & very often because galvanized wire will allow urine to soak into it which in time can rust or even hold bacteria & odor.

I've had rats in my life since I was about 5... I'm 41 now... I could not even list the exact number of rats I have had over the years.

Right now I currently have 17 at home with me (six 2 month old sisters in one cage, 4 plus 1 neutered male in a huge ferret cage, 3 males in another cage, 1 male in his own cage & 2 females in yet another cage). The smallest cage I have is about that size you described & I have two adult females in it. I wouldn't dream of adding anymore to it & in fact... we have been working hard on trying to get one of the girls in that cage to move back in with my large female colony but one female in that big cage & she simply don't get along all that well, the other is with her because I don't want her alone... I just switch out her room mate from time to time since the problem is with two rats that are actually biological sisters that were separated for only a couple months. We've had bloody fights between them. Hopefully my mentioning it here doesn't jinx it but we've had them all together for about 3 hours now with no fights. I will update that thread is they last the night.

Girls are very active & they require space. Sure boys are bigger than girls & those calculators always say to take into consideration that boys get bigger than girls but as adults they tend to be much more laid back & less likely to be constantly exploring their surroundings... food near by & a comfy hammock & they are good to go. (picture the proverbial male with one hand tucked nicely in his waist band & the other gripping the remote or beer, kicked back in a recliner)

If you are going to have more than 2 girls then you will need more width & more hight & definitely full shelves with lots of places to climb through & explore in.

It is in the nature of girls to prowl & scavenge.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ah, thank you for more input ^.^ I was fairly aware that females are more active but I was completely ignorant to the sheer amount of room they'd need. My girls are still fairly young, so I know they'll get bigger than now, but it's hard to imagine they'll need so much room! Still, glad to have the advice.

Another question, feel free again to tell me to bugger off and not fill this topic with questions irrelevent to the original ones, would there be a way to occupy Chu in better ways without adopting in more girls that you could suggest? She gets as much out of the cage time as I can give with school and I've filled the cage with things for her to do, yet she still takes out her energy most often by nibbling on her 'sister'. Again, sorry if this is too irrelevant from the initial post.
 

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that is normal behavior... not sure you want to discourage that

I deep clean my cages every week. That means completely tear them down & wash every square inch of it. I then put it all back together but I don't put it back together the same way. This in itself will give them hours of entertainment. I will give them shredded paper that they can stuff all over & make hideouts. I offer tubes & tunnels. I use one of those hard plastic balls (called whiffle balls here in the states) something like these or the all white ones
& fill them with treats that they have to work real hard to get at.... oh gosh there are so many things you can do but the absolute best form of entertainment is you

but back to the dominance thing, this will change frequently & it will be completely upset & have to be re-established all over again when you add new rats, just keep this in mind... no blood, no worries

please.... ask any & all questions that cross your mind


the only stupid question is one that goes unasked
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much, it's nice to not be put down for questions ^_^ Those are great ideas, I just recently found the ratty fun pages of dapper.com and will soon be filling my girl's cage with more stuff to occupy them.

Though, I have to admit, I may be working on habit with the rats from the puppy and my cat. x.o The puppy is constantly slobbering on my dear kitter-cat, thus I see Chu nibbling Tobi's ear while she's trying to sleep and I hear the annoyed yowl (or squeak in Tobi's case) in my mind. xP

Again thank you, I'll be off filling my girl's cage with fun-nesses now if you have any more much appreciated advice ^_^
 

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think cheap & disposable

I save every good sized card board box that we empty in the house... everything from tissue boxes to boxes that pasta comes in

I don't throw away soiled clothing that is no longer fit to wear... it is all put in the rat bag... I either give it to them as is (they really love it if was recently worn) or I will make a hammock out of it or whatever... then when I clean cages I can just toss it rather than worry about washing it & getting rat poo & bedding in my washer & dryer... (eee-gads what a mess)

Plastic bottles.... half gallon sizes & bigger. I have attached them to the sides of the cage to make look out perches for them. Gallon size jugs are great for multiple rats to snuggle up in as well.
 

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the main problem with that cage is the 12 inches part. 30 inches long is good, 30 high would be okay for a couple more...but a rat full grown can be close to 9 inches long (males bigger). Its going to be hard to turn around, let alone play!! I just put those dimensions in the rat calculator and it came back with 3 rats total.

If you just double the depth to 24 inches...you've got a spot that can hold up to 6!!! Do that, and you will have some happy rats!
 

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I agree with bloodraven. The volume is good, but the dimension for ratties needs to be wide enough to allow them to at least make a good circle. Nothing is perfect, but if you have a chance to make the width larger, try to do it. I'm sure your ratties will be happy you did.
 

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true to the above 2 posts about the width... the cage I have that is near to this cages size is 6 inches taller & the width is 18 inches. I have 2 full grown females in there & mind you, they are not nearly as big as my biggest female... I wouldn't dream of adding a 3rd to this cage, much less consider having 3 females in there that are as large as my big Tipsy girl. She is actually larger than 2 of my adults males that are the same age as her.
 

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You say you made this cage yourself, which suggests you're pretty good at DIY, well why not try making another one of similar dimensions nearby and adding a tube to get from one to the other? Having 2 cages of these proportions would easily accomodate another one or two and having two seperate cages to explore makes life more interesting for the rats. By the way, NEVER give into GGMR, the decision to buy more rats should always be a rational and reasoned decision. Kudos for doing just that ;)
 

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Urithrand said:
You say you made this cage yourself, which suggests you're pretty good at DIY, well why not try making another one of similar dimensions nearby and adding a tube to get from one to the other? Having 2 cages of these proportions would easily accomodate another one or two and having two seperate cages to explore makes life more interesting for the rats.
The trouble there is that 12 inches just isn't wide enough, so two cages that are both too skinny doesn't really solve the problem, unless she managed to connected them into one cage that was 24 inches wide, although I agree that two cages connected by tubes would be a lot of fun! Rats need room to move around in, and even my smallest girl is almost 9 inches when she really stretches out to sleep- most boys, heck most other rats in general, are going to be much larger than she is.

Just imagine being in a room that is "technically" nice and big, but really long and skinny. Now imagine that were were windows on one side, so everyone could see you and you can't really put furniture up against that wall. I'm sure you'd much rather have a nice large square house that let you run in all directions. The idea isn't pleasant for humans, so there's no reason to expect the rat to live like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So much more advice! Thank you all for your input, it's nice to have such a kind rat community to turn to for help.

As to adding a second cage, I wish I could, but I only just finished the first one a couple weeks ago and it nearly cost $100 and a heck of a lot of time. Truth be told, I could actually dismantle part of the cage and add more to the twelve inch side with a few hours and just a bit more hardware cloth, not to hard, but I'd need my Da's garage for that and currently he's busy with work, thus the garage and tools are preoccupied. x.x The second problem to that is that I don't have much more space for the cage at the moment. My room, the only place the rats are allowed right now, is itty bitty and barely fits a bed that in turn barely fits me. However, I will definately take your advice on trying to widen the cage, it'll take time, but it'll be worth it to be sure my rats have plenty of room.

A question, though, is there any way to predict how big a specific rat will get? I understand that each rat is unique, and it really doesn't help that I don't know my girl's ages (the places I got them weren't particularly well informed T_T), but I was wondering if there is any general average for female sizes? Bloodraven mentioned up to 9 inches, but is that an average large size or an average size?
 

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since you have no idea of their age, no reference as to what their parents look like... no, not really

do you happen to have a photo of them? Maybe we could guess their age & give you an best guesstimate based on that
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You'll have to forgive me, my camera is loaded with pictures of them, but my card reader is crap. x.o; Hopefully, though, I'll have a new one soon and can finally get the pictures onto my laptop. If all else fails, though, I'll be going to a friends soon (whoo for not having to stay home all vacation!) and can mooch off their computers ^_~
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Whoo for using the usb port reader instead of the card reader! ^_^

I tried to get something next to the girls so you could tell size at least a little, but they truely dislike to sit still xP Anyway, here's a link to a rat album on my myspace page, it was the quickest upload site I have an account to. x.o;

Myspace rat album

Hopefully these help ^_^
 
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