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I'm getting rats in a few weeks, and I'm really hyped! I've done research for many months, but there are some questions that weren't or couldn't be answered. I put these questions in my introduction thread but I don't think they were seen.

Are ferret toys alright for rats? I found a great deal on Craigslist, it's a double ferret nation that comes with ferret food, toys, and a playpen for $100.

What's a good diet for female rats?

How often should I bathe my rats?

Is clipping their nails a good idea? If so, how would I do it? Like cat's claws?
 

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Ferret toys are usually fine for rats. :3 However, be wary of the ferret nation's bar spacing if you get young rats. Obviously, you can't feed the rats ferret food either. XD If you go for this deal, I would invest in some hardware cloth to ziptie over the outside to ensure that your rats don't escape.

Oxbow Regal Rat Adult is a good food you can buy online or in some Petsmarts/pet stores.

Rats typically shouldn't be bathed. They usually clean themselves. Most people use unscented baby wipes if they have to clean their rats, which is typically because of staining food or their tails are dirty. Mine hate them though, so I just let them clean themselves.

Usually I think people don't clip rat claws. Lava ledges are a good idea to grind them down naturally.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Never heard of lava ledges before. Where would I get them?
And about bathing I haven't heard of that way before. o: Might save my arms from getting scratched.
And thanks for the tip about the ferret nation, the breeder I'm getting them from has young rats, so I'll definitely keep that in mind!
 

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Sabatea gave you some great advice :)

Lava ledges are pretty common in pet stores ^^

As for toys, ferret toys should be absolutely fine- another suggestion I have is BIRD toys. My rats do and will forever more love bird toys. Also, they tend to have a chain holding them up, which is good since a lot of rats (the stinkers) will chew through rope or twine that typically holds up small animal toys. Plus, bird toys typically last longer than small animal toys- I have some bird toys I bought back last summer that still have barely a dent :D

Rats do clean themselves, actually more than cats :) But if your rat gets really dirty for some reason, or if you are going to show them, then bathe them- just only when necessary.
 

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I have used all manner of toys for my ratties and like Raven said, bird toys can be great! You can find rope perches, nesting boxes and things for them to shred and rip!
 

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Look for "critter nation" cages that are for sale used too... They have much smaller bar spacing and don't need modification, even for small rats.

Most toys should be OK, but if the toy is made of flimsy plastic (soft plastic), then you might only want to let them have it while they are supervised... Mine chew a LOT and I'm sure they would destroy something like that fast, and possibly eat it.

Hammocks are a great addition too... You can buy them online from people that make them and also make them yourself, if you're handy with a sewing machine. I use lots of hammocks in my critter nation, I also give them used cereal boxes, toilet paper / paper towel tubes, etc. Wooden chew toys for birds or rodents are great as well.

You can buy lava ledges from amazon, if you can't find them locally.

One thing I'll mention is that rats tend to pee on everything, so I wouldn't give them a permanent house that is made from something hard to wash... I had a wooden house that ended up getting tossed because it was too hard to clean. I like the "waffle house" (you can also get it on amazon). It is plastic and comes apart, so is easy to wash.

I would also suggest having sets of hammocks so that you can change them out often, along with spare cereal / coke boxes, so that when it gets smelly, you can toss and replace.

You'll also want to consider carefully what kind of bedding you will use. FN / CN cages have flat pans and most people use them with fleece. If you go that route, you will need multiple sets of fleece cut to fit the pans and a material like towels, u-haul moving blankets, or puppy pads to go under the fleece to absorb urine. If fleece isn't for you (it didn't work for me).. Then you can replace the pans from the CN / FN with stainless steel pans from Bass Equipment. They are not cheap, but if you want to use loose bedding, they will make your life a lot easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
@artgecko I just found a used Critter Nation! It comes with the extra pans you mentioned. It also comes with a transport and hospital cage and a few extra things. I think I'm going to go for this to save the hassle of fixing the Ferret Nation, despite the slightly higher price tag.

I already know where I'm going to get my hammocks, but I think I'll make my own fleece liners with some u-haul. Of course I'll have some aspen bedding just in case it doesn't work well.

Thanks to everyone for the advice! I've also decided instead of choosing what gender I'm getting beforehand, I'm going to wait until I see the rats.
 

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Ferret toys are fine for rats. Yes you can clip their nails, just make sure they are completely relaxed. Don't feed them the ferret food though.
 

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My rats are fond of the edible logs. They're made of some molasses mixture. They have them at Walmart for $5 a piece. For $10 Petco and PetSmart sell heavy duty versions. Any hammocks my girls chew right down. Ox Bow is a great food. Many people make their own mix using commercial rat food as a base, I add dog kibble, cat chow and unsalted nuts to mine. Sometimes cheese or fresh fruit or veggies for variety. They get bird millet for a treat sometimes.
 

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Great! I'm glad you found one... They are expensive new, so if you got it all for less than $300 even (or even at $300) that is still a good deal.

I would suggest making at least 3 sets of liners so that you can change them out and then do a weekly wash. When I was using fleece, I had to change the liners every 3 days or so because of smell. Using aspen, I can go about 1 week.

I think you are wise to wait and pick your gender when there. Pick them most social and outgoing pair you can find (or more if you want a larger group). I can easily fit 3-5 in one half of a DCN... Speaking of that, you might want to start them out in just one half of the DCN (put the bottom pan with no cutout on the top half of the cage and that separates it from the bottom half). This will make it easier to wrangle them before they are used to you.. When you feel they are secure enough and friendly enough with you, you can let them into the other half.

You may also want to look into litter boxes and litter training them. It is not 100% effective, but can make keeping the cage less smelly easier. I am using the corner litter pans with grates over them that clip onto the cage. I like them and the clips help keep them in place.

Good luck with your rats!
 
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