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Discussion Starter #1
As the demonspawn<3 tear up my comforter, I have a question for you all:) My girls are in a well ventilated room, window is almost always open. I took all the fleece out of their cage except for their hammock and the climby rope because it smelled after a few hours, and I wash those every other day. I wipe down the levels everyday and take out the poo....so why are they SO stinky? I don't want people to think I have a dirty house, and they really are....quite odoriferous. I have a Kaytee 3 level, 30" by 18" tall wire cage, with no fleece on the levels. The babies are 3 mo. old, gotten from the pet store 4 days ago. Their food was not bad there, and they're eating very healthily here. They're drinking lots.

So to that end...ideas to help with stinky ratsies? Would putting bedding of some kind in the bottom tray level help with stinky rats? If so, what kind of bedding is best to cut down on smell? Does the drop of vanilla in the water really help too? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
 

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Having bare levels is probably your first problem, love. Due to the urine. If you have plastic levels with nothing to cover it, then the pee will sink in.

A lot of people use borris mats for cage liners. They're cheap and don't require for you to clean them every other day as they are absorbent. I use bath mats, but my guys don't chew on them. Bedding also helps (such as yesterday's news) absorb their bathroom smells.

When I got my second lot of boys they reaked because of what the pet store was feeding them.. that went away after a week. But I also gave them all a bath (with baby shampoo) that helped a lot too!

Best of luck!
 

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Sometimes overwashing makes them nervous. They may be marking more because they never have the chance to feel secure in that what's in their cage is theirs. Washing it removes their marks and when the fleece is replaced, it's back to not smelling like them. They may be over marking their cage since they don't have time to feel comfortable in its security. :3 But, this is just an idea that I know can happen, and might not be the case with your pair.
 

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I'll only wash my dudes, maybe like once a month. If not, any.
 

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One thing I do is was the bedding on the top levels on different days than the bottom levels. Don't know if that will help in your case or not. I use large bath towels and pillow cases as liners in my particular cage.
 

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There is an enzyme you can put in their water that is supposedly completely safe (I'm sure it is, but I'd do my homework on it first) that you put in their water. It eliminates urine smell from the inside, so when they pee, it doesn't have an odor.

Marshall's Goodbye Odor I think its called. Its for ferrets but I do think I read something about it being used successfully in rats.
 

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There is an enzyme you can put in their water that is supposedly completely safe (I'm sure it is, but I'd do my homework on it first) that you put in their water. It eliminates urine smell from the inside, so when they pee, it doesn't have an odor.

Marshall's Goodbye Odor I think its called. Its for ferrets but I do think I read something about it being used successfully in rats.

I'm.. I'm totally going to look into this!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you so much for your suggestions! I'll look into the ferret stuff. I am currently trying pure vanilla extract (3 drops per 8 oz) in their water, because my friends who breed mice/rats for feeders swear by it. It's so dilute that it couldn't possibly hurt them, and they also have a bowl of water without the vanilla, in case they don't like the taste. They use the bottle and the bowl equally, so we shall see!

As for the levels having liners on them....they did! I had made fleece liners with polyester matting on the inside. It absorbs a ton of liquid, and the fleece was prewashed so that it could soak more up. After a day, they were stinky. So they had to come out. Now the only fabric in there is a climby rope and a hammock.

I put a layer of de-dusted carefresh on the very bottom, and a plastic igloo so they had something else to play in. If I put fabric/bedding on the levels, my bigger girl pushes it off! She likes to sleep on the bare plastic.

Between the vanilla and the carefresh....hopefully we'll get lucky:)
 

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I have four girl rats and I use fleece hammocks and fleece for the tray covers. I find that they get a bit stinky after a couple of days - and when I say a bit, I mean enough to stand next to the cage and notice, so I change out all their fleece twice a week. They are litter box trained, so I'm hesitant to use any loose bedding.

A friend of mine got two girls and started using fleece, as I advised her to. She said it got stinky, so she started using yesterday's news and said that solved the stinky problem.

And as someone else stated, the marking. I read that when you totally clean the cage, you should toss in some pieces of fabric of what-not that was in the dirty cage so they don't feel the need to mark up the cage excessively after a cleaning.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I do try to throw in a few bitsies of whatever they peed on haha, I figured it made it homey? They are so funny, I'm so lucky to have gotten them. One likes to grip my hair in one hand while she sleeps on my shoulder, one likes to sleep the whole way down in my shirt, and the third likes to lay between my *ahems* with her little face looking up at me. It's so cute I could cry:)
 

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Stinky rats aren't normal.

Bathing exacerbates the problem. Diet is usually the culprit, but bedding choice makes a huge difference as well.

Never put any additives in your rats' water bottles.
 

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Ah, but they've only been bathed once my friend! Because the pet store was not the cleanest.

Their diet....hmmm, better than most, I'd guess.

You can read alllll about their bedding in the previous posts here. But I'll repeat, in case you don't wish to scroll up. Carefresh in the bottom, nothing on the shelves because the flannel got very smelly after one day. It was flannel pads made with a polyester lining.

And additives? My dear, it is pure vanilla extract. Not that artificial slop most people buy at the grocery store, but real extract, diluted to 1 part to 4000. It IS an 8 oz bottle after all, and there are more than 4000 drops of liquid to a cup! So honestly, there probably isn't any effect on them whatsoever, its so dilute. But I'm trying it.

Your comment....negativity, but not helpful! If you have ideas for diet or bedding, those would be MUCH better than just saying, "Diet is usually whats wrong. So is bedding." and leaving it at that. Not just broad statements. I cannot read your mind, friend.
 

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I think cagedbirdsinging was referring to my suggestion of the enzyme product when they said "don't add additives", not the vanilla extract. People were only trying to help the best way they could. You seem to be getting a little angry.
 

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I'm curious... are the rats themselves stinky or do they just stink up the cage? For example, my Chai's cage doesn't stink (she is in quarantine at the moment fighting off a minor respiratory issue) but if you pick her up and smell her, she smells like ham. REALLY strong. It is a sweet smell, like a honey glazed ham. LoL

Now my main cage contains 5 girls. I've been having problems with the cage smelling up quite quickly but the rats themselves do not stink. What I personally did to combat the smell was switch to aspen bedding on the bottom, with yesterdays news paper litter in the litter box. On the upper level, I have shredded fleece. I took all wooden toys out of the cage, since they were being peed on and holding smell. I use a hanging fleece cube and a plastic igloo for beds.

Granted, they will start to smell, but not nearly as quickly as they used to. I also have an air purifier in the room with them. That helps with both the smell and the quality of the air.

I feed my girls a great diet as well, but Ginger in particular has a sensitive stomach. While my other girls get 2 blueberries, Ginger can only have one and not as often as the others because she will let off a stink that will melt your face. She is super gassy. She also cannot have kale or the same thing will happen.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly where the smell is coming from, but hopefully with a little trial and error, you can find something that works well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh, I forgot about your post, I'm sorry! Yes, they probably meant that. I just wanted them to know that I wouldn't give my babies something dangerous:) I know people get concerned for other peoples pets. I wish they'd tell me what bedding/diet THEY use though....just saying those could be a problem doesn't help much. I'd love to know!
 

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Yes, it has DEF. improved a bit since putting carefresh on the bottom. I'm going to start doing litter training as soon as I get settled at my new job. And their cage is stinky thankfully, not them haha! The smell is a bit of their poo, but I clean that up every day. But most of the smell is very...musky, if that makes any sense. Like a smell that, while not at FIRST bad, you can tell it will turn bad soon. I'm 99% sure it's their pee. I'm giving lots of lettuce treats, watermelon, peas in their water, ANYTHING to try and get them to drink more. I fear that they may be ill from the store (though the store took EXTREMELY good care of them), or something, or they may have been bullied out of eating good food at the store (they were very low ranking rats). So between their Royal Rat, the museli, and the produce, as well as the yogurt treats I make them, I'm hoping this will settle out. That fleece gets very stinky, VERY fast.
 

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I couldn't find a detailed enough description of their diet, and I honestly don't have time to scour every post for every detail of every rat owner's life on this forum. Moderating is a hard enough job as it is.

It doesn't matter how natural or dilute an additive is, it's still an additive, my dear. Rats are to have 100% pure water at all times. If you feel the absolute need to use extract, you need a separate bottle for that.
 

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more info.

It could just be a new diet that they need a few days to get used to. If there is any reason for fear poops - noises or pets that they aren't used to - fear poops are smelly. It could be the urine, and the diet change could be causing that, but you may need to use something to absorb it, there are several people who get good results with different things. I am a fan of fleece. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

EDIT: as to litter training, til you have more time you could just put in a litter pan with a different litter than what you are using for the bedding for now and get more intense about it when you have more time. If there is a place they seem to use more often than the rest of the cage that could be a good place to place the pan. Mine pooped at the bottom of one of their ladders most of the time, so I put the bottom of the ladder in a litter pan. It was a start.
 
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