you mentioned they stink & you want to know of a better bedding to use
what were you using & how often did you change it out?
As for shredded paper, that does absolutely nothing at all for oder control & I have actually had really bad smells when I shred up some for them to play with. I have to remove it the next day or PEWPEWPEW!
Until you are really ready to fully commit to the task of litter training you will need to use something
The 3 best choices are yesterday's news, carefresh & aspen. Everyone has their own preference.
I used carefresh before but one of my rats had horrible sneezing fits will on it so I switched to aspen. I am pleased with aspen & I don't have any problems with oder or sneezing anymore. I change the cages out completely every week.
I have never tried yesterday's news. If I ever have any issues with aspen I will.
i used carefresh, changed it out once a week, and did a scrub down. i just wanna know if i was doing that, would carefresh ultra or aspen smell better, cuz if i dont find something, my stepmom says i have to scrub the cage with TOXIC lysol wipes or the rats are at the curb O.O
Waiting a week to change the cage is the maximum amount of time one should wait before doing a complete cage cleaning, you may need to step it up a bit. Maybe you could do it twice a week & see if that helps. Also doing daily "raisin patrol" will help. Also watch to see what area they tend to piddle at. Often they pick a corner to pee & you could scoop that spot out frequently & replace with clean bedding in order to control odor.
Also, I'm sure you have seen some of the discussions lately regarding odor control. It isn't always bedding type.
The diet plays a big part in what they smell like. What does their diet consist of & of the bagged pet foods you feed them what are the brands?
Where are they being kept in the home? Maybe you could move them to an area where your Mom would have less contact with them.
they are in my bedrooom, the babies bedroom is right beside mine so she goes up there a bit. my cage setup is kinda hard to find where they pee (mostly in the middle of anywhere) and i have the suebees mix, and stuff from my dinner (last night it was mashed potatoes, peas and ham, they only got a bit of ham because it was a bit salty)
well that could be part of the problem... their urine isn't going down to the bedding it is staying on shelves (are shelves solid or open wire?). If they are solid you will need to wipe down the shelves daily/every other day because it isn't healthy for them to walk on dirty surfaces.
Do you have any pictures of your cage set up?
Really trying to help out here because I would hate to hear you are being forced to get rid of them.
Maybe you can keep your door closed & pace one of those plug in type air fresheners out in the hall or somewhere near where you enter the area heading toward the bedrooms. It would be far enough away that maybe it won't be too strong to bother the rats & when she walks through it the smell will travel with her so that she can make it past your room when heading to the babies room.
I use a very mild air freshener in my main living area. It is near the front door because it is always when you first walk in from outside that you will first notice smells whether it is cooking smells, people smells or pet smells. Unfortunately the web address on the product is invalid. It comes in a small recyclable tub. The stuff in the tub looks like a big orange glob of play-doh & has a pleasant citrus smell. The product name is Bright Air Odor Eliminator. Maybe you could find something like that. This little tub lasts for months & I've been adding a very small amount of plain water to it when I see signs of shrinkage. This one tub is nearly 5 months old & still smells good. I also keep some type of air freshener in the bath rooms so again, normal traffic in the house helps spread the fragrance. This seems to work much better than putting a fragrance directly in the same room because this will make them sneeze like crazy.
Oh yeah.. wood is going to absorb pee and smell. Even if the wood is covered on top, pee will still get down to the sides where it's not covered and get absorbed into the wood (it looks like the top shelf in the picture is showing that problem).
I've never made my own cage or shelves, so I'm not exactly sure what the best alternative would be. Maybe lino covered hardware cloth instead.
I just thought I'd add that I used Aspen for my first rats, it does its job well but it tends to get EVERYWHERE, if the rats are in your bedroom be prepared for it to get into woven (knit/crochet) blankets and clothing, as well as the carpet.