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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm new. My username is actually what my first rat's name was. She lived for over two years with me after I got her from a pet store as a full grown adult. I also had a little brown feeder rat (who got as big as some males I've seen!) as her companion until she died of myco. Then I got back into it with four rats from a breeder, two brothers that were just too cute (rex dumbo) and two females (one was the cousin of the boys) that were so pretty--my girl Jenifry was a platinum standard...gorgeous! She could melt many a rat-phobic heart. And my other girl was a brown rex.
They all passed in 2003 within months of each other, the brothers were put down together because they had never lived a day apart--I couldn't separate them and they were both ready to go.
Since then I haven't had any rats and I'm thinking of getting back into it. I still have my large rat cage (24" x 14" x 36") in the shed and I'm itching to get two baby rats I saw in the store the other night in it. The babies look quite healthy--no signs of porphyrin, sneezing, and they all had bright, alert eyes.
I was just wondering if there are any new products out there that I might not know about. I used Carefresh bedding, the staple of my rats diet was Purina Rat Chow, and I used to give them Yogies are treats. I've noticed during my many trips to Petsmart (I have a dog and a cat and now three goldfish) over the last couple of years that the variety of rat toys, accessories and such have multiplied! There used to be only a few things in the stores when I started that were specifically for rats.
What do you use for bedding now? I know there are more alternatives readily available now that weren't when I first started out (pine and cedar was still used in most pet stores I went to then) and even three years ago. Carefresh would get pretty soggy ... and not that great at odor control.
What about food? Are there any good diets available in the stores now, or are Purina, Harlan Teklad, and Oxbow still the best bet for rat blocks?
If there are any other new (or improved) things I should know about now...let me know!
 

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We still use carefresh! If you change it every week, I don't see how it could get soggy??
Yogies are still great, they come in rat size and flavors now.
I've never heard of the purina rat blocks.. I wouldn't give them it anyway as my dog and cat get fat on purina! LOL
Something I like, thats avaliable now, is the marshal small animal bi-oder. It really helps with smell! Just make sure you don't get the ferret kind! LOL
Yes there are a lot of things for rats in stores, but have you looked online for all the options? Huge assortment! I like the varity of bedding available!
Another thing to consider would be Adopting your next rats. I think the new trend among rat lovers is to Not support petstores, and save the rats in shelters...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The rat chow was from a suggestion on the AOL rat message boards many years ago (1999). Nothing else was available or affordable for me at the time (I had a job, but I got paid about $100 a month, and I was 13!)
My dog is on Pedigree at the moment (I cringe thinking about it, but money was tight for a while) but now that I have a great paying job I'm switching her back to Nutro, which she did amazingly well on, and it got rid of the bald spot she had since she was 3 months old. That's a bit OT, but I'm just saying that I prefer to buy the better quality even if it means more cash out of pocket...and according to "experts", the Purina rat chow (it was made for labratory animals) was a good staple for their diet.
Yeah, there was nothing really online that was specifically for rats. I made do with some hamster and ferret things, most of the time making up toys (PVC pipes to hide in, homemade hammocks, I know that's still pretty common considering they're likely to be chewed to pieces!) I always had to get the ferret Yogies because they wouldn't have any for rats or they would only have cheese flavors. My dog loves cheese but my rats didn't really care!
I would clean the cages about once a week and the bedding would always be soggy ... in the corners, etc. Not the whole pan or anything...I was wondering if there's anything out there (I never bothered trying it before) that's more absorbent and can be used underneath the Carefresh. I always heard good things about Yesterday's News.
As far as adopting, the closest rats up for adoption are either in Wisconsin or 120 miles away in my state (IN).
Another thing--my rat cages were black powder-coated (I also had a galvanized one early on) and no matter how hard I scrubbed with bleach, Chlorhexidine solution (I just realized that this is the same stuff that I had for prescription mouthwash...weird!), or how long I soaked it for and rinsed, there was always a white residue left over from the urine. It still drives me crazy because it makes the cage look dirty when I know it's clean enough to eat off of! Has anyone else had this problem and found a way around it?
 

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no one has mentioned aspen which is great, also kiln dried pine should be fine since the phenols (the stuff that causes problems) have been removed.
 
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