Converting dresser into habitat

Discussion in 'Habitat' started by William kong, Oct 14, 2019.

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  1. Oct 14, 2019 #1

    William kong

    William kong

    William kong

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    I planning to buy a very large dresser off of Kijiji at the end of this month. It's solid wood, about 5-6 feet tall, maybe 2-3 feed wide, and a foot and. Half deep. I plan to keep the doors on there but I'm going to use U nails to attach a half inch mesh wire over the entire front of the dresser and I'm going to make a mesh wire door for access. I don't have the dresser yet but I'm guessing I can build a lot of levels. Maybe 5 or 6. I'm planning to purchase hemp rope from home hardware and using wood glue to connect it from one side of the dresser to the other. But a bunch of them for my rats to run across. I'm also going to cut a hole in the side of the dresser with a tunnel leading to my computer desk with a plastic container room at the end of the tunnel so they can watch me play computer games. Anyone convert a dresser into a habitat before? I know they can chew through wood but my guys don't really chew stuff whatsoever and the wood on this dressers pretty solid and thick. Any tips on my project?

    Also, I don't use bedding as my rats hate paper or wood bedding. They always push it out of there house. I just use a blanket as bedding across my whole cage that I currently have. So Ive read a lot about ammonia buildup and how it can cause health problems. But my cage never ever smells of ammonia. It pretty much smells like a farm. I change the towels/blankets once a week for cleaning and never use store bought bedding. I also clean their poop three times a day. Once in the morning. Once around 5-6 pm after I get home from girlfriends and again before bed. Do some rats not produce a whole lot of ammonia?

    I'm a new rat owner. At the end of October when I get the huge dresser I plan to get another 4-5 month old rat so I'll have four.

    My baby rat I got from a breeder, the 2 month old I purchased from a feeder store for 3$. I wanted to save him from certain doom lol. And the 4-5 month old was purchased from PetSmart. The PetSmart rat was housed with one other male which I plan to purchase at the end of October so he won't miss his brother anymore lol.

    Do you guys have any tips for me?

    I feed them rat food purchased from PetSmart, oxbow essential rat food. Sweet pepper, carrot, and dehydrated banana chips. And sometimes peanut butter.

    I live on social assistance so I have a monthly income of about 1600$ a month so I can't afford a 3-400$ proper rat cage that will accommodate 4 rats. So I'm building it lol. Also kind of can't afford 5 or 6 of those actual ropes made for small rodents from the pet store because they're like 20$ a piece. So any budget ideas would be great. Thanks.
     
  2. Oct 14, 2019 #2

    William kong

    William kong

    William kong

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    I think I'm doing a good job socializing the rats so far. My two younger ones are extremely playful and popcorn all the time. The 4 month old from PetSmart is a bit territorial and just walks around and doesn't really play. Once in a while my one rat toui will gently try to play with him but he looks real cautious when trying its funny to watch
     
  3. Oct 14, 2019 #3

    TheFatRatGirl

    TheFatRatGirl

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    Hiya, that sounds like a really good sized cage but my main concern would be ventilation. Is there anyway you can remove the wood from another side so that there is a fresh air flow through the cage? Also ensure that any adhesives you use are toxin-free; if they chew their rope they'll ingest the wood glue. I buy my rope in metres too (as opposed to buying it specifically aimed at small pets). I find that I can get much longer lengths this way and zigzag them around the cage, which the rats love! I attach mine to the bars of their cage with zipties and super strong clips from IKEA. It may be safer to screw some metal hooks/clips into the wood and attach your rope in a similar fashion.

    Could the tunnel lead to a small cage/carrier instead? With rats, ventilation is always a main concern. I'd also start thinking about a waterproof treatment that would be safe for the rats. Wood tends to absorb pee so you could have a very smelly cage in a short amount of time.

    That's really frequent, which is obviously good for the rats, but have you thought about attempting litter training? It makes this aspect of rat care so much simpler! Rat's noses are far more sensitive than ours. We may not smell ammonia, but the rats certainly will. They're also the ones living in it, so they're exposed up close all day long while we'd only catch a whiff when we're near their cage. I always try to keep in mind that I may be use to the smell. I have friends and family that say they can smell the rats when I can't at all! It's kinda the same as how friend's houses have a certain smell that they're no aware of: they're just so use to it!

    As your rats are all from separate litters, have you read up on quarantining and properly introducing them?

    Gosh, is that how much rat cages cost in Canada?! Here you can get a PetPlanet cage (same size as a double critter nation) for £170! You may also want to look online for secondhand cages to save yourself time (and possibly money). I had to custom build an indoor guineapig cage as my room was an odd shape and it cost around £80, but I could have gotten a second hand enclosure for a smaller price if I'd have a more conventional shaped bedroom! Ofcourse I was starting from scratch so had the cost of timber and such.

    Depending on how you are with more domestic DIY projects, it saves money to make your own hammocks. I give my rats half of an unscented, 'smart-price' toilet roll a week and watch them unravel it all to use as bedding. Costs £1 every 12 weeks and they always have something soft to keep them warm in their hammocks (it also keeps them busy). I also buy my rope in the same was as you, definitely saves money which can be put to use in more important ways. I'm a student so I don't have a huge income either; for that reason I think it's sensible to have a small savings stash put away in case something happens and the rats need to see a vet.

    Hope this helped. Good luck with your new ratties! :)
     
  4. Oct 14, 2019 #4

    William kong

    William kong

    William kong

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    They sort of litter trained themselves. I bought a second wood hutch for them not too long ago and they all poo inside that hutch but sleep in the tunnel and cardboard house. So that's good. I'll make sure everything's very well ventilated. To be honest, being an ameteur rat owner, it never occurred to me to quarantine or introduce them in any specific way. I just sort of tossed them in there as I got them but it turned out well. My two youngest are like brothers. But the newest addition, 4 month old from PetSmart, is kind of grumpy and never plays. But at the end of the month I'm getting the one other rat that he was housed with in the pet store so he won't miss his buddy anymore. I'm hoping that'll make him happy. And thanks for the advice. The ventilation thing didn't occur to me
     
  5. Oct 14, 2019 #5

    TheFatRatGirl

    TheFatRatGirl

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    You're welcome. Here is the link to the thread outlining how to introduce new rats to one another: https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/introducing-new-rats.34842/#post-491257
     
  6. Oct 19, 2019 #6

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

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    Hi, usually babies get along pretty easily. If you follow the steps already linked here by TheFatRatGirl, you should have them together in no time. As for the dresser, I did one of those and had to scrap it within 2 months because the smell was unbearable. I hope you have better luck than me. Keep checking your local ads for rat cages, you might find one that is cheaper.
     

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