Critter Nation Questions

Discussion in 'Habitat' started by elricsgirl, Jun 22, 2019.

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  1. Jun 22, 2019 #1

    elricsgirl

    elricsgirl

    elricsgirl

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    Hello! I adopted two boys, Stanley and Ollie, back in May. They're about 3 months old and so much fun! I probably went overboard and bought them a double Critter Nation. They moved in yesterday.

    1. Is there a such thing as TOO much space for two ratties? I have a litter pan, hammocks, tunnels, hanging toys, a couple of lava shelves, climbing rope, soft beds, barn, a wheel, space pods and tons of fleece and shredded paper.

    2. The shelf covers are a pain in the butt. I have one shelf covered and I have covers for the pans coming as well, but does everything really need to be covered? I have lots of fleece scraps and soft beds around. Is the plastic on the shelves harmful to their feet? (the bottom tray has a scatter guard and is filled with shredded paper. I haven't covered the shelf where the food/water is or the top tray).

    Photos attached - advice/suggestions welcome! (their water bottles are on the door)
     

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  2. Jun 22, 2019 #2

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Hi, so I have answers for you. You'll be happy. By no means whatsoever can ratties have too much space. In a Double Critter Nation (DCN) you have several space options! You definitely got the best money can buy, ;-). You have no worries with leaving the plastic bare, but it will be much better with a liner to absorb pee. I just put down old newspaper, and most, but not all, printers use non-toxic ink these days. But I don't trust color ink, only b&w. So the plastic trays and shelves are fine. On the other hand, I am guessing that you have the ladder down so that they have access to both cages. The ladder does not have a plastic cover, or else they would slip and slide down when trying to climb up it, lol. So they instead have cloth covers, which you just wash occasionally. Or, you can use fleece, as I do when it's in use. Now.... You should have 2 shelves, consisting of the steel support and plastic tray. If you place both shelves across from each other, you in effect divide one cage into 2, basically giving you 3 separated cages now. And if you buy a couple more (very cheap from Fosters and Smith), you can make 4 separate cages. Each cage now has 2 enclosures, which is great if you decide to take in more rescues. Wink, wink. But remember.... definitely cover the ramps (or ladders) as well as ALL wire and grate surfaces. Little feet can get caught and twisted, even broken, or ankles can be severely injured. And if you have yet to experience a pulled out toenail, it is NOT pretty! You'll truly believe they are going to bleed to death. For future reference....if and when this occurs, immerse their foot (or wound) in flour or corn starch (or, if you are proactive... https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/woundseal-powder-to-stop-bleeding/ID=prod6099456-product) to stop the bloodbath. Also, especially with overweight rats, wire or bar surfaces can contribute to bumblefoot, a nasty affliction of the foot (primarily hind feet) which is caused by excessive pressure and eventually bacterial infections, and which is very difficult to treat, making the management of a daily, often lengthy endeavor. Not fun. And painful for the poor rat. So....absolutely no bare wire surfaces, especially ramps. Ok, anything I missed? Lol. Enjoy your awesome setup, those ratties are living in the lap of luxury now! Quite a step up from surviving in horrible conditions as so many rescues once we're. That's why I have so many ratties, lol. And so could you!!!! Hint, hint,hint!!! Lol
     
  3. Jun 22, 2019 #3

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    PS: I save all my paper grocery bags, they are an exact fit for the plastic trays! I also have cardboard around the 3 sides that goes about 6 inches under the plastic and folds in the corners and then goes a few inches up the sides. Stops all their mess from leaving the cages! You can use the grocery bags too but my rats love to pull it down and shred it up. Bad little boys and girls!!! Hahaha
     
  4. Jun 22, 2019 #4

    elricsgirl

    elricsgirl

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    Ahh! Thank you!! They do have access to both levels and I have all of the wire ramps covered with the fleece CN ramp covers. My last, sweet rattie was a rescued lab rat and she had bumblefoot, so I'm extremely paranoid about that. Her cage was smaller and every single surface was covered in a layer of cotton and a layer of fleece to protect her feet. I currently only have the plastic exposed in the DCN.

    Thank you again for all of the ideas! One of these days I may be able to convince the husband to rescue more, but the vet bills are kind of a deterrent for him. haha
     
  5. Jun 22, 2019 #5

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    With expeeexper comes cheaper vet bills. You can do A LOT at home yourself. Buy antibiotics and stuff online from Jedds.com and other sites. I get much of my supplies, even food if I ever need some (I buy all my own since I use Oxbow) from the rescue agency I foster (most are permanent, I am their forever home, since I act as a hospice also) for. The agency is absolutely amazing, they leave no stone unturned when prepping their rescues for adoption, even going so far as making prospective adopters fill out adoption forms, doing face to face interviews, even doing home checks prior to adoption. I can't say enough in favor of them, they're simply outstanding. They even find the money to neuter all their male rescues, as well as many females. If you are not already, you should consider officially fostering. You only have to care for poor ratties without a home or person to love as you would your own, except you don't have to worry about get bills. You just care for the rescue agencies rats until they are adopted, then you receive new fosters to care for and love. It is a responsibility, since you are responsible for the rats left in your care, but you are just doing what you would normally be doing anyway. It's a win win situation. Imo
     
  6. Jun 22, 2019 #6

    SQ

    SQ

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    Hi, Welcome to the forum :)

    1. There is no such thing as a cage that is too big. The bigger the better. :)
    Your 2 boys are very fortunate to have so much space to run and play and explore …. and you have a lot of space to work with creating an enriched living environment for them
    2. everything does not need to be covered …. people do that to cut down on cleaning, because otherwise the floors may need to be cleaned or wiped down daily

    Please see the Reference Thread https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/
    It contains a lot of information you will find valuable, including toys, enrichment, play areas, diet & nutrition etc

    Rats need at least 2 sources of water and at least 1 source needs to be a water dish that can not be upset.
    You may also want to put a corner litter box on each level, containing a different litter then what is used as bedding - many people use an unscented paper based kitty litter such as unscented yesterdays news

    Your cage looks great - lots of interesting things for your boys :)
    You might want to add
    - a 12 inch diameter (or larger) solid wheel,
    - different types of tubes in the bottom and on the sides of the cage
    - 3 more litter boxes
    - a cardboard box with 1 hole in two sides and a hole in the lid, containing crumpled newspaper (picture of an example below) - it will have a short life span even if you put paper on the floor to soak up urine - it will be well chewed and well peed on but they will have a lot of fun

    IMG_1063.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  7. Jun 23, 2019 #7

    jorats

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    You've got some lucky boys there! Most rats enjoy a large safe space for their home. But the real answer to your question is yes but only some rats can't deal with large spaces, most are perfectly fine.
     
  8. Oct 7, 2019 #8

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    I have some CN questions also, one day I will be able to afford the double, lol! I have 5 rats in there currently, but aside from the mom whose age I am unsure of, I have 4 babies that are 7 weeks old.

    They're still getting the hang of going in the same corner, but we are down to only two corners of the cage now! I will start utilizing a litter tray this week and see how that goes. I have only ever had 2 rats at a time, so I'm cleaning up after them a LOT more than I am used to, so I'm trying to find the best and most cost efficient way.

    Right now, I'm struggling with bedding!!! I have tried fleece alone on all surfaces and they do not like it. They like to cuddle in it, but they always find a way to move it or make a mess with it. I have tried using the soft granules with some paper bedding on top, and I feel like that was costing me a fortune, especially now since I am doing a full cleaning of the cage every 3 days. Right now I am using Vitakraft alone, I like it, and I know it says 99.5% dust free, but all I can see is dust coming off of it!

    I didn't think about covering the wire ramps!! Where can I find covers for those?
     
  9. Oct 7, 2019 #9

    SQ

    SQ

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    you can buy them from the company
    some people use a sock
     
  10. Oct 8, 2019 #10

    elricsgirl

    elricsgirl

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    You can find the ramp covers on Amazon. Etsy has some cute tray covers/ramp covers as well. :)

    Regarding bedding, I've tried everything. So far, shredded copy paper has been my go-to, but my ratties have allergies, so my vet asked me to try brown paper bags or brown crinkle paper. I looked around online and found EcoBedding. you can get it on Amazon and it's pretty great. Hardly any dust. We just started using it a couple of days ago, but so far so good. Just be sure to get the natural, NOT the odor control. I believe I read that it has baking soda in it and that can harm our little critters.
     
  11. Oct 8, 2019 #11

    Dena

    Dena

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    I just took my ramps out, and cut the tubing you'd use for a French drain in your yard. It's black, and ribbed, and makes perfect ramps. I made ramps from cutting the tube in half length way, and then zip tied it to the shelves. Then I took short sections of the tube, and made tunnels for them. They are zip tied to the side, and I made another diagonal, so if they wanted to go through the tubes to get up and down, they can. My rats LOVE them! And since they are zip tied, I can cut them loose, and wash them out as needed. I'll try to get pics tomorrow.
     
  12. Oct 8, 2019 #12

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Yup, i use old socks.
     
  13. Oct 8, 2019 #13

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Quite simple...use old newspaper. I just lay it in and it fits perfectly from front to back. I also open up the section and rip it down the seam, then when they pee and poop on it I just remove enough layers
    I just lay down newspapers. Then o can remove sheets as needed. And newspaper ink is nontoxic, so no worries there. If your rats like to shred it up to use as bedding and nest building, just rip up a little and give it to them to deter them from ripping up the paper you put down for cleaning.
     
  14. Oct 9, 2019 #14

    Dena

    Dena

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    Here are the tubes I used for ramps. Excuse the mess. I'm cleaning their cage, and remembered about the pics. I promise their cage isn't that empty. LOL

    *edit* the pics are upside down for some reason.
     

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