Husbandry Information

How Much Time Do My Rats Really Need?

So! Over the past 2 years, I have noticed more and more that one of the main reasons people decide to rehome their rats is due to lack of time. This is usually because they started studying or got a new job.

Now, I’m not saying that having less time isn’t valid. I’m not saying that it’s a less legitimate reason. This post is purely to put a few things into perspective. In the rodent community, there is a huge onus on owners to give every single inch of themselves, every second, every cent, to their pets. That may not be what’s outright said, but it’s the feeling everyone gets.

The truth is, if our animals are being kept properly, they don’t need as much “effort” as people make it seem. They’re remarkably simple if you do things right!

In this post we are going to address many of the time issues that come up, and how to remedy them.

So let’s start from the biggest time requirement: individual interaction. This is time spent between you and your rodents. I have seen pet groups state that you absolutely MUST spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours PER DAY playing with your pet. This simply isn’t true, if your cage is set up properly. Rodents are intelligent, but still fairly simple. They need food, water, enrichment and sleeping areas. Enrichment is the most important with regards to keeping them entertained so that they are content in their cage. Enrichment doesn’t have to be making little food parcels every day, or threading paper through bars, or any of that complicated, time consuming stuff. Enrichment can be as simple as a running wheel (appropriately sized), a lava ledge, scatter feeding, and some hanging toys.

Next up is cleaning. Oh boy…. Cleaning. Anyone who owns rats knows how time consuming cleaning can be. Pee gets everywhere. On things, under things, in things…. It goes places you didn’t think exist😒. So here is some tips on how to cut down that cleaning time!!
1. Ditch the fleece. For starters, it doesn’t neutralise ammonia at all, and you have to wash it every 2 days for it to not smell. Washing takes LONG to sort…. Screw that.
2. Use baskets instead! Since you are ditching fleece, you’re probably wondering where your ratties are going to sleep?! Well, baskets. Buy plastic trays, baskets, etc, make holes in 4 corners, attach cable ties, and hang using baby learning links.
3. Put KDP in the baskets. This means you can just tip out the dirty kdp every few days, wipe with a wet wipe and add new KDP. It takes like 1 minute. KDP= Kiln Dried Pine Shavings (Marltons is KDP, and Catbox sells 10kg compressed KDP bales).
4. Deep bedding!!! I cannot express to you how amazing using loose bedding such as KDP is. It actually neutralises ammonia, making the cage smell fresher for longer.
5. Deep base. Don’t use the pull out trays and floor grate that comes along with standard cages. Buy a container that fits snuggly into the base of the cage, or make a correx base (link below for instructions). This means your bedding is deeper, and the pee doesn’t go into the corners of the bars!!
6. Wipe the cage down with a nail brush and f10 in a spray bottle weekly. It’s quicker than scrubbing the whole thing in the bathtub every time, but doesn’t allow the urine to build up between deep cleans.

Last but not least, feeding. No, your rats don’t need a full fresh meal every night if you’re feeding them a proper dry food. So, invest in a proper dry food and all you need to do is scatter feed. You can give them fresh foods when you have the extra time. Another option is premaking their wet meals and freezing in portions. This allows you take it out in portion sizes, defrost in the fridge during the day, and just plop it in a bowl in the evening. For an amazing dry mix that does not require wet meals daily, check out our URCSA Dry Mix (link below). We will also soon be selling URCSA rodent pellets. Check out our premade chop for frozen wet meal ideas (link below).

So there you have it!!! Rodent care made easy. Share your personal time saving tips down in the comment section!

Correx base tutorial:

URCSA Dry Mix:

Premade Chop:

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