Author Topic: Help! I need advice on cages!  (Read 1770 times)

Offline Maeume

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Help! I need advice on cages!
« on: February 20, 2010, 01:26:46 AM »
So, in my first post, I mentioned that my rat had an unexpected litter, and once they were of age, some would be found new homes, and I would keep at least one for a playmate for Sookie. Now, I've been told that my 10 gallon is too small (and I'm starting to see this) not only for Sookie, but for two rats!  :doh:
 So! Please, my fellow rat lovers! Find me an inexpensive cage (limited income student here!) that can house two rats happily! I see wire cages, but I have my reservations with those (what if they squeezed through the bars? Chewed the bars?) and the boyfriend is stuck on the idea of a multi level cage.

What do you think? What do your cages look like? Please let me know!!
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TearDropOnFire

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2010, 10:57:45 AM »
I did a lot of research on Amazon.com for cages. Some are inexpensive, but some also do not tell you the bar spacing. I would reccommend at no bigger than 1/2 spacing on the cage. I have this cage http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753352 and I absolutely love it. I don't know what your price range is, but you can always check on craigslist and kijiji.com in your area. Good luck!

Offline serenebean

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2010, 11:07:05 AM »
Like TearDropOnFire said, look on Craigslist and Kijiji for used cages...that's going to be your least expensive option. Martin's Cages are highly recommended, but you're going to pay a minimum of $90 + shipping (which, to be honest, is not bad at all for a new, high quality cage). I think someone in your other post mentioned that you should definitely get something powder-coated, and NOT galvanized - galvanized cages absorb urine, and they are smelly and rusty in a very short time.

If you're worried about them squeezing through the bars, make sure the bar spacing is 1/2" - even little girls shouldn't be able to escape from that. Powder-coated wire is safe for them to chew. Multi-level cages are fantastic...rats love to climb (part of the reason wire cages are so great - they climb right up the walls!), and it gives you tons of space to put toys, hammocks, etc.

To make sure any cage is big enough, put the measurements into the Cage Calculator. That'll tell you how many adult rats you can comfortably fit in any particular cage. :)
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Offline ThaRatChick

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2010, 12:11:28 PM »
I would suggest a martin's cage! The The Rat Cabin (R-670) is big enough for 2 rats and it's only $68+shipping. Wire cages are really the best option because tanks keep all the nasty air in and tend to cause respiratory infections  :eek: . Wire cages let the air flow. Girls are fine in cages with 1/2 inch bars! They love to climb around on the levels and climb the cage bars.

 
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Offline Maeume

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2010, 01:38:17 PM »
ooooh...the R-670 looks nice, and is much cheaper than the ones I was looking at on Petsmart.com.

Naturally, my fear exists with the coating on any cage because I own parrots, and a good way for a parrot to get sick is by chewing on bars with paint on them. So many people are telling me to go for powdered coating, and telling me they are safe as can be. I'm going to trust you all! :) I'm hearing fantastic things about Martin's, are they "completely" safe? Yes....Worried momma here! :)
Proud owner of : 2 Cats (Saint and Saffron!), 2 Parrots (Clover and Rocky) And Sookie's 5 Babies (R.I.P Sookie. <3)
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Offline The Jenn

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 01:40:27 PM »
From absolutely everything I've heard, Martin's are safe for rats and powder coating is the way to go. The 1/2" bar spacing is safe for all rats over four weeks old. My five week old baby girls couldn't slip through that bar spacing on the CN, no matter how much they tried!
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Offline Schrute

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2010, 01:43:44 PM »
No, ThaRatChick, it's not.

Plug it in to the cage calculator - 24" x 14" x 24"

It isn't big enough for even ONE rat per the cage calculator, using the appropriate setting of 2.5 cu ft per rat, let alone suggesting it for a pair...

If you go with a Martin's, I'd recommend the 695.

Are Martin's cages "completely" safe? No, no cage is completely safe and accidents can happen in any cage. A Martin's cage is reasonably safe and you should have no reason to worry using a Martin's cage. They are highly regarded on this forum, considering you get one of appropriate size.

Offline Scubbs

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2010, 01:56:30 PM »
I highly recommend the R-695 as well.  It's a fantastic cage, especially now that they're remodeled it some and made the design even easier to use.  I've never followed cage calculators myself... I suppose they're a good idea of the absolute MAX amount of rats should ever be in a cage, but they don't take into account all the necessary toys, hammocks, houses, and other fun things that may take up the space.  Moreover, rats need lots of room to run around and play.  :) 

Like Schrute said, no cage will ever be 100% safe; there have been accidents with ALL kinds of cages.  But, be that as it may, if you take certain precautions (like covering the wire floors with nice liners, cleaning the cage often, keeping an eye on your rats) the possibility of an accident is much, much less.

As far as our cages, you'll find quite a few picture threads in this section of the forum for different cages (Ferret Nations, Critter Nations, Martin's, SuperPets).  The search option, and just plainly poking around the forum, is your friend.  :thumbsup2:
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Offline Jennandjuicetm

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2010, 03:48:50 PM »
I recently had this same debate with cages myself. I ended up getting a huge ferret cage on ebay for around $85. But since you have girls and babies you'll need bar spacing that is at most 1/2" spacing. (For the little ones you might need even smaller spacing.)

I'm right there with you on trying to do things cheaply. You still have a few weeks before the babies are weened. Try looking on Craigslist and Ebay. Even if you feel that the 1/2" bars will be too big for the babies, You might be able to get one that size and make a temporary one or cover it with mesh. (http://www.evergreenrattery.com/careguide/cagebuild.html) You could even try posting here, on GM, in the "Rat Pack Swamp Meet" section that your looking for a cage. Don't forget to have a second cage handy for when it's time to separate boys and girls. Also make sure the wire on the cage is not "galvanized" (silver and not covered). The galvanized wire is said to absorb smells of urine and smell quite bad after a while. I don't think it's unsafe for the ratties to chew on most of the cage bars that are covered. The powder-coated wire is safe for ratties to chew, and I think the only problem with the vinyl coated wire is that it is easy to peel off after they chew on it. (Although powder coating and vinyl coating might be the same, I can't remember exactally.)

A lot of people on here have Critter Nations, Ferret Nations, and Martins (http://www.martinscages.com/) cages. You'll see their respective threads in this section with pictures of everyone's' cages. They seem to be the best of the best, however, when I was cage shopping I found them to be pretty pricey. (Not that,they are over priced, they are just really nice. Or so I've been told, haha, I'm still on my first cage.) Another brand is Superpet and other, much cheaper (both price and quality, I'm sure) cages. These are usually made with wire, but have plastic shelves and bottoms. The problem with that is that a determined rat can chew her way out and destroy the shelves. Here is a link to a table I made that was really helpful in showing the differences in cages (http://tblurb.com/ratcages). You can PM me if you want (or post here and I'll PM you if you can't PM yet) and I can show you how to make your own, you can add prices and such, too. Here is the post I made about a month ago when I was cage searching, there's a lot of good information both there and if you did a cage search in the "Home Squeak Home" section (http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/forum,rat/topic,4065895.0). Oh! Also remember to check with Petsmart and Petco about price matching. (I've heard Petsmart does it, but not Petco. Could be something to look into.) That way you can get just as good of a cage from a more reliable source. I was going to do a Petsmart price match of a Superpet Exotics and get it for something like $80. I was also looking at the Rat Manor at Petco, but a lot of people gave me bad reviews about it. (You can read about that in my thread.)

Whatever cage you end up looking at, be sure to look at the cage calculators to know there is enough room for as many ratties you're keeping. There are two calculators that I use. One is for the dimensions of the cage and pays no attention to floorspace (http://www.rattycorner.com/odds/calc.shtml Be sure to click inches.), the other is for floor space only (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/ratguides/rat-cage-calculator.php). There's also a formula for the first calculator if you want that as well (http://www.ratsrule.com/cagecalc.html) With that, I used them both just to be sure. For the floorspace calculator I had to guess a little about the size of the shelves, but the guesses shouldn't be too hard. I also read this article that really helped me realize the importance of plenty of room (http://www.rmca.org/Articles/cagesize.htm).

I just saw your question about fleece and bedding on your first post. I am going to use fleece for my ratties and (hopefully) litterbox train them. That will be better than having them go wherever they feel like it because then they won't tend to go outside of the cage. You can get fleece anywhere. You can get the actual fabric yards from fabric stores, or if there are none near you, you can get cheap fleece blankets from Goodwill, Walmart, or Target. The other reason that a lot of people line their shelves with fleece is to keep the wire floor covered. The wires that they walk on don't have to be covered as long as you keep the wires clean. Older information says that if the rats are constantly on wire they can get bumblefoot, but it is now thought that bumblefoot will only happen if the wires are constantly dirty. There is a certain spacing that is not safe for wire floors because little rattie feet and legs can be caught in them and be broken. I'm trying to look it up right now, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe someone else can chime in with the proper spacing of floor mesh.

Wow I just wrote and rambled a lot, so I'll stop now. Other than what I've written above, just watch out for the  rats around the parrots, I've heard that the rats can kill birds. Although the parrots might be too big, I really don't know much about birds. And last but not least, here are pictures of my cage (http://www.flickr.com/photos/40659816@N06/sets/72157623469631400/).
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Offline Maeume

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2010, 04:02:18 PM »
thank you thank you thank you!

As far as cages goes, it's starting to look like Martin's r-680 and r-690 are in our price range. Now is just trying to figure out which is the better buy. They are a whopping 3$ difference with powder coating and shipping, as the 695 is something of a 20$ difference. I plan to cover any cage I happen to get  with Fleece because it looks cleaner and is easier clean up.  :thumbsup2:

Separation...when is a good time to separate boys from girls? I'm hearing 5 weeks, is this accurate?

And about my rat and parrots? Sookie has already gone after and bitten a stubborn parrot, (no blood, just a mouth full of feathers.. :shocked2:) so they stay far away from Sook. :BlueDumboSmile:
Proud owner of : 2 Cats (Saint and Saffron!), 2 Parrots (Clover and Rocky) And Sookie's 5 Babies (R.I.P Sookie. <3)
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Offline Jennandjuicetm

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2010, 04:30:39 PM »
I went ahead and added the 690 on to the table I made. The cage calculator says that 14" isn't deep enough for an adult, however that is generalizing adult rats. It depends on how big/small your girlie and the baby is/end up being as to whether it would be deep enough for her. It might be worth is to spend the same amount on a bigger cage, but at lower quality. That way they would definitely have enough room. Just a thought though. How much are you looking to spend?
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Offline ThaRatChick

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2010, 04:37:54 PM »
Schrute- I use my own math with 2 cubic feet per rat. Part of how many rats is preference, but i would keep 2 rats in there.

To the OP- I think martins are the most affordable cages around. Not just because of the price, but because they last a long time and are well made. I would not let the rats anywhere near parrots, because someone will get hurt!
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Offline Jennandjuicetm

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2010, 04:50:08 PM »
I did some searching on the Martin's thread and I found pictures of both the 690 and 680. I'm pretty bored so I figured that I might as well put that to good use.

The 680 was posted by Bloo Cheese. This is purely a guess, but I think s/he has 2 boy ratties in there.
(http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/forum,rat/topic,4043541.msg4670652/,#msg4670652)

The 690 was posted by bipolarwreck. Of course yours won't be pink unless you paing it. :P This is another guess but from what I can tell she's got two girlies in there.
(http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/forum,rat/topic,4043541.msg4650475/topicseen,topicseen/,topicseen/#msg4650475)
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Offline Emma_and_Jean

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2010, 04:51:43 PM »
Speaking as another low income college student, I bought a Critter Nation single level for my girls and I love it!  :heart: It is a huge cage, big enough for 5 or 6 rats. It is very easy to clean, too, because the entire front opens up. My girls are tiny, but they cannot fit through the 1/2 inch bar spacing.

petstreetmall.com has the single level for $135 and free shipping. I got mine from here. Ordered it on Saturday and it came in on Thursday.

Yes, it is more expensive than some of the Martin's cages, but I would not trade it for anything. Not to say that the Martin's cages are not good, but I have not had any experience with those.

You shouldn't need a new cage until the babies are big enough to be put in it, so you have some time to save up.

As for the parrots: most rodents will gladly kill and eat birds. Even if your birds are fairly large, that instinct is still there. I would not let them anywhere near each other. If your parrots are large, they could very easily kill your rat, as well.

Offline Maeume

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2010, 05:14:20 PM »
See, now I'm liking the 690..It doesn't look small like most say, and holding 2..it seems spacious enough :) IMO, the 680 looks smaller, but I guess I'm getting that from picture angles.  :doh:

Sookie will grow to be bigger than either of my parrots. The cages are across the room from each other, she can't get up to the bird cage( I made sure of that) and like I said, THEY are scared to death of HER. (I find it funny, she's so loving and sweet but she does NOT like those birds..) Honestly when his parrots pass, we will just fill the house up with more rats. We're both starting to enjoy them more than the snapping, charging, screaming parrots.  :BlueDumboSmile:
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Offline WEAVER

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2010, 05:21:53 PM »
The 680 has a larger footprint than the 690 meaing you will have more floorspace.  The 690 is taller, but the pan is smaller.  I think you would be happier with the 680 and than you don't have the middle shelf that you have to worry about large cage pads and burrowing rats.

Offline Hadassah_33

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2010, 07:25:17 PM »
Another vote for the R-680. While rittens may be fine in it, fourteen inches depth in the 690 is too narrow for adult rats. The cage calculator says 3 rats are okay in the 680 so 2 should be comfortable  :thumbsup2:

Offline Blackmoons

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Re: Help! I need advice on cages!
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2010, 07:25:47 PM »
The 680 and 690 are both great.  I have the 690 primarily bc I had limited floor space to put a cage (I got it in college and my bedroom at home is small as well) so I needed the vertical space because I couldn't get something with a larger footprint.

I have two boys in my 690 and I personally love it.  A good friend of mine has two girls in a 680 and she loves that.... either will make a fantastic home. 

My 690 fits in the bathtub which makes me happy, and I have it on a little rolling tv shelf that puts the boys at eye level when they are at the top in their hammocks which I also love.

You can see my cage here:

http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/forum,rat/topic,4063203.0