Author Topic: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?  (Read 1154 times)

Offline Shaananigans

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"Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« on: November 26, 2010, 03:54:21 AM »
I'd like to create a sort of outdoors, "woodsy" cage layout for my girls. Right now I have a few ideas, which I'd like opinions on from people who have more knowledge and experience with rats (I'm a first-time owner).

Idea #1) Have grass on the bottom of their cage instead of fabric or shreddings. The grass would possibly be in a bin or two for easy removal. I've read how to create grass dig boxes for rats, so I could just that but have it inside the cage itself.

Idea #2) Gather a few sticks of different sizes to use as ladders or climbing toys. I've read to bake the wood I bring in so nothing from outside contaminates the cage or my girls. My only problem with this is I don't know if the sticks would be pine or cedar, but if I'm working on a way to figure that out.

Idea #3) Use a small, shallow food container as a pool to put on the bottom (so its lined up with the grass, hopefully).

That's all I have for now. I'm not sure if I want the metal levels to be in this, but if so what ways could I cover them so no feet or tails get hurt? I'd prefer not to use fabric at all for this design, except their hammock or tunnel.

Feel free to bounce off any other cool ideas you may have  ;D I really want to do this.

Offline tinytippytoes

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2010, 04:33:41 AM »
Well I don't understand the 1st because I don't see how grass would absorb the smell of the urine. I could be wrong about that because I never heard of it before. Yes it would be a cool idea I just dont see how it would work.

As for the 2nd cedar and pine is a no no for rattys. Its the worst kind of wood for them. But you said whole wood not shavings and I'm not experienced enough to know if theres a difference.

As for the 3rd Ive had rats who were great with a shallow water dish in there cage. The boys I have now ...not so great, they dump everything in it. So thats a thing where you have to know your rattys.

I have a mouse named Moose who lives in a natural environment and he does great in it. Hes also the cleanest mouse I EVER had. LOL I make house and bridges for him using Popsicle sticks. Hes great. He's 2 now and he still moves sooo fast. I really believe it because of he's environment. Good Luck!!!
My rat can brux louder than your rat.

Offline Shaananigans

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2010, 04:44:40 AM »
I've never heard of anyone doing it either, so I have no idea if grass would absorb the smell. I sort of assumed the dirt would absorb it and the grass would give off it's grassy smell - but I have no honest idea (hence why I'm asking). I'm pretty sure they can't have any type of pine or cedar. I'd rather not let them have it just to be sure. There are tons of trees around here so I'm bound to find something safe, right? I figured I could try the pool thing out beforehand. Since their cage bottom is bare now...perhaps this would be a good time.

What sorts of things do you have in Moose's cage? I'm really just looking to do something different. I'm tired of the same old cloth and paper stuff. Looks dull and they seem bored.

Offline Billie40

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 09:57:48 AM »
Sounds great in theory but I'm thinking you may be new to rats :wink5: Your grass boxes will be mown and dug up rather quickly. Don't get me wrong, they'll love it. But you'll have a huge mess in no time. Sticks are fine, just collect them from trees you are familiar with. You can look up your trees online to make sure they're hardwood. That's the key word. Hardwood.
Sisal or hemp rope toys and ladders are a great natural looking decoration. As are coconut shells and wooden beads from the bird department in most petstores. I get a lot of baskets for my cage from the thrift store. These get a little chewed or peed on and can only be cleaned to well before they get tossed, but again, they have a nice natural look to them. When you do go fabric shopping, natural colors and patterns will go along way toward setting a theme for your cage. I personally love my camo and grass pattern fleece, though the cage does look dark so it's tough to take pictures of. Also, large river rocks are great in the litter pan (they love to pee on these) or under the water bottle for a nail file. I also use them as liner weights or steps.
Have fun. Decorating is my reward for cage cleaning day, and the natural theme is one of my favorites.

Offline RattiesSix

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2010, 02:31:56 PM »
1. Grass. The rats will shred it for the seeds and it will be dead. Plus, an abundance of urine kills grass.

2. Sticks. Go for fruit trees, too. I use apple wood as chews. They'd have to be replaced often.

3. The water would have to be replaced constantly. It's no longer safe drinking water if dirty. They will dump everything into it possible.

It's a nice idea, but you'd need a huge cage if you plan on it staying nice any time. A cage even the size f a double FN would be demolished quickly.

Offline Shaananigans

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2010, 03:07:05 PM »
Hm. Well, it was a fun idea while it lasted  :doh: even if there were several faults with it. Oh well. Can anyone think of other things I can do then? I'm just tired of the typical fabric set up...

Offline RattiesSix

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2010, 03:09:53 PM »
You can use large branches and twigs for toys and climbing. We used to make elaborate popsicle stick jungles for them. Lots of people use plastic hides and such.

Offline Shaananigans

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2010, 03:12:09 PM »
A popsicle stick jungle seems fun. I could make a maze! Hmmmm...

Offline muppet

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Re: "Woodsy" cage setup - advice/opinions?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2010, 05:13:48 PM »
my neighbor gets sod from the local home depot and uses it in his aquarium for his turtles. he replaces it every week or two.  they don't dig it but it is cheap enough that it might be worth a try...