Where our rats live
All our rats, pets and breeders, live in a sextuple critter nation. I also use quality cage crafter's metal pans and cement mixing tubs to hold in bedding, while some cages have fleece. I plan to switch all cages from fleece to loose bedding. Fleece does not control odor well and can cause upper respiratory infections if not changed often (every 1-2 days)
The bedding I use is kiln dried pine but have used aspen and paper in the past. KDP is far the best odor reducing bedding I have used since owning rats.
I fill the cages with handmade hammocks, baskets, foraging toys, old cat trees, hidey huts, two types of dig boxes, ropes, ladders, wooden ledges, lava ledges and old boxes. I stress the importance of having appropriate enrichment for rats, they are highly intelligent and deserve the freedom to express all natural behaviors.
What our rats eat
Our Rats' main diet is Oxbow Regal Adult and Kalmbach 18%
They also get a variety of fresh fruits & vegetables and of course a variety of treats, such as Gerber baby puffs, Gerber Arrowroot cookies and carob chip training treats.
Our maternity cages
All expecting mothers birth and raise their rittens in homemade bin cages, this allows them to keep the babies safe and warm during their rearing. A regular cage such as a CritterNation can have added risks of babies getting chilly or falling through the bars, a safe maternity cage must have a deep base and small bars so babies can't slip through. I also provide safe nesting materials such as fleece, shredded paper, and soft tissue. Each doe is also provided with a spacious hide, soft clean bedding, high protein food, and of course fresh water.
Grow Out Cages
At approximately 3 weeks of age, I move mother and rittens to a larger cage. This gives them ample room to grow and play! enrichment allows for proper development, and I believe that helps them grow into confident and outgoing rats. Once they reach 4.5 weeks of age I separate them by sexes, my girls go to live with their mom and aunties and the boys live with their dad and uncles. I use both commercial cages and homemade bin cages, both are appropriate and allow for proper enrichment.