Rats on a budget

For anything to do with rat care that doesn't fit into any of the sections above!
smurf_nom
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Rats on a budget

Post by smurf_nom » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:51 pm

hi everyone hope your all enjoying the weekend and the sunshine and that your rats are all well

Right, with the current financial climate and the very recent changes to all benefits and tax credits plus my other halfs hours being cut we are looking at the possibilty of a very hard few months coming our way. I would hate to have to rehome any of my ratties so wanted to ask all your opinions on looking after rats on a very tight budget.
I have just changed from using reggie rat food as my base food (£7.25 for 2.5kg) to using a good quality rabbit mix (£2.55 for 3kgs or £10.25 for 15 kilos) which obviously will save me loads. But wondered if you all had any other money saving ideas. In particular cheap additions to the food, as will have to stop using expensive ryvita and branded shredded wheat bite size etc. and some other bedding type to use, we have been using aubiose for bedding which is £20 nearly a time wiv delivery so will prob have to change that and any ideas on cheap toys/hammocks treats etc. Luckily bought a new massive a while ago so shouldnt have any need to fork out for one of those.
My vets is an RSPCA vets for people on means tested benefits so that shouldnt be a major issue (touch wood) I have 7 rats now including one lumpy girl and 2 old girlies. So fingers crossed we will be ok, am putting aside any bit of spare money i can towards vet bills.

Any help and advice much appreciated. Thanks

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Amzy
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by Amzy » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:00 pm

You can pick up Horse substraight (the cardboard squares - shreddy bed, eco pet bed) from any good farm/horse outlets which I get for around £7 a bale.

I sometimes mix shredded paper in my cage - I get this from an office, or use my own paper that ive shredded (i.e. bills ;) )

I attack my recycling box and use cardboard boxes.... and tunnels from a carpet warehouse etc.

Hammocks are cheaper if you make your own or hang up tea towells (from pound land) etc
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by mirandamouse » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:08 pm

Hi,

I am also on a budget. I use a shredded paper instead of expensive bedding. I too have changed to a rabbit base. I use frozen veggies to supplement so I'm not wasting any (I do buy fresh too but look for offers in the supermarket) I make hammocks out of tea towels and hats (can be bought from the pond shop or 99p store) I make rope ladders by plaiting socks together (again bought from a cheap shop such as pound land) I give them tubes to hide in/play/sleep which are just empty things from around the house such as when I finish my protein powder I wash the container out and let them have it. I also collect lot so of kitchen roll holders and put string around them to make bridges and ladders and general climbing things.

I can't think of anything else at the moment. Hope you can get some ideas from the above and from other posters

Sorry, if anything I've just posted has already been posted above
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indigoj
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by indigoj » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:26 pm

It is carboot sale season so they are always good places to find rat toys (wine racks, wooden boxes, baby clothes to use as hammocks etc) I use newspaper for bedding - it needs cleaning out more often but is free as I get friends to save theirs for me and pick up a few of the local free papers.

Value range rice crispies/cornflakes/weatabix are fine, pasta and porrige oats are also favourites here. I also get local friends to give me any bits of veg they have left over especially if they can be chopped up and frozen. If you have a market nearby see if there is a pet stall - I get my rabbit mix from my local market and it is cheaper than posh packaged stuff.
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by katebux » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:56 am

I just made a massive tube by sticking three 2 litre bottles together, edging them first with duct tape, then sticking them together. Ezio sleeps in this too (he's an odd little thing), so for me, it definitely counts as a 'sleeping place'.

I have made most of my hammocks myself, I did a wardrobe clear out and used the clothes I would have got rid of. There are lots of 'no-sew' tutorials online if like me, you don't have a sewing machine. I use plastic shower curtain rings to hold up my hammocks, you get these with a tesco value shower curtain, and the curtain doubles as a floor covering for catching poos and wees when free ranging. I've made cargo nets using the tutorial on here, I got 40m of rope from poundland. My additional tip for this is to knot both ends of the rope, as it does tend to fray. Most of the stuff in my cage is made from stuff that was lying around the house. If your house is anything like mine, look in the attic or in the cupboard under the stairs for stuff you can use as a ratty toy.

I'm a student so my rats (and guinea pigs) are on a budget too. I generally don't buy veggies and things specifically for the animals, but they get things like the ends of carrots, peel, apple cores (de-seeded), and like you, some (thawed) (and sometimes not for the rats) frozen veg, which is so much cheaper than buying fresh, and still good for them.

Overall, it definitely can be done, if you have the funds available, buy in bulk, it saves you so much in the long run. But anyway, good luck, sorry about the essay.
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by msmara » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:38 am

I should be on a budget, but I'm brilliant at impulse buying unfortunately.

I use value crispies, pasta, oats etc. I also did a massive RR shop so they're fed for now, until at least June hopefully. I also use poundland loads for any stuff I NEED. I'm actually mid making an inventory of all the stuff I have because otherwise there's always something else I need. Also, if you go to local pound stores/cheap shops/markets you can pick up dog toys. I bought some dog toys 5 for £2 from the market, undid them, used the rope for toys, the tennis balls to hide treats in & the handle bit my parrot has taken. I also go to the charity shops & pick up some awesome stuff for them.
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smurf_nom
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by smurf_nom » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:21 am

Thanks for all the helpful replies and tips. I am feeling much more positive about coping now. Hopefully off 2day to stock up on some bedding that i have found on special offer and a big sack of food aswell while i have some money spare.
Then over the weekends i am going to get making some hammocks and bits for them. :P

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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by Reb70 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:02 pm

I discovered in the tutorial section on here, a brilliant idea for making rattie perches using small plastic drink bottles! I've made a couple and they're ace and practically free! :D
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by Spavo » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:14 pm

dont forget free food for ratties like dandelions and nettles that have been blanched to get rid of the stings, they love em :D
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by Ratsruleok » Sun May 01, 2011 2:45 pm

I went this week to shaws a retailer of wool and sewing stuff in there they had a scraps bin of fabric some peices 10p for nearly a meter!!!! went to range and they were doing the same, so made a few hammocks and stuff for £3! not to mention used some as shelf lining and bedding got a black bag full still!
Also in tesco they have fruit trees £7 planted a apple tree and not only do I get blossoms and fruit but pruning time I get a tidy amount of gnawing sticks to!
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by Jimi+Milo » Sun May 01, 2011 3:25 pm

I'm also on a budget because my fella keeps telling me off for spending so much on my boys. I agree with the above comments, the tutorial section is brilliant! I've got 2 huge cargo nets after seeing them on there and extra rope to make another (though am thinking of plating it to use as rope) and thats only cost me £2.40. Pound shops are fantastic for ratty stuff, you can get ropes, tea towels, plastic baskets, hanging baskets and all sorts there so cheap. Also old tea towels make great hammocks, use the full size to make big hammocks or fold them to make double/triple ones. I've got a 'bedding basket' in the cage which has got little scraps of fleece for them to steal which you can get as off cuts or bits of old clothes. As someone else has said, dog toys are brilliant too, I got a rope thing with a ball and handle on it for £1, untied it and re-tied it in a more ratty way and its now like a swing that they've spent ages trying to climb onto - which is very amusing. Hanging baskets are brilliant aswell, again really cheap from pound shops. Food wise, for cereals and pasta etc I just use the value stuff which generally has less sugar in too :D

I have to say though, my favourite thing I added which is cheap is toilet roll! I hang a roll up in the top of the cage with string which they spend ages shredding it and pulling it around the cage. Its an activity for them and also works as bedding :) . Also its quite handy for me because I just rip it off and remove it after a couple of days so they have to start again. My avatar's of one of them (cant remember who :oops: ) after he's stuffed the house with it... and its a pretty big house lol.
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by izimcflizz » Thu May 05, 2011 8:48 am

Ooh my lot love cargo nets, where is the tutorial for that?
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by acapae_wolf » Thu May 05, 2011 11:27 am

My best way is by not spending money on any of my other interests. Which doesn't really work, and isn't really helpful advice! :lol: :oops:

Most of my big/ expensive rat toys are either things I buy every 3months or so as a one-off, or buy very cheaply 2nd hand from friends, or ask for them for Christmas/ birthday presents from people. Everything else tends to be cheap and items that can be used in a variety of ways e.g. lengths of rope which I don't cut and will knot in different ways for different layouts. You so somehow collect accessories and toys over time though - I haven't a clue how I came across half my stuff!
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by seekee » Thu May 05, 2011 12:35 pm

izimcflizz wrote:Ooh my lot love cargo nets, where is the tutorial for that?
Enjoy!
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Re: Rats on a budget

Post by whoopdedoo » Thu May 05, 2011 2:37 pm

My boys have a digging box made with sand, shells and stones from the beach, which were all free unless you include the energy spent carrying a back of sand from the beach to the bus stop to get it home. Turns out sand's heavy! They also have some big climbing sticks I picked up in the Botanic Gardens. I know a lot of people don't like the idea of giving their rats things from outside, but I washed the sticks etc and think they get a lot of enjoyment from the "natural" smells/tastes, plus they get a whole lot of enrichment for the cost of a couple of bus fares! :)

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