Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

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philosophyfox
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Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by philosophyfox » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:10 pm

Well, I bit the bullet the other day and ordered the rats a wheel from eBay. I've been reluctant until now, partly because they ignored a flying saucer wheel I bought them (£2 2nd hand!) and partly because I haven't had the money to 'splurge'. However, a few people have made the argument recently that it's one of those cage essentials, at least for enrichment, especially where I am finding myself increasingly busy and unable to have them out for half the day anymore. But will they even use it? They are all over 15 months old.

Apart from Gaelan, they are fat. So fat I feel like I'm a horrible pet abuser every time I go to the vets. I weighed their food at the recommended 10g of straights mix, per rat a day, which was twice as much as I'd been feeding them before I weighed it :oops: So I've been unsure whether to stick with the lesser amount (5gish per day per rat) or increase to the full 10g per day per rat (but I feel this is more of a feeding question).

I vary their free range when I can, some days it's stairs, some days it's bathroom (I try and limit this because it's small and not much to do, I usually use it for pea fishing / digging) and the rest it's my room, which they can pretty much do what they want apart from eat my computer. So they have jumping (onto my bed/table/shelves/computer), climbing (stairs, out side the cage), running (general floor space where ever they are)

My middle is out on the SRS, but I've been catering for a rat whose back legs weren't so good since March. She passed away at the weekend and I've decided it's time to work on creating a fun, challenging and enriching layout, now I don't have to plan a route with tubes and hammocks anymore.

So I'm wondering how on earth I can go about it??? They are all active, (pretty) smart, and in (apart from occasional grunts) good health. If anyone has done anything similar, I'd love to see.
Moth :dumbo: Slug :dunce: Bug :smileyrat: Grub :smileyrat:
Missing: Ziggy Tribble Fiver Gumbo Rowdy Hige Toboe Tate Lyle Steven Daisy Crunchie Gaelan

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Reb70
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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by Reb70 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:12 pm

Just bumping this post cos I want to know too!!! :)
Also how can you encourage fat boy rats to use wheels? :roll:
Rattie boys; Coastboat 'Giant 1 kg Ozzy' and his brorat Rambo, silly Mr.Figgles, & baby Kevin and Morris.

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by Jimi+Milo » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:18 am

Sorry for your loss :( x

I got my lads a wheel a few months ago and honestly didnt expect them to use it, but after a couple of weeks teaching them it didnt want to kill them they actually quite enjoy it :lol: . Its possible they may all decide not to use it, but if its there they atleast have the option and its a way for them to loose some weight with zero effort from you hehe!

My first boys were really fat, because 1. I over fed them. and 2. Their cage couldnt have been easier for them. I decided when I got my current two I was going to make sure that didnt happen and to be honest, I'm quite proud of their cage at the moment :) I think its challenging and seems to be doing the trick to keep them in shape, but it isnt too hard for them.
Image
They have to jump and climb to get up, or if they go up using the lazier route of the (embarrasingly poorly assembled) wine rack they have to stretch and muscles they wouldnt usually use (I think). The big post thing, if they do ever decide they want to use it would be good :lol: . I think the best thing is ropes, because it means they have to jump, or stretch, grip and balance. I actually prefere the thinner multi coloured one to the thick blue ones in there because its got a lot more give in it so they really have to focus on balancing to stay on it (I'm an evil rat mummy) I've tried to put thought into how they will use each thing in their cage, unless its a bed I want them to have to put a bit of effort to use or get to things. Thinking about it, it probably not a particularly good example, as I have atleast 13 sleeping places to 2 rats :o ! Maybe post pictures of your cage so we can give some ideas?

On the food, if they're not loosing any weight at 5g then I wouldnt I'd increase from that, I would want to reduce the food a bit but 5g doesnt sound like very much, just weighed my boys scoop and they get around 18g a day each, they are about 8 months old though. I've not quite found the exact balance myself yet so sometimes they start to fill out a bit so I just I just give them a little bit less for a week or two.

Not sure if this was what you were after :oops: .
Hannah
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Missing my sleeping little angel Milo and big squishy Jimi :hearts:

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by philosophyfox » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:18 am

Thank you Hannah, it is what I'm after :)

I'll take some photos on my break this afternoon. It's not a great set up and it's a bit easy but all my ropes and perches are still drying from the wash.

The wheel arrived yesterday and they are getting exercise from it! Every time they wander too close they get incredibly scared and dart up the front of the cage to the top. Not *quite* the exercise I had in mind from the wheel, but it's a start. Moth has decided it *will* kill him and he inches forward on his belly to get the scattered food that's in front of it.

How did you teach yours that it wouldn't kill them?
Moth :dumbo: Slug :dunce: Bug :smileyrat: Grub :smileyrat:
Missing: Ziggy Tribble Fiver Gumbo Rowdy Hige Toboe Tate Lyle Steven Daisy Crunchie Gaelan

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by Jimi+Milo » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:34 am

Lol bless, mine were exactly the same!! I didnt put it in the cage at first, just had it on the stand when they were free ranging and kept moving it so it was near them when they were playing. I also put treats in it (they just reached in and snatched them though :lol: ). Once they had become comfortable with it I would gently spin it while they were near it so they worked out what it did. When they did step inside it I'd try to encourage them to walk in it with a treat or something.

I think they'll probably pick it up a lot quicker if its actually in the cage though to be honest because they'll get used to it quicker, I figure they're likely to investigate it a lot quicker in there.
Hannah
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Missing my sleeping little angel Milo and big squishy Jimi :hearts:

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by philosophyfox » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:39 am

It's just stood in randomly which I don't think helps as it casts a bit of a shadow. It's a comfort wheel and I'm not sure if the base comes off but it has a side of the cage attachment for it. Silly mammals.
Moth :dumbo: Slug :dunce: Bug :smileyrat: Grub :smileyrat:
Missing: Ziggy Tribble Fiver Gumbo Rowdy Hige Toboe Tate Lyle Steven Daisy Crunchie Gaelan

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by neela » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:57 am

I think some people have had success smearing yogurt or similar onto the track to entice ratties to get in and get moving. Haven't had to try it myself though, I've got extremely keen girls who are more likely to squabble for their turn! They like the Silent spinner and the Wodent wheel but none of them will touch the Flying saucer for some reason :roll:
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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by philosophyfox » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:19 pm

Thank you for the tip neela :) I put a few grains in the bottom of the wheel and Bug assumed it was a dangerous new enrichment feeding toy where you had to get the grains without touching the movey blue thing or you would go *kapow* and it would kill you dead :roll:

This is their current set up, I managed to get the wheel off the stand and attached to the cage side:
Image

Image

And the fatties in question (and Gaelan the brown hooded non-fatty):
Image
Moth :dumbo: Slug :dunce: Bug :smileyrat: Grub :smileyrat:
Missing: Ziggy Tribble Fiver Gumbo Rowdy Hige Toboe Tate Lyle Steven Daisy Crunchie Gaelan

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by Ratty_Rhian » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:59 pm

I'm getting some great ideas for this. I need to do the same to my cage but by really old HLD, lumpy, blind, deaf, arthritisy lady is going to the vets for the last time tomorrow :( so will be able to nab some of your ideas for next cleanout.
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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by Jimi+Milo » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:44 pm

It looks really good already lol. Hmm, maybe you could make that tube more vertical so they climb up inside it? I'd possibly have some ropes going through the middle, not sure though because everything looks a nice distance apart already and putting ropes through the middle might actually make it easier.
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Missing my sleeping little angel Milo and big squishy Jimi :hearts:

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by philosophyfox » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:51 pm

I'm sorry you'll be losing your girl Ratty Rhian :( I guess looking to the future helps to ease the pain a little. I always find a cage clean therapeutic after a loss, I don't know if others will find that cold or not.

I've decided next clean I'm going to sacrifice two doors and attach things to them, one at the top and one at the bottom. It might make steeper log bridges possible and more things in which means I might be able to do away with one or both of the SRS shelves.

My local pound shops don't do any of the unravelly rope type toys any more, so I need a new rope source or make fleece ones.

Jimi+Milo: actually it's a good idea. They tend to use ropes as a stepping stone thing now as they haven't had to depend on them for so long. So going through the middle, if that's the only route should mean they have to touch *some* rope and therefore get their balance up. I might have a bit of a rearrange over the weekend.

Thank you for your help peeps :D
Moth :dumbo: Slug :dunce: Bug :smileyrat: Grub :smileyrat:
Missing: Ziggy Tribble Fiver Gumbo Rowdy Hige Toboe Tate Lyle Steven Daisy Crunchie Gaelan

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by burninglight » Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:27 pm

I'm currently trying to get my girls more active in the cage as well. Pixie and Delilah and forever running about but Gigi is looking a bit portly. Even when freeranging her only activity is finding ways into the treat bucket. I have just placed an order at ecf and the rat warehouse for a few bits and pieces to try to get her off her padded bottom.

Some good idea's on here as well - and the set up's look great! I have to admit when on ECF I did repeatedly add the SRS to my basket, then look and the price, remove it, and repeat.

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by Hanlou » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:49 pm

Looking good! 8)

Well when I had to set the ratties' cage up it took me ages - I had to really think about how to set it up - am too used to setting up cages for mice and hamsters!

So am eagerly looking at set-ups to get ideas and regain my sense of rat-cage-setting-up!

Regarding ropes; I use horse lead reins (off ebay) which are good and cheap! :D Only thing is that you need to hand-wash them as they do have a tendency to run colour-wise lol. *Looks at blue wash towel that used to be white* :P

Ratrations also sells rope of course. Your descriptions of their reactions to the wheel made me laugh! 'Tis your fault for giving them pink things and making them all silly...... :wink:
Love Han and the (( Lilliput Three - Nisha, Lila and Koko )) :girly:
:rainbow: Goodbye Mollie, Blossom, Flora, Fudge, Rolo, Bailey, Tia, Honey, Poppy and Daisy xx

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by philosophyfox » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:07 pm

Thanks Han! :)
The boys say pink is all regal looking :lol: I remember you saying about horse reins before, but I have forgotten all about it :oops: I have to wash everything by hand anyway so a few more ropes won't hurt :rollred: :lol:

I hope your girls are settling in well :girly:
Moth :dumbo: Slug :dunce: Bug :smileyrat: Grub :smileyrat:
Missing: Ziggy Tribble Fiver Gumbo Rowdy Hige Toboe Tate Lyle Steven Daisy Crunchie Gaelan

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Re: Creating a challenging (weightloss) environment...help?!

Post by Hanlou » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:11 pm

philosophyfox wrote:Thanks Han! :)
The boys say pink is all regal looking :lol: I remember you saying about horse reins before, but I have forgotten all about it :oops: I have to wash everything by hand anyway so a few more ropes won't hurt :rollred: :lol:

I hope your girls are settling in well :girly:
Errr yeah - they are pingy crazy things and wayyy to confident after only one week! :lol:

They are absolutely manic but very affectionate too! We get weed on all the time and also get groomed very enthusiastically! :lol:

ETA: Love your new Avatar! Co-ordinates beautifully with mine in this thread don't ya think? :P
Love Han and the (( Lilliput Three - Nisha, Lila and Koko )) :girly:
:rainbow: Goodbye Mollie, Blossom, Flora, Fudge, Rolo, Bailey, Tia, Honey, Poppy and Daisy xx

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