Hello, so I started breeding feeder rats not too long ago I acquired 2 females and a male. After I’m pretty sure of a successful pairing I took the male out, but now the female keeps chewing through her water bottles, is this normal?? I’ve gone through a few water bottles and it’s starting to get costly! Any tips appreciated!
glass water bottles.
Only put the spout into the enclosure
Rats will chew on whatever they get their teeth on. They have to or the incisors will overgrow until they cannot properly eat or they get some bad infections where they irritate the skin. If they aren’t getting enough water from the bottles they will also chew them out of frustration if they can reach them. It may help to distract them with pieces of untreated wood if you have any lying around. Or if you have kids with art crafts, plain popsicle sticks make great and quick rat chews. Make sure they have food at all times as well. Hunger can also make they antsy and more prone to grinding teeth on things.
As mentioned above, either glass bottles or only put the spout of the plastic bottles in.
It you change to a rack watering system, make sure they absolutely cannot grab and chew the tubing. That tub can drown and the others if very crowded can dehydrate and start cannibalizing if you don’t check it often enough.
I highly recommend these “lab style” rodent cages from Reptile Basics coupled with their water bottles (for smaller feeder operations, bigger ones will want a bucket/gravity watering system).
I use these larger tubs as breeder and grow out tubs. I keep anywhere from 1.4 to 1.6 (gets a little crowded) in these tubs:
When moms are pregnant they go into their own maternity tubs, which are smaller:
Babies get removed from mom at weaned size and are separated by sex into the larger tubs to be grown out.
The water bottles reptile basics sells are fantastic. Very easy to take the top off and fairly indestructible. In their tubs only metal is available to the rats so there’s no chance they can chew through.
(They often go out of stock on certain items but usually restock quickly).
As a more immediate solution, most soda bottles and large water bottles like Smart Water will thread into most rodent water bottle nipples.
This was super helpful I can’t thank you enough! Once I have the funds I’ll will be purchasing some of those enclosures for my feeder rats! I guess one more question is kiln dried pine a safe substrate for feeder rats? It won’t irritate my ball pythons when I feed them the rats will it?
No problem, happy to help!
I really like these tubs, especially compared to wood-built cement tub setups. The best option is to jump right into an ARS or Freedom Breeder setup but not everyone has the space or funds for that. Lab style cages are the next best option in my opinion. Another positive to them, even compared to steel racks, is they can be broken down and stored in a small amount of space comparatively if the need arises.
Kiln dried pine works! I use a single layer of pine pellets on the bottom of the tubs, this substrate acts as the primary means of absorption and keeps the tubs from getting dirty. I can usually just bang the tubs over a trash can and they’re 95% clean.
On top of the pellets I put pine shavings. This helps to reduce the amount of pine dust in the air, gives them something to dig around in and make nests, and also helps with smell/absorption.
No issues at all feeding to my ball pythons when they’re raised on these substrates. If you have any more questions feel free to ask!
100% agree with @biologicalcanvas. This is the exact same thing I have, tubs and bedding. Once I was up to 24 tubs, I switched from the water bottles to a water system. Using the nipples for rabbits, plastic tubing and an 18 gal storage container for the water source. This is not the best picture, but you can kind of see waht I have setup.