Ratty Bed

At the beginning of the summer we decided to buy a shed, due to my poor long-enduring boyfriend’s allergy to our little furry friends. Well, it seemed like a simple objective at the outset, but we would never have guessed the frustration, anguish and utter bewilderment it would evoke. We bought shed number 1 from a well known DIY store, it arrived late and water damaged with rust on all the fixings, so we asked for a replacement. Three weeks later, no new shed materialised, so we asked for a straight return and refund, which the store agreed, and a full refund was made, but no one arrived to pick up the damaged shed. After another phone call the store promised to send someone out to pick up the unwanted shed. It’s autumn and we’re still waiting, and there’s a big fat pile of wood in our back garden. Well, undeterred, we ordered shed number 2 from another company which specialised in shed stuff. Shed number 2 arrived on time, but considerably smaller than the size we ordered and it was black and damp with weather damage. We refused to accept it and the grim shed stayed on the lorry, and was sent back. Third time lucky, shed number 3 is being built by a local carpenter who makes good sound, only more expensive sheds!

My main concern for the rats living in the shed is the temperature. It gets pretty cold here in the winter months, so I am anxious to find a good solution to keep the cold at bay. Rats are not hardy animals like rabbits and guinea pigs, and thrive best at temperatures not below 6 degrees celcius. At the moment I am adding loft insulation to the shed, which is getting more even expensive and time consuming, but it will be worth it! You can get small wall mounted heaters, so we’re going to try that.

In the wild, rats live in complex burrows with bolt holes, larders and sleeping areas, which gave me an idea – I wanted to create a burrowing box for my boys to sleep in. I thought that ordinary hammock-style beds would be too draughty, so I bought a couple of large plastic food storage boxes. I drilled two holes (big enough for the rats to get through easily), one on either side, so that they had an “entrance” and a “bolt hole”. I drilled lots of small air holes, and four slightly larger holes to hang the boxes up with, because my rats like to sleep high up in their cage, and never on the floor. Then I added their cardboard litter, and plenty of clean hay.

The result was – all four boys were snuggling in the one box the next day, and seemed happy to burrow into the hay, which should keep them warm and toasty when I transfer them to the shed. Hurray!

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Today my rats have been mostly eating porridge oats.

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2 Responses to “Ratty Bed”

  1. this is such a great idea! I plan to try it for my own ratties.

  2. :)

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