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Cage smell issues

I'm having a little issue that I've never had with previous rats. This may be because I have five boys housed together. Their cage, as I've shown in a previous post, is a four level, solid floor cage with open wire sides. I think some of my issue might be coming from the solid floors? I went with them to be easier on their feet, but what has happened is that poop and pee stay on each level.

I spend at least a half hour EVERY DAY cleaning out poop, wiping down the floors of each level, picking up scattered food hulls and crumbles of lab blocks, and hae only been able to make it a max of three days before a full bedding change (even though, when they are actually ON the bottom floor, they mostly use the littler pan. Mostly). I even have a special 'rat hand-vac' that I use to pick up spare poop as I see it. It is amazing how easily they adapted to the sound of that and don't mind it at all. :)

I don't have anything wooden in there to absorb orders, and all slides, ladders, and housing get wiped down weekly.

Yet you can still smell them when you walk into the room. I get used to it pretty quicly, but I do notice it when I first enter.

I've also tried just about every kind of safe bedding I can think of - Care Fresh, Aspen, Yesterdays news, corn cob, and Colorfresh recycled paper.

Any ideas? Since I'm just using water to clean their cage levels and toys, are there SAFE cleaning products that might help kill off whatever is making it smell so bad? Are there air fresheners that can be used in the room (not in the cage) that are safe?

I don't so much mind the smell, but my family might, and I don't want guests to get the idea that rats are just 'filthy, smelly animals'. I want them to see how snuggly and sweet they are. :)

EDIT*****

SHIT! Meant to post this to my rat community!!!!!

Comments

( 3 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )
trouble841
Feb. 23rd, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
I'm sending my g/f - rabbitorf on LJ - to this post. She's a 3rd year vet, and has had rats for about 10 years or so now.

I'll let her respond, but she has had some very similiar issues with her boys in, from what it sounds like, a similar cage.
trshtwns01
Feb. 23rd, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I meant to post to my rat community, but it turns out it is good that I accidentally posted it here! :)
genebob
Feb. 24th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
2 words come to mind:

labrat donation

or maybe:

fertiilizer
( 3 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )