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Posted by cindy on April 05, 2003 at 14:47:49:
In Reply to: Re: posted by DeMak on April 05, 2003 at 10:32:36:
...Oh well, have a laugh at my expense. I used the largest clearish blue Rubbermaid tubs WalMart has for the last two years (they used to be $10 and now they have been reduced to $8.) Last summer I stupidly put rabbit feeder bins in them, thinking I could use them on 3 and 4 day weekends and Christmas and Spring Break, if not all the time. The kind I bought were only $7 each, didn't have lids on them. First semester, I would use duct tape and cardboard to cover them, because the rats would crawl up in them and sleep in them when they were empty, then when I filled them for weekends/holidays, they would shovel it all out on the floor of the tub and sleep in them anyway. I was too cheap to just replace the tubs, so I dealt with it.
Ours are classroom pets as much as feeders, so we let them free range 7 hours a day all last year and first semester, and locked them down at night and on weekends.
By second semester, the rats began to chew their way out through the cheesy feeder bin caps when we were gone for anything longer than Sat/Sun, and I replaced the tubs. They objected to long lock downs and began to chew their way out of the tubs in other ways to the point that I rethought the whole free range concept. The custodians demanded I get wire cages for the rats before Spring Break, and I was too cheap to buy the ones specificaly made for rats (and hate the shavings all over the counter, since most have shallow pans.) I now have my main 1.4 and over 30 pups of various ages in one HUGE rabbit cage (with a 4-inch deep pan on the bottom.) The funny thing is, all the rats except the male can get out through the wire (1 inch apart), even the pregnant females, but the custodians are happy. I use the old tubs for my temporary second colony of rats (for the freezer for this summer) and for growing out weanlings, who don't seem to have the wander lust my females do, or even to want out of their tubs any time.
I know it is more answer than you wanted or needed, but felt the need to explain some of my dumber decisions this last year before giving you guys a chance to make fun of them. I am not sure I have saved much money on the feeders this year, but like I said, they are also classroom pets, and my students love them. I give away about a third to students and other teachers for pets, and that still leaves us plenty for the snakes, and sometimes some surplus to go to the LFS for store credit towards our 5 aquariums or other pets.
Go ahead and laugh...the learning curve has been steep this year, but next year will be better.