HELP!! Looking for support and advice
Hi again... I'm sorta feeling a bit insecure with myrat tactics and I would love to have your advice.
My two new little ratties seem to be addapting well to their new enviroment. The one that I was worried about because he seemed lethargic now seems totally alert. They are both eating and drinking very well.
**(Pleas keep in mind that these rats where being sold as food. There are NO breeders where I live)
I'm concerned about the trust issue. It's gotten slighly better in the past two days, but they still get very scared when I put my hand inside the cage (to place food or what not). Often I will just let my hand rest inside the cage so they can smell me. I am allowed to pet them and they no longer run and hide when I sit in front of the cage and talk to them.
Now I read (somewhere on the internet) that one good way of dealing with trust is to never put my hands in the cage and to bribe (with treats) their way out of the cage and onto my hands. So far, that has not even caught their attention. Most of they time they will smell the treat in the air, get curious... but then they will just fall right asleep in a corner. I can sit with my hands holding a treat in front of the cage door for 20 minutes and for 20 minutes they will sorta smell arround, get curious and then give up. I think they are to scared.
The problem with this is that I need to put my hand in the cage to place the food bowl and not to mention maintaining the cage clean. The web page also suggested never picking up rats from above (specially pet shop rats), since they have bad asociations with this. But trying to scoop them from underneath is no easy task, specially if they are scared. So how am I supposed to clean the cage??? So far I've just resorted to pulling the dirty rags from the cage door.. cleaning up as much as I can and then placing the new rags inside. The ratties will be allert and get scared.
I've managed to get them unto my hands a couple of times... one of them seems to have found a bit more trust after this... but the other one I question if it really had any positive effects.
WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? How do I gain trust with this little creatures???
p.s. just for info purposes.
Food: During the day I'm feeding them a mixture of puffed milled, raw oats, raw wheat, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and raw tri-colored pasta. During the night I'm giving them a mixture of lettuce, cucumber, radishes, red bell peppers, and a bit of flax seed oil. As treets I'm using organic dehidrated fruits such as papaya, raisins, cranberries, pineapple, and oranges. Also fresh apples, coconut "meat" and bannanas (since I can't find any dehidrated bannanas). I also mix a bit of the coconut water to their regular drinking water. I figure this is an ok diet until I find new things to add and change so they don't get bored.
bedding: I'm using old cut up pieces of white t-shirts. They seem to like it very much and (so far) it's been easy to maintain, clean and switch arround for clean rags.