There is a thread on there called red flaged breeders. I have lots of diffrent critters but I have time for them all and ushally dont breed all of them at once as in have diffrent typs of babies and if I do its more like mice and rats becuase mice are a little easer then rats in my OPP.
But you should always when buying from a breeder go visit them and see how they keep their pets. I have seen people who have junk in their yard and their house is cluttered but it smells clean and the animals are clean food water avalible and this is just people that I know own pets. Granted I have a few things cluttered in my parking shed but thats becuase it wont fit in the shed but it wont ruin outside either.
Males are so cuddly but I do have some that are like the girls they like to exsplore, but that more becasue they are young. Females can be cuddle and ushally are but I work with mine to were when I am holding them they cuddle they are down they are playful balls of bouncyness. Sorta like a playful ferret in my OPP.
Cages should be big and not small. They need room. you can get a tad smaller cage but that would requre more out time to play. So bigger is better. I always try to get cages that will hold lots of rats even if there is only 2 or 3 that is in there that way if I keep any out of litters, some one returnes one or I get a drop off I have room.
Here is a picture of my friends rats the cage is wider then it is long. But they are not perminetly staying in there she had it for them when they were smaller and then she moved and is in the prosses of getting them a bigger cage. Also she is at home all the time and has them out with her even while doing dishes they just sit there. This is NOT and ideal cage for adult size rats unless they are dwarfs then maybe. But this is an exsample of small cage a lot of out time. And if you work you want them to be able to get around and play while away. She just had them in there while she was packing to move and I am awaiting her to send me pictures of the new cage.
But there is free range rats were you do a room up for them that is theres. but You did say you are in a small place. So a cage is proably better. The Bath tub is a great place to have them out in for play time (easy to clean up any messes) Males and females get along great but if they are from diffrent litters as in not been housed together or breeders you shouls intor them to one another 1st to see if they will get along. So socilization exspeially with adult rats they say were gloves incase a fight breacks out. But young ones tend to be more ok in my OPP.
Litter taining can be done and mixing your own food is always better then buying what they call rat food. Some is not to bad but they need more then what is offered. Bedding can be care freash, critter care, aspen, some use soft wood beding which is not to bad and is dust free. There are pellets but I dont like that stuff, Shreaded paper carefull of news paper and the ink. Or if litter trianed you can use flees or old towls as flooring as bedding becuase they will use the litter, but this has to be washed the flees and towl bedding that is.
Pet store rats is tricky unless you really know them and they do work with them. The one around here that I use to call the crapy one is not starting to work with the feeders and socilize them. If you do get from a pet shop play with them and see how friendly they are 1st. But there are shelters that may have some that are socil but are not wated. Classifides are tricky as well they advertize them but inless you go there to find out and play with them you dont always know what you are getting. I yes do advertize on classifided adds but I put down my web page and say they are sosilized and anyone that wanted to come see them and see how freindly they are the ones for adoption are more then welcome to. IF a breeder dont want you to come to them to see them something is proably wrong. Not seeing their breeding coliny or other pets is not to red flaged becuase there other pets can pick up air born stuff you bring in not knowing, and they may be looking out for thier other pets. If you ask them why and they tell you that then thats fine but if they say something like becuase their not for sale or none of your bizz then dont get a rat.
Also are there any fosters or rescues near you? you could always get one from their to help give them a home. thouse place ushally have worked with them to socilize them. some of mine from pet shops and drop offs as in when I am not home I come home ot a box full of critters of some sort. I have been lucky they were all nice and granted a little skidish at 1st but warmed up with in a few days and know they all cling to the cage when you walk by pushing and shoving the others like hey see me.
Food and beding is not to costly if you shop right. you can get them what they need in a cheeper brand but look at the ingretents before buying. I get some of the mix at aldes but I look at the ingredents 1st. cages and vets will cost and if they need medication which is with any pet. Adoption fees are any were around here I have seen from 5 to 10 to 15 at the most and most are same sex cage mates. The hairless or rex and them some breeders adopt out at 15 becasuse they are not found to much in pet stores as pets or in the feeders. Also hairless dont need to much more then a regulaer rat but they do need soemthing to help keep them warm and some have told me they have dry skin or can get it. I have not had that probelm. Some cost a little more becuase they are special needs. But also it may depend on were they live. if they live far out from stores they may chareg a little more for gas to get to the store to get their suplys or if they live close the stuff in bigger place can cost more depending on what they buy. Around me, some stuff is high some stuff is not.
You may be able to find nice cages on classified adds or yard sales are great places becuase I have found some nice still in almost brand new shape to use. some times and twice I have been to the good will or salvation army and got new cages that were still in brand new shape looked like they were never used. Grated they were small bird cages but I fixed them up with leaves and stuff for my male mice at one time and my hamsters. Dwarf hammies I should say.
IMO you sould spot clean every day or every other day depending on how many you have. and throughly clean once a week. My rats throw stuff out of there cages so you can put something like wood underneith for eaer sweep up or plastic ir and old rug you can roll up and shake it outside. I have some old cheep rugs thouse little striped all diffrent colored rugs you can get at the dollar store donw just twice a day weather it needs it or not pick up and shake out. Then once a week wash them and start over.
Every rat person has there own oppions to owning and keeping rats as in bedding food and toys but as long as they are all saying close to the same thing and some things exsacly then you know your heading in the right direction. Like with diffrent sites on owning and caring for rats most sites will all as about or exsacly the same thing. then there are a couple that dont come anywere close.
I think some one menchened a rat calculater? yes thouse are good to use. Also rats can be diffrent sizes small, med, large and dwarf so you have to add that facter in as well. Some of my rats are large and the large cage for them seems to not give them the room it required for 2 rats so I got a bigger cage. And they are happer and can have more rats with them. But the claculater is the best you can get to help you find out.
I hope that answer some of your questions.
Agin this is not the size cage I would use but they were younger when she got them. Also Black heart and Night Hawk wont will not get any bigger this was a temp cage during the move. The bedding she used was soft wood. and she got that brown packing paper and has the shreder that shreds it more fine that she mixed together. She since then has gotten a bigger cage and I am just awhaiting updated pictures. This was from last month.
But again her rats are out with her all the time and she has them constently with her. they only time she puts them in is to eat drink and sleep. They will get figety and when they do she puts them back to go potty becuase thats how they tell her have to potty. This lady is more abbsest with rats in a good way then even me and i have a lot. They are like siamese twins to her. as in always with her. the ony time they are not is when she leaves the hose and cant take them with her.