Giving Water To Rats and Mice Using Jars


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A few years I made this guide after being asked countless times how to do it, and describing it in text alone didn't seen to get the message across. I posted it on the rodent forum I used to own and run (until I got bored one day and switched it off... heh heh heh!). A friend of mine wanted me to explain it so I just dug a copy out of the archives and figured I'd show her by posting it here so others might enjoy and/or benefit from it :)

I'm not proof reading it and it's a verbatim copy from the old forum, so it might have some jokes which don't make sense here or whatever. Feel free to direct all complaints to someone other than me :)

Using Jars For Water Instead of Bottles. A Pictorial How To Guide

Okay, here we go... a pictorial guide to poking a hole into the lid of a pickle jar and sticking it on top of your cage... I hope this step by step guide is easy to follow. I must admit, I had a couple of hiccups and pieces of confusion along the way, but I got there in the end. Some of the process became a bit intense and some of the pictures had to be censored, but you'll get the gist...

Step 1 (not illustrated) - Drink several bottles of beer. In retrospect this procedure may work better if step 1 is skipped.

Step 2: Get your pickle jar.

...but wait! Pickle jars come filled with pickles! Damn it!

Oh well... better eat those pickles! Let's go! :D

Step 3: Drink more beer.

Step 4: Eat the pickles!

Stay determined! Eat them all!

Step 5: Drink more beer.

Step 6: Pause to celebrate and congratulate yourself on a job well done

Step 7: Drink more beer.

Step 8: Wash the jar.

Step 9: Drink more beer.

Step 10: Create your hole. The hole needs to be about the diameter of a dressmaker's pin. If it's larger it will still work, but eventually it will rust large enough to become drippy. Starting with a hole the size of a dressmaker's pin or so should mean you get several years' of service from your lid. As you can see, I fell for a common mistake and at first used the wrong implement for this job. Horseshoes do not work well and are not recommended.

So, I had to search for something appropriately spikey.

I'm pretty sure evolution designed this guy specifically to make water jars. Unfortunately I didn't have any ants handy so I couldn't pay him for his services and he stole my wallet for wasting his time. Last time I fraternise with echidnas :(

Look around to see if you have any appropriate implements...

In my case on this occasion, it was going to be tough...

A new, unsharpened pencil was the most appropriate thing I could find. As you can see, this step can be fairly intense. should now have something that looks like this...

Step 11: Drink more beer.

Step 12: Fill your jar with water... pictures censored...

Step 13: Drink more beer, stagger around, laugh, tell inappropriate jokes... forget what you were doing...

Step 14: Place jar on top of cage. I don't actually use water jars for any of the rodents I breed these days (not that I'm insane or intoxicated enough to want to use bottles; I use automated watering systems), but I have pictures of jars being used on...

a) A typical home made feeder breeder tub (in this case it's mice, but these exact tubs can be used for rats too without changing anything other than the animals themselves)

b) A typical laboratory-style rat tub (yes, I know, they're small, no, this isn't my tub, and for the record I don't even own any lab-style tubs)

Now I know what you're thinking... it's one of two things...

a) "But Sdaji! My cage's roof is too high above the floor! My rat/mouse will NEVER reach the water, it will surely die! :'( "


b) "But Sdaji! The roof of my cage is solid! This method will not work for me! My house shall surely explode! :'( "

For a) This problem is very easily solved by placing an object that the rat/mouse can jump on top of to reach the water. In the absence of such an object, rats and mice will happily climb up mesh etc to get to the water, but I know you want to pamper your lazy rat, so give it a 'stool' to make life cushy and easy so he can get diabetes from lack of exercise.

For b) This issue actually takes minutes rather than seconds to solve, but you'll save time by not having to fill bottles, and you'll have all the other benefits of jars, so it's well worth taking a few minutes of initiative to save yourself time, money and hassle over the next few years of rodent keeping. You can either make a bracket/shelf type thing to attach the jar to the wall of the cage. There are many different ways to do this, it took me about 5-10 minutes to improvise my first one using a few screws, a few pieces of wood and a scrap of aviary mesh I had lying around. The other way to do it is have a free-standing jar mount. I haven't ever made one, but it would be a piece of cake to do it using scraps of junk you'd probably have lying around the house, or you could buy for a couple of bucks.

Yay. Hydrated rodents. Hooray.


*December 2012 edit*

Our wonderful member Roquen decided to give the water jars a go and as well as speaking glowingly of the advantages, made up some water hoppers and kindly shared pictures. This a great example of one of the many ways you can use water jars inside enclosures if your cage roof is solid or if it's too high and you don't want to use a shelf, or if you don't want the jars to fall when you move the enclosure, or if you don't want the water outside the enclosure. These pictures also show some great home made feed hoppers.

Roquen also uses hoppers and jars in tubs. Note also the lovely design of the lids, similar to the ones above. If you're using tubs this type of lid is absolutely brilliant.

[doublepost=1530352888,1530352444][/doublepost]One edit I'll make is that an unsharpened pencil won't actually work to make a small hole in a metal lid - several people actually thought I did use a pencil to make a hole (seriously... people... use your brain!). Any small spikey object will work. I usually used a small nail and a judicious amount of force from a hard object such as a hammer.


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Good post Sdaji, I’ve used the same method for years, except instead of jars I use glass bottles, generally spirit bottles......Bundy rum bottles to be specific ;)....I knock a hole in the lid with a nail and Bobs your uncle one rodent water bottle ready to go...


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It's a great method. I was amazed when I learned it. It's far better than using water bottles for several reasons, and it's free. I tried using bottles but found that they leaked a bit, so i stuck with jars. You seem to have made it work, great stuff! I'm not currently keeping rodents but I'm sure in the future I will again and I'll have a go with spirits bottles. What size do you use? The normal 700ml or smaller? If they work well I'll probably have to host some pretty crazy parties! Haha!


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@Sdaji, I’ve always used bottles so know no different, I got the idea from a rodent breeder that I used to buy from many years ago and when I set my own colony up around the same time I used his method because it was simple and free. I use 700 ml or larger but smaller would be fine also.
At the start I just asked around and got my mates to keep their empties for me, I also figured out that I could raid the bins at the back of the pubs and get all the bottles I need in one place, don’t know how you’d go doing it now days though, there’s probably some rule against it..
I’ve never had a problem with leakedge, I only put small holes in the lids, panel pin type nails or slightly larger do the job for me.
Long neck type bottles, such as Beam or JD style work the best if you are cutting a hole in your mesh for them to sit on top and hang down into the tub, the longer neck helps keep the bottle from tipping over/out, it also hangs down into the tub which helps the rodents reach the “nipple” easier.


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Thanks mate! Much appreciated! I was (half?) joking about hosting a string of crazy parties to get all the required empties. I'm sure it can't be too difficult to get hold of enough empties. I'll have a play around when I'm keeping rodents again and probably come back here with some pictures of the results to share :)