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Mouse & Rat Discussion Twitching whiskers, tiny paws, and all else mouse or rat related.



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  #1  
Old 12-28-2011, 12:12 AM
LeahMarieLovely LeahMarieLovely is offline
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Help! Unexpected Rat Babies!


I bought a new female rat last week from a pet store. I've owned a rat in the past and really enjoyed her and just thought it was time for another one.
I brought the rat home, who is now affectionately named "Mama", and set her up in my bedroom. She wasn't particularly fond of me or being handled at all (urinating and defecating everywhere and making a hissing noise at me) and I just assumed she was nervous because of the change in environment. Not a big deal. I just left her alone.
I loaded her food and water up because I was going to visit family for less than two days for Christmas. I made sure everything was full and went on my way Saturday morning and came home on Sunday night, Christmas day, to find her water completely empty. (No, it wasn't leaking, promise)
I filled it back up and peaked at her hiding in her tube and to my utter disbelief she had babies squirming beneath her!! I was in shock!! I do not know when she had them exactly. I will just have to assume Christmas day they were born.
I am more than fully capable of caring for a rat. But I was not prepared to care for nine more!
^That's Mama with babies when I discovered her^


^This is what Mama and babies live in, babies are in the igloo^


^ Nine "pinkies" were counted ^

I don't know what I should do to care for them or much of anything really. I've been looking up things online and trying my best but I would really appreciate any first hand advice I could get from anyone on here about what to do now.
My questions and concerns consist of:
Will Mama eat any of her young if I stress her out? Because she doesn't really like me yet. I haven't bonded with her. She doesn't bite, just sort of "huffs" at me and avoids my holding her.
Should Mama be on a special diet? When do babies start eating food? Should I separate them at 4 or 5 weeks? Should I hold them often? Should I leave them alone? What's the best bedding? I'm using CareFresh. How can I sex them correctly? Do they need special food after they stop weening?
Any other advice is more than appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:51 AM
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Nibbler Nibbler is offline
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Mommy will do most of the work, she does need extra protien so eggs baby food ect while feeding the pups. I don't think babies need special weening food, just the same diet momma eats.(someone please correct me if im wrong) Also rats should always be kept in pairs as there very social animals and are much happier with a cage mate of the same gender.
this is for male female gender telling but theres probably an easier way. Just from what iv read online about rats this is how to tell them apart. There is a lot of loving rat owners here that can help a lot more then i can im not very experienced with this hope this helps for now . and just so you know once the babies start walking around on there own you will have to fix your bar spacing on the cage because they can and will slip through it >_<
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:07 AM
Ahers9 Ahers9 is offline
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Hi there, as to wether or not you should hold them, im quite sure you should leave them alone for about 10 days so that Mama does not reject them and then you should start to handle them a little bit. the more you handle them as babies the more comfortable they will be around people and the less scared they will be. Hope this helped (:
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:54 AM
LeahMarieLovely LeahMarieLovely is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nibbler View Post
Mommy will do most of the work, she does need extra protien so eggs baby food ect while feeding the pups. I don't think babies need special weening food, just the same diet momma eats.(someone please correct me if im wrong) Also rats should always be kept in pairs as there very social animals and are much happier with a cage mate of the same gender.
this is for male female gender telling but theres probably an easier way. Just from what iv read online about rats this is how to tell them apart. There is a lot of loving rat owners here that can help a lot more then i can im not very experienced with this hope this helps for now . and just so you know once the babies start walking around on there own you will have to fix your bar spacing on the cage because they can and will slip through it >_<


Thanks, Nibbler! That is helpful information. I have been giving Mama scrambled egg bits since yesterday, along with a single fresh fruit wedge in her normal grain diet. And I was definitely thinking the same thing about my cage and how big the bars are! Mama can't squeeze through them, but the babies sure can. So I went and picked up two more cages with much smaller bars to accommodate Mama and the babies when they start moving around. I definitely don't want an escapee on my hands. And two more cages will be convenient when I try and separate the sexes. And as for them being social animals, I guess I never really thought about it, so I think I will keeping two of the female babies to live out their days with Mama. (Inside a larger cage of course) I think that will be a great idea to let them have company.
Thanks again!
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:03 AM
LeahMarieLovely LeahMarieLovely is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahers9 View Post
Hi there, as to wether or not you should hold them, im quite sure you should leave them alone for about 10 days so that Mama does not reject them and then you should start to handle them a little bit. the more you handle them as babies the more comfortable they will be around people and the less scared they will be. Hope this helped (:


Thanks for the advice! But I pick the babies up and count them (to make sure Mama hasn't eaten one, it's a fear of mine) at least once a day. I wait until Mama is off the nest and eating. I let her crawl in to her roll-around ball with a treat from the cage. After she is left to her own devices in the ball I check on the babies and look to see if they are fat and happy. Other websites I read said it is okay to hold the babies starting from day one as long as Mama is okay with you being near her nest. She won't reject them by any means and I've done it several times already. Only for about fifteen minutes are they without Mama and I think it gives her a little bit of a break from them. She doesn't see me hold them so I don't think it's going to stress her out as badly if she were in the cage and I attempted to touch or hold them. And once they are able to open their eyes and move around a little I plan on really socializing them and making sure they know people are not something to be afraid of.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:09 AM
breyer08 breyer08 is offline
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Yes, it is fine to hold the babies right away. In fact, many people recommend holding them for short spurts several times a day so they will grow up already used to being handled.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:45 PM
LeahMarieLovely LeahMarieLovely is offline
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Originally Posted by breyer08 View Post
Yes, it is fine to hold the babies right away. In fact, many people recommend holding them for short spurts several times a day so they will grow up already used to being handled.


Awesome! I'm glad it's okay to hold them right away. I want them to like people.
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