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post #1 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Breeder Red Flags

Here you go...from http://blackwolfrattery.com/redflags.html


Breeder Red Flags
There are several "red flags" an adopter should look for when picking a breeder from which to obtain rats. These "red flags" are warning signs that may indicate a breeder who is irresponsible, unethical, or disreputable. Detailed explanation of a red flag may be viewed by clicking the statement.

Also be sure to read the "not red flags" list. These are things that should not necessarily be considered a warning sign.
Not Red Flags - things that are not necessarily warning signs

1) Breeder has “too many” animals.

2) Breeder always has litters available or breeds multiple litters at a time.

3) Breeder fosters out half their litters in order to breed more.

4) Breeder produces litters he/she has no intention of keeping babies from or "just to have a litter".

5) Breeder breeds for adopters, to meet a demand, or make a profit.

6) Breeder breeds immature animals often.

7) Breeder weans babies at less than four weeks of age.

8) Breeder kills (culls) babies for reasons other than as a last resort for an untreatable or incurable disease or injury.

9) Breeder does not keep track of the health and temperament of their lines. Breeder expects adopters to make special effort to keep in touch.

10) Breeder claims their lines are free of all health problems or defects.

11) Breeder’s only goals are focused on only one of the following: health, temperament, type, or color.

12) Breeder does not use proper standardized names for the varieties in their rattery.

13) Breeder charges more for popular varieties.

14) Breeder breeds wild rats or “hybrids”.

15) Breeder’s pedigree only offers names and colors of the rat’s ancestors. Breeder cannot share more in-depth knowledge of those rats.

16) Breeder provides minimal care or skips on important factors of care.

17) Breeder does not have a working relationship with a vet or avoids taking seriously ill or injured animals to the vet.

18) Breeder knowingly sells sick or injured animals.

19) Breeder does not observe proper quarantine.

20) Breeder is willing to ship by illegal means.

21) Breeder sells to pet stores or pet expos, or provides rats as reptile food.

22) Breeder will not take back animals they have produced.

23) Breeder asks for donations to keep their rattery running.

24) Breeder does not have an involved adoption procedure or detailed adoption agreement.

25) Breeder also breeds another species.

1) Breeder has “too many” animals.
The “right” number of animals a breeder has can vary and is tricky to assess. Some breeders are comfortable only keeping twenty animals at a time, others can handle close to fifty. However, regardless how many animals a breeder has, the breeder should always be able to care for and socialize all of those animals, including resulting litters. Usually it is pretty safe to consider more than fifty animals “too many”. When you talk to a breeder, try to get a sense of their normal routine. A breeder should have plenty of time to clean cages, feed, and socialize rats, as well as go about other normal daily activities. If you visit the rattery, take note of the conditions. There will be a distinctive “animal smell”, but you should neither be overwhelmed, nor should your eyes water or your nose sting from the ammonia content in the air.

2) Breeder always has litters available or breeds multiple litters at a time.
Good breeders will not have litters available at all times. Raising a litter takes hard work and lots of effort, as well as resources. Breeders require lots of time to care for their older rats, as well as new litters. Breaks in between litters are often welcomed as times to rest, recuperate, and to evaluate those potential future breeding rats. A breeder who produces many litters all the time might be breeding for pet stores or reptile food, or may be trying to meet a demand or make a profit. Due to the amount of work required to care for and socialize babies, rats from breeders with multiple litters may not be as well socialized. Breeders who produce many litters all the time will also have a harder time keeping track of the animals they produce. A breeder’s job and responsibility does not end with placement of their babies, but continues until those babies has passed. For this reason alone many good breeders limit the number of litters they produce. Breeders who produce numerous litters often are also competing with rescues. Rescues have very limited resources and are often limited in the number of animals they can save. Good breeders should support rescues whenever they can. Part of this includes limiting their own litters so rescues are not facing excessive competition. Breeders who breed multiple litters may not keep very good track of their animals. As a result, these animals will not only compete with those animals in rescues looking for homes, but may themselves end up in a rescue.

3) Breeder fosters out half their litters in order to breed more.
Good breeders are happy to raise their own litters. Some breeders might foster out one litter every now and then to mentoring breeders so those new breeders can get a handle on raising litters without full responsibility. However one should be alarmed when a breeder fosters half of their litters or more to other people. Often these breeders do so in order to breed more rats at one time. As mentioned above, it is hard work raising a litter. Many breeders are also almost possessive of their rats. Their reputation depends on adopters being happy with their babies. In order to make sure their babies are well socialized, they want to raise their own babies. Good breeders also will want to raise their own babies so they can watch them grow and develop, and immediately be aware of any problems that may arise. Breeders who foster out multiple litters at a time show a lack of concern for their babies and how they are raised. One must question the responsibility of such breeders.

4) Breeder produces litters he/she has no intention of keeping babies from or "just to have a litter".
Ethical breeders produce litters to further a goal. For this reason, ethical breeders only breed those litters from which they intend to keep babies. Sometimes litters are produced that aren’t quite what the breeder expected or that has unexpected defects or health concerns. In such cases all the babies may be pet-placed. However this should be a rarity and not a rule. When breeders routinely produce litters from which they pet-place all babies, it is possible that breeder is producing litters only to meet a demand. This is not a sign of an ethical breeder, but rather one who is breeding for unethical reasons.

5) Breeder breeds for adopters, to meet a demand, or make a profit.
Ethical breeders have strict goals which they use as guidelines to choose their breeding rats. These goals go beyond demand or the whims of adopters. Good breeders understand that breeding any animal is an expensive endeavor and do not plan to make profits. Unethical breeders however may breed rats to meet a demand or the whims of adopters. Such breeders may produce numerous litters at a time and often, or may even let adopters pick the breeding rats. Unethical breeders also expect to make a profit from their rats, and to do so may breed numerous litters or provide sub-standard care to cut costs.

6) Breeder breeds immature animals often.
Good breeders are concerned first and foremost with the health of their animals. They wait until animals are mature enough to breed, first to make sure the animals are healthy and won’t be hurt by a litter, but also to determine the full potential of the rats in question. The “right” age at which to breed a rat is a much contested issue, but there are some agreed-upon guidelines. Any breeder who breeds their rats at less than four months of age is acting unethically. At four months of age the animal is physically ready to be bred, but is not done growing and may not be evaluated for its fullest potential. Many good breeders wait until their rats are closer to six months of age before breeding them, and wait even longer to breed males. Breeders who can’t wait are likely trying to rebreed as many rats as possible to meet a demand or make profits.

7) Breeder weans babies at less than four weeks of age.
The proper age to wean rats is also a much-contested issue. All good breeders will agree however that babies should not be weaned before four weeks of age. Any breeder who does wean their babies younger is in a hurry to get rid of them, perhaps to produce another litter soon.

8) Breeder kills (culls) babies for reasons other than as a last resort for an untreatable or incurable disease or injury.
All breeders “cull” their babies. In the simplest of terms, this means to separate out the non-breeding animals from the breeding animals. In dogs and cats this is done by spaying and neutering the non-breeding animals. In rats this is done by pet-placing the non-breeding animals. This is a completely acceptable practice. However some breeders choose to cull their babies by killing the non-breeding or “undesired” individuals. This is a completely unacceptable practice and is a big warning sign. Such breeders show litter regard for the lives they have produced. These breeders are also showing a lack of responsibility for their breeding program. It is important for good breeders to know their animals and their lines. Breeders who kill their young babies are creating big holes in their records. Since those babies were not allowed to grow to maturity, the breeder does not know if they would have been healthy or unhealthy, developed heritable defects, or live a long or short life. This information is important to all breeders, and can only be obtained by allowing all produced babies to live to their fullest life expectancy. The only time it might be acceptable to kill (euthanize) a baby is in the case of incurable or untreatable disease, injury, or defects.

9) Breeder does not keep track of the health and temperament of their lines. Breeder expects adopters to make special effort to keep in touch.
Good breeders keep track of all of their babies. This is very important to the ethical and responsible breeder who is not merely producing more rats, but is trying to produce healthier and friendlier rats. Good record keeping starts before the rat is born, and continues after the rat has passed. Good breeders should take the extra time and make the extra effort to keep in touch with adopters and get updates on the animals they have placed. Breeders who expect adopters to keep in touch without any special effort on their part are relinquishing their responsibility for the animals they have produced. These breeders show a lack of concern for their lines, as well as their animals. It is hard to trust these breeders know what they are talking about when they say their lines are healthy or without problems, simply because they have not taken the time to find out. Many times these are the same breeders who produce numerous litters at the same time and often. Since they have produced so many animals in such a short time, they have trouble trying to keep track of everyone who has adopted babies from them.

10) Breeder claims their lines are free of all health problems or defects.
No lines are ever free of all health problems or defects. This is just a simple part of life and biology. The health problems or defects may be minimal, but they will always be there. Any breeder who claims to have no health issues or defects in their rats is lying. Any breeder who lies is an unethical, irresponsible, and disreputable breeder who should be avoided.

11) Breeder’s only goals are focused on only one of the following: health, temperament, type, or color.
Good breeders have multi-part goals that include health, temperament, type, and color. Some breeders will claim to breed “pets only” or “not for show”. These breeders are excusing themselves from delving into the complexities of good breeding practices. Often these terms mean “I pick my breeders based on who is cutest or who I like best.” This may cover the color or temperament aspects of the multi-part goals, but entirely ignores health and type. Health and temperament should be the two most important goals a breeder has, and are also the two that require the most record keeping. It is not good enough for mom and dad to appear health and friendly. To get a full view of the line, a breeder needs records of mom’s and dad’s siblings, as well the grandparents and even great-grandparents. Some health concerns can be passed on for generations, while others may be eliminated in one or two generations. But to have good records, a breeder must keep track of all rats produced, and those rats in the lineage of rats coming from other breeders. In addition, type is also an important goal. “Type” is defined as how an animal is put together. This isn’t just for pretty looks or show-winning potential, but can be connected to health as well. Think of dogs and hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is the condition in which a dog’s hips are not properly formed, and can lead to arthritis and eventually loss of movement in the hindquarters. This is a health concern that is obviously connected to the animal’s type, or how it is put together. This is easily applied to rats. Many pet rat owners have reported hind-end degeneration in older rats. This could in fact be related to poorly-formed hips, which could be a direct result of breeding with no regard to type. Color should be the goal a breeder is least concerned with, but still one the breeder considers. Good breeders usually specialize in one to a few color types. Of these color types, the breeder focuses on improving the color. Although this may not be directly related to health, temperament, or type, this is still important in breeding the “whole” animal. Breeders who “specialize” or focus on a number of different colors is likely spreading themselves too thin and would be unable to really improve on the quality of color of any one of those varieties.

12) Breeder does not use proper standardized names for the varieties in their rattery.
Good breeders have put in a lot of time researching rats and breeding before even getting started. Part of this includes recognizing the different standardized colors, and even understanding the basic genetics of those colors. Breeders who fail to use the proper standardized names for different varieties have probably not done their research. If they failed to research something as simple as color, they probably also failed to research the more complex issues of health and breeding ethics. Some breeders will also make up names for different colors. This may be because they did not do their research, or they might be trying to make a common, mismarked, or poor color seem more attractive to potential adopters. One should approach such breeders with caution, since they may not have done proper research and may just be producing rats to meet a demand or make a profit.

13) Breeder charges more for popular varieties.
Good breeders should charge the same amount for all rats, regardless of variety. This is for the simple reason that all rats are equal. In fact, different colors and different varieties may even have come from the same litter! Breeders who try to charge different amounts are trying to apply a different value system to different varieties. This creates an artificial demand for certain varieties. The change in charge between different varieties may also be an attempt on the breeder’s part to make money off the more popular or “rare” varieties.

14) Breeder breeds wild rats or “hybrids”.
Some breeders try to make the claim wild rats or “hybrids” (domestic rats bred to wild rats) are healthier due to “survival of the fittest”. This is at best a misunderstanding of the principle of “fitnessâ€� and at worst a gross lack of research and ethics. “Survival of the fittest” says nothing of the health of the animal. “Fitness” is defined as the ability to reproduce. Even sickly animals can reproduce. In the wild, any animal who lives long enough to produce offspring is considered “fit”. Sometimes those animals are the strongest and healthiest. Sometimes they are not. The problem with this idea is that no one is keeping track of which animals in the wild are producing offspring and which ones are not. Breeders who purposefully breed wild rats are lying to themselves about the health of their animals. There are no records, therefore there is no way to say the animals are health or not. In addition, wild animals do not make good pets. They are aggressive and suspicious. They need to be in order to survive. By breeding wild rats into domestic lines, a breeder is introducing unknowns and sacrificing the potentially good temperament of their animals. They are being dishonest by adopting these rats to the public, especially while making the claim these animals are healthy and friendly.

15) Breeder’s pedigree only offers names and colors of the rat’s ancestors. Breeder cannot share more in-depth knowledge of those rats.
Pedigrees provide important records for breeders. However a pedigree is only as good as the paper it is printed on if it includes no information other than names and colors. Good pedigrees include more in-depth information, such as birth and death dates, as well as the cause of death and any health notes from the animal’s life. The breeder should also be able to share detailed information about the rats in the pedigree, beyond what information is printed on the paper.

16) Breeder provides minimal care or skips on important factors of care.
Good breeders spend countless hours and countless dollars caring for their animals. It is ok for a good breeder to look for ways to cut costs by buying items in bulk or used cages. It is not ok for a breeder to cut costs by skipping on essential care. Breeders should keep their rats in spacious cages, and provide enough room in each cage that the rats may live comfortably. Breeders who try to squeeze as many rats as they can into a cage are acting unethically and are even being neglectful to their animals. It does not matter if the rats get lots of play time. For every hour they spend crammed into a cage with numerous other rats, they are undergoing stress, and stress can lower a rats immunity and cause temperamental problems. Breeders should also avoid using aquariums. Aquariums are not suitable homes for any rat. They do not provide adequate ventilation, and are often too small to comfortably house even one or two rats. Breeders should only use safe bedding, and avoid all pine and cedar beddings. Breeders should also provide complete, proper, nutritious diets, and fresh, clean water at all times. Cages and cage furnishings should be cleaned routinely, at least once a week, if not more often. A rattery should never smell strongly of ammonia, even though a characteristic “animal smell” may be present. No guest should ever feel light-headed or have to hold their breath while visiting a rattery. Any breeder who tries to cut back on any one of these essential parts of proper care is behaving unethically and is risking the health of their rats and the future of their breeding program.

17) Breeder does not have a working relationship with a vet or avoids taking seriously ill or injured animals to the vet.
All good breeders should have a working relationship with at least one veterinarian. Knowledgeable veterinarian can be very hard to find when small animals are involved, but it is still important to have someone on hand for emergencies. Minor ailments and injuries can be treated at home, but major infections or injuries should always be seen by a veterinarian. Serious infections require powerful antibiotics that should be obtained from a veterinarian. Surgeries should only be performed under anesthesia by a licensed veterinarian. Any breeder who refuses to see a vet for serious illnesses is not only neglecting his or her animals, but is also compromising their breeding program. Good breeders should always encourage their adopters to see a veterinarian for illnesses and injuries. Any breeder who claims to be able to treat adopter’s rats is behaving irresponsibly and unethically.

18) Breeder knowingly sells sick or injured animals.
No good breeder would ever knowingly sell a sick or injured animal. Any breeder who does so shows a gross lack of concern for their animals, as well as the adopter. A good breeder who has a sick or injured animal would treat that animal until healthy again before every considering adopting it out.
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19) Breeder does not observe proper quarantine.
Proper quarantine is important for rat breeders who live in areas where contagious diseases are present. This includes all breeders in the United States. This does not include breeders in the United Kingdom. Two very serious infections can be spread very easily if proper quarantine is not followed: Sendai Virus and Sialodacryoadentitis Virus (SDA). Proper quarantine involves keeping new animals or animals coming from a show in a separate airspace. Usually this means a separate building. These animals must be quarantined for at least three weeks before being introduced or reintroduced to the rest of the rattery. If a breeder must introduce new animals immediately without quarantine, the breeder should put their entire rattery into three week quarantine. This means no animals coming into or leaving the rattery, as well as no new litters born or weaned during that three week period. If any animal in quarantine becomes sick, the quarantine period must be extended until all animals are healthy for at least three weeks. This procedure is very important to having a healthy rattery and breeding program. A breeder who does not follow proper quarantine procedures, or does not encourage adopters to follow proper quarantine, is risking not only their rats, but other rats they come into contact with as well.

20) Breeder is willing to ship by illegal means.
Most breeders are not willing to ship their animals. The procedure is stressful and dangerous to the animals involved, as well as time consuming and costly for the breeder and adopter. Should a breeder every ship animals, the only acceptable and legal method is by airline. Any breeder willing to ship rats through UPS, FedEx, USPS, or any other postal mail services is not only putting their rats in more danger, but is also acting illegally. Any breeder willing to ship rats using these methods is behaving very unethically.

21) Breeder sells to pet stores or pet expos, or provides rats as reptile food.
Good breeders would never sell to pet stores, pet expos, or provide rats as reptile food. A breeder who does so is not only being unethical, but is also being irresponsible and disreputable. This breeder has no record of their animals, since no adoption contracts were signed. These methods of selling animals are also a quick way to get rid of animals. Many breeders selling to pet stores or at pet expos are trying to relieve themselves of the responsibility of caring for those rats. They don’t care about their animals, and may simply be trying to get rid of them so they can breed their next batch of litters.

22) Breeder will not take back animals they have produced.
Good breeders are responsible for all the animal they produce, from birth until death. All good breeders will take back any animal they have produced, if returned by the adopter. A breeder who refuses to take back their animals is refusing responsibility, and showing a lack of concern for those animals. These same animals may end up in a pet store, as reptile food, or sit languishing in a rescue.

23) Breeder asks for donations to keep their rattery running.
Breeding any animal can be an expensive endeavor. A good breeder recognizes and acknowledges this fact before ever producing even one litter. Any breeder who asks for donations to run their operation is not accepting their responsibility as a breeder. Rescues are run on donations, but breeders should not expect donations, instead expect to spend their own money for their program.

24) Breeder does not have an involved adoption procedure or detailed adoption agreement.
Good breeders should have involved adoption procedures and detailed adoption agreements. These breeders are concerned with where their animals go, and want to take the extra time and make the extra effort to ensure they go to good homes. An involved adoption procedure helps weed out potentially irresponsible adopters. The adoption procedure usually involves detailed questions about the person’s home life and the care they expect to give their new rats. The breeder is not being nosy, but is simply trying to ensure their rats will go to good homes. This process often takes time to complete. Any breeder who adopts rats to the first person to ask is behaving in an irresponsible and even unethical manner. They show a lack of concern for who their rats go to. Good breeders are not out to serve the public, but instead should expect the public to prove they will make good homes for their new rats. A detailed adoption agreement is also important for good breeders. It outlines what the breeder expects of the adopter. An adoption agreement also acts a record of adoption, providing not only information about the rats being adopted, but information about the person adopting them.

25) Breeder also breeds another species.
Breeding any animal takes a lot of work, if one is to do so ethically, responsibly, and reputably. Sometimes breeders will become involved with breeding more than one species. This in and of itself may not be a red flag, but should be approached with caution and the intent to gain more information. Some species do require less work than others, and this should be part of the information-gaining process. Other species require more work and expense. A breeder who is involved in breeding numerous species, such as dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, and horses, is likely spreading him or herself too thin, and would be unable to devote all the time, energy, and expense necessary to run a proper breeding program.

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post #2 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 08:45 AM
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Good post!!!!




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post #3 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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I like it, very good post! I know a few sites I've stumbled upon, who's author's should really read this. >.<
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post #4 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 11:54 AM
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Very good post, it's nice to have it on here for info! thanks lilspaz
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post #5 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 04:50 PM
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Most of these I agree with, some of them I don't. Has to do with my different goals, I would assume. Pretty good post, all in all.


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post #6 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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I think this post could even apply to rat owners, not just breeders. Animals, no matter what species they are, should be taken care of properly.
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post #7 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 09:29 PM
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You have to relize that the over all Red Flag warning is to help determin bad breeders, Some of them do state that "this may not be the case depending on certion situations".
I have seen this on the New York Rat Meetups and the reading pa one as well. Also it depends on goals that the breeder has. I have known people that have breed their pets back to bakc and related and call it line breeding and have tryed selling the animals that are mixed breed and say they are this becuase they look close enough.
They are merly giude lines on some of them becuase some differ from breeders diffrent goals. but other then that they are right on
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post #8 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamond01 View Post
You have to relize that the over all Red Flag warning is to help determin bad breeders, Some of them do state that "this may not be the case depending on certion situations".
I have seen this on the New York Rat Meetups and the reading pa one as well. Also it depends on goals that the breeder has. I have known people that have breed their pets back to bakc and related and call it line breeding and have tryed selling the animals that are mixed breed and say they are this becuase they look close enough.
They are merly giude lines on some of them becuase some differ from breeders diffrent goals. but other then that they are right on
Diamond
There can always be some mitigating circumstances, but most of these are pretty much in stone for pet rat breeders. I know there are some feeder breeders on the site and I won't say anything, I can understand that their goals would be different. But the general care of the rat should always be the same...

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post #9 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 11:19 PM
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Great information!!!!


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post #10 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilspaz68 View Post
There can always be some mitigating circumstances, but most of these are pretty much in stone for pet rat breeders. I know there are some feeder breeders on the site and I won't say anything, I can understand that their goals would be different. But the general care of the rat should always be the same...
Myself having been a "feeder breeder", I completely agree 100% on the fact that "the general care of the rat should always be the same."

Although I was never breeding for any particular markings or coloring or anything like that (obviously), it was VERY important to me was that my rats were always healthy, well cared for, loved and socialized. Brought in to see a vet when needed. Although I did have a few restrictions on what I could and couldn't do in my last living situation. Now that I'm on my own, things will be different. I won't be breeding rats anymore now, just pets for me again. Which I do prefer... because it was hard for me knowing where some of the babies that I inevitably fell in love with, were going to end up. :X


Thanks for this post, I think a lot of people can learn some guidelines to look out for when searching for a responsible breeder.
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post #11 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 11:36 AM
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These flags are not based on "goals", but on ethics and morals when it comes to breeding choices, practices, and care. These flags are meant for pet breeders, as feeder breeders obviously are going to have different practices and choices. The key here is picking out a *responsible, reputable, ethical* pet breeder out of the many others.
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post #12 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 11:57 AM
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Very good, informative post.

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post #13 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Very good, informative post.
And just to reiterate...Sorraia IS Black Wolf Rattery and it is her information I put up in this post, I just copy/pasted ...Thanks for the permission Sorraia

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lilspaz68 is offline  
post #14 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 01:04 PM
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I'm glad you're coming around here Sorraia! It's great to see a very serious breeder who is very knowledgeable!
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post #15 of 85 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 01:10 PM
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Definatly nice to have someone who knows her stuff about genetics and breeding indeed!




* Lisa *

* To the world you are ONE person,but to a rat you are the world *


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* It's a rat thing...you wouldn't understand! *
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