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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Breeding Old Rats

My two doe rats are getting on in age and I was wondering what the deal is with breeding from them. It'd be really nice to get a litter from one or both of them before they become totally infertile as they have abolutely lovely temperaments and I'd like to get some new rats but I dont know anywhere to get them from where they've actually been handled at a young age and are tame and friendly.

I've heard that older does tend to have few, small litters, whichi is why I was considering that I'd be able to cope with the resulting kittens, but I'm no expert and I wouldn't want to do anything that would seriously risk their health or produce very unhealthy offspring. Does anyone have any advice?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 12:03 PM
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Here are some quotes from The National Fancy Rat Society (UK) about breeding older does...

"Does become infertile at about eighteen months old, although a late litter can delay this by a couple of months. Rarely does over two years have been known to produce litters although this is not advisable, as they have been known to suffer strokes and similar problems."

"It is recommended to choose a doe between 5 and 7 months of age for her first litter. The older the doe is, the more problems she may encounter with pregnancy or birth. It is advised to never mating a doe who is over a year old for their first litter."

So I personally would suggest that if they're over a year old you should reconsider breeding them for their own good, especially since your other thread says that they are currently suffering from eye problems and rats that are not in good health (for whatever reason) should not be breed from.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 12:04 PM
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my advice: don't breed them.
If you are not a breeder and you don't know their genetic background, and they are getting old, I really don't think it's a good idea for you to breed them.
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Where do you live? I'm sure we can direct you to good breeders not too far from where you live.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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I know their genetic background (as I knew their parents) and I've bred mice before.

they still come into heat regularly (ear wiggling and frisky hops) so I'm guessing their probably not infertile. But I will do more investigation regarding health risks to them. Wouldn't want strokes!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 12:37 PM
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It seems inadvisable to breed these rats. You could end up with 30+ babies if you're unlucky, or even rats dead from these breedings. There is quite an overpopulation of rats already, and breeding them just to get rats because they're nice seems like a poor reason to add dozens more rats to the world.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 12:38 PM
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I would't risk breeding older rats, honestly. It's not worth it IMO if you might lose your pets .




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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 12:41 PM
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This was not mentioned, but I was curious about it a couple of months back and looked it up.

Why you shouldn't breed a doe's first litter after 1 year: If they've never had a previous litter to keep it pliable and prevent it from happening, by one year, their pelvic cradle or some such becomes fused and unable to flex and expand as needed for safe delivery, resulting in much higher health risk to the kittens and mother.

So to reiterate, if they are over a year old and have never produced a litter, they are too high risk for a first litter.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 04:02 PM
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Storyseeker thats an old myth that is untrue, but older does are not recommended to breed UNLESS you know the lines well (we do not mean the parents...that is not a known background). We are talking about knowing back a minimum of 3-5 generations, knowing the health, illnesses, temperament (and changes of) causes of death of EACH of the rats from EACH litter.

forget their age, they could be genetic timebombs waiting to happen.

I shall give a few examples.

1) Sweetie came to me, had her 2nd litter a day after arriving.
All 6 girls stayed and they are prone to horrible URI's and now tumors at 18 months of age. One young girl had a mammary tumor removed at TEN months of age Mostly it was 3 girls who had to be constantly on medicatins to keep their chronic URI's in check, and now I have all 6 girls sick. Mom Sweetie just died at 21 months of age after wasting away like she was ancient. :/

2) a rescue friend took in a younger mom rat who had five 3-week babies with her (was told she usually had litters of 4-5). All went well until Beta gave birth again (post-partum pregnancy). She gave birth to 3 pups (1 died soon after) and then her labour stopped. She was rushed to the vet and had to have a pitocin injection to deliver the other 12 babies.
Then she refused to nurse them. My friend started hand-feeding ever 2 hours. The babies dropped like flies until there was only 4 left. They seem fine so far and just made it to 3 weeks of age. My friend on the other hand is exhausted.
THEN the three 6 week old boys of the former litter had diarrhea, and severe lethargy for 1 day. They recovered with fluids, etc. Three days later they all died suddenly. NOW one of the 2 remaining older girls is barely alive...THIS is what you could be producing.

Btw just because the mom is lovely tempered doesn';t guarantee the babies will be.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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thanks. Yes I thought the pelvic fusion thing was a myth - to my knowledge it only happens with guinea-pigs...?

Well I know the people who bred my girls (unfortunatley can't get more from them for one reason or another) so I'll ask about health. I know they're prone to mammary tumours at around 2 years but I've never known a non-spayed rat that wasn't.

sounds like I'll probably not go ahead with this plan though!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilspaz68 View Post
Storyseeker thats an old myth that is untrue,
Ah! Good to know! Thanks for clearing that up. I was going on memory of what I'd read and couldn't find the original source, but since this is all new to me, there's no telling.

Thanks


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyseeker View Post
Ah! Good to know! Thanks for clearing that up. I was going on memory of what I'd read and couldn't find the original source, but since this is all new to me, there's no telling.

Thanks
As mentioned above, it's a GP problem. For some reason people have a tendency to say this goes for all sorts of rodents. But as far as I know, it's only a GP problem

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2010, 09:27 AM
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Don't breed your pets.It is too risky.
Just enjoy them as "old ladies".I am sure you can find more rats in need of a home if you looked hard enough.There are unwanted rats everywhere.




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