Well, I'm going to be completely honest because I prefer it when people are honest with me. I don't hold this as a personal grudge against you, or anything, this is just how I feel.
I don't really agree with breeding animals in general, especially overpopulated animals like rats. But because they are overpopulated, if you are going to breed them, I think it's owed to them to do every single thing right to give them as much chance as possible at a forever home, so you can be as picky as you want with owners. People are upset about the pedigrees because you're essentially asking everyone to trust this person you know on your word, AND you don't have an established reputation as a rattery. S/he may be a very nice person, but I see enough stupid with pets in general to not really trust people I don't know (and often don't trust people I DO know, tbh).
I can also see how the combining of the litters could be a problem. How are you going to tell the heritage of everybody? If someone steals babies from someone else, how can you know who the parents were? You won't have reliable pedigrees. It becomes impossible to track genetics. What if the children of one of these rats develops cancer when they're a year old? How do you halt the line when you don't know for sure where the line is from?
And again, another "honest" truth that is probably going to stir a pot, but it's just how I feel -- the reassurance of Paw-Talk that you aren't a bad breeder is pretty worthless, in my opinion. I have not yet ever seen a thread on breeding where people suggested for one minute that someone shouldn't breed their animals, regardless of age, reason, species, or knowledge. It's all a lot of backpatting and asking for cyoote baby pictures. And if that's the tone of the board, that's fine, and that's how it is. But I don't think you're going to get a honest opinion here, you're going to get the comfort of your friends. I think the opinion of the other rat aficionados who have more experience with reputable breeders and who aren't just interested in making you feel good should probably hold more sway.
Again, I'm not mad at you, what's done is done, and you seem like a very nice person, I'm just giving you my honest opinion.
I have to be honest here too. At first I was a bit too defensive when I read this and a little aggravated. But I do appreciate your position here. I think this is the kind of thing we are having trouble with.
Now we took measures to make sure the animals stayed separated. We made a mistake in the way that was done. Everyone makes mistakes. No one does it right every time.
As for it being overpopulated. That may be but Nashville has a fairly active rat market and anyone who has ever bought a rat from one of the chain stores knows how responsibly and every thing done rightly Sun pets does things. There is no way I would recommend anyone buy a pet rat from one of the major chains, we have bought 4 and only one made it past the first month without severe health problems. That being said in order to get dumbos around here we had to drive to Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. If you have priced gas recently then you know that it is ridiculous to drive a state over to buy a pet. Interestingly enough people here seem pretty dead set on buying from breeders.
Yes everyone that gets rats from these liters will know that there was a mixup. They will know both lines. Most of them are already placed and Pedigree isn't an issue so much as knowing where they came from. When she says we don't have a Pedigree she means we don't have official documents registered with any of the Rat associations. We got a visual pedigree by seeing the actual parents and grand parents of the ones without actual pedigree.
Now that the colors are starting to settle in and the ears are starting to pop out and the eyes are opening it is becoming more and more obvious which ones are which. There were only about 6 or so in question and those are starting to show clear signs of parentage. Of course we can't say with certainty that is the case so they will get the whole story but we can say with significant certainty for our records which is which. So if a problem arises which considering the lines these all 4 came from I would be seriously surprised we will have a pretty good idea which line had the problem.
The only thing this really effects is our ability to tell the people we are selling these to which lineage the babies come from, and that from an ethical standpoint not from a lack of an idea. From now on each mother gets separate birthing cages. Lesson learned.
The homes they go to are screened. We have actually turned people down. If there is any question as to what people plan to do with them or where they are going then we don't allow them to take them. We are pretty picky about it. I believe only 3 of our last liter went to first time rat owners. And we have stayed in contact with some of the new owners. Which has been great and an excellent way to keep track of those babies and that line which was from a rat we actually bought not knowing she was already pregnant.
You don't believe in breeding animals in general? Do you realize that in order for an animal to be domesticated and especially to be recognized as domesticated there has to be literally centuries of selective private breeding. The only way you can have pet rats at all is because there have been hundreds of years of breeders, for dogs it is thousands of years, and for cats thousands of years, then there are horses, cattle, fish, birds, and so forth. Does that mean we should breed? No. You are correct not everyone should breed because it is needed to carry on the pet trade. However, we decided to breed mainly because there are no responsible breeders within 100 miles of us. The closest is actually just right at 100 miles possibly a little over. None of the pet stores carry rats from responsible breeders and some use pets, and feeders as interchangeable depending on their business needs. We didn't go into this decision lightly. We knew that breeding for the sake of breeding is a bad idea. If we had been able to find a reliable source close to us we might have been more like regular customers instead of breeders but as we found when we were giving away the babies from the pregnant when we bought her rat this area is full of people tired of exchanging dead rats for live ones like they were cell phones or something.
You may argue that she can't call herself a responsible breeder because the two liters combined. Fine you can argue that but that wasn't from negligence that was from a design flaw that will be avoided in the future. Measures were taken to keep the liters and mothers separate but those measures were overcome. We both agreed that our solution was sufficient we were wrong. Now we have to let people know that. However, I would argue that from the stand point of acquiring rats from us they both still come from solid lines. We managed to procure excellent breeding stock some with officially recognized paper pedigrees others with unofficial records, but records none the less. We were able to see the condition, care and to some degree the longevity of the lines. We went to great lengths to get outstanding dumbo and dumbo rex breeder quality rats. If we have to start our pedigrees with these then it will take us a while to build some pedigrees if that is important to people. Until then we will, as record shows, have no problem placing our rats because around here pedigree isn't as important as healthy rats with care and precaution in breeding.
And you are right. I have often thought that the reassurance of just the paw-talk crowd isn't definitive. It isn't this is actually a small representation of the pet market as a whole. I also don't think the critiques on here to be definitive either. I will say though and I do find that the encouragement on friends when things aren't going the way you wanted is quite effective. Kara has researched, searched, and explored the world of rats for a long time now. She has a good bit of experience in keeping them. This geographic region is lacking in breeders and we don't want the pet rat trade to be thought of in terms of Petsmart rats. If we can educate a few people and put a few really good, sweet, smart, healthy rats into the hands of good people in this area we feel that we are working for the betterment of pet rats.
It sickens me what happens to rats in petsmarts and places like that. Also what goes into getting them there. We wanted the good people of Nashville to have source for pet rats the way pet rats should be. Not the kind that you find after two weeks seizing in the bottom of her cage from who knows what neurological deficiency caused by the girl + boy = babies that the big pet suppliers operate on.