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halogen 05-04-2013 08:05 PM

Tips for keeping a nursing doe and her litter healthy?
I volunteer at the SPCA, and I recently began fostering a mama rat and her 11 kits. I was just wondering, is there any tips to keep her and the pups healthy?

I've been giving her Oxbow food, as well as some of the seed mix that the shelter gave me. I was thinking of giving her some scrambled eggs for protein?

Also, she's a young rat who came from a hoarder. She gets very bored with the toys I've been giving her. Any suggestions there?

Thank you very much!

AnimalFamily 05-05-2013 02:38 PM

Sadly I don't know that much about rats, but if you don't find the information you need here, you may consider checking out our website listed in my signature below. We have a few rat owners there who are very knowledgeable about proper care and nutrition. Good luck! :D

Vladina 05-05-2013 04:14 PM

Hi Halogen,

Good for you! I am sure the mama rat and her little ones are happy you are taking care of them. :)

I have heard people talk about giving some egg to the mama rat before and I am sure it is a good idea, but unfortunately, I have never had ratties that were nursing with pups before (I have always had boy rats, so I know nothing about your topic, sorry!)

BUT, I know there are some great people on this forum that would have a lot of info to give you, like Lilspaz, who takes in rescue rats all the time and has a lot of experience with them. Perhaps you could send a private message to Lilspaz and ask her your questions, in case she is not on the forum in the next day or two to see your question?

In the meantime, doing an internet search will bring up lots of reliable rat care sites like the Rat and Mouse Association, etc, and you can just type in your search words for nutrition for nursing rat and babies?

You can also type in search words on this forum to find past posts on the topic as well.

Let us know how it goes with Mom and her kids! I would love to see photos. :wavey:

lilspaz68 05-06-2013 08:22 AM

First off, how big a litter is it? Second how old are the babies now?

Next, Oxbow is fine, toss the seed mix (bad for them)...give her oxbow with a lot of extra protein sources, like egg, fish and chicken. Lots of veggies, not much fruit because you don't want her to get diarrhea when she's nursing (mom's are prone to it)

She will need Out each day to run off some steam, when the babies are a week or less then I let my rescue moms run twice a day for 20 mins each. After that they can be out 30 mins to 45 mins...when they hit 3 weeks I let them out an hour at a time trying to time it that she's just finished nursing.

The babies will start sampling whatever mom is eating, often sniffing her mouth or taking something from her mouth...its a baby rat's way of learning what is safe and good to eat. Then they will start really eating, and you will be shocked at how much your little family first give them Baby cereal, small easily handleable veggies like thawed frozen corn and peas, leaf lettuces, etc. Their jaws will strengthen quickly and they will start gnawing on the big hard stuff :)

I socialize babies every day from birth on...just a very short time until their fur grows in (5 days or so) and they can keep their body temp up. I handle them gentley and feel them all over, dangle them for a moment, put them on their back and pretend to check their teeth and ears...anything you or a vet may need to do later in life you want them to be used to. Once those eyes open, they will start seriously zooming and a good sign is when they run for you instead of away from you LOL

Boys should be removed from the females (mom stays with girls) at 5 weeks of age. I now prefer to move MOm and girls out of the cage into a new one..the girls get to keep their mom, and the boys lose their mom/sisters but keep the familiarity of their cage.

Do you need help sexing? I got pics with diagrams for that :) Just let me know.

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