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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So yesterday my boyfriend and I go to a little pet store in a nearby mall. We originally went in for a lady rat for one of our big boy's. We decided not to though because the conditions were horrible! All cages were very warm, the water low and no food bowls to separate their food from their feces. Also, were mixed gender cages so most likely all were already pregnant.

We ended up leaving with what we thought were two small hopper rats. We were not given the info that hoppers were suppose to be snake food. The staff there gave us no inclination and we are going to be calling our local SPCA because of the animal conditions of ALL the pets we saw.

Back on topic, when we came home we realized two things. One, what we had thought were two boys was actually a male dumbo and a female bareback I believe she's called(when solid one color except tail tip and underbelly) When at the petstore we had tried checking for the genders but we made the mistake of letting the staff check the female, I had checked our little dumbo. Secondly, shes pregnant! Not only that but very obviously so once you realize shes female.

Heres where I am asking for help. I looked up as much as I could, called my "rat expert" for general how to care for her. So we've added more protein to her cage, paper towel shredding and baby washcloths(Though should I remove those?) We noticed shes panting a lot. The cage's location is not hot at all and they huddle together but what is wrong? I know I do not know enough about caring for a pregnant rat, but we hadn't planned to breed the bigger boys until after we had learned what we needed to know. And because she is a hopper that means shes YOUNG which puts her at bigger risk. We will be removing the male dumbo today, we wanted them to have each other since they've been re-rooted and I have to put him in his own little cage until he's bigger.

To anyone who helps, I greatly appreciate your help, you have no idea!
 

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Hello and I just wanted to say THANK YOU for planning on calling the SPCA about that horrible pet shop. You are doing the right thing and I hope they get it closed down as soon as possible. Your boy rat will either need to be neutered so he can rejoin his female buddy and not risk a new pregnancy or your girl and boy will both need to have same sex cagemates to keep them company, to avoid depression. You will be sure to get plenty of great advice from the people on this forum who have dealt with pregnant mothers before (I wish I had advice to give you on that!) but hang in there and I am so glad you took these rats out of that awful pet store. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Vladina. I do want to make an apology though to anyone who reads.

After coming home from school the first thing I did was check up on my 'Momma'. I had quite a surprise waiting for me. She was a he! While a lovely surprise, not having to worry about babies at this time, it brought up another problem. He was too aggressive. Any time we picked him up he'd start nipping and they were quickly turning to bites. My fiance finally drew the line when he bit me and drew blood. So we went back. Looking back at some pictures I think he might have possibly had some wild rat in him. The whole trip back my fiance had to convince me it was the right thing to do. i feel so horrible about taking him back. We couldn't think of anyone we could willingly give him to knowing he might/would bite them too.
Once there, fiance talked to them while I looked at the rats, who had all been moved around. The fancy hoppers were all in one cage while the one that matched our aggressiveness's coloring were in another. Apparently the issue hadnt been with the store but the employees at the time. The woman who helped us this was one of the store owners and she personally took care of the rodents section, which looked a lot cleaner. Anyway, they let us trade them after hearing the situation with both the rat and their employee's, even though they have a no exchange or returns on pets.

This time when we looked at them we found a baby that I had only glimpsed before. A baby fawn hooded! After both of us handled her for a few minutes we both agreed, she HAD to come home with us! Not only was she the type of female we wanted to breed with our bigger boys(Dont worry, were going to let her grow nice and strong and so we have time to find potential owners for all the babies too) This girl is a polar opposite from 'Momma'. Shes calm, sweet and affectionate! The first thing she did when on my shoulders was try to climb into my hair(I had a lovely 'rats nest' to brush out later this evening) We've brought her home to meet her old cage partner, the dumbo we got with 'Momma' who she's currently cuddled with under my fiance's eyes.

I honestly feel bad about bringing the male back, but I really think he would have been a threat to the others once he was big enough. A lot of the baby's from that cage have a lot of attack marks on them, which cannot help the temperament any. But I couldnt leave the fawn either, not when she proved to be so sweet and friendly. I do hope you all do not think I am a horrible owner for this decision, I really was trying to make the best decision for all my pets.

I do have some more questions though, if anyone's still willing to help me. I cant get the dumbo fixed, her current cage mate. I do not want him to be fixed later on when/if we wish to breed the two.(They are both sweet beautiful babies and if they continue to be so i'll just have to talk him into it!) Once he's big enough we're thinking about putting him in with our other two male adult rats. Until then we wish to leave the babies somewhat together. Do y'all believe if we got the right kind of transparent barrier(aka chicken wire, etc.) we could keep them in the same cage but with the barier between them? We dont wish to get another female till we breed, so she can have a daughter cage mate. but until they're old enough we need a alternative. Any idea's anyone? or do ya'll believe its not possible/safe? I'm not asking just to be a stupid untrained owner but because there are many on here from what Ive seen who would truly have an idea and are willing to share that knowledge.
 

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Rats and mice can breed though cage bars.Its a hard task but its been known to happen.

As far as breeding those two I would advise against it because the genetics are unknown and if she is really young this litter is hard enough on her body not to mention finding the babies a home they tend to have a lot can can reproduce very young.
But if you do decide to breed try find a better stock. I know you mentino you wanted to wait until you could find potentional owners so a waiting list of people wanting babies would be a good idea. Have them sign contaracts so you know they are serious about adopting. . That way you can have a planned breeding and the babies have a home before they are born :)

The mommy can have a daughter as a cage mate and the boy could have one of her sons as a cage mate after they are weaned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh! Don't worry, I have NO plans on breeding her while she's this young. We are going to wait till she's a lot bigger before we consider it a possibility. One so we can have plenty of time to find potential owners and also to make sure she stays as sweet as she's been so far.
question about the whole genetics thing. Dont most people at some point have to use an 'unknown' rat? If they don't have a breeder nearby and they have more available access to a pet store? Well, not have to use, but that's their choice? I have two big pet company rats as well as these two babies from a mall pet store. The two big ones are always sweet and the babies are still being watched. Our big hooded one is the one we wish to breed at some point but we want her to be ready before we consider it.
Dang, there's still a chance? Well, we'l figure out something...we can get pretty creative :)
 

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Why do you want to breed them?
There are enough rats in this world that if you are not breeding to better the species, there is no point in it. It's not because your other rat is sweet and you love him that you need to breed him to get another rat like that. Most rats are very sweet and another one not related will also melt your heart.
 

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Also, you won't be able to house the female with the males otherwise she will be pregnant back to back, and it's unfair to keep her alone (I made this horrible mistake and pay the price everyday) so if you are keeping her, you need to get her a buddy.
 

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Gosh, I hadn't seen this thread before now.

Hey Calico! :)

Breeding, wow. I had no idea you were planning on that. That's a big undertaking.

I would gently suggest that you not do it though. There's several reasons why.

One, you don't know their genetic background. Pet store rats are a big what if. 90 percent of them come from horrible rat mills, where they are bred primarily for looks so they'll be pretty and catch people's eye. Most of them are prone to tumors (not something you'd want to deliberately breed or be able to anticipate as most tumors start appearing well after safe breeding age), weak immune systems (prone to myco flare ups and other respiratory issues), and are not specifically bred for good temperaments (making breeding a risky venture for future hormonal aggression, fearfulness etc.).

Two, because they are so easy to breed, that is the very reason they probably shouldn't be bred. There is already an insane overpopulation of unwanted pet rats. Rats are among the more expensive pocket pets to keep humanely because of their fragile immune systems, so it's hard to find good homes for them.

Three: Well, three...AFRMA says it better than I can, and addresses all the other hesitations I would have for breeding rats so I'll just post their article on the subject here:

http://www.afrma.org/rminfo7a.htm

Because you seem to be sharing various hesitations on aspects of keeping your rats, I'd humbly suggest that you'd be much better off and I honestly think happier in the end to NOT breed your kiddies. And you'd spend much less money, time, and stress just to spay your female and put her in with the boys, choosing to buy a new rat or three when you want another one.
 

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The reason genetics are important is due to a few reasons but the main one is

health --cancer,tumors and other medical problems can only be visible once the rats are already sick. There are alot of rats that get this or worse conditions with age and only good genetics can improve these outcomes. If you already bred the rats and then find out later than there are several health issues in them once they are aged then you will have to live with the guilt of bringing babies into the world to suffer worse later on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well everyone,
We went ahead and bought a new buddy for our female, so now none are lonely. what's cool is it seems we found a Siamese/faun hooded mix! Her fur is white except a light light hood pattern, with the darker Siamese spots on her nose, forehead and base of her tail! Her eyes are red, but a little darker than normal albino red, is that normal?
BTW, we realized earlier that apparently our Missy Boo has Ruby eyes! Our friend told us that's what her eyes are called when they're a really dark red.
Earlier this week we introduced the boys and babies and were pleasantly surprised. The older rats did nothing to the babies, not even the female! We've ben keeping them out for an ohur or two all together on a blanket on our bed, letting them all mingle and socialize. i know its not normally done this way but with Missy Boo and Koma separated because of gender, both were alone in their own cages(Koma can slip through the big boys cage bars so we couldnt let them together, that and we wanted to make sure all went well).
Today we went to the store originally to look at playpens for their playtime, and ended up going to another pet store to find a female buddy for Missy Boo. We also bought a 3 story cage to put the three boys in, which we ended up doing. Not to sound rude but before I hear another thing about buying breeder pets, there are none clsoe enough by. There was one rescue group but their site went down and we both agreed that she needed a buddy. Besides, the pet store rats need some love too!
So now the girls are in their own cage, the boys in their bigger cage and at least one person has been in the room with them to keep an eye on them.
So Far, no problems :)
 

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We were not trying to sound mean or rude.I apologize if you take in that way.

Yes all animals need love and some of my fav. mice came from pet stores. But it does not mean that they need to be BRED. Females do better in groups and I am glad you got her a friend. We were not trying to say she didnt need a cage mate.
If you returned a rat for biting issues that's a reason there not to breed. As those same characteristics can be in her blood line and passed down to the babies.

if the eyes are dark red they are known as ruby.

I noticed you are from texas. If you really wish to breed I will give you some contacts to rat breeders along with proper research sites and information. If you breed it should be to better the species and I will help you. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah, I knew ya'll weren't saying she didn't need a cage mate, though she's happy shes got one now, most the time XD
I know with the nipper we think he came from a totally different nest. We still plan for a few months before we truely think of breeding again. We of course need to find potential owners before we can have pinkies! We've already got one or two people, but of course we're going to look for more closer to when we're ready.

Missy Boo has Ruby, though im not sure what you'd call Zoia's, since hers are just a few shades darker red than normal albino..

Yes, I am from central Texas. Thank you Mousey, Ill definitely bug you with questions then. My fiance and i definitely want to be prepared when we feel/know shes old enough.

BTW, we had a scare last night!!! I woke up in the middle of the night to frantic squeaking(we're keeping the girls in our room) I went to check on them, thinknig they were having their first fight or something to find out she had gotten a claw or toe stuck where the sides of the cage connect to each other! She was frantically jerking around, which had me panicked she'd hurt herself and between her squeaks, my freaknig and me turning on our light fiance woke up and came over fast. He got his silly self nipped(no blood) I went to get a towel to try holding her still with that so he could get her toe and she finally popped herself free! we checked her over then, when we woke up this morning and an hour or so ago and she's fine, no swelling, no favoring, nothing.

BTW, do you think it's wise to take them all in for a check-up? Im looking into vets in my area to see if any will check them out. The reason is basically like a physical, just make sure they are healthy and see if the vet sees anything we wouldnt/couldnt notice not being as rat smart. How much do you think it'd cost, with 5 rats? That part isnt as important as the others, but still nice to know.

Mousey, thank you for all your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update: They WILL be taken to the vet asap. One of our big boys is breathing funny, and if hes possibly sick then all 5 are possibly sick. Im calling a vet I found on the rat mouse site posted at the top of this forum tomorrow morning. it's the 3-5th time ive seen his name when looking up vets.
 

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Calico,
I am so glad they are all going to the vet. This will ease your mind and get your babies the help they need if there is something wrong.

Wow, what a scare you had with your girl's little toe! I am relieved that you both heard her and got up to try to free her little footy! Poor baby! Glad she is okay! Whew!
 

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I'm glad to be able to help. Yeah if you ever have questions feel free to pm me and I'll send you some links. We are in east tx. But I think I still have links for all over texas.haha.
I usually kept my new rats separated for about two weeks (in case they came up with anything.) Then I wold take them to the vet and add them to the ratties community. :)
The exotic vet I took mine to was about $35 and up. But when some of mine got really sick he saw one rat (the worst off) and gave me medicine for all my mice and rats (to help the others and to keep the non sick ones healthy.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Vladina,
Yes it was quite a scare, but luckily she is still acting fine, even today.

We found out the price for a exam for one vet, $49, possibly about $100 all together with medication for just one rat. I need to look into one other vet before I try to figure out what to do. If it truely costs this much Ill only have enough saved up to take two babies right now... :(

Two of them are having sneezing fits, but nothing else. Reading another's post I wonder if it might be the bedding thats causing it. We're using CareFresh Natural, this brown paperish bedding.
 

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You can try to bring in the worst off to a vet. If they have an ri then most likely the vet will give meds to the rest. And when you get more money take the rest. In my opinion carefresh smelled quicker and it was pretty dusty. If you change bedding then do it gradually. Like 25%-75% then 50_50 and so on uintuil they are weaned to the new bedding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you Mousey!
Yeah, I just spoke with another vet, this one seemed better to me, attitude wise. He suggested exactly that(Which luckily is what I had planned) He told me he knew about rats but referred me to his partner who knew more than he did. I do plan on taking them all in at one point, though for now it'll have to be the two worst ones and then the others as I get the money.
I saw someone suggest using fleece/felt as a bedding instead? How should I do that? We're going to try litter training them into a litter pan in some corner of the cage. Do we still try the weaning stuff or should we just go straight to the fleece? A friend of mine also suggested putting a towel underneath the fleece to help absorb the pee.
 

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Hi Calico,
Yes, I actually used to do the same thing as your friend. I would buy lots of towels for cheap from the local thrift stores, and fold them up into long rectangles to fit the length and width of the bottom of my boys' cage, then layer the top of that with some fleece or flannel blankies (from the fabric store). No dust with fabric, which I like. The carefresh can be too dusty, as I have seen other people on the forum say as well.
 

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Straight to fleece should be fine. If the cage is larger or multi level put a litter pan in every corner. Towels will help until they are completely litter trained. Also palce the box where you see them do their business most often.I wish you luck on the vet visit. If they are sneezing alot you may want to try to seperate them from the rest. If you have the cages and room for it. another room would best.
Most ratteries and mouseries (quarentine any new rodents for 14 days to a month to help avoid any illnesses being transferred. Just an idea if you get any more. But in this case it may still help.
 
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