Hey guys I breed rats out in utah and was wondering if there were any other breeders out here who I haven't heard about yet? I've been breeding for 3 years now but to be honest with you a lot of breeders out here are awful! I don't like the idea of having to drive out of state to get new good blood in my lines but I think I'm going to have to. So just seeing if there was anyone here who bred GOOD rats I do check.
and for those of you looking my website is rylysratties.weebly.com
Just for getting a list of who's breeding in Utah, if you haven't already, try poking around on Goosemoose and see who knows who there.
Though I don't breed at all, and have no interest in doing it, I've payed close attention and learned all I could in the last four years that I've been interested in keeping rats as pets. So I can give you some advice based on everything I've seen. As for getting new stock, most breeders of quality lines have been doing it for years and either learned proper husbandry and genetics from a mentor, or studied hard, cooperated with (for years) and earned the trust of other breeders. Unless you get extremely lucky--usually by finding a back yard breeder who's lied to a quality breeder to get their babies, or you managed to luck out on getting a surrendered pet rat from good lines--you aren't going to get quality stock unless you are willing to pay your dues to prove to quality breeders that you are worth risking their babies and hard work on.
I did check out your site, and just me as a layman, I get the impression that you are basically self taught and I see that you still have a lot to learn with rat breeding. (Am I seeing high whites?) You look like you take good care of your rats and enjoy them. I think you've got passion and I like the honesty to the best of your knowledge I see on your website. As long as you're willing to learn and take the steps to do it right (study genetics and breeding; be willing to work with established breeders and apprentice under them for a couple of years or more to unlearn some of the things you might have learned wrong, and to basically train in how to do it professionally, etc), you've got every chance of getting the great lines you're hoping for.
Thanks for the help guys! I've had a lot of help from mom who used to breed and the internet has been my best friend. I've been breeding for 3 years now and haven't needed to deal with other breeders here because i've kept up with my buyers and sell mostly to a breeder in Idaho. Since I posted this i ran into a breeder who was breeding my rats listing completely different lines then what they were and they just argued with me. I'm having problems finding out whose telling the truth. I think i'm just going to try looking out of state. it's stupid but I bought one rat who was sick and got 7 of mine sick! So now I'm not even going to be breeding it. I really like some of calis breeders from what I can see. I have a simple goal and am getting closer to reaching it but it's difficult trying to avoid set backs when everyone just seems to want to look good vs do what they claim their doing. Sorry needed to vent extremely frustrated! thanks for reading!
From everything I've read, and breeders I've talked to, the situation like the breeder listing your lines as something different is a common problem and why most reputable breeders are so, so cautious about who they work with and why they take years to get to know a person before they will share their lines. There's just so many people who through ignorance or selfish or malicious intent are willing to undo generations of work to better the quality of pet rats from the cancer and respiratory plagued (and sometimes genetically aggressive or skittish) messes that herp, mill, and unethical/ignorant hobby breeders have made of them in the last 20 years.
Like I said, your best bet for working with quality lines is to take the steps to educate yourself until you are very knowledgeable in genetics, ethical rat husbandry, and to apprentice yourself to an established ethical breeder with a good reputation for a few years. Good breeders don't exist in a vacuum. It sounds like you are starting to take the steps you need.
Finding a good breeder for the latter is a combination of asking around like you're doing, and working to become a part of the larger rat community. The Goosemoose community is a way to start. Determining who's good breeders, is a process of patience and getting to know people as you know. Though I will caution you that you will get a lot of flack and blowback with your current breeding practices. I've watched them long enough, and have seen what is considered good breeding practices by the central rat community at large. Your best bet is to be patient, keep a low profile, and most importantly continue to be honest and willing to learn, learn, unlearn, and learn. Me, I feel anyone can learn as long as they are willing and patient.
I'm sorry you accidentally brought a disease into your colony. That's always tough. I'm glad no one died though! That's common with some of the worse illnesses like sendai etc. If you haven't already as a result of this experience, one thing you'll want to be sure to do is to set up an offsite quarantine location to keep your incoming rats to keep them for the 5 weeks minimum duration suggested for breeders before introing them to your colony.
Some of the better breeders I've seen are with good informational websites: