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Hello. I've had three lovely mouse girls for a little over a year now, and then last week I just adopted two sweet little rat boys. I feel like things are going very well, but I figure that it can't hurt to talk about the routine I'm working on with them and see if anyone has any pointers for me.

The boys are babies, I don't know how old exactly but approximately 2-3 months. They seem to have been very well socialized, they were fearlessly taking treats out of my open hand right off the bat. There are two of them, still working on finding the perfect names. One seems much more brave and curious while the other is more reserved and cautious.

Before I got them they had no litter box in their cage, but amazingly they have instantly litter-trained themselves. All I did was set up the cage lined with fleece, and put in a litter box full of Carefresh litter which I use for my mice as well. And they've almost never pooped outside the box! Haha I guess it's a funny thing to be excited about, but effortless is great.

The first day I got them I mostly left them alone, then I've been working up to spending a bit more time with them each day. I sit beside their cage and try to be pretty much quiet and still, talking to them softly a bit. I put treats in my hand and hold it open-palmed and still in the cage and let them take the treats and explore me as they want to. The braver one will crawl up my arm and sniff my face and hair and has even ventured into my lap a couple of times now. The other one is a little less interested in me, but if I have his attention and put a treat on my shoulder he'll go that far to get it.

It's only been about a week and I feel like things are going great. I can't wait for them to learn to trust me and be eager to play and cuddle with me, but I'm being patient because I know that is important to getting to that stage. The last couple of days I've been trying to establish about a half hour period at night of spending time with them, as well as some visits here and there throughout the day. I definitely plan to spend more time with them than that when they seem to desire it.

I did get them from a pet store but it's a non-chain, very reputable pet store who gets all their small mammals from breeders in the area. The food they were getting at the pet store has lots of different kinds of seeds and some dried bananas and stuff in it, along with a few food blocks. From the research I've done, this is not the ideal food, and I plan to switch them over to some more all-block stuff I got but I'm changing their diet gradually so they don't get sick. For treats I'm mostly using Cheerios with some fresh fruits and veggies, and some slivered almonds here and there. I think green pepper seeds are their favorite thing ever, which is cool because that's probably the vegetable that I cook with the most.

I am really happy like I said :D Does everything I'm doing sound right? Do you have any advice? Thanks in advance.
 

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Hello and welcome to the forum!

Wow, it sounds like you are doing an excellent job with your new baby rat boys! And they sound like they are doing very well considering how young they are! You are right, they were probably well socialized when you got them, and the fact that they picked up on the litter training so fast is great! You have two very smart little cookies there (and I can't wait to see some photos of them...people on this forum LOVE to see photos of each other's rat kids!)

I think you are doing an excellent job with the way you are taking things slow and comfortable with them...sitting by their house, talking to them softly and getting them used to your voice, your smell, your hands. Marvelous. And taking the switch over to the lab blocks as a transitional thing so they don't get sick from a sudden switch, is great. You are right about those seed mixes..not good for a balanced ratty diet, so the lab blocks are the way to go! Cheerios and the other treats you mentioned sound great. Cheerios are a great treat for ratties. :)

If I can think of some things later to suggest, I will post something, but for now, off the top of my head, it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job! You are going to just fall in love with your rat babies. They are soooo wonderful and full of love. :)
 

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Sounds like you are doing everything right! Great job! :D Rats are amazingly sweet, intelligent, social and loving pets. You can easily teach them tricks, and they will respond to their names very quickly. Since you are new here, I will give you the link to my boys' youtube page. I have posted a lot of videos over the past two years of tricks, playtime, and even ideas for playpens that I've made by myself. My Russell passed away at the end of November, and his brother Stanley will probably follow soon, but I love to watch and remember them as babies. :) (Some advice: take lots of pictures and videos if you can! They don't live long enough, sadly, but the photos and videos will be great to have after they are gone. :) )

http://www.youtube.com/user/hback316?feature=mhee
 

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P.S. on my post..I almost forgot a tip about boy rats. They do not do well with citrus fruits for some reason, so stay away from anything citrus (oranges, pineapple, grapefruit etc.) Breyer has a great list of yes and no food lists for rats that I am sure she could post for you, or the link for the list, if she sees this. :wave:
 

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Awesome, thanks for posting that list Breyer! :D
 
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