: Oh god...
02-19-2008, 06:00 PM
Slight problem... Anyone who has read my posts since I joined a few days ago will know I had two new kittens recently, now 9 weeks old. Well it wasn't until the one I named George was gripping onto the vertical bars of the cage earlier on that I noticed that the underside was not the same as Domino's.
My rat, whom I had been assured was a male, is most definately not. She has nipples and a very minute distance between genitals and anus, and afaik that means it's pretty cut and dried - she's a girl. My next question is at 9 weeks after living with a male for a week, just how likely is it she could be pregnant? I haven't managed to get a good enough look at the other new one yet to determine a gender, but if that one is a boy too it means she's been living with another male since birth... Correct me if I'm wrong, but rats don't differentiate between brothers and sisters when it comes to mating?
I contacted the pet store I bought them from (Unfortunately I read the warnings about pet stores just a little too late) and asked for them to donate me a cage because it was their mistake and the manager is going to get back to me. She is very symathetic as she is a rat-owner herself and I have fallen in love with them already.
My question is, what can I do? The whole purpose of getting the kittens was to keep Dom company, but if they're both girls then he's lost out. If one's a boy, then the female has to be kept alone. This close to the end of the month I don't have the spare funds to get a new cage, and the only one I have available is a hamster cage, far too small for more than one kitten, and for not more than a week or so. It's just asking for trouble keeping her in there any longer than she has to be, if she's not pregnant by now chances are she will be within a very short space of time.
02-19-2008, 06:28 PM
separate her immediately
rats don't know who they are related to, nor do they care to & they will breed with any rat of the opposite gender. The outcome of sibling pairings can be really bad since this would promote any abnormalities to be much more prevalent in the litter produced for such a pairing. If this is a female that has paired with a litter mate brother you may want to consider a e-spay because of this fact.
you may be eating PB&J for a week or month but since you are so bonded & in love with them, it is a small sacrifice to make.
There are all kinds of examples on how to make a temporary home out of a plastic storage tub... that would work in a pinch & for far longer than a week. It will also be a good investment in case it is too late & your little girl is already pregnant. It would be a perfect environment for a nursery.
example pic: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2318/2193790132_a72d2d020b_o.jpg
02-19-2008, 07:53 PM
Now the panic is over, I can't quite work out which gender they are at all. Having looked for the nipples again, I couldn't find them, even when I bathed them. Having said that, there are no testicles at all. I know they can withdraw their testes but I have never even seen a hint of a pair on either. They also both seem to have a fairly obvious line from the genital to the anus which looks like labia. Sorry to be so graphic, but it's important that I get this right. I don't want to be separating my ratties for no reason, but dispite looking repeatedly I am no closer to telling which gender they are.
All this is made much more complicated by the fact that they are both adverse to having someone look at their bellies and my arms now look like I've been attacked. It's not like I can even get a photo cause they're so active and there's no chance of making them stay still long enough to get one without distressing them a great deal...
02-19-2008, 09:55 PM
skip looking for nipples...
since they are fighting you a bit, simply wrap your hand around there middle (like you would hold a cola can or whatever... with the tail portion sticking up. look to the genital region... lift the tail up ever so slightly & gently & the testes should display
at 9 weeks of age those jewels should be very obvious
but please, unless you are 100% sure you are not mixing genders... separate them, especially if a young girl of 9 weeks is being housed with an older male. An older male will for sure impregnate them, if they are litter mates of 9 weeks you may have dodged a bullet but don't rely on this... at 9 weeks they are still young & the younger the male, the less successful he is at actually impregnating a female... not impossible, just take him a few times to figure the process out... this is why until you are 100% sure... separate or you will have a female that is FAR too young pregnant & this could be harmful to her
02-19-2008, 10:22 PM
Looking at those pictures and by your advice, I have determined that the two are definately does, not a testicle in sight. As such, I am moving them into a temporary cage. Back to square one, I need a cage-mate for my adult buck! Next time I will be going armed with detailed pictures so I can check the sex myself!
02-19-2008, 10:53 PM
were they in the cage with the adult male?
if so... hold off on agetting more at this time because you may have 30 or 40 on the way
(btw, I am completely clueless as to how many rats you have & who has been housed with who & for how long or how old they all are)
02-19-2008, 11:37 PM
I originally had two 10 month old bucks but one died. I bought 2 x 8 week old kittens last week and he took them straight away into the master cage (I should have known they were does from the start when I think about it...). Now it's my 10 month old buck on his own and 2 x 8 week old does who were in with him for a week but are now separated. All three of them look thoroughly miserable.
02-20-2008, 02:34 AM
I'd hold off as well. A 10 month old buck with 2 9 week old females has a good chance of making them both pregnant. I'd prepare for 24+ (and that's just if they both had 12 or so, I've seen single litters as big as 18 ) babies if I were you, and a possible few heartaches of loosing babies and/or mamas.
OR, see about an e-spay, though they may be too small for a vet's comfort. Our rescue vet likes them to be a few months old at the least, but will do them. The risk is major, but then again, the risk of such young girls having babies is pretty major as well.
Hopefully, your boy was shooting blanks, but I would NOT count on that!
02-20-2008, 04:33 AM
oh brother, God I hope he was shooting blanks or was simply not interested (that would be ever so lucky)
The risks are very high regardles of what is decided... at 9 weeks you could lose them just as easily to surgery as you could with a delivery of babies.
Please keep us updated on this particular thread about what happens over the next 2 to 3 weeks.
02-20-2008, 04:09 PM
Well some good news, the pet store pulled through. As it was their mistake, they are giving me a Ferplast Jenny free of charge for the girls to live in. I will obviously need to transfer them if/when they are due to give birth into something more suitable, but as a permanent home, it's certainly big enough for the two of them :D They will now be in the same type of cage as Domino, the adult buck, but once more he is all alone... And after having 2 young girls to himself for 8 days, he's looking a bit miserable to have landed up alone again! Just a question: How close do they need to be to mate? If I have both cages touching would they be able to reach through the bars?
02-20-2008, 04:27 PM
Rats have mated through bars, so it's best to leave some space.
02-20-2008, 04:41 PM
why not have the big guy neutered?
He could be pimp-daddy rat & continue to hang with his girls
the other note is the fact that he did hang with those girls for a week... he may have room mates in a couple months
02-20-2008, 05:00 PM
That's why I'm not making ay decisions just yet. I spoke to the vet and she said it was far too risky for her to consider an e-spay at this age and that at potentially a week pregnant, a little far gone. If they are pregnant, I will have the pick of two litters to keep him company, but there's also a chance that neither mama or kittens could survive with them being so young. All in all, I need to pray that they managed to escape unmolested for a week and wait to see what happens. If no babies appear then I will be having Dom neutered and turning the two jennies into a smaller version of the Furet Tower. If there are babies, two seperate cages with 2-3 ratties each would be well within my means. Luckily the parents are all very good natured and the buck is by all accounts an excellent breeder so if there are babies, fingers crossed they should be healthy, it's purely the age of the mamas that I'm worried about.
02-20-2008, 09:12 PM
well keep us informed...
02-24-2008, 04:09 PM
Just a quick update, no bellies showing just yet. Now 13 days since they were originally placed in the cage with Domino and 5 days since the separation so I reckon if there's no bellies showing within another week, I may just be safe...
On the note of the separation, it all seems to be going quite well. Dom does't seem too down, and appears to have forgiven me, and the girls are coming along beautifully. They're still quite shy, but that's what I get for buying them at a pet store :(
02-25-2008, 09:20 PM
Is it likely that Zippy would be nesting already? She's taken the entire supply of tissue and carefresh and piled it in and over her little house! She has one of those snak shaks (http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/yhst-96176495922560_1991_189448928). (the biggest size) and she's filled it to the top with shredded tissue and covered it with carefresh on the outside. She's always been a bit shy, and she doesn't have any noticable bump...
03-03-2008, 10:18 AM
i think rats usually only start building mega-nests within days or hours of birth, so i don't think that's necessarily a nest-making thing. my girls also build mega-nests, especially if there are tissues or cardboard around... best of luck to you.