Information for accidental litters.
OK so heres some good info that anyone expecting an accidental litter should know to keep all rats healthy.
1 ) Gestation is 21-23 days. Signs of pregnancy are gaining weight (use a food scale on regular basis), enlarged nipples, and in later
stages you may be able to see the pups move inside her. Often females wont show signs of pregnancy until almost 21 days.
2 ) When you suspect your female is pregnant supply her with bedding materials such as paper towels, kleenex, newspaper, or nesting
material from your local pet store. Females have a strong sense to nest and prepare for their pups. Some females will not be
interested in nesting until the day before or the day of birth.
3 ) When you suspect a litter start trying to find homes for them right away and prepare for a large litter just in case.
4 ) You will want at least a 20 gallon long aquarium or equivalent. Make sure the cage or aquarium does not have openings like cage bars
the pups will be able to crawl out of while housed there. Also make sure theres no toys, shelves, perches they can fall from and
hurt themselves. Some choose to use large clear plastic containers with lids modified with holes for air for the temporary
housing of a large family.
5 ) Make sure you female is now housed alone with no other cage mates. Although some other females may help with the pups mothers
sometimes will become aggressive toward other females. Females can become pregnant almost immediately after giving birth so males
must also be kept separate. Its very unhealthy for females to be nursing and carrying a litter at the same time.
6 ) Provide extra protein in the females diet. She needs additional protein to produce rich milk for the young. Increase the amount of extra
given when the pups are born. At peak lactation they should get a teaspoon extra each day. Good sources are:
yogurt, nuts, seeds, soy, eggs, etc.
7 ) Females usually give birth at night. Do not disturb her! If she gets nervous it could cause complications.
8 ) The average litter size is 12 but 1-22 pups is possible. If your female has a large litter be sure to give her
plenty of extra nutrients and make sure food and water are always available. Often females with large litters also will
separate the group into two groups for feeding purposes because they only have 12 nipples.
9 ) When the pups are born the mother will keep the cage clean. Try not to disturb them for at least 2 days. Allow the mother to get out
for her daily exercise
10 ) When the mother is out for exercise do not allow her away from the pups for more then 30 minutes at a time.
11 ) Your female will become more aggressive around the pups. She may bite if you get to close to them.
12 ) Provide toys for the pups also like toilet paper rolls/paper towel rolls, hiding places, plenty on chewing material, etc.
13 ) The pups will wean on their own. You will notice they will start to eat the staple diet food. Larger litters may take a bit longer to
wean but all should be weaned by around 4 weeks.
14 ) When the pups become mobile be careful! They are like popcorn and can jump away easily.
15 ) Females can get pregnant by 5 weeks of age. Separate males and females from each other and the mother by 4 1/2 to 5 weeks. Some prefer to
seperate at exactly 5 weeks so the pups can learn more from mom. If choosing 5 weeks make sure its exact.
16 ) Mother rats may lay on their backs to be more comfy, it is nothing to worry about unless she is showing signs of breathing distress