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Well, a few weeks ago I stopped at a little feed store on my way home from picking my girls up from Mother's Day Out. I was surprised to find (in their animal section - designated as PETS! Although they do have separate cages of feeders.) one of the most beautiful boy rats I have ever seen! He is the same color all over kind of bluish gray, just a beautiful coat. He is a dumbo. Anyway, I noticed in the next cage was a couple momma rats and some little pinkies squirming around. I got to talking to the girl who worked there. It turns out, the boy is hers. She brings him to the store to breed him with their females. She said the babies were his. Several of the babies had dark all over them.... I couldn't get them off my mind.
So I returned today - just to look, right? WRONG! The babies are a few weeks older and all furry! They are nearly all this beautiful, solid blue/gray color. None are dumbos. The girl came over when she saw me and opened the cage. The momma came over immediately and peeked over the top at me. She said "let me out or take some of these kids, they are driving me crazy!" At least that is what I heard, but I am not completely proficient in Ratlish. I put my hand in the cage and every baby came over and began sniffing, grooming, crawling on my hand. The girl assured me that she handles them daily. She also informed me it was the momma's last litter and she is already reserved for adoption! She offered to reserve a couple of the babies for me! I agreed before I could even think of what I was doing. I had planned to wait a bit longer before adding to my crew, but only for lack of having the grotto ready. I do have an extra cage for them, so it will be okay. I am picking them up this weekend. Can somebody verify for me how old babies need to be before rehomed away from momma?
I went to www.spoiledratten.com/ and found a few pics of what the papa rat looks like. He is kind of a mix between a few pics. I am only going by memory so it is a bit difficult to be exact. All I know is he is beautiful! Here are the pics:
 

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They can leave their mother at 3 weeks (the absolute minimum, not recommended), but it's best to let them get to 5 weeks. They're able to eat solid food at 3 weeks, but they will still nurse part of the time.
 
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