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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
She had 13 (or so?) babies last night! We had just noticed that she was getting big and after determining that she wasn't just eating a lot she had babies!

We're excited about this and do want to take care of them but we need some help! We just got Ruth about a week ago from PetCo so we were just getting used to having one rat!

Anyway, she had them last night around 2:30 - 3:00AM last night. First off, when is a good idea to maybe start touching the babies? I read 24 hours but...my girlfriend and I are asleep at that time in the morning. Should we wait until the day after or do it before? Also, she has a lot of her bloody tissues still in the cage but we don't want to take them out because the babies are still on them!

Second, she is currently in an aquarium that is 20 1/2 inches x 10 1/2 inches with a 12 inch depth. We have a cage that is 24 inches length and width with a 18 inch height and a 2 1/2 inch tray (depth wise). The bar spacing is one inch. Should we move her into this cage once we can touch her and her babies or keep her in the aquarium? The cage has been occupied by a sneezy rat so we would have to clean it very very well (any tips on that?).


Please help soon!
 

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Well, even though aquariums are really bad for rats, I would think you should keep her in there for a while to relax and nurse those newborns. I would personally leave the tissue in there for a little bit, because I wouldn't really think it's that big of a deal, and not worth really stressing her out. I've read that you can touch the babies pretty much as soon as they're born, but my partner and I waited a couple of days, so as to give mom time to relax from the whole ordeal (we had only had her about 5 days when she gave birth).

Also, one inch bar spacing on that cage will be way too big for momma, and especially the babies. Unless mom is HUGE, she will be able to fit through the bars. And when the babies start getting up and exploring, they'll definitely be able to fit.

I'm not an expert, so I hope what little info I have helps!
 

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Some people on here have said that it's ok to handle them really soon after birth, some have said the next day. I think it really just depends on the mom. Just make sure she's not too stressed out, and whatever you do, DO NOT try to pick them up while mom is in the cage. Even the sweetest rats can bite when their babies are involved, it's just their hormones. So make sure you take her out of the cage, give her some treats, and some play time. Just keep it rather short at first, so mom doesn't get stressed out, and the babies don't get cold or hungry.

Remember, too, that the babies can't regulate their body temp yet, so keep them warm while you have them out.

I personally waited a few days, mainly because I was new to rats, and hadn't had Roxie even a week. I just was really nervous about doing something wrong. Now, however, they're 20 days old and we get them out several times a day. Well, we have been since about the 3rd day. =) Anyways, good luck! And when you do get them out, don't forget to take some pics for us to see the little cuties!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So we are pretty sure Ruth has just rejected one of her babies...should we help take care of it or let it (die?)...The baby is in the corner of the cage by itself...


Please someone help ASAP!!!

PLEASE!
 

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I think that's really up to you. I've read that you can feed it kitten formula, and baby formula, but it must be soy, and not cow's milk. But I'm not an expert, so you need to look through this forum because I know there are other topics about orphaned babies. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Have you tried putting the baby back in the nest with mom and seeing if she'll take it? There is a small chance that mom may not know it's over there...That doesn't usually happen, but I don't think it could hurt to try.

If that doesn't work, all I can say is to keep the little one warm, and there are plenty of places to find out how to take care of orphaned rittens. Just google it if you can't find anything here--but I know you should be able to.

Good luck!
 

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i would try putting the baby back in the nest with the others and see if she starts caring for it again. if after several attempts she still wants nothing to do with it, unfortunately the baby will more than likely not make it and i would just let nature take its course at that point. if the mom rejects it it is more than likely because the baby would not have made it anyway. the mom rats seem to be able to tell if something is wrong with a baby and will discard it because in the wild they need to put all their time and energy towards the babies that have the best chance for survival. even if this baby doesn't have anything wrong with it and the mom just doesn't want to care for it the chances of it surviving are slim. at this age it is just too hard for you to take over the role of mom and feed it etc. if it was a good size fuzzy or older you would have a better chance but this baby being so young makes it near impossible to hand raise. i hope you can get the moma to take him/her back, but if not i am sorry for your loss and hopefully everything will go well with the others and you will soon have lots of little crawling fuzzballs to play with and love on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for everyones help but Ruth ended up taking the lil' one back!

So it being day two now what should we be doing? We'll continue feeding Ruth what she needs and making sure she has a lot of water but at what point should we let the babies know we exist and how does one do that?
 

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Flea606 said:
<snip>
at what point should we let the babies know we exist and how does one do that?
Only you can answer that... she's your rat & you know her best.

I do suggest that you find a way to move her away from the babies first before reaching in... even if you just move her to your shoulder. Just don't go reaching in because you might get one awful bite.

Get her to come to you & then once she is ok make your first visit brief. This would be a good time to hold them all as a group, remove a small amount of the most dirty bedding & replace with new bedding material. Add the new stuff to an area close to where she is keeping them & let her rebuild the area to her liking.

For the first week, keep the visits brief. Increase in the second week & by the 14th day you could be offering them tastes of Mom's food.

By the 3rd week Mom will seek you out so that she can cathch a break.

That's pretty much all I can offer
 

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I must agree with Julia - where she's a petstore girl you've had only a short amount of time, you'll want to avoid reaching in when she's on the nest. I'm fostering a mom and young litter, and even being as careful as possible she's nailed me afew times. They're very hormonal after giving birth, so always keep that in mind.

This is mom's second litter, and I found after the first got to be about 2 or so weeks old she was VERY happy to see me coming, because she learned that she could come out and play. Although the third week she was nippy again, but that we later discovered was because she was pregant and about to give birth XD.

I found by day 15-16 the babies were more than happy to start eating baby food or baby pablum in addition to nursing on mom. By day 17 they were all starting to figure out the dogg kibble/subees/table scraps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
See we arn't sure how Ruth feels about us since she was pregnant right when we got her. We did a lot of socialization with her but she never truly warmed up to us due to her pregnancy...I guess we'll just have to figure it out as we go.
 

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In order to start handling the babies you should probably get mum out of the cage for a few minutes and let her run around and relax. You can coax her out by using food eg. baby food on a spoon.
Preferably something she can't take and run away and munch in the corner.
At this time either you or your girlfriend distract the mum and play with her for a couple of minutes (not too long) while you handle the babies. Check for milk bands =).
Also maybe try rubbing your hands in the bedding first so the babies don't only smell like your hands, I heard on another thread that that caused the mum to attack one of her little ones. The baby was okay in the end, but don't take the risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How should I go about handling the babies? How should I get them out of their little nest without hurting them?
 

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I don't want to just reply with the obvious answer of "very carefully" but that is about all anyone can say

don't pinch them or pick them up as if you were plucking grapes from a bowl...

you can scoot them gently into your cupped hand by nudging them with your finger tips... hold a grouping of them that you can comfortably cup

they won't be able to twitch away from you for at least the first week

the second week they are still blind & just crawl around

by day 14 to 16... eyes are open & they are able to pull their bodies up fairly well... by day 20 they are pop-corning all over
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
When we called PetCo today to tell us they sold us a pregnant rat they said not to move the babies because as they might get our scent on them and then Ruth will reject them...I'm afraid of doing that!

Since the babies are only two days old should I wait another few days or can I start picking up the babies and letting them rest in my hand? Ruth is definitely pooped and is laying flat in the other little nest she's made for herself so I think getting her out wouldn't be too hard.
 

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Flea606 said:
When we called PetCo today to tell us they sold us a pregnant rat they said not to move the babies because as they might get our scent on them and then Ruth will reject them...I'm afraid of doing that!
misconception about rats

Though a Mother rat may reject a litter (or more likely, a sickly baby) it is not true of rats to reject a litter because of our scent. Another thing would be if the Mother feels threatened or that her nest is under due threat of a predator. This is why I suggest people observe their own rat & adjust your interaction with a new Mom based on what she reveals to you. So long as she does not pose you as a threat... it's all good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I tried to pick up Ruth and she ran very quickly back to her nest and sat on her babies! Does this mean I should wait longer or keep trying to pick her up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So it's been four days now and we have been petting Ruth a little but have mostly left her and her babies alone. Should we wait until the week is up to do something or is now a good time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So Ruth just buried her babies almost completely...is this normal? They're under a lot of bedding right now.
 
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