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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lots and lots of babies! I counted arounid 17 they were born this morning around 11, absolutly no complications. Is it ok to take momma out for a little bit away from the babies she's going stir crazy in the 10 gallon. And how long until I can start handling the babies? Thank you
 

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I think you can handle them now if the mother lets you. I think you can take the mother away for a little bit, but I'd make sure the babes don't get too cold without her. :?
 

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Mom will most likely not allow you to take her away

As it was said, you can handle if Mom lets you but it might be best to give her some privacy as well. You will have at least the next weeks to get to know the babies before separating & sending them to their new homes.

17 is a big litter. Mom only has 12 nipples. You may want to pick up the necessary items needed to help her out if she is unable to feed them all.

Esbilac puppy formula & KMR kitten formula are made by the same company & both are suitable for feeding the babies.

I would suggest getting the absolute smallest eye dropper which is typically stocked on the shelf near where the formula is.

The formula can be frozen since you can only store it in the can for 72 hours after opening it. I freeze it into shallow cubes at full strength & then allow it to thaw over night in the fridge in a small sealed container & then I will mix it 50/50 with water. You can pop it in the microwave for a couple seconds at a time to take the chill off. Always stir well after doing so.

I say this just as a precaution.

I've never had a litter that large in my care with a Mom to nurse but I have read that often a Mother will divide a large group so don't panic if you see this happen so long as you see milk bands.

You may be tempted to change the bedding. This isn't necessary but if you really feel compelled to do so, only remove a small amount & add the new in & allow her to build the nest.

Mom will also feel more secure about having a place to hide with her babies. Hopefully you already provided for this.

I know your excited but be careful about creating excessive stimulation for your young Mommy. She has a lot of hard work ahead of her & she will need peace & quiet... good food... & your loving care in order to get through the next couple of weeks.

Good luck
 

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The earlier the babies are handled, the better chance at being social. They need human interaction, and the more they are handled, the better they will be. It's okay to leave them alone for the most part the first day or so, but there's no harm in handling them from birth, if mama allows.

If mom is going nuts - and who wouldn't with 17 - and the babies are otherwise being cared for (milk bands), there is no reason to to let her out for 10-15 minutes, maybe a few times a day. Only if she wants out... Read her signals. I had one mom that wanted out-time from day one. I've had others that didn't. It's up to them... If they need a break, then there's no harm. Just be careful when attempting to touch the babies with mom around, until you know how she reacts.

With such a large litter, she may scatter/split the babies. This is normal, so don't worry... she's breaking up the babies into groups to feed. I would only supplement if mom is having problems, any babies aren't feeding (no milk bands). However, preparing in advance won't hurt, but many rat moms have done fine with large litters. Make sure to keep her milk supply up with things like eggs, soy milk, baby cereal, bits of chicken, chickpeas, blocks, etc. Make sure she always has plenty of water.

As a side note to Julia:

I've never had a litter that large in my care...
I thought you just had one litter, a hairless litter? Or maybe I'm getting confused. :?:
 

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if i remember right she did have a litter to care for but it was only 5 rittens large, which is MUCH smaller then 17. i think the comment was that she was not sure if mom would be able to handle that many babies because she only has 12 nipples but that she doesn't have any real experience with this either sio its only a theory on her part.

at least, that's what i gathered from that comment and the rest of the post.
 

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I only had 13 in my one and only ooops litter, and at first didnt' realize what she was doing separating a few from the group. I must annoyed her so much when I just kept returning them to the nest. LOL

Just watch for milk bellies and if they all have them you should be just fine. supplement mom like crazy, she's going to need it.

Bronwen didn't want out for the first few days, she was totally focused on her wee ones/eating/sleeping. I removed her anyways so I could check over the babies for milk bellies, but I only kept her away from them for short periods when they were pinkies.

I would start looking for a smaller sized bar space cage and soon. Mom and 17 in a 10 gallon? Eeegh, that won't last long at all...the smell of the milk poos will be extra bad in an aquarium. 8O I moved Bronny into a Martin's R-680 after a week and a bit.

Mom may get diarrhea and you will want to treat her with the BRAT diet. (banana, rice, brown preferably, applesauce and toast. After all sorts of probiotics this combo was suggested and did wonders. Mom may also lose condition (and most likely will with 17 hungry mouths to feed), so keep feeding her well and often. :)
 

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Congrats! That is an enormous litter. :wink:

My rat, Scout was just weaned from her litter last weekend, and all the babies are healthy/super-friendly. We started handling them the second day, upon the vet's suggestion...Scout gave us absolutely no trouble and didn't seem stressed at all by our handling them the day after (she was a little leery about us putting out hands in the cage the day of the birth...not aggressive, just a little nervous).

I totally agree that the earlier the rats are handled, the better. Our babies are incredibly tame at 5 1/2 weeks, which I attibute to early handling.

I also agree that, since it is such a large litter, a kitten supplement would be a good idea...just because nursing that many could be taxing on the mom. Scout only (ha) had 11, and she seemed worn out at times, naturally. So getting the mom out for breaks is a wonderful idea. We started doing this the 3rd day for about 10 minutes at a time, and increased the time as the babies got older and more independent. Does she have a cagemate? If so, when you get her out I reccommend letting her have a visit with her cagemate. Scout really seemed to enjoy "hanging out" with her buddy Eleanor during breaks from the babies.

Good luck, and post some pics soon! (I will too)
 

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i'll add my two bits for handling while everyone is at it.

i had 2 surprise litters. one mother would not let me handle the babies really until they were about 2 weeks old and their eyes were opening. that doesn't mean i didn't handle them anyway but i had to wear gloves to get them and be very careful of mom. as a result of the stress on mom i did not handle them as much as the other litter

the other litter on the other hand... the mother actually put the babies at only 2-3 days old in my hand then went off to play and explore. these babies were handled more often as mom preferred more out time and was thrilled when i made a little nest away from nest on my bed (she probably would have liked very much to have raised her babies there instead of the nursery actually. these babies were always more outgoing and trusting then the other litter. i really think the difference in the amount of handling early on made the difference.

so my point is it will greatly depend on each mom. the mothers in my care had their litters a day apart and both lived through the same upbringing in a pet store and from the same mill breeder (i suspected them to be sisters but i can't know for sure). yet their temperments were night and day and so were their confidence with humans and their babies.

so i think what everyone is trying to say about it is that you will want to handle the babies as often as you possibly can and to a great extent this will be dictated by the mother.

also, i think everyone want pictures.... :wink:
 

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To Kimmiekins

what I said was: I've never had a litter that large in my care with a Mom to nurse but I have read that often a Mother will divide a large group so don't panic if you see this happen so long as you see milk bands.

The litter that I had back in July came to me 14 days after Mom came to me. She was what I tease & call a Scottish Special, buy one today get several free tomorrow.

she only had 5

& the largest litter I have had in my care was 15, but I had no Mom... these were hand raised from birth, Mom didn't survive delivery & no, she wasn't mine... I was contacted by a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing who was freaked out about a delivery going bad. The mother was already deceased when I got there (it was like 4 am) & she didn't know what to do so I took them home with me.

I hope that clears up the confusion (even though I'm not sure where the confusion was)

<smile>

but now I read another post about me... how is this getting turned into a thread about me??

It isn't a theory of mine. 12 nipples, 17 babies... do the math.

I am sure I can pull up many post from people that will say the same thing I suggested, large litters often need a little human intervention. Look for milk bands & any signals that there is a failure to thrive. Rather than wait until you see the need, be preparred with the necessary items. I saw this because life has shown me that it never tosses things at you when it is convenient. She may discover a lack of milk bands late at night & not have any ability to get what is needed. Those several hours could be the matter of life or death.

I've hand raised many wild things, domestic pets & livestock on a small farm. Even mid-wifed goats, cattle & horses going through a breach & double breach births.

I have many "theories" but most are based on working knowledge. I'm just trying to help out here & offer a small bit of solid advice for someone that could very well use it in the near future.

I really hope for the best but it is very wise to plan for the worst.
 

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It's cool Kimmiekins

I haven't been on these boards nearly as long as I've had rats. (or any other pet for that matter)

I've had rats on & off since I was a young girl (I'm 40 now)

I couldn't tell you how many litters I've helped with nor could I recall every species I've assisted with babies.

I wish I could find the pics of the cougar cub I bottle raised. That was a wonderful summer. I was 14 & it was my 3 year of volunteering for a wild life sanctuary. I'm sure my Mother has them somewhere.
 

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those would be wonderful pictures if you are able to find them. i have a picture when i was a toddler cuddled up to a spotted lepard cub. not entirely sure the story of that. what i remember mom saying was that they were doing something at the mall to promote a zoo. the only zoo i know of around here is cherry brook and its dieing pretty babdly now. there's no more funding at all and the animals are old and dieing as well.

but all that is beside the point. the babies are only still a few hours old so i guess its a bit premature to ask for an update, however please try to stay to topic as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Callies pretty good shes hasn't tried to bite or anything, but you can tell that shes a little leery about putting my hands in the tank. I left them alone though all day except this morning when I counted the babies and made sure that they were all alive and healthy.


On a side note, remember the other girl I asked about, the one I wasn't sure was pregnant. Well guess what, she was! Gave birth to 8 beautiful healthy babies today. Couldn't believe that they gave birth on the same day! Unfortunatly Fiona is being VERY protective of the babies, nearly mauled my hand when i went to check on the babies. Though she lets my boyfriend handle them (she loves him) so I guess that gives me an excuse to have him over more! Lmao!! I'll post pics asap!
 
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