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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday we went to the pet store and took home Beatriz and her three week old, Dakota. I know we shouldn't get pet store rats but we were there to pick from feeder bins. There were only males though. When I saw Beatriz I totally fell in love with her. I woke up in the middle of the night to speaking and thought something was wrong with little Dakota. Instead I found 12 to 13 pinkies! Beatriz is away from them right now but I think she is just tired from that birth. She has yet to feed them though. Beatriz is very friendly and the pet store lady said she held her last litter the moment they were born so I am sure she will let me touch them. I have no idea how to care for newborns, what do I do?! Also can a female three week old be with them?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I said Dakota was three weeks, but she is really about four.
Since we had no idea Beatriz was pregnant we didn't set her up in a safe place for newborns. Is it safe to move her and the babies to a tank?
 

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You can move them with their current bedding to a tank and you shouldn't have any problems. Poor mama must have gotten pregnant soon after giving birth.
 

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I took the first baby out of the. Age and went back to the pet store to buy one of her siblings. It turned out they were all boys so little Dakota in all by herself her the time being. It turns out the the first litter was born on August 22. So Dakota is only 18 days old. The mama is taking good care of her babies but she just looks so tired. The babies were born early, mom had back to back births and there are 12 babies. I haven't seen any milk bands yet but mom is nursing them. The babies are very active and adorable. I really hope they make it.
 

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I can see a milk band in the picture you posted and they would definitely not be active if they weren't getting any milk, so I'd say there's probably nothing to worry about there. Give mom some extra fats and protein (eggs, avocado, soy formula, etc.) to help her keep up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Look at their milk bands now!
 

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rats.jpg All twelve babies are still with us, this is a picture of eight of them. I am not sure what color the ones will be that are still pink. The mom had a few tan ones in the first litter, so maybe they will be tan. The denty headed one is the capped one, she is adorable!
 

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Congrats on the babies. I'd suggest start looking for homes now and have them ready as it may be difficult to find some.

In case u didn't know, you should have another cage for the boys ready. I would separate them from mom & sis at 4.5-a few days before 5 weeks old. It is possible for them to get mom pregnant after 5 weeks.
The girls can stay with mom until they find homes.
I would find them homes between 6-8 weeks and not before.

Be prepared at about 3 weeks they begin eating food quite a bit and the amount of food u will go through can be shocking lol

Here are some helpful sites:

Baby rat development:
http://www.afrma.org/babyratdevdaily.htm
http://tigertailrattery.weebly.com/growth-picture-journal.html
http://www.onceuponamischief.com/p/sexing-and.html

sexing:
Rats can actually be sexes from day 1. But there are windows where it is easier. About 3 weeks the girls may be easy to tell as they will have nipples, boys do not. But never go by nipples alone as once they get super fuzzy it can be a pain to find them lol. By 4-5 weeks the boys will be very obvious.
If u need help post pics & someone will help.
http://mainelyratrescue.org/rattieblog2/?p=42
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks! I plan to list them on Petfinder (curtesy listing from the cat rescue I volunteer with) as soon as their eyes open. I have found a great home for two of the boys already, but I know it is going to be hard. We have are a cage for the boys already, mama will have to free range for her free time when we separate them. I know she gets tired of the little buggers constantly begging to nurse! I was thinking the boys could go in pairs at five weeks since thy can't be with their mom any longer at that time. What is the reason for keeping them until eight weeks?
 

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Well they are still babies who need alot of attention. I really like keeping my girls for as long as possible with the mom as they still learn so much from her. But yeah since the boys have to be separated that part doesn't help them much anymore.

But it is still a very crucial point in their little rat lives where they are learning how to be a rat and how to be social. Even just being with their sibs teaches them alot of rat behavior. I like to compare it with puppies who learn important social graces like bite inhibition. I think it also helps them be more social towards other rats which will lead to easier introductions in the future.

As caregivers I also feel it is our responsibility to make them very well adjusted- again such an important time in their life. It is great to introduce them to alot of different circumstances. Different people, noises, different types of rooms, scents, toys, wheels, how to climb, free range, etc... making an all around well adjusted bomb proof rat!

Plus getting taken away from your home early when u r still alittle baby can be scary. While they are away from their mom, they are still used to this as their home and their brothers and you.

There is also some safety reasons. While it is very possible to find a really awesome home with experienced rat owners, some ppl may never of had rats before or not be experienced with babies.

Those few weeks babies grow quite alot!

What are they going to feed them? Having a high quality diet with extra protein is very important to babies growth.

If someone has other rats, usually at 5 weeks babies are still small and not yet mature enough to really be housed with adult rats. They could easily be injured, bug the adults and not understand when the adults try to put them in their place leading to injuries as well.

Rat proofing and cage bars need extra thought for smaller babies. Alot of ppl do not think of this or think it will be ok.

It is up to you ofcourse. But that is some of the reasons I like to adopt later rather than sooner.
 
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