Rat Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1\12 - weight 6.4 oz - Blackstar is ticked to be in the Rat Manor all alone. She (still weird to think of 'him' ASA her) bruxed at me as I filled her bowl with the high protein lab block. She doesn't care for it but was happy with the teaspoon of dried mixed insects (sample from Lady Goldenfinch and Rat safe) although when I stroked her I got a meaningful nibble.

1\13 - weight 6.6 oz - This morning Blackstar had taken all of the fleece and made herself a nest near the food bowl on the second level. Conscious of the hazard to little ones and bar spacing I decided to move her to the sick tub, a large clear bin with many ventilation holes drilled in the lid. Blackstar halfheartedly watched me set up the bin, coming out of her nest only once I'd taken the water bottle from her cage. She stood and I noticed a roll/plumpness to her stomach that had never been there before.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,287 Posts
Do you know how far along she is?

Top tip for pregnant ladies is to feed higher levels of protein like you are, but not more food, just to help matters they often become more interested in food when pregnant. Feed them too much and they put on weight as well as baby weight. If they are chubby theres a much higher risk of complications and birthing difficulties
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I have no idea how far along she is, until a few days ago she was a he to my knowledge. This is my first female rat and my first pregnant animal of any sort. Another member gave me a great set of links for information that I read but I still feel like I'm in the dark. Nature will out but all help is appreciated!! Better food, not more food, check. I have my gents on an Oxbow adult rat and (heaven help, precoffee spelling) Haelan Telkad 2015? The high protein variety. Anywho- I picked out those blocks and that, with her fresh extras (1 blackberry and 1/2 tsp of fresh veggies one day, the insects the next, today will be some hardboiled egg), is what I have been feeding her. Is that good or do I need to adjust?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,287 Posts
From my understand HT 2015 is 15% protein? I'm not the best with blocks as in the main we make our own mixes in the UK (the other options are pretty dire). You really want around 18-20% protein for a pregnant or nursing mum. What I do here is mx my useual adult mix (around 14% protein) 9 parts to 1 part natural fish based dog food (around 25% protein, no crappy ingredients) which is an option to help pull yours a little higher, or possibly adding some of the insects each day, say a good pinch. Oxbow young rats is also higher and I think they do a HT 2018 which is 18% protein. You may need to limit her dry food though, around 10-15g per rat per day is a good rule of thumb for total amount. They can just over eat and that can be as much an issue.

In terms of the fresh foods, try to add in dark green leafy greens like kale, pakchoi, dandelion and spring greens, that's high in calcium which is handy. I would limit the berrys to once a week for now as its less useful.

Egg is great, as is cooked fish, chicken etc, just when you feed it make sure you reduce her amount of dry a bit too (I do it by roughly a third to half and feed a good dessert spoon of the wet food). I wouldn't give it more than twice a week for now as it is more calorifc. Tinned natural cat and puppy foods can also be used, but as you need so little its well worth getting good quality stuff. These will also come in handy when the kittens come.

Normally with a pregnant lady you notice her gaining weight and feeling different (kind of lower center of gravity) at week 1, by end of week two she generally has a pregnant looking shape. At the end of week three she will genrally look very pregnant and may have started to loose hair around her nipples. This is about the time I move mine into there birthing cage. Just before she gives birth her belly will kind of drop, before its quite high up and middleish, but it drops down so she looks like a weeble or a pear. She will also begin to hang around the nest and be reluctant to leave for long. About an hour or two before birth you may notice spotting, this is little bits of blood on the bedding and is a sign you should leave her be for a while. You will normally learn of the babies by hearing a sound quite like the tweeting of baby birds (eeping) and its worth sticking your head in and seeing if she's done or not yet.

If she's not given birth by 6 hours after this point its well worth checking she's not straining excessively as this can mean a baby is stuck and needs help budging it (you can ease it out yourself, the baby will likely have died and may be very large), you then need to monitor closely as she may be having a bad birth and need an emergency cesearian (well worth having a good vet you can trust that can potentially do this at short notice).

In terms of the
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,871 Posts
I would not use fleece for her to nest with. No tissues either. I use paper. The big problem with fleece is that babies can get under it and separated from the nest far far too easy compared to paper. It is even more so for new moms. Give her tons and tons of paper and she will go to heaven tearing it apart. It also keeps her busy & gives her something to do lol

I feed all of my rats oxbow. When moms are pregnant/nursing I give them alittle extra protein. I am fond of eggs, yogurt, chicken. Eggs seem to be rat crack in my experience. Right now I have a litter and my girl goes straight for the egg. I also love spring greens mix and give it to her often.

Some moms can get quite nippy. Hormones are raging and she is being protective. The worst bite I ever got was when with one of my first rats, she came to me pregnant and I had not had her very long. I reached into the cage to pour food into her dish and she attacked multiple times and I had bites all down my thumb. Omg it bled! I would be careful around her if she is already getting nippy. After the babies come I'd still be careful and always remove her first by luring her from the cage before u handle the babies.

I would make a real bin cage for her.
http://rat-breeder-confessions.blogspot.com/2015/10/diy-bin-cages.html
Using hardware cloth. Just poking holes is not alot of air flow and if she can reach the holes she may chew and escape.

Hardware cloth is cheap u can get it at any hardware type store, I get mine from tractor supply usually. Just make sure to put the cloth on the inside. I just use ALOT of normal zipties to attach it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,287 Posts
I use shredded card bedding plus torn up kitchen towel / paper wool bedding for my nesting mums, I like to throw in a couple of more interesting things for them too like toilet roll tubes, that they can incorporate in the sides and chew (it gives them something to do, mine are useually very frustrated by birthing cages).

I actually use a low level cage for my birthing cage, its a nice alternative to a bin cage which is a bit more flexible as they grow (though not as cheap). If you fancy that option you want one that's no bigger than 50 x 80 x 40 cm (w x l x h) and no smaller than half that size. The bar spacing needs to be under 1cm though or you risk babies falling or being pushed out. The advantage of a low level cage is once the babies are about 2 weeks you can set it up with a few hammocks, climbing things etc. as an interim stage before they upgrade to a proper cage. Help them find there feet before everything gets tall. I also usually add a branch or rope so mum can get away from the nest, but nothing she can sleep on away from the babies.

A bin cage is handy as it offers more shelter and is a bit warmer normally, also generally cheap and easy to put together.

Both are handy to have in regardless as an emergency / hospital / introduction etc cage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,871 Posts
mine are useually very frustrated by birthing cages
omg right? lol My current girl is going insane. She is so cranky about it. I have/had a nice nursery bin cage. It was large, had a shelf, hammock & wheel. & she gets time out of the cage. But it was not good enough for her and she chewed a hole and escaped.... I have used this forever and no one has done that before lol. It was my fault I used a bin that had bumps and edges she could chew on rather then nice straight sides. Live and learn.

But my bin cages have mesh sides for climbing and as I said hammocks and such so they are awesome for babies learning. But when my babies are 3 weeks old they get transferred into a cage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Got it! I will make make the new bin for her this weekend. She had a small stumble moment when she was on my shoulder earlier (I caught her at collarbone level in my cupped hands) but is not rounded yet so I think I have time. Usually she is very surefooted, a regular monkey rat and it scared me truth be told. Since then whenever I have handled her she has been weirdly placid vs her usual fight to run free. I will update with her weight and my observations tomorrow, going to do that every two days from here on. Thanks everyone for all the help and advice, from Blackstar and I both!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
1/14 - weight 6.5 oz - The drop in weight concerned me a good deal although I rationalized it by the 30 minute tardiness of her weight in. During playtime Blackstar was more sedate than normal (read not acting like she does speed recreationally) and tried very hard to visit the gents. We both ended up frustrated and I put her back in the Rat Manor after 20 minutes. I think she is lonely.

1/15 - weight 6.6 oz - Last night I mixed Bkackstar's food 9/1 with the Purina One we feed Teddy, our Saint. She thoroughly enjoyed it and ate her food faster than normal. Today she has been rather calm. She took the toilet paper I had given her when I put her back in the Rat Manor and made another nest, one she did not leave the three times I came to check on her. She had a squint/tired look that tugged at my heart. I have a board game night tonight at a friends house and when I was cooking the noodles I boiled her an egg that I will give her (an appropriately sized piece of) during free time when I get home.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,287 Posts
omg right? lol My current girl is going insane. She is so cranky about it. I have/had a nice nursery bin cage. It was large, had a shelf, hammock & wheel. & she gets time out of the cage. But it was not good enough for her and she chewed a hole and escaped.... I have used this forever and no one has done that before lol. It was my fault I used a bin that had bumps and edges she could chew on rather then nice straight sides. Live and learn.
My worst is a rather opinionated girl managing to force open the door of her birthing cage (it has a big top opening and 2 small doors on the front which are handy to tempt them out) just by getting paws on either side and pushing. I found her happily sat at the door looking out of me, with a large pile of her "occasional treat" roasted chicken bones in the cage next to the nest. She had a 1 week old litter at the time. I was terrified counting up all the little ones (who were fine and still very much in the nest). She apparently liked her birthing cage well enough to keep the babies in it, but wanted to be free to forage and explore the entire (thankfully rat safe) rat room whilst in it. I have tightened the door and invested in a bulldog clip to prevent this in the future.

It could have been worse, another friend had a rat chew her way out and carefully move all her babies into a nearby bale of chopped card. My friend came back to an empty cage and took a while tracking down her new nest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Sorry guys, I've been pretty sick here. So, a quick update. We had a series of fluctuations for three days between 6.7 and 6.8 oz and for a few I thought maybe we were both lucky. Tonight there was an explosion, 7.4 oz. I'm guessing it's pretty certain we have an expectant mother.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Blackstar had 15 beautiful babies Monday. Three did not make it through the first night. So far the rest are doing well, growing like mad and getting louder! Blackstar herself is doing well, she actually nipped me when I was checking on the babies. I'm surprisingly pleased about this as I felt she was too distant with them. She barely broke the skin and it started both of us. Since then she has been more attentive and I have been less hands-on-looking unless it's during her free range time.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top