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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 5 month old rat, Misty, weighed 232 grams on September 8th when she got pregnant. She now weighs 292 grams. I have questions about preparing for the birth below:

1) Can a smaller doe survive giving birth?
2) When do I separate her from her cage mate (now,or one day before her due date)?
3) Is aspen a bad choice for bedding for newborn pups? If so, what should I be lining her cage with (towels, fleece)?
4) Why are my rat's nipples not getting bigger? How pronounced are they supposed to get?
5) Do rats know when they are pregnant?

Due to my rat's smaller size, she was able to squeeze through the bars of my male rat's cage. When I heard a commotion in the male rat's cage I went to investigate and saw my female being chased around by my 26 month old male. I took her out and noticed a mucous plug and have been weighing Misty every day at the same time.
 

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She should be fine. I used fleece and paper towels as bedding in the birthing cage. The bottom was fleece, and then I had lots of loose scraps of fleece and paper towel that she dragged around for her nest. Don't use towels, as they can have loose strings when your rat chews on them and those strings can tangle with the babies and hurt them. My oopsie momma was much younger and very small, and had a perfectly nice and healthy litter of 9. I didn't see her nipples until very close to the birth. I would separate about a day before the earliest possible due date. Give her as much stuff to do in her birth cage as you can that would be safe to babies (paper towel rolls to chew, etc.) and spend as much time with her as you can to alleviate the utter boredom she'll experience for a week until the birth.

Once the babies were born, I put a little hammock in the cage so that Mom could get away when she wanted to.

Add egg and/or soy baby formula to mom's diet.

Good luck, and hope to see pics of the bubs!
 

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1. From what I've seen, smaller females don't tend to have trouble giving birth or caring for their litters. It's a good idea to keep track of your female during birth to make sure there's no problems. One rare but potential problem would be a pup getting stuck in the birthing canal; so if you notice one or two pups and then nothing more, there's a possibility that one is stuck.

2. I would separate her a few days before her due date or whenever you notice her nesting.

3. While some may disagree, aspen is not bad for pups and I actually prefer it to things such as paper bedding or tissue that tends to stick to the pups after they're born.

4.It's completely natural for your girl's nipples to become much more prominent.

5. That's an interesting question. Their bodies certainly know that they're pregnant and some rats become more aggressive/protective, though that could also be attributed to hormone change. Rats are very intelligent and I do believe they have the capacity to show emotion.
 

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1. She should be fine. She is on the smaller side & not ideal bit still at a safe size. Luckily most of the time rats have very little issues. keep an eye on her and make sure she is getting lots of yummy foods and extra protein rich foods depending on what you currently feed her.

2. Yes separate her now. Rats pregnancies last about 19-23 days, usually 21 is average. So if she was knocked up on the 8th this would be like 18 days so definitely get her to herself now.

3. Alot of people use aspen and it is fine. I like using newspaper and paper towels myself. And when they hit near 2 weeks I switch them to fleece. Towels are not a good choice.

4. It is not like super standout ish I guess. This was my girl like about a week before she gave birth.


5. hmm I dont think it is something they know in the same way we do. But they probably know something is going on and their instincts kick in. Do be careful alot of moms have raging hormones during this time and sometimes even very sweet rats may get aggressive.


Some helpful links for the babies development & sexing:
http://www.afrma.org/babyratdevdaily.htm
http://tigertailrattery.weebly.com/growth-picture-journal.html
http://ratguide.com/breeding/baby_development/birth_to_weaning.php
http://www.onceuponamischief.com/p/sexing-and.html
http://mainelyratrescue.org/rattieblog2/?p=42
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the answers. ^^^Look at dat belly. So cute!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My girl gave birth today to ten pups inside of a shoebox. She gained 105 grams so I knew there'd be around ten.
 

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congrats on the babies! 10 eek! I wish u the best of luck! have u checked the sexes yet? Do u plan on keeping any?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This morning the litter is down to nine babies. I am disappointed. She and her babies are secure in their nestbox and there is food and water. I don't know why she consumed one of them. My rat mom is seven months old, not five like I thought which was figured out last night by checking the calendar.


I left her 4-month old littermate in with her per the University of Guelph's suggestion. However, her littermate is always sleeping alone and probably isn't aloud to touch the rat pups. I plan on taking the cagemate out to leave mom and her pups alone to see if that makes a difference.


Marking the pups seems like a good idea too and I may do it with Crayola markers with numbers (1-9). I dunno I am a wee bit upset.


I watched a rat mom eat a baby on Youtube and couldn't' help but wonder how much pain the baby was in being eaten alive and wonder if the baby was thinking what a betrayal this act was. Very sad.

The sexes haven't been checked yet and now I am afraid to touch the pups in case this causes mom stress. However, I do think marking them is a good idea. As far as keeping them goes, I'll probably keep six if she doesn't consume her litter and rehome three. But if I get attached to all of them that will be a different story!
 

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I already answered on your other thread but I will repeat don't be sad! And don't go looking for sad videos lol!

It is most likely that the baby died of natural causes and the mom cleaned it up. If the baby was killed by the mom which is so very unlikely it may have been because something was wrong with the baby and it was not going to live anyways.

It is a tragic sad thing but it happens. It is just a part of nature. your rat is ok and not evil or cruel :)

Do not be afraid to handle them. :)
 
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