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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, a few days before Christmas, my parents finally agreed to my plea to get a rat. So, skipping the big commercial stores, we headed off to a nice little store with a good reputation, where it was plain to see that the ratties were well cared for, and where they were also supplied by a known breeder. I had my heart set on a female, but at the moment they said that they only had males(for obvious reasons). Well, it turned out there was some sort of mix-up, and there was indeed a female in with the males. o.o I hadn't done any research into rat reproduction at that point, thinking that I probably wouldn't ever need that knowledge, so I had no idea how easy it was for a female to get pregnant. And... I got her. :S

So, the story, in short: I now have my little ratty, Chinook, PLUS 13 little ones. >< I don't have much experience with rats, although I have owned several other small rodents, and I would REALLY appreciate advice right now. Now, before anyone asks, I have started to look for good homes for the eepers, as well as taking safety precautions and whatever else with the cage(removing levels and hammocks, providing nesting). That aside, I'm a bit concerned with general care etc. I have been reading up, and saw that high-protein foods are important, so I'm giving her some egg and (low fat)yogurt on top of her regular food. Is this okay?

I've also noticed that she will step on/over them, and generally not be very careful with the little guys. Is this... normal? I'm not overly concerned, since otherwise she seems to be doing a pretty good job, but...
 

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Yeah eggs are great!
Also, the mum stepping over the little ones is common, My girl pretty much acted like a truck at times and just ran over the little ones :D They didnt get injured.Also its hard for the mum to watch out for the little ones anyway, since they hang on the nipples all the time
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh good. :D Whenever I looked in on her, she was always pushing them around, or standing on them. I kept thinking "Geez, Chi-chan. You aren't very nice, are you?"

Every once in a while, she comes out of her cage to run around a bit, which I gather is good. Is there anything I need to do to keep the eepers warm while she's out?
 

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you could hold and handle them. they'll need your attentions early on if they are to become the very best that they can be. handling them from birth is a good way to do this. if momma is trusting you enough to go play and explore (which is good) then she's trusting you enough to handle and tend to them while she's gone. keep them with you, in your hands or laying against your body, to keep them warm. mom won't be gone too long and this is an excellent chance to start them on socializing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great. ^^ I've been touching them and holding them for short periods, so I'll continue to do that. She doesn't seem to be one of these mothers who become really protective, since she barely reacts when I put my hand in to handle her or the babes.

After doing a second count, I've discovered that there are, in fact, 14 eepers. She had one of them hidden the other times I'd tried counting. XD

They are small, and squeaky, and generally very sweet. I'll try and get some pics up as soon as I can.
 

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p.s. while you are trying to find them homes, you might as well pick out your "favorite" (if it's moral to play favorites, lol) little girl baby or two and keep her as a companion for mom. you'll hear a million times how ratties do better in groups, and you have a group that you know will get along now anyway!

you'll have to learn how to tell the boys and girls apart, and get at least the boys into their own cage or adopted out at around 5 weeks of age, so they don't get mom or their sisters pregnant. if you post pics of their belly-sides, people here can help you sex them, even at pinky stage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sadly, one of the eepers didn't make it to see her first week. -sigh- I found her on Friday, alone and cold in a corner of the nest. She was always quite a bit smaller than the others were, so maybe it was just rotten luck/genes, or maybe she just couldn't compete for mom's milk.

I've also been noticing that a couple of the others are a bit lethargic and weak, so I was wondering if there is something you could recommend that I do to help them. I did some research on hand-feeding baby rats, and tried feeding two of them (one who was very small and the other who seemed particularly lacking in strength) some warm soy milk. They were both hungry, so maybe Chinook is having trouble feeding them all? The others all seemed fine, and though I offered them some milk, they weren't really interested. Should I keep doing a couple of times per day, if they want it? I will do anything in my power to keep these babies alive, so advice is greatly appreciated. >>

I have managed to sex them all, with help from a site I found. There were 4 girls and 10 boys (0.0), up till the little one passed on, so now I'm down to 3 girls. I am going to keep one of the girls, and may get one of the boys neutered and keep him as well. ^^
 

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The babies should have a "milk band" indicating their tummies are full. As they get older, this band is less visible. I remember being worried about that same thing, but everything was fine. Chinook seems like she is attending to her babies. Keep an eye on things, but if you really feel like they're not getting enough nutrition, you must prepare to feed them by hand. As my babies got a little older they still nursed, but I started providing them with kitten food soaked with baby formula in a Tupperware lid. Mommies love it, too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, I ended up supplementing the small ones for a few days, if they seemed like they needed it. The tiny one is still small, but it's not as painfully obvious as it was when she was only about half the size of the others. And the other girl filled out a bit (though she was just as long as her siblings, she was very, very slender) and, though a little quieter than the others, is no longer acting lethargic. :D The quiet one, by the way, is named Sepia, and she is the one I shall be keeping.

Fuzz!




Meh darling Sepia. ^^


Harlequin (the little one)


The pinkies at a week old.


A picture of Chinook. (A couple of days before she dropped, and before she had started showing enough signs for us to start getting suspicious. We thought she was just a bit chunky. XD)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I have another question to ask now. I read somewhere that mothers sometimes end up with wet droppings, and I was sort of hoping that almost 3 weeks in, she wouldn't get that at all. But... She's been leaving droppings EVERYWHERE (She's litter trained. Or... she was.), and they smell awful. I have to clean the cage pretty much everyday, and do spot cleanings a little more often than that, but it still smells really, really strong. I can hardly stand to go near the cage, so I can only imagine how awful it must be for the poor ratties. :?

I've been feeding her lab blocks, along with egg or tuna for protein and whatever other rattie-friendly food I have on hand. I read somewhere about feeding them binding foods when they have wet droppings, but I can't remember what they are. I'll try to find that again...

Any suggestions?
 

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you didn't give their birth date but I assume they are at least 3 weeks old now... they should be eating very well now & nursing less from Mom... correct?

If so... cut out some of the foods you have been giving her.. start with the tuna

I would just feed her as you normally fed her & over the next few days cut out the foods you recently added.

as for binding foods... offer her a small piece of banana
 

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aawww.....so cute! also, did you say you had to clean their cage everyday??!!! oh my gosh! you must use a LOT of beddding that way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Luckily, whatever the problem was seems to have cleared up by now. I was starting to get real tired of scrubbing that darn tray. :roll: I'm a bit perplexed as to what it was, because not only did she suddenly stop using her litter tray, but the size and number of her poops increased drastically. The problem got better slowly though, and now it's gone completely.

I /was/ (and still am) going through a lot of bedding... but the petstore I buy from is not overly expensive, so it wasn't too bad. What was worse was the effort and time I had to put into cleaning it. But the ratlings are pooping all over the place now, so I still have to clean it pretty frequently. XDD I can change the litter in their litter tray, leave the room, come back 5 minutes later, and it will be strewn with maybe one or two big ratty poops, and a ton of mini-poops. And there will likely be a couple of them sleeping/tussling/grooming amidst all that too. :lol:

They were born the 11th of January, by the way. So they were indeed nearly 3 weeks old when you posted, Passion. It doesn't seem to have been something funky in her diet that was causing the problem, since it resolved itself without me changing anything much... is that what you were getting at?

They are 4 weeks old now, to the day. I was planning to separate the boys from mom and the girls around Monday. I believe that would be around 4.5 weeks, would it not? Does that sound reasonable? The babies are only nursing once or twice a day, now, that I see. They're devouring the solids that I give them, so I'm guessing that they're probably capable of living without mom. I also read most places that 4 and a half weeks is a good age to separate, although a few recommended 5 or even 6. Somehow, I can't imagine Chinook putting up with the little buggers for that long. XDD They swarm her whenever she's eating and they decide they want a share of the treat, and I think she's pretty thoroughly worn out. I have my extra cage set up, and I move them in there for a couple of hours a day to give her a bit of a rest. It also makes it a lot easier to clean out the litter dish and refill the food without being mobbed, too. So anytime they're ready, I can easily move them over.
 
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