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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!
To my utter amazement, I got my very first pair of rats yesterday! (If you read my story a few topics back, you’ll know why!) They are two black hooded girls, and I’m not sure if they’re from the same litter but they get along well. One of them seems about 2 months, and the other 6 weeks. I call them Lucky Vegas Roulette & Million Dollar baby.
They were easy to handle at the pet store, and I fell in love with them. <3
I brought them home and set up the cage, and when I let them inside, they hid in the nest I made for them (tissue box) and didn’t come out. I decided to leave them alone, since they were probably scared senseless! A couple of hours later I checked on them, and they were eating out of the food dish. As soon as I came into the room and turned on the light, they went back to the nest! Do you think that they’ll get more used to me today, and how much should I handle them when I get back from school? I want to socialize them well!
Thanks!

p.s. I have them on Nutro Lite food (no lab blocks) & aspen bedding. They are in a wire cage, which I’ll be connecting to another cage as they grow bigger. :]
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D

Yay! I'm so glad it worked out for you :D

I like to hover around the cages of new rats, talking to them, looking in on them, so they get used to my voice and presence. Spend at least 20 minutes with each rat (although in my opinion, the more time you spend with them, the better). Talk to them a lot, give them treats. You'll get to know them quickly too ^_^

Oh and if they're not the same age, they can't be from the same litter :)
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D

:lol:
Mana said:
Yay! I'm so glad it worked out for you :D

I like to hover around the cages of new rats, talking to them, looking in on them, so they get used to my voice and presence. Spend at least 20 minutes with each rat (although in my opinion, the more time you spend with them, the better). Talk to them a lot, give them treats. You'll get to know them quickly too ^_^

Oh and if they're not the same age, they can't be from the same litter :)
Thanks for the advice!
I'll be sure to stay near the cage when i get home..and i'll try to take them out once they seem more comfortable in my presence. =]
Haha, I know they're not probably not from the same litter..but they act like sisters! One of them still has sort of "baby" fur and the other doesn't...that threw me off a bit. Any other first time ratty advice?
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

If you have/had female rats, feel free to share your experiences with them.
I'd like to know more of what i can expect. (in general, since i know all ratties are different) :]
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

CongRATS!!

First advice, try to find them a good quality block. Dog food is not formulated for rats and so doesn't contain all the nutrients a rat needs.

My female rats are usually very productive. They love to redecorate their cage, explore and have fun. They are generally always on the go go go.
The more you are around the rats and interact with them, the more they will come to want to be with you.
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

Yes, be prepared to NEVER have the cage look the same way in the morning as it did the night before. They do the strangest things, I swear! :)
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

aww, that sounds like fun! <3
i'd love to see my ratties exploring, but they are STILL afraid to come out of the tissue box. granted, i've only had them a day, but they just sleep/rest in the box and don't come out..i guess they aren't used to me and my schedule yet, so they play at night. :/
i sat with them for 4 hours after school today, talked to them, read aloud from a newspaper for 30 mins, and gave them treats, but they're still shy.
any ideas of what else i can do to bond with them?
or should i just take the box out of the cage and sorta "make" them hang out with me?
advice is appreciated! :]

p.s. i thought nutro lite was a good quality dog food..i thought you could supplement it with veggies/fruits/ grains and it's as good as lab blocks? :?
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

You've only had them a day... give them some time. You're doing fine. ;)

Nutro Lite is an acceptable supplement for a staple food, when paired with a grain mix. This is usually meant for people who don't have access to a quality block like Owbow or HT. There are other dog foods that are also acceptable for use.
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

Forensic said:
You've only had them a day... give them some time. You're doing fine. ;)

Nutro Lite is an acceptable supplement for a staple food, when paired with a grain mix. This is usually meant for people who don't have access to a quality block like Owbow or HT. There are other dog foods that are also acceptable for use.
haha, thanks.
positive reinforcement works wonders. ;]
i took them out and handled them for about 20 mins each..they pooped a bit and were pretty active, but occasionally they sat in my hands and groomed. do they do that because they're scared?
and how long will it take before they start to get more comfortable? i plan on handling them for a little longer tomorrow and quite a lot on the weekend.
advice is great..i'm eager to do the best i can!
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

The pooping is likely because they're scared... the grooming seems to be their little way of calming themselves down. Or, sometimes, you just have to get your coat JUST right, you know? :lol:
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

Aww, I’m glad you got your ratties! How did you convince your mom?

It’ll take some time, but they’ll come around. Sounds like you’re starting on the right foot.

It took a month or so of daily handling for my girls to become completely comfortable with me and to start actively seeking my attention.
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

Sonoma said:
Aww, I’m glad you got your ratties! How did you convince your mom?

It’ll take some time, but they’ll come around. Sounds like you’re starting on the right foot.

It took a month or so of daily handling for my girls to become completely comfortable with me and to start actively seeking my attention.
actually..i really don't know how i convinced my mom.
she just randomly decided to go "check out" the rats at the pet store..when i was holding them, she was eyeing them suspiciously, but she still agreed to let me buy them!
and today she said told me she thought they were CUTE.
she thought they were so scary before..go figure! :lol:
a month, eh? well, i can wait that long for them to be comfortable, as a good bond between my ratties & me is really important! :]
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

Forensic said:
The pooping is likely because they're scared... the grooming seems to be their little way of calming themselves down. Or, sometimes, you just have to get your coat JUST right, you know? :lol:
haha, yeah!
it's especially cute when they're grooming each other. And when they yawn..! <3
basically everything they do makes me smile. :]
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

A really frightened rat will shiver when they are in your lap, their eyes/body will be tense and sometimes their eyes will be half-closed making you think they are sleepy, then they shiver. They are ready to endure what "awfulness" is about to happen. Talk gently/softly and handle them slowly and the same way and they will learn you aren't going to hurt/eat them. :) Treats offered may be taken but also may not, do not think of it as an insult. Some rats never ever take treats out of a cage. :)

I usually sit on a couch with the new rats. Let them hide behide the pillow and come out in their own time. I will read a book or watch TV so I am not focusing on them. Some are quick to come out and explore, others are much more timid. Once they are more comfortable, you can start talking to them, and maybe a very gentle and occasional stroke over their back. Watch their body language, they will "tell" you what speed to go at in their socialization. :D

CongRATS!!
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

and when you hear a sound like they're grinding their teeth, its called bruxing and can either mean they are grinding their teeth..... OR.... they're happy little ratties :) there's nothing quite like hearing ratties bruxing away happily for the first time :)
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

One thing that I feel helped to socialize my two rats is I took an old T-Shirt, wore it around for a day and then cut it up and put the pieces into their home. They quickly pulled it all into their den and made it into a little bed for themselves, and hopefully got a little more used to my smell that way.

Did it work? Honestly, who knows... but I know the girls were far more into me for the first few weeks than my girlfriend, so who knows!

Another thing is to be patient. Put some treats in your hand, put your hand inside their cage, and sit down and read a book/watch TV with your hand still in there. They'll be out to explore your hand soon enough, probably grabbing pieces of food and running back to their hideaway at first, but eventually they'll decide it's safe to stay by your hand to eat it... just don't move too much, and let them come to you.
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

I used the bathroom to get my rats use to me. I'd let them loose and then let them come to me on their own time. I've got two new ones I picked up yesterday. I just stuck my hand in the cage and the little one who apparently isn't hand tame hopped right into my hand and ran up onto my shoulder.

I find that letting them come out of their shells works the best. My three older ladies love me and I didn't do anything special. Pretty much just took them out in a safe area, sat down while they roamed and ignored them. I didn't feed treats or anything. I think they think I'm some sort of jungle gym.
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

thanks for all the tips!
i'm going to try sitting on my couch, "ignoring" them, and letting them come as close to me as they choose.
and yeah, they were shivering when i pick them up..poor babies. the pet store really didn't socialize them well..i think they were meant as feeders.
:(
i put some socks that i wore for a day on top of the cage to help them get used to my smell, and they've pulled both of them half way inside the cage. haha. :lol:
today they don't seem as scared..they actually came out and played/ate while i sat beside the cage talking to them.
i sat by the cage, talked to them, for about 3.5 hours today. i leave the radio on low volume when i leave the room, so they adjust to human voices and noise.
i can't wait until they're more comfortable and brux or even boggle..that'll be a great day! <3

i've noticed that Vegas ( couple weeks older) is the dominant one, and "protects" Baby when someone strange (i.e. my brother) peers into the cage. Vegas starts the playfights, and Baby grooms her when she's had enough.
Baby is a bit of a food hog, but it's really cute to watch her scamper around the cage hunting for food.

i'm having so much fun just watching them..imagine how it'll be when they're that playful out of the cage! =)

oh, and i'm planning on doing something like this for their food schedule:

saturday: nutro lite & grains & treats
sunday: nutro lite & veggies/fruits & treats

and then alternate like that (reducing the treats as they become more sociable). does that sound okay? any other input/advice/female ratty stories are appreciated! :]
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

I'd do Nutro Lite and grains everyday. The grain mix delivers a lot of the missing vitamins and such in the dog food.
 

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Re: HURRAY! -thrilled- :D (Female Rat Owners Share Advice pl

jellybeanqueen said:
today she said told me she thought they were CUTE.
she thought they were so scary before..go figure! :lol:
Hehe...it wont be long before you catch her sneaking them some treats. :lol:
 
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