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Discussion Starter #1
I read that you don't want the Dad with the Mom for 24 hours after she gives birth due to something called postpartum estrus. But then it said that after that, she is nursing and can't get pregnant for awhile. My Mom and Dad were buddies before the litter and seem to miss each other. Can I put the whole family in the same cage now? Litter of 14 (!!) is three days old now. Thanks for any thoughts!
 

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mom can get pregnant immediately after the litter is born i believe. I have never bred but this was always my understanding.
 

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Yes, they certainly can get pregnant immediately after giving birth. That's why my rescue has 2 litters, the second born when the first was just over 3 weeks old.

Can I ask why you want to put dad back in? The best thing to do would be wait until you separate the babies by sex, and introduce the boys to dad.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I read that yes, they can get pregnant immediately after giving birth, but then the fertility goes away for awhile during nursing. If this is so, it seems like it would be hard to then figure out when the fertility returns.

The only reason I was wanting to put Mom and Dad back together was because I was anthropomorphizing; thinking they were "lonely" without each other lately. But I don't think there's much to be done about that, except I could have Dad neutered.
 

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Having dad neutered is a wonderful alternative, if you'd like to keep them together. Remember to wait the 3 weeks after before putting him with any females.

AFAIK, no, the fertility doesn't go away when a mother is nursing. Like I said, I've got proof of that. :p The male was kept with the female and the first litter for 2 weeks until we separated then, upon arrival at the rescue.
 

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many larger animals experience a lactating anestrus, but rodents don't usually. if you think about it, it makes sense. for a cow or a horse, one baby a year is enough, and you don't want to get pregnant again cuz then you can't raise your baby, especially when it takes you a year or two before they are old enough to be on their own. for an animal like a rat, babies should be had as often as possible because most of them will die before adulthood. have lots of babies often, and kick them out at 5-7 weeks of age! i guess i don't have a valid reasoning for why humans can get preggers right away as well, but whatever. i'm sure i could think one up if i spent more time on it, but my contacts are wigging out, lol.
 

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Definately don't put the male back in with them. It is very hard for a nursing mother to also get pregnant again and have to support her own body, a nursing litter, and a developing one. It could result in a lot of sick babies. Sometimes mothers will kill one of the litters in order to 'save' the other in her thinking.

I actually fostered a litter last year because of that kind of thing. She (a petstore rat) had three litters back and back and quit producing milk for the babies. The last litter she actually chewed the tail of two and the foot off of another baby because she was in such distress. The petstore would have let them starve to death, but I couldn't. I got them and a nursing mother (with two little ones) and raised them here.

And if you want to get the best health benefits for your rats, have her spayed :D
 
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