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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I grew up with rats as pets from age 8 -12 or so. We had some young ones but I have realized that I have completely forgotten what that journey looked like. I only really remember them as awesome adult rats who loved playing and cuddling with us.

I'm super excited to say I have adopted 4 adorable 5 week old boy babies (siblings) as of yesterday and they are understandably pretty nervous whenever I approach the cage. I plan to follow this guide of gradual socialization (Timid or Aggressive Rat? Trust Training) - but I guess I didn't realize they'd basically want to hide anytime they see me which is a bit sad (haha). This will definitely require some patience!

My question is - what solid food treats would be best for rats as young as mine?

Also - do you have any hot tips outside of what was outlined in the gradual socialization guide?

Thank you!!
 

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For food, cheerios are your best bet in my opinion!
For training, to sum it up, give treats while putting your rats in situations that it should get used to. For example, lure your rat out of boxes to get it to be confident out of a box. Give treats to your rats when you see them come to the door to get them to look forward to seeing you. Give treats while holding, handling, or petting your rats. Also, if it turns out they are afraid of something slowly get them used to it with treats!!! Yeah treats are great. Another thing you should do is sit near the cage and just give some licking treats or even without giving, just so they can get used to your presence, also while doing free roaming.

*Last Note: If your rats are showing signs of distress you should backtrack and start over for that specific thing your training for, your trying to make these things feel pleasant for your rat, not force it to do things. And most important if your rat freezes in a tense way just leave him until he snaps out of it, this can be a fight or flee decision, your rat is in middle of processing something, or your rat is overwhelmed.
 

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Th
For food, cheerios are your best bet in my opinion!
For training, to sum it up, give treats while putting your rats in situations that it should get used to. For example, lure your rat out of boxes to get it to be confident out of a box. Give treats to your rats when you see them come to the door to get them to look forward to seeing you. Give treats while holding, handling, or petting your rats. Also, if it turns out they are afraid of something slowly get them used to it with treats!!! Yeah treats are great. Another thing you should do is sit near the cage and just give some licking treats or even without giving, just so they can get used to your presence, also while doing free roaming.

*Last Note: If your rats are showing signs of distress you should backtrack and start over for that specific thing your training for, your trying to make these things feel pleasant for your rat, not force it to do things. And most important if your rat freezes in a tense way just leave him until he snaps out of it, this can be a fight or flee decision, your rat is in middle of processing something, or your rat is overwhelmed.
Thank you!!! It's ridiculous how much I'm obsessing on doing this as perfectly as I can. :p

One thing I've noticed - three seem to be bonded really well and sleep together while one seems to mostly sleep apart from the group... is this concerning?
 

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How many times has this happened? Has he been avoiding them other then that?
I got them yesterday evening so it's only about 24 hours now! I'll keep an eye on it but it seems like so far this one isn't really spending much time with the others. Every time I look, three are together while the other is somewhere else. He is also often trembling a bit... maybe a bit freaked out (more than the norm)? They're siblings btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
He never seems at ease really. He does eat and drink though (on his own - not from me). Checked again today as I got up and it looks like he is sleeping separately from the group again. Right now they're all too nervous about me so they all hide when I'm near. Ironically enough the one I'm concerned about is the only one that doesn't scramble and hide completely when I'm near. Just really surprised to see one setting himself apart from the group... didn't expect that especially as they're all siblings.

Free roaming has not happened yet - I've only had them for two days now and they're only 5 weeks old. I will let them roam my bathroom (bring cage into bathroom and just hang out there with the cage door open) soon though and see how that goes.
 

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If he's not eating or drinking you should get that checked out by a vet. If he's not sleeping with the others it doesn't automatically mean that he doesn't like them, he could just be more confident or he just likes sleeping separately, I would wait a little longer to see how he progresses over time. For the others acting nervous once they know you better, I'm sure you'll win their trust 😁
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for your opinion!!! So far he's definitely eating/drinking on his own so that's good. I'll keep an eye on him.
 

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I talked to the folks who had the babies before me and they say that this one was particularly attached to a brother that their daughter is keeping. So maybe a mixture of missing his brother and adjusting to new cage & home etc.

I feel a bit better with this information. Today he ate some puffed rice out of my hand which is a big step. He’s shaking a lot though which feels concerning for me but he’s definitely eating and drinking and at times exploring a bit. Is it normal for a baby rat to consistently shake/tremble a lot when upset?

I’ll keep monitoring for a few days and maybe look into taking him to the vet if this continues but since he’s so young and in a new environment - I don’t really want to make it worse for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here’s video I took a bit earlier when he was laying down for a bit. You can see him shaking. It’s maybe him bruxing due to anxiety? I’m deaf so I can’t really try listening to see if I hear anything: IMG_7758.MOV
 

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On the bright side - I hand-fed all the rats tonight! They willingly came up to me to grab a treat (nervously of course) and I was finally able to see that the one I'm concerned about is a bit smaller than the rest. Perhaps a bit of a runt... and I noticed how the other rats are a bit bossy around him (snatching food out of his hand). So that's something to be mindful of.
 

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I would get him checked by a vet, I've worked with fearful rats and I've heard stories of fearful rats and I've never seen them shake like that, on the hand great job with the training!
 

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It does kinda look like he's just breathing, but I wouldn't take my word for it, it wouldn't be bruxing because then his eyes would be going in and out.
 

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My little girl did exactly the same (talking Bout the video You sent) and soon after she died.. please get him checked by the vet immidietly, It could be early signs of Pituitary Tumor.. I don't wants to scare You but most of the time when a rat is ill They will not enjoy the company of their Cage mates and seperate themselves from the rest. Please keep us updated. 💙
 
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