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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently posted about our adopted rat having a surprise litter today (see "Caring for unexpected...") but forgot to ask if barricading her litter into the hut she gave birth in is normal? She spent time with them earlier today but tonight built up a "Wall" of shredded paper and cut up towel pieces in front of the only opening to the hut. Will she simply tear through that to get back to the babies in the morning or sooner? She is just climbing around in the cage seemingly a bit agitated or eager to get out of the cage as she was biting at it a bit. How long can the babies be left "unattended" by mom? Her sister is also in the cage at this time but is uninterested in the babies. She too is going to give birth any day now (Don't ask).

Thx
 

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They need Mom often at this age. When I had my accidental litter I didn't give any hides. Also if you have an aquarium or a bin cage you can move them too it might be better. Babies can fall through some bars.
 

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I would separate the females into their own cages. While sometimes things can go well, it can often go very very bad. There has been alot of cases where moms will actually fight over babies and kill them in doing so. They can also steal the babies back and forth so much that babies r not being fed and moms are stressed out. It is much safer for the babies to be alone with their own mom.

It is very natural for a mom to barracade the babies in her nest. It helps keep them safe, dark, protected, and so they don't wander out. Her instincts are to build a perfect nest for them.

Moms have alot of hormones raging at this time, this can lead to her being a bit more aggressive and bitey. Give her space. When u go to handle the babies, lure her out of the cage.

She wont spend 24/7 with the babies. If she isn't with them it is fine, she knows what she is doing. If you want to let her out to play, which I do suggest 10-15 mins at first. Then when they are a week old 20 mins or so and 2 weeks old 30 mins several times a day is great.

When u check the babies make sure they have a milk band. A white line on their tummy, this shows they are being fed well. if they do then u have no worries.

I also agree about the cage. A tank or bin cage is much better. I have a thread on building a bin cage here:
http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?284234-How-to-make-a-bin-cage
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks again for the help. Using a tote/bin never occurred to me. Duh! Some of the Milk bands are very bright and noticeable others are not. Can the mothers sense some may be getting more than others and feed those babies accordingly or is it just dumb luck of the draw when feeding time comes along? I have used newspaper & clean shredded I the cages for a long time and recently put some strips squares of terry towel in with them, anything u would change about that? Thx again
 

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It is pretty much survival of the fittest in action. The babies that push and fight for a nipple get fed more.

Im not sure if u said how many babies she had? Extra large litters can mean some babies suffer from lack of food. You can rotate the babies out. If you notice some that have no or barely a milk band put them in with mom by themselves just for alittle bit. Or try supplementing them which is pretty difficult. A soy milk but u have to go slow and not get any in their nose. Using a paintbrush u can have some luck. But rotating the babies is probably good.

U have two moms right? If one has a smaller litter and one has a larger litter u can move some babies around.

I wouldn';t use towel. It easily gets loose strings which can choke the babies. It isn't even good for adults as they can get toes stuck. I prefer not to use any type of cloth on pinkies. Newspaper & papertowels. When they are about 1 week-2 u can use fleece as long as there is nothing loose or holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It is pretty much survival of the fittest in action. The babies that push and fight for a nipple get fed more.

Im not sure if u said how many babies she had? Extra large litters can mean some babies suffer from lack of food. You can rotate the babies out. If you notice some that have no or barely a milk band put them in with mom by themselves just for alittle bit. Or try supplementing them which is pretty difficult. A soy milk but u have to go slow and not get any in their nose. Using a paintbrush u can have some luck. But rotating the babies is probably good.

U have two moms right? If one has a smaller litter and one has a larger litter u can move some babies around.

I wouldn';t use towel. It easily gets loose strings which can choke the babies. It isn't even good for adults as they can get toes stuck. I prefer not to use any type of cloth on pinkies. Newspaper & papertowels. When they are about 1 week-2 u can use fleece as long as there is nothing loose or holes.

Yes two moms one with 12 pups (now 10) the newest had 15 and all of them survived the night. and seem to be doing well today, should I still relieve her of a couple pups to give them a better chance with the other mom?
Is it better to turn my makeshift hut upside down or convert it to a regular box with no top to keep a better eye on the pups as another member said they do, cutting an exit a ways up from the floor to prevent accidentally dragging pups out with her when she exits? Thanks
 

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Yeah rats have 12 nipples so more than that it can be difficult. With both litters 12 + you might wanna take 2 from the 15 and give it to the 12 mom. But it may also depend on if one is a better mom. I would just daily check the milk bands and rotate the babies out if needed to let others get more time. 10-15 mins alone with mom a few times a day is fine.

I like to just use a regular box for babies. I find the moms do better with darkness and being able to hide. She still might drag out babies with her. Usually that only happens if something disturbs her so she exists quickly. I try to only bother her and the babies when she isn't nursing.
 
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