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I'm proud to say that my little girl, Amalia, has just given birth to 13 beautiful pups *pregnancy was not intended*and I have to say that I'm just glad that she's been such a good mother! Here's the problem, the pups are over a week old, so she's been relaxing a lot more when my fiance and I go into the cage, but we didn't like what we saw very much - up her front two arms, hair is missing in the front of her arms. I've tried to figure it out, but I'm such a worry wart with them that I almost panicked! My best guess is either that it's 1.) Dietary : We switched to Oxbow Adult Rat Food about a month ago, we were one of the many misinformed about the quality of a seed diet only - we do occasionally mix in a bit of their old food but more so like a treat - which is what she's been eating now. 2.) Too much protein : We've given her eggs to share with our others, but we realized she was hording them all, but we didn't know if it's hurt since she was pregnant so we continued as normal. 3. Her cage : Amelia became a trouble maker when she was pregnant when she was making her nest, she tore holes all over her fleece blanket that was taped down underneath! So, we cut up scraps, and made a little nesting box for her. When she gave birth, she chewed down her low-hanging hammock to hide the babies under; so currently the bottom floor is just the plastic of the Critter Nation cage, but since the babies were laying on the scraps, we didn't want to move them too early, so we just cleaned the poop as we normally do. Her top shelf still has some fabric, which she's been trying to destroy as well. I've wondered if maybe it's because her cage didn't get it's daily *if not weekly* cleanings? **We don't use bedding, as I stated before we use fabric and wash them/change them out.* 4.) Boredom : Due to her destruction problem, we had to take out some toys and play items, but since it's only been a week, I find this one the most unlikely.

She was housed with her sister, Tabitha, before she became slightly aggressive from her hormones, so we separated the cage completely and left her up top alone, she seemed perfectly content, I mean, she got a lot of attention, she had a lot of housing, and a few toys laying around *She's not a big player* but now that I've looked back on a picture from the first day of her birth, I've noticed that she had some light hair loss on her arms even then. Before, when our land lord became suddenly not okay with rats, we had to store Tabitha and Amelia in a smaller cage (it was just beginner cage we had) at a friend's for about.. well, maybe three weeks? He had to keep them in the garage, due to his dogs, but he never brought a car or anything in, he would turn on the lights for some light, and open it up on a nice day for some air, but when Amalia came home, she had a patch gone from her stomach as well! Tabitha was fine, and since we didn't find any bugs, we assumed it was maybe a tick before and she got it off. The bedding was changed upon arrival home the next day, and the cage was spotless, since then, we've obviously upgraded their house and even gave them two new playmates (Two of my other rats, Missy and Annabelle, had passed away and they were all living together before, they became very nonmoving and bored, so we got some younger ones and they accepted them the first day of introduction without any problems) since then, we've had no problems with any other hair loss other than now.

I hope I have given enough background to help anyone who will answer, I'm really worried about Amalia. :(

DSC03874.jpg

Here's a picture of our mama the first day after birth (July 14th) and you can kind of see her arms are thinning, I'm really thinking it's the protein, but what do you guys think?
 
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