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So, I've had two little girl-ratties for four months now. I got them rather unintentionally - they were abandoned outside my apartment building and someone went, "Oh! I know someone who knows how to deal with animals, let's take them to her!"... I'd planned on taking them to the nearest pet store, but I'd been looking after my friend's three males and sort of fell in love with the girls before I could arrange to have them transported to the next town (where the nearest pet store is located). Kept the gals seperate from the boys, returned the boys to my friend when she was able to take them back...

And I enjoyed having them so much, I potato chipped. *hangs her head* Yes, I went and got a third little female. I've had her about a week now.

:oops: I've got a problem.

I'm becoming fairly suspicious that she may be pregnant. (A friend who has more experience than I is as sure as he can be without waiting for her to actually give birth.) There's a fairly good (say 95% chance) that she was in with several males between age five and six-and-a-half weeks. She's about seven and a half weeks old now. And I really don't mind taking extra care of her, caring for her young, and finding good homes for them, but while I've dealt with pregnant everything from fish to dairy cattle over the years, pregnant rats are a new one to me.

I've found a lot of information online about why not to breed, but not a lot that's really helpful for someone who's ended up with a pregnant rat on their hands.

Sooooooo... what do I do in terms of extra care for a pregnant rat? She's got her own cage, but should I put her on a special diet? She's great about being handled, but I don't want to injure her fetuses or make her nervous if I don't know exactly when she'll be due. Should I stop handling her until after she's given birth? She's on aspen shavings right now, will that be too harsh for the pups (kits? What do you call a baby rat?) and if so, what should I change it to? Are there any signs that I can watch for that will indicate birth is imminent? Anything else that you think I might need/want to know?

Thank you for your time.
 

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Re: Possibly pregnant rat, I really need some questions answ

Giving expectant mothers extra protein and such is recommended, many rats like eggs. Try giving her scraps of cloth or towels to see if she'll nest. What sort of cage is she in?

If you can, weigh her daily. Young rats put on weight like lightning, but pregnant mums would do so moreso.

Can you take a picture of her and post it here? Perhaps standing up/showing her belly if she has one?

Rats gestation is 21 days. After you've had her longer than that you'll likely be out of the woods.

Pregnant rats may have personality changes, nesting behaviors, gain weight, have very obvious nipples, lose hair about the nipples, etc. All of this may appear only in the last week or so of pregnancy.

Generally the number of pups is about 6-12, but can be anywhere from 1-22.

Find a vet now that you could bring her to if complications arise.

You can also watch for signs of heat, arching back, wriggling ears, about every 4-5 days. If she's in heat I would think she's not pregnant.

Here's hoping for the best for you!
 

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Re: Possibly pregnant rat, I really need some questions answ

Thank you! I think I'll start keeping a written record of her weight on a daily basis. (She's at about 5oz/140g as of right now.) *insert sounds of "dangit Phantom! Stay on the scale! Please?"*

I'll get a picture taken when my roommate gets home with his camera :)

I'm taking my 'hound in for his yearly checkup on Monday, so I'm planning to take the opportunity to discuss rats with my (new, I've moved) vet then (and if my vet doesn't know anything about them, I'll go vet hunting!)

Oh, and right now she's in a cage that's about 2.5 feet long by 1.5 feet wide by 1.5 feet high with a plastic shelf and ramp that turns it into a two level cage. (With assorted toys, climbing thingies, ect. Who me? Spoil my rats? Naaaaaaah *tries to look innocent*)
 

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Re: Possibly pregnant rat, I really need some questions answ

Sounds good! If she does have babies you'll probably want to remove the shelf... Sometimes mothers will get up and walk with the babies still suckling and they could fall off the shelf and be injured. :)

(And none of my boys like to stay on the scale either. :lol: )
 

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Re: Possibly pregnant rat, I really need some questions answ

what the bar spacing on that cage? and how deep is the tray? you don't want one of the babies rolling out or when they get older and exploring getting out accidently. tanks are not recommended to keep rats in normally but they are about the safest thing you can get for expenctant moms and young young babies. tipping it on its side and rigging up a lid will improve ventalation.

Here's a pic of the nurseries i rigged up when i was in the same position you're in (though double-i had to 2 pet store preggers)


aspen is fine for young babies to be born in. try to stay away from paper towels or toliet paper for nesting material until after the babies are born. sometimes the paper will get stuck to the wet baby and it gets stuck on the wrong spot or if the mother is too attentive at getting it off it can hurt the baby. after the babies are born and dry you can switch to whichever bedding you want them on. i use yesterday's news for its surperb ordor and moisture absorbtion.

as for what to feed mom, forensic has pretty much answered that. extra protein then the normal fruits and veggies and staple. if the mother is that young and if she is a little malnourished from being at the pet store i would put her on kitten chow for a week or so to give her the extra boost. her body is being doubly taxed right now with her own body growth and the growth of the babies so she'll need a good booster especailly if she's already thin (which unfortunately most pet store rats are).

as for handling. don't play too rough with her and the babies should be just fine. it would be best if you handled her a lot while she's in the mood to let you. the better she trusts you now the easier it will be to handle the babies. who will need to be handled from day one every day of their lives if they are to become the best possible pet that they can be.

as to what babies are called, well there is no one firm standard. some people call them pups, others kittens. personally i like rittens and that's what i use. something neat to know is that a female rat is called a doe and the males are called bucks btw. in fact i believe there is a sticky in one of the sections with a bunch of neat rat facts if you care to look for it.

finally you can browse through this section to read about advice already given that may be forgotten to be given again. there are times when the thread evolves to ethics about breeding rather in then the babies on the way but normally there is some good information in there before that point that you may want to look at. if you have any questions about what you read or any more questions about your situation, don't hesitate to ask. we are always glad to help someone in a situation like yours.
 

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Re: Possibly pregnant rat, I really need some questions answ

Many thanks!

The tray looks to be four or five inches deep, the mesh is roughly 1/2" (but that's just a guess, I don't have the tape measure handy).

I'm very glad I decided to get just one store-gal and not two! Two litters would probably drive me bonkers.

PS: Phantom (the pregnant one) is curled up on my shoulder as I type this. :)
 

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Re: Possibly pregnant rat, I really need some questions answ

Can I just say I'm so glad how smoothly this post is going! Good information, support, I'm just so happy right now. :]

Good luck, cant wait to see pictures, or the preggers and her babies! If there are any.
 

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Re: Possibly pregnant rat, I really need some questions answ

Weight gain is one of the big tell's in pregnancy. But if your girly was 5-6.5 weeks old when she had access to males she might not be pregnant. IF the boys were her brothers, its unlikely. If they were adult males and a adult female was there as well, its unlikely. If it was a grown male with only the baby females, there's a possibility.

Here is my Bronny's weight gain chart so you can see the comparison.
Rat gestation is actually 21-23 days so you have to wait until after the 23rd day. Below that is a chart I created for my tiny dumbo girl whom I took in after her sister had an oops litter of 2 and ignored the eepers after the first feeding. I took them in so there would be no more chances at pregnancy. Tosca ended up not pregnant but her little belly had a whole lot of us fooled. That weight gain though settled down. I used her sister Cleo as the control so you could see a young rat (they were 11 weeks old when I got them) growing.

Bronwen’s Weight Gain (4 months old)
Aug. 11 – 267 g
Aug. 14 – 279 g
Aug. 15 – 289 g
Aug. 16 – 302 g
Aug. 17 – 319 g
Aug. 18 – 329 g
Aug. 19 – 346 g
Aug. 20 – 354 g
Aug. 21 – 364 g (birth)
Sept. 14 – 278 g

Tosca’s Weight Gain ( & her previously. pregnant sister Cleo as my control) (11 weeks old)

Tosca Cleo
Nov. 26 – 164 g Nov. 26 – 171 g

Nov. 27 – 179 g Nov. 27 – 177 g

Nov. 28 – 188 g Nov. 28 – 177 g

Nov. 29 – 187 g Nov. 29 – 181 g
 
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