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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I realize that breeding is strongly discouraged by private individuals, especially those with little experience such as us (Nick and Tiffany), but we are looking to take a shot at it.

Basically we have two males and 3 females that are currently separated with no intention of mixing them until we find out some information.

I am looking to breed our rats and give them away to be sold through a pet super store that lacks any pet rats despite the display case for them.

They have plenty of feeders however, which is where all of our female rats have been rescued from.

I am basically inquiring about how safe it is to breed feeders? And other then not being handled as much and raised for food purposes, is there anything unique that makes a feeder just that.. a feeder. (Something genetically?)

Our females are as follows
Powder = 100% Albino
Sugar = Albino with half her body Tan
Magics = Black and White

In addition, I've read the main thread for this forum with the story about Lil'Bit. It's sad but does that story play a direct roll in my breeding possibilities?

And finally, if those of you who have read this and feel that we should give it a go. Before we even think about that step, we could really use any and all resources about breeding rats that you all know of :)

Thanks,
Nick and Tiffany
 

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Wow.... you have touched a VERY VERY touchy subject on this forum and be prepared to be answering a LOT of questions. Almost everyone oon here is against feeder rats and selling them to pet stores. Even if they will be selling them as pets. I don't even see how someone can have the heart to even think about breeding as feeders.... I don't think you are gonna get any suppoort on here. People are just gonna tell you not to.... and agian very very touchy subject with feeder rat and the whole topic of breeding rats with unnone genetics.... Just be prepared for everyones questions..... Hope it all works out for you... Amber
 

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I don't know if Nick and Tiffany were asking about breeding TO BE feeders, I think that they were asking about breeding their rescued feeders, am I right? Still, I wouldn't breed for a pet store, you never know where those babies might end up :(

Then again, I might have the wrong idea altogether, and they may be enquiring about breeding feeders..
 

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In response to your request for information.

Dont do it.

Short, succinct and to the point.

Hope you heed this.
 

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Hmm...lets start here

Sugar - 100% Albino (we call them PEW's now, since a true albino is a genetically different rat)
Sugar - Albino with 1/2 her body tan is actually most likley a beige bareback with ruby eyes.
Magics - black and white? Hooded, berkshire?

OK these are phenotypes or what you can see, they have absolutely nothing to do with what babies your girls will produce (genotypes). The reason petstore rats are discouraged in breeding is that they are genetic timebombs. You have NO clue what genes they will carry and combine to create what disasters in the future. Using feeders is 10 times worse since these are rats that are all supposed to die and who cares how long they live, if they get respiratory infections, or tumours at a young age.

You can take your pretty Sugar girl and breed her to a pretty boy and end up with a huge litter of rats prone to die at 12 months old. I know of a girl in Winnipeg whose petstore rats are ancient at 18 months and most die at 10-15 months of age. ALL of them, not just a few. These are feeder stock. And to get that far they need a lot of medical attention. The ones that don't get vet care are the ones that die at 10 months. :(

You need to read up a lot on genetics, rat care, etc, before making this huge decision which is going to affect a lot of lives, not just the rats but the people who may buy your rats from this petstore. If you want to be a breeder you need to find an accredited breeder and get them to mentor you properly.

And if the petstore aren't able to sell your babies and they get too big do they get dumped in with their own feeders? Most likely. :(

You cannot guarantee good homes for your rats, you cannot guarantee anything for your babies, since you will have sold them to the petstore that already carries feeder rats.

If you continue on this path you will be considered a backyard breeder and they are the lowest of the low in the rat world. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well like we said, we are looking on finding information first. If we can't do it then we can't do it, if we can do it, we can do it. I know there is a demand but no rats. The petstore I am interested in is called PetLand and if they have pet rats to sell, they sell for less then the feeders. I know that I can get in touch with the lady that raises the feeder rats so I can at least ask about their genetics. It's not something I plan on doing tomorrow. It's just something I want to look into mainly because I don't like having my rats separated and don't really believe in spaying or nueitoring as I view that as a sad thing to do to any animal. I know some of the individuals that work at the petstore have their own rats that they take care of and were very knowledgable about rats and have helped me with my rat issues up until this point. I am confident in the demand that they will all find homes. I am confident that they workers know enough and care enough about rats to take good care of them. I just don't know about my ability and the genetic problems that my rats may have so this is what I wish to look into.
 

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while its commendable that you decided to gather information first (because it seems that most people just jump into this blindly), youve just got to realize that this is not a positive thing no matter how you slice it.

Listen, Ive not been a member here long. To be honest, Ive not been a rat owner long and to be even MORE honest, Ive not even been a rat lover all that long. The short time that I have been these things, Ive gotten more of an education than I ever wanted or thought was possible to obtain. The things that Ive learned propelled me into saying yes the first time that I got a phone call from a friend of a friend who had heard that I have pet rats, begging me to help them with unwanted pets. It has dominoed from there as most of the rat rescues in my area closed a while back due to broken hearts. I can see how this happens. Ive gone in a month from having a couple of pet rats to now having 15 of surrender rescues and 2 more that are to be dropped off tomorrow. Most of these are babies. Most of the babies come from people that bred them that got some information and thougth that they could do what others have spent years learning. It doesnt work. It never works.

By going ahead and doing this you arent helping anything or anyone; all you are doing is giving into a wanton hedonistic desire. Please dont do that. Please.

Ive not seen anything like what so many of the members here have seen. But Ive seen enough. I had my first experience of watching the life painfully slip from a wrongfully bred baby while he lay gasping in my hand. I cant tell you the pain that elicited - and I feel guilty even saying that I felt pain when I think of how much pain my sweet Nimbus endured. All because someone with a few weeks of 'knowledge' just HAD to breed some pretty babies. Please dont do it. Please.

No matter how much you read and research, you wont be prepared for this. Days, weeks or even months of research do NOT compare to the years of knowledge that a reputable breeder has. Again....Please, please, please dont do this. All life is precious - no life is disposable. Please do not create life that you really arent prepared to handle.

Im not being a b****. Im not being 'mean' to you. I dont even know you.
But I am asking you to rise above you desire and do the right thing.

Please. Please dont do this. Please.

Please.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The kind of opposition that I see here leaves me a little stunned. I doubt I will attempt this task now despite how perhaps a few words were enough to hit a nerve. But I would like the reasons why to at least be explained to me in great detail, at least, this is what we ask. Why do the rats die from this genetic fault? Are my rats that I have now going to possibly die because of this? How do you become a good breeder with the right rats? Am I ever going to find my favorite work pen?

These are the questions I ask at the very least be answered so that we can at least further understand the issue...
 

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The feeder breeder won't be able to tell you about genetics because unlike responsible/ethical breeders doesn't follow her lines sionce they are meant to be food at a young age.
A good pet rat breeder keeps 1-2 of the offspring of a litter so they can see how the line is working out first hand. If there are any health or temperament issues, etc. A responsible breeder has a contract where adopters have to let them know about any health/temperament issues, deaths, etc. NARR (North American Rat Registry) is a huge database on breeders. Once you pay your fee, you can enter all your lines information, transfers of breeding stock, even pet-only rats. Other owners/breeders who are members of NARR can see the background and pedigrees of their rats and other breeder's rats, etc. Most breeders have at least 3 generations of their rats pedigree known, most have more, and only breed healthy stock.

I have had one oops litter that taught me a lot. Only one baby died from unknown causes at about 5 months of age. It was devastating to hear of it. The girl I adopted to, hadn't told me her circumstances had changed and her she couldn't afford vet care any longer. Dwynn died along with an unrelated male to what seemed like a toxin. :(

One litter takes a lot of effort, money, and tears. You need to have a good vet on hand just in case there is a problem during labour. The mother may not have enough milk or may reject the babies, meaning handfeeding where most of them will die. Megacolon can easily affect your rats because the high-white markings sometimes "hide" their appearance. :(

I hope you luck out and your sweet rats live healthy until 3 but its very unlikely. The average rat goes to the vet at least 2-3 times in their life. We'll say one URI, something else and a euthanasia.

How old are your rats now? I take it no health problems yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Other then the ones that I have already listed on this forum, no. But I do have four that have died for a random reason or another. Only one was for unknown complications. These rats are listed in a post on the memory lane forum.

Powder the female albino is currently recovering in isolation due to some sort of internal injury, busted blood vessel or of the sort and although slowly, she is making a recovery.

The female are still young but there is no telling for the males. The males were bought AS pets while the females were all rescued and were supposed to be feeders.
 

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Breeding feeders is kinda like shooting guns off in the dark. You'll hit something, but likely as not it won't be good.

You have no idea what these rats have in their genetics. Even if they're healthy and live to be five years old with now problems, the rittens could die at a year of PT or be spastic.

Especially when you take into effect the personalities of your males. I would NEVER breed an aggressive rat or one that's spastic....

And you have no idea what's in their genetics either. "Bred to be pets" doesn't really mean much. Often times it means they were the prettier or healthier rittens in a litter and got shuffled over to the 'pet' pile.

And then to just GIVE the babes to the store... What will the store do with them if they cannot sell one? What if they all turn out like Sugar, PEW? Many people don't want/don't like PEW or think they're lab rats and not pets. What if they all turn out agouti, brown ticked fur? Or black? What will the store do if the rats are getting big and out of their 'cute' stage? Will they dump them over in the feeder bin?

Add to this... how could you ever keep the store in supply? You couldn't, not without effectively killing your females.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I'm not looking to keep the store in supply, just help out those who are already looking for rats. The stores in my areas that actually carry rats are gone out of business, this is the only one i can find and they are feeders only b/c there is noone that breeds over pets over here.

But still, I am still wanting to know what is in this genetics that causes this. I'm sure someone knows the answer...
 

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What genetics causes what? A short lifespan?

This can come from a tendency towards cancer, towards weakness against myco, genetic heart defects, or any other organ for that matter... all of which would lead to a rat that, minus this genetic timebomb would live a long happy live, and instead is doomed to die early.

You cannot know if your rat has this sort of thing without watching many generations grow to adulthood and die of natural causes.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
But why are these rats so easily taken by these genetic defects. Why is it such a large scale problem. If I went into the sewers of new york city and grabbed two rats and breed them would their babies die? I have so many questions, I just don't understand. It seems mind boggling. Does it just affect possible feeder rats? ect. ect.
 

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If the sewer rats had these defects, then yes.

Actually it's fairly likely they'd die young, wild rats don't live as long.

But you have to consider that feeders are breed for QUANTITY. This means that the breeder may not care if brother inseminates mother, or sister, or daughter. Uncontrolled and unmonitored, this leads to amplification of bad traits. The breeder doesn't care. Most of the rats will be fed too young to know if they have anything bad. It's only when they become pets or are bred for pets that it's apparent that their genetics have suffered horribly due to this mass-output of rats.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So outside of feeders, there is no less of a chance then any other rat or do rats in general have a strong chance of having a life treatening defect unlike say.. humans.
 

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Pet rats are, by necessity, inbred, therefore prone to strange things. That's how you domesticate a creature. Reputable breeders breed to minimize the poor effects. But what you're talking about is not reputable breeding.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I guess I'll dump the breeding idea then. I think I'm going to build a split cage now instead, females on one side, males on the other. Stick a roasted peanut inbetween the bars and see which side wins :p
 

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Wouldn't suggest it... rats can and will breed through cage bars.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'll double up the wall then with a tiny space inbetween. Remember, I'm making the cage so unless one of the males is a good shot, I'm pretty sure I'll have it covered.
 
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