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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me be blunt - I don't believe in the beginner, easy way. lol In getting my first rats, I would like to rescue them from a feeder bin where they are without mother until they starve or freeze to death. I understand the chances of this failing as well as how hard it will be but my husband is leaving for work for six months (I've brought this up before and he was no fan of the alarms required) so this is really my chance. I am getting information on their post-walking cage in another section on this forum but I have baby questions!
  • Would a critter keeper be the best home for the new babies? A heating pad (for hermit crabs) will be placed on one side. I would also like to purchase a sputnik or the likes to place in here with scraps to keep them as warm as possible and maybe off the plastic bottom that is in contact with the heating pad. Is this a bad idea?
  • Would nesting material be beneficial? I have found a local shop that sells nesting material for small animals and want to know if this or fleece scraps is better for them to help keep them warm.
  • Soy infant formula is best, correct? What is better/has a longer shelf life - condensed or powder? While I am willing to spend money on raising these little ones, I do not want to spend more than is necessary. I don't have "disposable" income in the manner that while I can afford to do this, I cannot afford to buy $30 worth of formula two and three times a week. lol
  • Is artificial heat better or worse than natural heat? I can and will make a pouch for these babies and carry them around with me most of the day every day if it is best for them. I am up early (5-6am) and go to bed decently late (9-10pm). so they would be with me more than not if that's best. It's not like they'll be noticeable as I run errands in a pouch in my shirt or wherever it ends up. lol
  • When choosing a paint brush to feed them with, should I be looking for something around the size (at the base) of a matchstick carrot? I don't want to get something too big or too small and it be MY fault that something happens. We live out in the sticks and even Wal-mart is a half-hour drive.
  • Do I need purified, distilled, nursery or otherwise water to heat and mix with their formula and food? We get city water and I'm not too confident about that. We don't even drink it because it just tastes funny. I have fish that live in it but that doesn't mean it's okay for little ratties.
I would appreciate everyone's input to help me give them a chance at life or at least an ending filled with love. If I have more questions (which I'm sure I will) I will definitely post them here.
 

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1. I wouldn't use a heating pad for tiny pups since they can't move off of it if they're too warm.
2. Fleece is probably the best nesting/cozy material you can use.
3. Powdered soy formula. The condensed only stays for about 24-48 hours after opening I think so a lot would likely go to waste. If you have a target nearby, their store brand is about $15 for a can that will last you their entire infancy plus some.
4. I don't really know lol I'd be a bit wary of carrying them around like that until they're a couple of weeks old just because they're so tiny and fragile, but that's just me.
5. You can probably buy a pack of paintbrushes fairly cheap and test what works best. I have no experience with paintbrush feeding.
6. If you have something like a britta pitcher that filters that'd be fine I think, otherwise you can do bottled. I've always given my animals filtered water and haven't seen any adverse effects.

Hope this helps, I'm sure more will chime in with other advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
With the formula, there are versions for colic, it's best to get just regular soy formula, correct?
 

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I would also just add that since you said you live farther out, make sure you've already found a good exotics vet within a reasonable distance. Sometimes in less populated areas they aren't as common
 

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I don't have any advice for you since the pinkies that grew up in my house had their mothers to raise them, but I love what you're doing. I hope that someday I get the same opportunity.

Make sure you post loads of pictures!
 

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I personally wouldnt get pinks. Get some fuzzies around a week and a half old or two weeks.
They will be MUCH more likely to survive but will have also gotten the benefit of mothers milk for a few weeks.
 

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I have taken in fuzzies twice now to handraise as pets. The first group was all boys so I placed them as a group to a wonderful home. The second time I actually went looking for fuzzies to raise as pets for myself. I don't regret for a second ,they are wonderful little girls and are the sweetest,most engaging rats I have ever known. They either see themselves as my children or me as a rat
My girls were about 10 days old when i got them,they had hair,but their eyes were still closed
I kept my girls in a Critter Keeper lined with craft felt. Underneath there was a reptile heating pad covering 2/3 on the bottom of the critter keeper(on the outside). It is really hard to find a heating pad that doesn't have an auto off feature. The hanging close to the bottom was a reptile there ometer so I could see the temp in the cage.
I bought powdered soy formula that was in single serving tubes,i would ipen a tube and measure out the amount of formu!a i expected to use in one feeding,close the tube and store the unmixed powder in the fridge u til the next feeding. In the beginning i was feeding the girls every 3 hours during the day and once in the middle of the night.
When i first bought the girls(for the whopping sum of .75 each,i would carry them around the house in a sugar glider pouch,but within a few days they were able to climb out,so it didn't last long. For tiny babies I don't think the pouch would get or stay warm enough even next to your skin
I didnt use a paint brush to feed my girls. I used a brand new sterile 3ml dropper bottle I would squeeze out a drop let them lick and swallow and repeat. It took a while,but never once did they aspirate. Also my girls needed to be pottied before they would settle down to eat. I just used a cotton ball dipped in very warm water.That way i could see if they actually peed or not
i did boil the water for my girls,because i was iffy about our water as well
 

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I second not getting pinkies. They have a much lower chance of survival being hand-raised than one with fur growing in. Also, I'm not sure what pet store you're going to, but generally they don't separate babies from momma until they sell them as far as I know... They'd lose a lot of product otherwise, if they let them starve/freeze to death before they sold.

There is a video series on youtube of someone raising pinky mice. I haven't watched them, but I know it's helped a lot of people here handraise rats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNX2byHbppM

Best of luck in your quest to handraise rats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
justboringSarah, what temp did you keep them at? Was is a probe thermometer or a dial?

FallDeere, they take them away at various ages and place them in bins for snake owners. When they die, they freeze them and sell them as frozen feeders. They aren't loosing anything as most snake owners don't feed live anymore anyways.

Regarding pinks vs fuzzies, we'll see what they have and what condition they are in when we get there. If the pinks are in horrid conditions and the fuzzies look much better, I will get fuzzies. I'm not trying to set myself up for failure but I WOULD like to get pinkies and try with them.
 

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Regarding the heating pad, fuzzies are able to move themselves better than pinks which is why I cautioned against it in the first place. Having a laser thermometer is going to be imperative if you do use a heating pad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What temp should they stay at? I am a little afraid to use a heating pad now for the simple fact that I CAN'T watch it every second of every day. I can, however, set up the bin with a space heater near it and monitor it for a few days to get the temps just right.
 

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I'd personally use the space heater as long as it's heating indirectly. Body temp for rats it 99.4F. I'd get a laser thermometer ($10-20 at Home Depot) and check their tempature directly. I think that a space heater in a small area would probably work best. If you're having trouble keeping heat in, you can try a closet or large box (large enough to fit heater cage and all) with a towel draped halfway over it. I've had to do all kinds of crazy rigs for my beardy lol so please excuse the ghetto ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm all for ghetto ideas if they work! I'm on a budget I'd really like to stay within! I have just the plan and I'll see about getting a laser thermometer, thank you!
 

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If they are letting babies starve and freeze to death that is animal curelty and should be reported. Animals are required a certain level of care regardless of their purpose. Heck in a lot of places I've seen you can sacrifice animals for religious purposes so long as they are kept humanely and not tortured before death. I've heard of places that pull pinks and fuzzies when someone wants to purchase them, but any time I have heard of people placing them in bins to die it has always been something illegal.
 

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I second what Lita said. No way that should be allowed. I think you should look into stopping that practice before you give that store any of your money (which in turn supports that store and allows them to continue). Shoot, they may even be banking on some people wanting to save them and spending money there to do so...

That's just awful and cruel.
 

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Sadly it is allowed,at least at every reptile show I have ever been too. The pinkies and fuzzies are just brought to the shows in small rubbermaids. One guy even brings a small freezer for whatever babies don't survive
 

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A reptile show is different from a petstore. I think it's worth looking into reporting them. At least get some animal rights activist on their case or something.

Shoot, even looking at it from the coldest perspective I can think of, it still seems like an awful business decision. A plump well fed pinky would feed a snake better than one that starved to death.
 

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This is horrible and cruel. If you can try and get ones with fur at least. This way they've had roughly a week of mums milk. It increases the chance of survival. honestly i hate the whole idea of taking kits of mum before its time abs away from there siblings for that matter. It would be kinder to foster a mum and her litter if you want the experience of raising babies. I've found that babies raised on mum and with siblings not only grow better but also do better mentally. They learn there ratty manners. learn humans are brill but are more balanced than those that imprint on humans. It's less of a clingy relationship and more of one of mutual love and affection. More equal than about dependance.
 
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