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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so this has been bugging me for a long time and I want some honest, knowledgeable answers. The b word I'm talking about is breeders. NOTE: I'm NOT talking about intentional breeding itself. What I want to know is, what do ethical, reputable breeders do as far as setup and care? Do good breeders use rat racks? Cages? Do they provide in cage stimulation? What does a good breeders cage system look like? All the breeders I've ever seen use rat racks/bins. Is that normal?
 

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Google rat breeder. The first few results are reputable and you can view their rat rooms. They usually have special nursing tanks, cages that are huge and lots of room to play. Check out Isamurats set up as she has some awesome set ups and is a breeder.

What you see are backyard nobodies. You should focus on the rat show, $20/pup breeders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I googled it all I got were RFC pages and the page for a local BYB. I always thought rat racks were bad but a breeder said that they use them because it's similar to a rats natural environment and they still get plenty of out of cage time. I just wanted to know if that was standard procedure or something
 

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It isn't standard by any means. A good breeder has a similar setup to a good rat owner, they are pets first after all not just breeding stock. They may have maternity set ups (tubs) but should have lots of room in big wired cages for their breeders as permanent living space. Racks are not acceptable and scream backyard feeder breeder to me. I would not give my money to somebody who operates their business under conditions that I am not able to see. A good breeder has lots of pictures and is willing to answer questions about their setup to prospective buyers. People who sell their rats in racks generally have too many rats to know the genetics of and socialize properly. One litter is a handful to do right so you can imagine what attention those rats get when it is divided by x amount of litters in racks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
She is very open about her business and has pictures up of her rattery and explains that she uses rat racks because they mimic a rats natural environment an the mother rats can burrow
 

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Thanks nanashi, i hope I'm ethical lol. However i an very small scale as are my friends who i breed with. ultimately the rats are our pets and we breed to try abs give the next generations a better life whilst enjoying then abs giving then the best life we can. In terms of set up Here's some of our keys

Cages- ask our adults are kept in decent size cages, Useually Srs (double critter nations) though one of my fellow breeders had a triple (very cool). These are generally under populated and full of stuff to do, climb etc. Sometimes groups love in smaller cages, normally for a reason like they do better in a smaller group or react badly to to much space. Where we can there will Normanton be a few rescues or fosters around too.

babies are born in smaller cages, low level hamster cage sized things. We prefer cages as the rats can climb a little and air flow is better which is vital in warm weather. It also let's you make the cage more exciting when the babies start moving around. There's pleanty of photos of my typical baby cage setups abs such on my website. At about 3 weeks they move into a proper cage, something like half an srs or similar. Not to big that we can't socialise then as well but big enough they can learn to climb and ping well.

food- they get fed the best diet we can give them. This means or home made mix plus lots of fresh food, high protien food etc. It costs an awful lot to feed a litter abs we don't break even but it's worth it to see how well they grow and love it. mum also gets support when pregnant though how much depends on her abs her weight, we don't want then to get fat before birth.

parents- the rat parents are chosen carefully, we keep records on the rats, thete s siblings abs many previous generations. This let's us make the best decisions we can in terms of health, rate of ageing, temprement and physical characteristics. The parents are given time to grow up abs enjoy thete youth before they are mated, so around 9 to 12 months for girls and ideally 12 to 18 months for boys. We wouldn't mate anyone under 6 months. This also gives us more data to work with so we make better decisions.

theta a lot more but I'm not sure what kind of thig your after. ask anything you want. We may not always get it right but we try our best
 

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She is very open about her business and has pictures up of her rattery and explains that she uses rat racks because they mimic a rats natural environment an the mother rats can burrow
Eh, every crappy byb of every species I've ever dealt with has some kind of spiel about why/how THEIR crappy care and choices are somehow justified.

Don't buy the load of bullpuckey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Isamurat, that was very informative. I don't like any of the breeders in my area for various reasons, but recently one breeder got wind of me saying I didn't like rat racks so she explain why she uses them and I was wondering if that was normal or not. Now I know
 

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It's important to understand that the best kind of breeder is the hobby breeder. Whatever their interest, be it winning shows or developing a healthier strain or a new color morph the side effect is a few extra rats that they have to find good homes for. Because these folks enjoy raising and socializing rats they play with their babies and they take great care of the whole litter when they are only likely to keep perhaps one or two offspring for their own breeding program.

If you calculate the amount of time and investment that goes into a rat raised in this best case world it's likely got over $100.00 to $200.00 invested into it. This is why these kinds of breeders think they are doing you a real favor selling it to you.... mostly because they are. A good example would be our own Fuzzy Rat, by the time she was a year old she had a couple of thousand hours of socialization and travel logged. She may have only cost $2.49 but if I charged for her uniqueness and for the time and care and training (which actually went both ways) she would have been worth about the price of a good used car. I'm guessing about the same would be true if you were to assess a fair market value on Naydeen... (Of course neither of us nor anyone else would sell their true shoulder rats!)

Most rat breeders are under some delusion of making money selling rats. If you sell rats for $10.00 each you literally can't spend two hours with that rat at minimum wage and break even, much less buy a cage or food for it. Therefore in order to make a rat breeding based business model break even, you need to produce rats in volume, automate or minimize your time investment per rat and streamline and compact your set up as much as possible. The closer you get to reaching break even much less profit the closer the rattery resembles a rat mill. The larger the rat mill the greater the overhead, the bigger it has to be and most rat breeding business crash and burn long before they ever become a viable business which is why you almost never see one that's been around for any real length of time.

Somehow most rats that come from rat mills actually have pretty nice personalities and are pretty healthy, rats are survivors and somehow can almost thrive given how badly they are mistreated in a commercial rat breeding enterprise.

So for the most part most non hobby breeders are going to be rat mills of one flavor or another, some will be a bit better, some a bit worse and some just awful. Check out the rat you are adopting if you are adopting from there and do your best to select the right rat. It's nice to support hobby breeders, but overall the amount of rats they produce as a whole is pretty insignificant to the general rat population of the hobby. From what I can tell, my breeder has a gift for breeding nice rats, and his daughter likes to play with them, so they get a little attention... his rats also come with some exotic mites that are a bear to get rid of, and he's likely got a gift for breeding nice snakes too. I'd much prefer to get my rats from someone like Isamurat, but after months of looking for decent rats I'm lucky to have found someone as good as the breeder I found. His rats have phenomenal personalities despite their origin... Now, if Cloud's hair would stop falling out and the dang mites would finally die and not come back (after 3 rounds of revolution) and she would grow to the size of a normal rat... she would be perfect. Well at least no mammary tumors so far... and that's a blessing in it's own right. And the fur falling out may have something to do with her being a silky rex... and the mites may have affected her growth... still she's an overall great true shoulder rat. She spent the entire day on the road with us, she asked to go potty in the shrubs and came back on her own, not in the car, came shopping and banking and got to experience snow for the first time today. Cloud's a little over enthusiastic and a little ditsy and a bit insecure, but with Max retiring she's stepping up very nicely. Great rats can come from less than ideal breeders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't support my local breeders and I've never personally encountered a good one unfortunately, so I've gotten most of my rats from CL or rescues. I did go to a BYB once before I knew what I was doing it and it was a creepy experience I don't care to ever repeat. All of my sweetest and biggest personality rats have come from crappy situations where they were nobodies. Naydeen actually is from Petsmart and was purchased by a stupid girl who kept her alone in a plastic box and obviously didn't give her a chance to live up to her full potential. I don't like to imagine what a wasted life Naydeen would have had if she had stayed in a plastic bin all her life instead of making her way to me where she really got a chance to blossom
 

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Absolutely, Fuzzy Rat was a feeder bin refugee from a commercial rat mill. It's critically important for people not to take their frustrations and disgust with sleazy breeders out on the innocent rats. Some of the finest rats come from the most humble of places.
 

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To be honest, it's going to depend on why they are breeding. Someone I would want to purchase a pet rat from would be someone doing things much the same way we keep our pet rats. I want well socialized, happy, healthy rats if I were looking. These folks are doing strictly as hobby of love.

If someone was purchasing food for another pet they probably don't care about those things-they want clean, healthy well cared for rats-but probably don't care as much about their mental state. Probably basic lab type sets ups would be suitable-the ones that have a hide and at least a few chews/and/or a wheel preferably. Not nearly as large or luxurious as our pets have.

Then you have others that are primarily into genetics-breeding for certain colors and such as a hobby. I'd guess many of these fall somewhere between being pets and the ones being bred for food.

I would say regardless of why someone is breeding they should all have some basic good care practices. Clean environments, quality diet (even if it's just lab blocks), some kind of hide and some kind of mental therapy (chews-wheels-toys of some sort). I only keep mine as pets, so I'm not sure what would be considered over crowding as far as minimal caging is concerned, so could not really give correct dimensions of a cage for basic care. I would look up what labs consider humane sized cages for that. I don't know if the ASPCA has a minimal size for rats, but they might.

Now from a personal perspective-only purchase from breeders that you feel are doing what YOU expect.

If you are considering looking at legal options for closing them, then look at if they have clean water available, food is there, how dirty is the environment, is their obvious over crowding? While doing ferret rescue, I was involved in a lot of hoarder cases. It's almost always obvious when the place should be shut down. Most hoarders I've been involved in usually have way too many of a specific animal, but most will have several other species and they usually hoard other things outside of animals. I could almost count on over flowing cat boxes around the house, stacks of oddities (like 4 ft high rows of stacked readers digest from the 70's-and a huge collection of plastic bags that is now a huge pile in the kitchen). Cages are filthy, many have either no water or it's thick with grime. Animals have super long nails, are skinny, medical issues galore (tumors, wounds ect, in the worse situations dead animals in cages with live ones) It seems most of them also have a freezer of dead animals.

The others I've seen closed are just crazy breeders who keep the animals outside in filthy over crowded conditions.

I guess my point is-don't give money to those you don't agree with. Document ones who you think should be closed and then turn them in. In the case of hoarders it's best for the animals and humans, both are living in filthy conditions.
 

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Absolutely, Fuzzy Rat was a feeder bin refugee from a commercial rat mill. It's critically important for people not to take their frustrations and disgust with sleazy breeders out on the innocent rats. Some of the finest rats come from the most humble of places.
I've seen you make this kind of comment several times now.

Can you please point me to some of the posts to which you're referring?

I've not been around here long, but have yet to see a single person actually criticizing or "taking it out on" the actual rats. That would certainly be illogical at best. So, I'm interested to see to what you're referring.
 

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I've seen you make this kind of comment several times now.

Can you please point me to some of the posts to which you're referring?

I've not been around here long, but have yet to see a single person actually criticizing or "taking it out on" the actual rats. That would certainly be illogical at best. So, I'm interested to see to what you're referring.
I could be wrong. But I think RatDaddy means that we shouldn't be put off from buying from those breeder. Those rats have wonderful personalities too.
 

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My comment comes from my own personal experiences when I first logged on to another web site, before I found rat forum. Like everyone I introduced myself and Fuzzy Rat....

I was shocked by the reply I received because I was entirely unprepared for it. Someone actually called my rat a "junk rat" or something very similar, which was followed by a tirade on how unethical and immoral I had been for supporting the evil rat trade. To be entirely honest, I was pretty happy about having rescued an innocent rat from otherwise certain death and feeling pretty good about myself up to that point.

By that point, Fuzzy Rat was already a true shoulder rat playing with the kids at the park like a puppy and doing meet and greets with crowds. I only wanted to be in the company of other rat owners and I was terribly disappointed with my first experience and never went back to that site again.

I recall later that day sitting on the park bench with Fuzzy Rat, feeling pretty down on myself, pondering what I had done or said that was so wrong... Then I realized, that I was sitting on a park bench talking to my rat who was patiently sitting in my lap... She absolutely wasn't junk, in fact she was doing more that day than any of the other people's rats on that site were likely to dream of... And she didn't deserve to fed to a snake... And I really started to get angry about people that would say such awful things about my rat.

I came here to Rat Forum because it was way better than other sites. Even here on Rat Forum, if you read some older threads you see new members start by apologizing that they had to buy their rats from pet shops or feeder bins...

Now, maybe I'm once burned and just a little more sensitive to discrimination than some folks, but no one should ever apologize for adopting a rat from anywhere. No rat is a junk rat or genetic junk. And no rat deserves to be snake food.

Rat Forum was a way better site than the one I first joined, and the folks here have much more open minds, but every once in the while someone still tries to sneak in the concept that pet shop rats or feeder rats are inferior and every now and then someone still suggests that rats in need should not be adopted because they come from certain places we wouldn't want to financially support.

Please forgive me if I sound a little self indulgent, but I'm very proud of my rats and their accomplishments. My rats all came from or passed through snake food bins or in the case of Cloud a snake collector and likely breeder. I can't imagine them being fed to a reptile. It's unthinkable to me that anyone would hold innocent rats hostage for their particular agenda, or chastise someone for rescuing a rat from an awful situation, or calling my rats or rats like them inferior...

Thankfully it doesn't happen often on Rat Forum anymore. But if you go to other web sites and if you dig through the old threads you will find plenty of threads with comments that warn people against buying rats from pet shops or feeder bins along with arguments that discriminate against rats for where they were born or who their breeders were. Some going as far calling the morality and ethics of people who adopt certain rats into question. I'm not going to post links to those old threads, because quite frankly, I'd prefer they be forgotten. Thankfully we live in a more enlightened age now, I just want it to stay that way.

There are lots of things someone can do to educate pet shops about better rat care and there are places to report animal abuse to, and there are unfortunately some things we can't realistically change, but rat owners picking on each other or each other's rats, or rats in need aren't among them.

No rat is junk and no one who adopts a rat and loves and cares for it is unethical or amoral. Maybe that sounds obvious to everyone now, but there was a time in the not too distant past that that comment was heresy and we just can't let it ever happen again. I can't refer anyone to the first time I posted that remark, because the moderator on that site deleted it and closed the thread.
 
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