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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My rats are housed in wire dog kennels, a small size for the girls(wrapped in hardware mesh) and a large size for the boys(with no hardware mesh-they are too big to fit through the bars). They have lived this way for months with no issue. I have 2 boys and 2 girls. This morning when I got up for work I saw the girls' door wide open. I paniced and woke my husband up, telling him the girls were loose in the house. We started looking around...then I saw a head poke out of the boys' box(that they use for a bedroom)...then 2 heads..then 2 more. And I said "call off the search, the girls were partying with the boys all night". I reached in and, instead of coming right up to me like normal, they all ducked back into the box. I literally had to pry both girls' paws off the bars(after a mad chase through the cage). Apparently they learned how to open the latch at some point last night and found the boys' presence rather comforting...and didn't want to leave. So now the girls have a lock on their latch and are settled back into their own home, accepting that I won. Now I'm worried that their little adventure may have been provoked by them being in heat and that in a little while I will have 2 pleasantly plump girlies to deal with. My question is, how do I know if they're actually pregnant? And really just...now what? The cages are more than big enough to support a growing family, but this is something we tried really hard to avoid. We just don't know anything about raising rattie babies or supporting a pregnant mom(or even how to tell if we have a pregnant mom or moms!).
 

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If you have a kitchen scale, you can weigh them daily to see if they're gaining weight. Otherwise, most don't really start showing until after 2 weeks and some not at all if it's a litter of 2 which I've seen a couple of times. I would give them some added protein (eggs are easy) in the meantime just in case.
 

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Yup, that's pretty much what happens when girl rats come into the presence of boy rats... Girls are very persistent and clever. And yes... oddly enough it's the girls that go after the boys.
 

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You may be lucky *fingers crossed for you*

I have learned the lesson the hard way myself that if you have both sexes they need to either be kept in different rooms or every cage with bigger bar spacing needs to be wrapped just incase!!


Here is a chart for weight gain in pregnant rats.
http://ratguide.com/breeding/figures/determining_pregnancy_figure_3.php

You could also take them to the vet and find out and also get something to end the pregnancies. It may be a much better choice.

How old are your girls? There is a window of time where it is safe for rats to have babies. Too young or too old and there may be alot of issues that put them and the babies at risk :(

If they are pregnant... it lasts 19-23 days (21 on average)
You could end up with 40 so babies.... if they are both pregnant. That is alot of babies to find homes for. You may get lucky with small litters or average size litters but prepare for the worst.... (8-14 is average but they often can have over 20..multiply that by 2...)
You will also need separate cages for both moms, that are baby proof so no babies escape. It is usually not wise or safe to keep moms together. Large tanks can be used though I prefer bin cages myself.
Then you will also need a separate baby proof cage for the boys because they will all need to be separated from the mom & sisters by 5 weeks.

You may think you have a large enough cage but honestly a small dog crate doesn't seem big enough or a suitable cage, but when all the babies are 3 weeks old and big and all over the place, you will be surprised how much space you have by then lol

If the mom's are pregnant they won't really be showing until they are fairly far along. They will need extra protein...depending on what you are currently feeding. I prefer 18% for moms/babies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you

Thanks for all the responses! Holy cow, 40 babies! Let's hope it doesn't come to that! If it does we will have to find some of them homes. How many can fit comfortably in each dog kennel? The smallest of the 2 kennels is quite a bit bigger than a single critter nation. That's why I haven't replaced them. I figure it gives them the max room. Also, if they are pregnant, can I keep them together? I read that mom rats will raise babies together and help each other. I was considering fixing the males instead of the females. Is the a reason that you guys are suggesting I spay the females? To be honest I never intended on keeping rats in the first place. I rescued Bobbles from being euthanized. He's blind and deaf. He is about 10 months old. I got Ratatouille to keep him company. He's roughly the same age. I agreed to take in Oreo because the people who were giving her up told me she was a he. When I said I couldn't take her the dad said (in front of the kids) he was going to give her to his friend as snake food. The kids cried and I caved. She is about 7 months old. Then I got her Ila to keep her company. Ila is the youngest at about 5 months. Is this a safe age for them? I'm really trying to do the right thing by them, but I guess I'm messing it up.
 

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Don't panic... 7 months and 5 months are pretty good ages, so you are OK there. I knew a breeder/hoarder who always bred her rats in pairs so they could co-mother, but some folks currently think that separate is better... less things to go wrong I suppose... 40 babies is a pretty extreme number often when moms have 20 babies they cannibalize those they can't nurse... 12 pups surviving per rat is a pretty good number as an average. Still 24 pups is a major undertaking.

In any event you have a challenge, not a crisis. Finding good homes for pups can take time and effort, but lots of folks have done it, there are lots of folks looking to adopt friendly pre-socialized pups. Moonkissed is absolutely right, there are options or this can become a major project but compared to the really awful things that can happen to you, your family members or your rats this is something you can deal with...

Best luck.
 

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Yes 7 months and 5 months are ok. 5 months is about the minimum age. So that is good.

I am a breeder, I do not suggest keeping the moms together. Yes sometimes moms do fine and there is no worries but there is ALOT of risk, and IMO it is not worth it. Some moms will fight over babies-literally pulling them apart or leaving them with wounds. Some moms will steal each others babies back and forth leading to babies not being fed well enough at all. It can also just make moms stressed having to deal with that. While for the most part rats are amazing moms, there is always a chance that one will not be and you could lose all the babies.

It is your choice, but I just would not risk it.

You can check out my thread on how to make a bin cage here:
http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?284234-How-to-make-a-bin-cage
It is fairly cheap like about $25 perhaps to make one and it is baby safe.

I said 8-14 babies was average but yes prepare for the worst of 20+. I have seen lots of ppl have large litters, they often lose a few because it is alot harder on the mom but sometimes all of them live it is still alot of babies. They do not often cannibalize their babies.

IDk how big your crate/cage is. I was just looking at my dogs crate and it is not very big lol. they say 2.5 cubic feet per rat is a good size, if you know the measurements of it.

Spaying girls is helpful for health reasons, as it can help to prevent tumors.
Neutering boys is an easier procedure though. They both come with risks though. neutering can also help prevent aggression issues in boys.
I'd probably do the boys but it is up to u.

I think it is great that you saved them :) You are not going bad, accidents happen. Seriously I had an accidental litter myself & personally consider myself very responsible pet owner, couldn't imagine it happening to me in a million years. I beat myself all up over it. But it happens sometimes to the best of us. You didn't throw them together & you tried to be responsible so don't feel bad. Just learn from it!

Keep us up to date :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A little over a week since the girls little liason and one is DEFINITELY pregnant. The younger of the girls (Ila) has noticeably put on weight and has calmed down. Oreo doesn't seem to have gained much, if any, weight and is constantly trying to escape again. She's chewed a hole through the bottom pan of the cage and now is in an aquarium until I can get ahold of a Critter Nation. Ila is by herself in the(now fixed) cage they have been in by herself. She seems happier now. Hopefully Ila is the only pregnant one.
 
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