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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, tomorrow I'll be driving up to pick up my "sons" from the breeder.

And I'm nervous. :)

Not too nervous about the ride home. I'm more nervous once I get home! My plan is to bring them into my master bathroom and sit down as they roam around and explore.

But do I take them out with my hand? My thoughts are that I'll just set the carrier on the floor, open it up, and let the guys come out on their own volition. If they happen to come and check me out, I'll show them my hand or such and let them do what they want. :)

Then getting them BACK into the carrier to bring them to the cage? Well, I haven't gotten that far yet. I don't want to chase them around the room...as I think that would only scare them more. :(

If you happen to recall your first experience bringing home your first rat(s), I would love to hear stories and what worked/didn't work.

Thank you so much for reading!
Ted
 

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Is there a smaller place where you could do this first "free range"? I typically use my bathroom. You really want them to be forced to interact with you, otherwise they'll likely try to avoid you altogether (I mean, you are a giant unknown creature after all). Pick them up with your hands, get them accustomed to being held even if it seems like they don't appreciate it, they'll eventually learn that you're not going to hurt them.
 

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Congrats on your new babies!

When you do get them home, don't try to force them to interact with you as it can only stress them out even more. Put your hand in the carrier and if they shy away or run away from it, then don't force them out by grabbing them. What I like to do when I bring home new babies, is sit with the carrier open in the bath tub and let them crawl over you and explore while trying not to grab them. Bring a couple snacks for them and see if after a while they will take it from your hands.

Rats are super social, I've never had a problem with getting any babies to bond with us humans as well. :) In time they will learn to trust you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi KKS thanks. :)

Well, my master bathroom isn't that large, really. (Maybe you misread it as "master bedroom")?

What I like about it is that there is no furniture for them to hide under/behind. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Congrats on your new babies!

When you do get them home, don't try to force them to interact with you as it can only stress them out even more. Put your hand in the carrier and if they shy away or run away from it, then don't force them out by grabbing them. What I like to do when I bring home new babies, is sit with the carrier open in the bath tub and let them crawl over you and explore while trying not to grab them. Bring a couple snacks for them and see if after a while they will take it from your hands.

Rats are super social, I've never had a problem with getting any babies to bond with us humans as well. :) In time they will learn to trust you!
Hi Sparrow and thank you for your encouraging words and advice. :)

Maybe I will try the bathtub first. While I don't want to stress them out, what advice do you have for when I need to retrieve them?

I do like the idea of bringing in snacks.

I purchased some dried papaya cubes at a local feed store. Do you happen to know if papaya is safe/dangerous for rats?
 

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A master bathroom is not that much bigger than a regular bathroom. It should be fine.

I would open the travel cage and put my hand in and let them sniff around it a bit, then play by ear whether to take them out or let them climb out on their own. Coming from a breeder they should be used to being handled and picked up even though they don't know you yet. Young babies are very quick and agile, though, so make sure the bathroom is escape proof. You might want to put a towel across the bottom of the door, just in case.
 

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Retrieving them shouldn't be a problem. By the time your ready to put them back, there should be no problem just picking them up to put back in the carrier.
 

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Papaya is safe. :) Just make sure you don't feed too many new things at once or it can upset their tummy.
If they're totally ok with you handling them, you can pick them up and put them in their cage.
But if they're really skittish I would recommend "herding" them back to their carrier or box and then bring them back to their cage that way.

Since your boys are from a breeder, I'm sure they've had time to adjust to humans and it won't be so bad, you'll probably be able to just scoop them up no problem.
But every rat is different!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A master bathroom is not that much bigger than a regular bathroom. It should be fine.

I would open the travel cage and put my hand in and let them sniff around it a bit, then play by ear whether to take them out or let them climb out on their own. Coming from a breeder they should be used to being handled and picked up even though they don't know you yet. Young babies are very quick and agile, though, so make sure the bathroom is escape proof. You might want to put a towel across the bottom of the door, just in case.
Thanks so much, Raindear! :)

Yes, I recently purchased a "door sweep" for my door so my Dad can help me install it, as there was a gap under my door. I'm going to shove a pillow or such behind my toilet. There are no holes in the wall there, but an ounce of safety is worth a pound of cure! ;)

The breeder has an excellent reputation for socialized animals so I do feel confident in that. :)

Regarding inserting my hand: should I wash my hands first? Or would the smell of newly washed hands bother them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Papaya is safe. :) Just make sure you don't feed too many new things at once or it can upset their tummy.
If they're totally ok with you handling them, you can pick them up and put them in their cage.
But if they're really skittish I would recommend "herding" them back to their carrier or box and then bring them back to their cage that way.

Since your boys are from a breeder, I'm sure they've had time to adjust to humans and it won't be so bad, you'll probably be able to just scoop them up no problem.
But every rat is different!
Yep, the breeder is a good one I hear so I'm happy that they may not mind my hands. :)

Not too much payaya. As an Italian that may be hard! (Kidding!) ;)
 

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Would love to see some pictures when you bring them home as well! :)
I've had some pretty good luck with babies from feeder bins, so I don't think you'll have a problem with these babies, seeing as they're from a breeder.
If anything, they might be a little stressed with the move and new surroundings but will warm up quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Would love to see some pictures when you bring them home as well! :)
I've had some pretty good luck with babies from feeder bins, so I don't think you'll have a problem with these babies, seeing as they're from a breeder.
If anything, they might be a little stressed with the move and new surroundings but will warm up quickly.
Thank you, Sparrow. :)

Yes, I'm sure I'll be photographing/videotaping these little guys. Soon, they'll get sick of "cheesing" for Dad, I'm sure! ;)
 

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I'm going to have to disagree with the others here because I have closer experience with this breeder's rats and I know how well-socialized they are. These rats will be about five weeks old and were handled from day one. They are already socialized. These are just my opinions so no offense to anyone! :)

Honestly, try thinking of your new baby rats like puppies. When you brought a puppy home,would you open up the crate, wait for him to come out of his own accord, watch as he explores your house, and then coax him back into the crate? No - you would interact with him - cuddling him, petting him, playing with him, talking to him...helping him get to know you. The same thing applies here. Sure, you can spend your time with them in the Master Bathroom at first just in case one escapes. But don't just watch as they climb all over the counters. They shouldn't really be leaving your body much at all. Hold them, stroke them, let them crawl up your arms and try putting them on your shoulders. And talk to them the whole time. Call them by their names so they come to learn your voice and what you call them.

There is plenty of time for them to free range, but right now they need to bond with you, not your house. Chances are they won't come out of the carrier of their own accord - reach in and grab them out! If they did come out of the carrier and you just let them explore in your bathroom, they would just run around until they found somewhere to hide. They're babies - they will feel much more secure in your hand.

Most important- forget about those biting rescue animals you had an experience with. Using the puppy analogy, they were like a scared, unsocialized pit bull at the dog pound (nothing against pit bulls, but the reality is that they do have strong jaws.)

Oh, and one last note: I have a feeling that you are still going to let those babies loose on the bathroom floor at some point. Please don't do that, but if you do and they hide under something and won't come out, for goodness's sake, just grab them out! Don't sit on the floor for three hours waiting for them to leave. :D These aren't hamsters. They're more like guinea pigs if anything. They just don't bite. Especially considering they are just five weeks old. I don't think a rat at that age would ever bite, not even an unsocialized one. I've grabbed scittish sixweekold feeder rats and even they didn't bite when I picked them up quite roughly.

Don't be scared of your new friends. ;) They are not going to bite you, but they will definitely be craving your attention

Wolfie
 

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Quick tip; if you're using a bathroom, be sure to look underneath any cabinets or counters in case there are holes. Mine have a few that I never would have thought about if a member on here hadn't mentioned it. I definitely would've lost a rat underneath my counter! XD
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wolfie, I'm very happy you chimed in, as I value your opinion and I know we've had PM discussions about this. :) I won't be afraid, as I don't want them to be afraid. :) Regarding names, I'm going to see their personalities before I decide who is "Oliver" and who is "Barry, the Flash!" ;)

Sabatea, you're right. I'm going to check the cabinets carefully for such "escape routes".
 

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Thanks so much, Raindear! :)

Yes, I recently purchased a "door sweep" for my door so my Dad can help me install it, as there was a gap under my door. I'm going to shove a pillow or such behind my toilet. There are no holes in the wall there, but an ounce of safety is worth a pound of cure! ;)

The breeder has an excellent reputation for socialized animals so I do feel confident in that. :)

Regarding inserting my hand: should I wash my hands first? Or would the smell of newly washed hands bother them?
Definitely wash your hands. Don't use any soap scented like food, though. I came home from a trip and when all my rats greeted me by licking my hands all over, I thought they had really missed me. Then I remembered I had just eaten a sausage Mcmuffin.
 

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Hi KKS thanks. :)

Well, my master bathroom isn't that large, really. (Maybe you misread it as "master bedroom")?

What I like about it is that there is no furniture for them to hide under/behind. :)
I did misread. It has been a rough day. I hope everything goes well with them.
 

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I'm going to have to disagree with the others here because I have closer experience with this breeder's rats and I know how well-socialized they are. These rats will be about five weeks old and were handled from day one. They are already socialized. These are just my opinions so no offense to anyone! :)

Honestly, try thinking of your new baby rats like puppies. When you brought a puppy home,would you open up the crate, wait for him to come out of his own accord, watch as he explores your house, and then coax him back into the crate? No - you would interact with him - cuddling him, petting him, playing with him, talking to him...helping him get to know you. The same thing applies here. Sure, you can spend your time with them in the Master Bathroom at first just in case one escapes. But don't just watch as they climb all over the counters. They shouldn't really be leaving your body much at all. Hold them, stroke them, let them crawl up your arms and try putting them on your shoulders. And talk to them the whole time. Call them by their names so they come to learn your voice and what you call them.

There is plenty of time for them to free range, but right now they need to bond with you, not your house. Chances are they won't come out of the carrier of their own accord - reach in and grab them out! If they did come out of the carrier and you just let them explore in your bathroom, they would just run around until they found somewhere to hide. They're babies - they will feel much more secure in your hand.

Most important- forget about those biting rescue animals you had an experience with. Using the puppy analogy, they were like a scared, unsocialized pit bull at the dog pound (nothing against pit bulls, but the reality is that they do have strong jaws.)

Oh, and one last note: I have a feeling that you are still going to let those babies loose on the bathroom floor at some point. Please don't do that, but if you do and they hide under something and won't come out, for goodness's sake, just grab them out! Don't sit on the floor for three hours waiting for them to leave. :D These aren't hamsters. They're more like guinea pigs if anything. They just don't bite. Especially considering they are just five weeks old. I don't think a rat at that age would ever bite, not even an unsocialized one. I've grabbed scittish sixweekold feeder rats and even they didn't bite when I picked them up quite roughly.

Don't be scared of your new friends. ;) They are not going to bite you, but they will definitely be craving your attention

Wolfie
Can't believe we didn't say this. I think it goes without saying. Of course, play with your new babies. Cuddle, kiss, scritch, and play, play, play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you all for your reassuring words and great advice. :)

If I could, I'd give you each a blue bubblegum cigar in honor of my new fatherhood! ;)
 

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I recently got a new baby who came from a very well socialized litter. I let her chill in her cage overnight to establish some personal space. I talked to her softly and let her sniff my hand so she could see that I was friendly. Then I ~gently~ (but firmly, not to let her wiggle away) scooped her up, and put her on my shoulder so the fun could begin. To think about it from the rat's point of view, I wanted to gently expand her world. So first she got to know the cage, then my hand, then my shoulder. . . Now that she is familiar with me and knows that my shoulder is the "safety zone" I'm letting her explore small areas, like bookshelves and the top of the bed. She is way too small to be running around the house at this point. Once she reliably answers to her name, and she's a little bigger I'll start letting her free range a little. She's warmed up to me so quickly - it's just been six days and she's already running up my arm to my shoulder when she wants to snuggle or play. She's also trained ME to let give her bathroom breaks from time to time. Rats are smart little creatures. Hope some of this is helpful to you!
 
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