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When I found out that both my girls (sisters) were pregnant, and got a litter almost a week between, I went and bought a bigger cage since I was now having 25 rats (Rosalind got 11 'cubs', Bellis got 12).
I got a cage that was really built for guineanypigs in two storey, with a hole, and a little staircase to connect the two stories. At first I wanted to seperate the two mothers on each floor and blocked the hole with a plate. However, Rosalind soon found a way to get down to her sister and moved all her kids down in the same nest in her little house. At first I thought maybe this wouldn't be a problem, they could just make one collective nursery and share the parenting of each others young. But when I came to look at the little ones to check if they were all in good health and nothing wrong, I saw that Rosalind had stolen almost all of Bellis kids - and Bellis didn't seem to care. Bellis was nesting only 3 young, two of witch were her own and one of Rosalind's.
When I took some of the out to examen them Rosalind was quick to make sure they all got safely back to the nest when I was done, including all of Bellis' young. Bellis really didn't seem to care that they were missing, she was just eating. So just to see how much she cared for her kids, I put one of them in the food bowl to see if she would move it back in the nest - nope, she just kept eating. Rosalind however soon found it, and made sure it got back.

It seems Bellis is slowly loosing interest in her own young, and even though Rosalind seems more than happy to look after her kids as well as her own, this worries me a lot. If Bellis completely loses interest, her milk production would probably stop, and I have my doubt Rosalind is really capable of taking care of 23 ratlings, even though I'm sure she would do her best anyway.
I tried to block the hole again and separate the two mothers and their litter. Rosalind seems confused and keeps running around with her kids, not knowing where to put them. Bellis on the other hand, seems to want to bury her kids with sawdust, and just keeps pushing all of it into her little house where her litter is. I don't know if this is good or bad behavior, because on one hand it could look like shes trying to protect them by "hiding" them, but on the other hand, this is how they typically react when they dropped some sticky food in the sawdust and decide they don't want it anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Update: Rosalind seems to have settled down with a place to make a nest and put her young (but still runs around), and Bellis have finally decided to nest (maybe all the pushing sawdust around was to block the door in her little house, making it more closed and private, I assume). She hasn't lost complete interest, so thats good.
 
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