Author Topic: Personal stories about breeding  (Read 126454 times)

Offline SqueakinJellybeans

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #100 on: January 01, 2005, 05:50:47 AM »
Greets!

     One of my first two rats, Hannah (fawn self) was pregnant when I adopted her. I knew very little about rats at this point-- I figured that having kept mice throughout my youth, they'd be kept in much the same manner. Oh, my, was I wrong.

     Hannah gave birth on Mother's Day, 21 days after I brought her home from the local pet shop my family has gone to for more than 20 years. When I got home from work that night, I was greeted by a very tired ratmom and 11 pink squeaky jellybeans. Hannah was a spectacular mother, and if she'd had a pedigree I would have considered breeding her on purpose, but knowing what I know now, I'm glad I didn't. Homes were found for all the babies-- we kept two (one unfortunately escaped and was killed swiftly by our cat; I still have the other, Ginger), my sister's friend took two of the three males, Loki and Spartacus. I got to see them the other day, and they're *HUGE* and absolutely gorgeous. A friend of mine took two of the girls-- Sin and Rasputina-- and they're apparently very healthy and happy. The pet shop owner helped us place the other five. He's an odd duck, but relaitvely trustworthy. Not a route I'll take again, though, since finding this board.

     I wasn't aware at the time that there were such beasts as reputable rat breeders.

     Like many others here, I went through a stupid phase. I outgrew it quickly, but not before obtaining Seraph, a beautiful mismarked agouti bareback male to mate with Midian, my high white female. They had 13 babies, 11 of whom survived. She ate half of one, and I'm pretty sure I heard the squeak of agony in the night that killed it. There was a very different sound to its little voice, and that sound still haunts me to this day. ::shudders:: The other baby was slept on shortly after its birth.

     Midian was ot such an enthusiastic mom. Where Hannah had proudly carried one of her babies to me to look at and praise, taught them how to build nests (on top of Midian, no less!), Mids spent as little time with her babies as possible. They, too, are healthy, beautiful rats, five of whom live with people I know and I get regular reports on them.

     My final mistake, and the one that smartened me up like a slap in the face (which I sorely needed-- I can't believe I was such an idiot!) came when I bred one of Midian's sons with one of Hannah's daughters. Ginger had one baby, deformed and stillbord. Its back legs never fully developed, and were just noodles of flesh.

     I have nightmares sometimes about cages overflowing with rats of all ages, overbreeding and escaping to breed again. In the dream I try to save them all, to house them all, but I can't-- there are just too many.

     I realized the errors of my ways and will never, under any circumstances, breed rats ever again. Most of my current ten are rescues, including Burke and Justice, a mated pair (he's neutered thanks to Rabbitrescue.ca) who were part of a rat mill. When all of them have moved on to the Bridge as all creatures must, my fiance and I will only ever adopt rescues, and are strongly considering opening our home as a House For Wayward Ratmoms; having read the article about the rescue in San Francisco (if I recall correctly) where something like 20 pregnant females were euthanized upon arrival, I could not in good conscience allow such a thing to happen if I could help even a couple of them, then find homes for the babies. We have a loving home, and much more knowledge about rat care now than two years ago. Those who have Hannah and Midian's babies have started aiming other folks at me who are either looking to adopt rats (I generally point them at either the Toronto Humane Society or at RabbitRescue.ca), surrender rats, or have both rats and questions.

     When the time comes we'll have time and cages to spare. I've nursed next-to-brand-new baby birds by hand when the starlings in our eaves have pushed babies out by accident, so if I have to hand-feed a baby or 16 should the mom happen to pass away during/shrotly after giving birth, I'm not unprepared. I am familiar with the joy and loss that comes with rescuing critters. Perhaps, in part, I also feel the need to atone for my earlier thoughtlessness. A surprise litter from an adopted rat is one thing-- planning something that shouldn't have been done in the first place is another. I am thankful that there were only the three losses... It could have been so much worse, especially consiering that the majority of Midian's babies were also high white. Had I known about the horrors of megacolon I would never even have considered breeding her, not in a million years.

     One of my current rats, RAR Simon Templar (black berkshire dumbo rex male) is from a reputable breeder in Barrie, Ontario-- RunAbout Ratscals rattery. He's sweet-tempered, intelligent, and a shining example of what can be achieved by a careful, responsible breeder. It's certainly not a task for everyone, but to those of you who have dedicated yourselves to improving the species, I tip my hat to you.

     For myself, I'm going to stick with rescuing from now on, I think. There are so many rats out there who need homes, and it breaks my heart that I can't save all of them myself.

     Gotta start somewhere, though. Cutting down on irresponsible breeding is the best way to start. If you want to breed something to play with genetics, get "The Sims 2" (your Sims can have babies, and the genetic traits from the parents carry over) or any of CyberLife's "Creatures" games (genetics carry here as well, and you can breed selectively to improve the creatures, breed for colour or special characteristics, etc.). No megacolon, no myco, no tumours, no overpopulation of shelters, no nightmares, and no horrible guilt for risking the lives of our tiny friends out of sheer ignorance.

     Sorry this was so long, but I've needed to vent about this for a while. Now it's time to put the li'l hairless guy to bed. Mini-Me has been patiently grazing on my housecoat as I've been typing. :)

SqueakinJellybeans
The boys-- Zedd and Chase
The cockatiel-- Joscelin
The husband-- Michael

At the Bridge: Midian, Hannah, Ginger, Burke, Justice, Seraph, Stasia, Mini-me, RAR Simon Templar, Louis, RAR Olivia, Frida, Aemon, Eddard, Lucius, Indy

LadyV

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #101 on: January 01, 2005, 07:50:54 PM »
I just thought I would throw my experiences in here...I have had several litters of rattie and have been keeping rats since I was a little girl...I now have grandchildren, I was coming to this site back before this version of the site was even here...looooooooooooong time ago....I have never had a "bad" experience. None of my litters were ever planned or wanted....I have take in rescues that were already pregnant, I had an accident when one of my girls got out and DH put her in the boys cage thinking it was one of the boys....I was horrified as she was an older rat....small problems here and there, one or two in one of the litters died for an unknown reason.....I would not recommend purposefully breeding to anyone...there are to many rats now with no loving homes! :( There are horror stories and the negative is more likely to happen than the positive! I also didn't have any problem about finding homes because each time something like this happened to me, I just kept them all.....not everyone has that option....and it is extremely hard to find homes for a lot babies!

Offline bluerattyrat

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #102 on: January 01, 2005, 08:56:48 PM »
I once had two rats, Jasmine and Chris.  When they were both old enough I spent a long time researching.  I had cages set up for all the possible babies and room for any up to 20 with separate cages for each sex and one for the momma to nurse them in.  So I bred them.  Instead of making the common mistake of breeding without guaranteed homes, I lined up homes way ahead of time and had everyone give me a deposit, which would be refunded if there were not enough babies for everyone.  A couple weeks later I had 16 beautiful babies.  We all worked 24-7 litter box and leash training the little ones and supplementing their mothers milk with formula since she had a lot of babies.  Let me tell you, taking care of baby rats is a lot of work.  I woke up every two hours, fed the babies, then went back to sleep.  Needless to say I slept walked through school and work and I had to take the runt with me for the four hours at school because she was extremely underweight and was getting pushed around severely by her siblings.  Then, each night she was returned home with her lovely mother to hopefully get some much needed milk for half hour periods all through the night while I kept the other babies warm and fed in a incubator one by one.  All the babies survived but it was one long, hard road to work, go to school and raise the baby rats.  If I ever breed again, one thing I would change is breeding two rats instead of one so if one mother doesn't have enough milk like Jasmine, there is a rat to help with feeding and warmth because man it is a lot of work.  Now if your thinking about breeding rats you better not value sleep or hate cleaning cages because there are sure a lot of cages to clean when you have 18 or more rats, not to mention feeding the babies, if needed, litter box and leash training each baby individually and taking notes on progress etc.  My experience wasn't that bad, but if I do it again I am going to be even more prepared and possibly even not even breed when it comes right down to it.  Besides, it is so heartbreaking to have to give away all or some of the babies you love and raise so lovingly to homes which are not your own.
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Offline Sorraia

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #103 on: January 02, 2005, 12:05:45 PM »
I am in the process of writing an article about breeding rats. Part of this article includes what "to do" (after about five pages stating what responsible breeding is and is not), but in addition I wanted to post some stories about what *could* go wrong when breeding. I would like to use some of the stories off this thread. I will include a link to this thread in my article, but wanted to know ahead of time if there are any issues with me using stories? Thank you in advance.
NOM-ology A study in rat nutrition.
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Offline Dearpie

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #104 on: January 02, 2005, 12:50:55 PM »
I would suggest that you just contact each member who's story you plan to use, and ok it with the individual.  It sounds like an interesting article!

Offline Sorraia

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #105 on: January 03, 2005, 12:37:12 AM »
I would suggest that you just contact each member who's story you plan to use, and ok it with the individual. It sounds like an interesting article!

Great idea! I'll be doing just that. Thanks!
NOM-ology A study in rat nutrition.
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Confessions of a Rat Breeder
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Offline SR&P

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #106 on: January 19, 2005, 06:05:08 PM »
Not my story, but a friends. Anyhoo-

My friend Alex had the standard accidental litter, brought home two boys and the goolies on one magically dissapeared.  :P

I gave her lots of info about how to take care of the baby rats, she and her brother handled them, and had lots of fun raising them. They had a litter of 8, I think, and they found homes for all but a girl and a boy. They kept the girl and boy with the mom and dad.

Alex came home one day from school and looked inside the buck's cage and was greeted by the back half of the body of the baby rat, with a large, bloody segment of the back sticking out.

Turns out, the baby died in about 6 hours, perfectly fine before she left, and the father (Matrix) instinctively ate him. Or, at least, part of him.

It also turned out that the misterious disease was genetic, as, one by one, every, single, baby died in the same short manner, followed by their parents.

The (blunt) end, as I can never conclude things well.
(BTW, you can use this Sorraia)
Rosemary & Sugar: 2002-12/17/05
My dearest friend/if you don't mind/I'd like to join you by your side/where we can gaze into the stars/and sit together/now and forever/for it is plain as anyone can see/we're simply meant to be.-Finale, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Offline critterkeeper

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #107 on: February 21, 2005, 12:34:44 PM »
At first, I wanted to breed very much, then decided against it. My first (and only) litter was a mistake! There was no way my gal Dipsy could be pregnant after five minutes (or so I thought). Then after 21 days of convincing myself that I was wrong, out came 7 little jellybeans. ALL of the boys are healthy, but the gals have something goin' on. The mom is kind of thin, and I am getting every girl spayed! They are all going to be fine, but, please, think twice and research it before doing ANYTHING stupid!
The proud trainee of 22 Rats:
Loki~Nemo~Snoopy~Paris~Dipsy~Kiwi~Mac~Otis~Coconut~
Billy~Mr. Maple~Twinkie~Montegue~Callie~and 8 new Jelly Beans!!!
3 Guinea Pigs:
Winnie~Mitzi~Hershey
1 Cat
~Sami~

Offline Sakara

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #108 on: February 28, 2005, 07:21:38 PM »
Since Silver won't have computer access for awhile, I felt that I should tell her unfortunate story. (I have permission.  :heart:)

She'd bought a flea market rat ages ago named Dante, the sweetest albino cuddlebug ever. Later on, her boyfriend also bought a black hooded female named Trick from a petstore. Neither of them were fixed of course and when Jon began to have some major trouble and had to get rid of the rat, there wasn't an extra cage.  Everyone will make a stupid mistake of some sort in their lifetime(Often many!  :P), so Silver decided Trick was far too young to possibly be able to breed and placed her with Dante.

Although Dante had a wonderful disposition, Trick was very neurotic and flighty. She gave birth to ten babies in a new and seperate cage; whites, hooded ratties, and one black rattie. All of the rittens managed to survive fine and happy, however as they got older it became apparent that they were closer to a wild rat's personality than a domestic. They would bite, were jumpy and nervous, and overall had extremely poor personalities.

Silver was later kicked out by her mother and she(And all the rats) moved to her boyfriend's house. Dante died in the night as it was just too cold and he was old, but not long after, (Two or more months) Silver awoke to find that the babies had literally eaten Trick's insides through her belly. Silver admits readily that it's unforgivable and will never happen again, but she ended up releasing 8 of the 10 babies in the woods near their home. They kept the black boy and one black hooded boy who have been won over since then on personality...


But believe me, none of those creatures deserved the fate they got.

Offline akaangela

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #109 on: March 17, 2005, 08:18:13 AM »
This is a horror story.  I rescued two beautiful female rats from a pet stores "feeder tank".  They both where very big and they had no idea how old they where.  I took them home and put them in a nice cage and prayed they where not pregnant.  My prayers where not answered.  I noticed one, cinniman, getting bigger and bigger and she gave me 10 little babies (on 3-7-05).  Blue, the second one had the big problems.  Three days ago I noticed that she was getting a bit fat and started nesting.  I thougt, here we go again. I put her in a different cage as I didnt want the babies togeather with the age difference. I came home from work and saw blood and two dead babies and mom panting.  I picked up the babies and then held her.  I was horrified to see a babie half in and half out.  I was beside myself and of course it was the middle of the night.  I was able to help her deliver the dead babie and called the vet.  The  vet was on another emergance call and told me he would be at the office as soon as he could.  I drove to the office.  While waiting she tried to deliver another one and it got stuck.  Again I had to help her deliver a dead babie.  When the vet got there he did a C cetion and found all 7 babies inside her where dead.  She is recovering but it was a horrible experence.  I will never forget the feel of the dead babies as I had to help her get them out and the feel of her body contracting.  Oh did I mention that this cost me $750?  The emergance call, operation and the time for her in the hospital.  She is worth it as she has a wonderful temperment and loves to be held.  This was not an intentional breeding but I thought I would post it here.

Offline Elaken

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #110 on: March 22, 2005, 01:50:55 PM »
In the future (meaning in about 40 yrs or so when I am retired from my career) I think I would like to breed, but only if I can truly devote most of my time to them and improving the species.  But as for now I have had a total of three pregnant rats, one recent and two a long time ago.

Probably about 11 years ago I got two rats from a petstore.  I had done research on rats, but there wasn't a lot out there, plus as an 11 year old, I didnt' have quite the research skills that I do now.  But I ended up with 2 pregnant rats from a petstore and with no clue what to do.  I got on some rat forum and found out the signs and how to hand feed, but that was about all the info I had.  The first rat Kanitchi had her babies and did nothing for them...then the next day Dr. Livingstone I Presume, had her babies and at least started to nurse them.  I was incredibly lucky that they werent' overly large litters....total it was 23 babies.  I do not know what I would have done if there was more.  As it was the momma's were living together, in the hopes that they could share their duties...but I was also handfeeding as well as I could.  Only kanitch would feed the babies after the first day (occasionally), and she would just walk off leaving them behind.  I had to go in constantly to find the babies and put them back together so they didn't die of cold.  After the babies were fully grown I only had 6 of them left.  The 15 others had died.  It was the most horrifying thing I have gone through, especially since one of them, Gonzo, died after 3 weeks when we thought everyone was going to make it.  I did everything I knew to do and I had to watch these innocent rats die...as it was I kept all the babies, which I was going to do even if all survived.  Thank god I knew to separate the sexes at 5 weeks!

Then 4 months ago I got a rat, my Willie, and she was pregnant (and as the dates worked out she probably got pregnant the day before I got her!).  I knew this time I was taking a risk from buying from a store that didnt' separate sexes, but she was begging to go home with me.  This time, in doing new research I found out all those things about how you need to stimulate the rat to go to the restroom or they can die of their own toxins, or if the mom isnt' nursing try putting her in a small enough area so she is forced to be on top of the babies, I wish I knew all that before.  It is imp. to know what you are getting into, and I can't believe anyone would go into it lightly.  After reading some of the stories on here, I think I got off relatively easy in my experience and yet it is still one of the worst times in my life.
I was lucky enough to have been part of Willie's life and I am eternally grateful for the 2.5 years she gave me.

Offline Alter Ego

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #111 on: June 14, 2005, 05:04:01 AM »
I just bumped on this forum and what a great topic I found! Breeding is really not to be taken lightly.
Having bred rats for some time now, I'll add my own story here too. Please excuse my english, it is not my first language.

Breeding with all the best intentions and sufficient knowledge is sometimes still not enough. Nature is what it is..
I had a couple of years ago a nice, fit and healthy female due to have a well planned litter, which was not my first, but the first with problems. Tähti (the female) was from one of my own litters and from a good healthy background, as was the male used.

The estimated day for delivery came and went, but nothing happened. I called vets, who only wanted to wait more, as the female was eating and feeling ok, until the pregnancy was three days overtime. Time went on and the movements of the babies in the tummy were still visible, so we waited. The third day I had already made an appointment for everything possible, even c-section, but in the morning the "action" began. Tähti clearly had pains, she bled loads of clear blood, she was delivering, but nothing came out. We could not get an earlier appointment to any of the good vets here, so all we could do was to wait and hope. Tähti was pushing for about 20 minutes, until suddenly she stopped and went all limp. I got her start delivering again by force fed calcium extract and a massage another breeder had shown me a few years earlier. Finally, nearly three hours later, just 5 minutes before we would have had to start our trip to the vet, Tähti begun to give birth to her babies.

She gave birth in the open in her cage, so I could see there were 5 huge dead kittens, the first with all black and deformed head from the hard delivery. I left her finish the delivery in peace and went to the kitchen to fill up a lactol bottle for her. As I came back, I faced a view not suitable for the sensitive  :worry:. All the babies had been born dead because of the overtime and the difficulties, and the mom had eaten parts of the dead babies to regain energy, and chopped up all the rest of them around the cage, with the cage literally pooling with blood and the bits and pieces of the babies. I can assure you that I was seriously thinking over my whole breeding and intelligence while picking up the pieces. I couldn't have known, but the feeling of blaming myself does not ask for a good reason.

Tähti was very tired and sick after the delivery for a couple of days, but eventually made it. We examined her with ultrasound to make sure there were nothing extra left inside anymore and force fed her liquids and vitamins. We nearly lost her too  :-[. Luckily she recovered and lived a healthy life after that.

I have bred several healthy litters without problems since, but still, before every "miracle of birth", I lack sleep for a few nights..

Offline jj615

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #112 on: August 04, 2005, 10:05:36 AM »
WOW what an amazing thread!!  We have had our first Rat since Dec 04 and boy have I learnt alot since reading these threads!!

I have 2 male rats and one female (In seperate cages of course) and am looking for another female, and I was considering breeding (I was only thinking of one litter, per female, just to carry on the line).  It was suggested to me that I should read all the threads available here and do my research, well I am very seriously rethinking my plans, I don't know the heritage of my darlings and two of them have come from pet stores,  I don't know if these pet store rats will have any future problems (We have only had them for a week and they are in isolation at the mo in seperate rooms!!) They seem to be quite healthy, but then again looks can be decieving.

Thank you for posting your stories, it certainly makes one really think about the consequences of doing something without researching it first!!
Rats: Zapper, VB (not the aussie beer) and Rani (queen Bee (& looking for a cage mate))

Offline RKEM

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« Reply #113 on: September 02, 2005, 04:31:46 PM »
So you've seen the unbearably cute eeper pictures, so you think you know enough about genetics and want to try breeding? Before you do, please humor me and read the following

Take a look at this rat, cute isn't she :





A headspot, a milkchin, cute face, semi-rex fur, cute markings, a cheery disposition. Now who wouldn't want to have this little girly rat, easy adoption wouldn't you think?

Now take a look at her belly



And now take a look at the other side of her face



Not so cute isn't it?

She's not fat or pregnant, she just has very poor body conformation. Her eye is not hurt, she was born without one. Her nose is also badly formed and if you listen carefully, there is always a noise when she breathes, vet confirmed its not myco, its just congenital ... oh and did I mention she's blind? And of course her markings make her even more susceptible to eventually developping megacolon.

How's that for an "easy adoption"

PaiMei is her name and she's most likely the product of an attempt at making a litter with "popular markings" like blazes, rex fur and odd eyes (her sole eye being red). She's the product of careless breeding for appearance's sake (as opposed to a strong bloodline foundation for health first), which led to her birth defects.

Although I love her to death and she's the greatest rat I have, most people are put off by her weird empty eye socket ... hence why she wasn't adopted.

She was lucky, she ended up at a very caring rescue whom in turn let me adopt her and she's a very active, engaged little rat who seems happy all the time and I cherish every momment with her. Yet the sad part is that I know very well that she will most likely end up with health conditions from her poor genetic background, that she will require a lot more vet care and will probably not live long compared to my other rats.

Now the next time you think about breeding, please think of PaiMei.



How many of the people on your waiting list would go through with the adoption if you told them that unfortunately, their prospective eeper is blind and missing one eye or if they only have 3 legs or only 1 ear?

What would you do if you end up with a whole litter of PaiMei? What would you do with 20 deformed ratties. Could you afford to keep them all until the end of their natural life? Could you afford the vet fees that this means?

More importantly, would you be ready to care for them all?

If you took more than 2 seconds to reply "yes" to all those question, please never ever breed.

If you are not ready to own and face the consequences and deal with the very worst that could happen, then I'm sorry but you have no business bringing animals into the world.

When you breed for "fun" or "the miracle of life" or just so you can have cute eepers for a month, you can also create pain and suffering. Its unfair to the animals and it's rescues and shelters that end up having to pick up after the mess you create.

*steps off her soapbox and goes to play with PaiMei*
« Last Edit: September 02, 2005, 04:34:59 PM by RKEM »

Offline misfitsiq

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #114 on: September 24, 2005, 12:59:52 AM »
I am definately new here, but not really new to rats.  I am fairly new to the whole idea of fancy rats though. 

Background:  I lived on a farm where we had wild mice and rats all over the place.  Stupid children that we were, we fed them, played with them, and loved them.  My mom wouldn't let us have any in a cage, but outside was fine.  I grew up, got married and got two female pet rats.  Cool.  Unfornatuately, both died of basically old age.  They were feeder rats and probably older when I got them.  They were big girls.  Anyway, they did sneeze, but at the time, I didn't know what was causing it.  Turned out to be the litter.  (Never use pine or listen to pet stores.)  These girls never were bred or taken to a vet.  No vet would even look at them. 

Fast forward.  Since my girls died, I waited about six months to get any more rats.  Now, I have seven females.  The first was a pet store rat.  She was pregnant.  Oops.  She only had ten babies.  I still have two of her babies, girls.  The boys went to a friend, who still has them.  Gypse, the female is about a year old now (was about 2 or 3 months old when I got her).  She hasn't had any problems, was a good mother and never got nippy when I handled her babies.  Her babies are only nine months old.  None of my rats really sneeze, except for the new little girl I just had to get from PETCO.  She is still getting used to my home though and in a quarantine cage for another week until I know she isn't sick for sure.

Anyway, my rat was pregnant.  She had ten babies, all were live (unless she ate dead ones before I saw them in the morning), all are still healthy.  A lot of new mother rats I hear of (pedigree included) get nippy or nervouse when you handle their babies.  Not Gypse, she just waited to take them back from your hand when you were done.  For me, the accidental litter was a positive experience.  I have my girls, the boys have a permanent home together, and I got to see what a fancy rat looked like.  Also, all are healthy.  No mucas, or tumors, and none have yet died.  If she wasn't so damn fat I would probaly think of breeding her again.  But, she is spoiled and lazy, doesn't like to run.  The difference is, I know I can keep all my rats and any babies she might have.  I also know that rats don't live very long, so we need to make their lives as happy as we can.

Sometimes breeding is good, but only if you are willing to be responsible for the babies.  Last thought, if more responsible breeders supplied healthier rats to pet stores for pets and snake food wouldn't it be better for a lot of animals.  I can't help thinking that snakes deserve healthy food (not live though).  Also, if breeders sold to pet stores for pets, they would be able to teach the stores the right way to treat rats.

Thanks for listening, bring on the rant. ;)

Offline rosie and lucy

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #115 on: November 22, 2005, 07:36:48 PM »
I have also had a breeding experience. My girl Sally was approaching 8 months old and we decided to breed from her for the following reasons. Sally is one of those special rats that you come across once in a life time (and I have had quite a few), she had never bitten, not when you statled her, not over food, not even accidentally. She is also a remarkably placid and easy going female and she is very affectionate and sweet. Finally, and the deciding factor (without this I would never have considered it) she is very healthy, never been to the vet and rarely sneezes. Then I did some research on breeding on the internet and reread some of my old rat books to understand the risk to Sally and what could go wrong.

Once I had decided to breed from her I had to find a mate. My local (trusted) petshop breeds their own rats from animals sourced from a breeder that they turn over regularly to avoid in breeding. As a result all babies that come from this petshop (or the ones they breed themselves) are beautiful, friendly and healthy (most of my rats come from this pet shop). A good sign. I spoke to them and they agreed to allow Sally to board with one of their males. I met him he was sweet and well socialised. Also (and most importantly) the pet shop postponed their breeding in anticipation of mine so that I was in essenes breeding instead of them.

Her pregnancy went well and she was a spoiled, pampered girl as she got a special hi protein diet for her pregnancy. As the time drew closer I separated her from her friends. One day when I came home from work she had had them. Seven of the largest rat babies I had ever seen (judging by pictures on the net), 4 boys, 3 girls. Sally was fine and the babies all survived. She was an extremely attentive mother, never leaving them, weary but not aggressive. They remained huge. At five weeks old (I refused to let them go before that) I let them go to the pet shop. As a side note they could not believe they were only five weeks old, they were still huge. I think the only reason they trusted me was because they knew me.

I kept two girls, Emily who is blue (I think) and Zelda who is black. They are now seven weeks old and still large (they are both 150 grams at seven weeks). They take after their mother. Neither bite. Zelda is hyper active and extremely outgoing. She has this habit of tugging at your cloths to get your attention. Emily is more like her mother and is placid and easy going.

Now for the down side, and why I will never do it again. It took a lot out of sally. She was about 260 grams when we started and after she was about 240. She was also more floppy and slept so much more afterwards. Also she lost mussel mass as well as fat, no matter how much we fed her. It took her about a month of high energy foods and yogurt to get her back to her old self (actually larger than before but she deserved it). She is back to her old self now but it is important that people know that while it is natural it still takes a lot out of the mother, and Sally only had 7 babies, imagine if she has had 14!!!

I enjoyed knowing that I had contributed to producing some nice pets for someone (the girl that was taken to the petshop was sold before she even arrived) but it wasn't worth it for it's effects on sally. Today I am going back to check that they have been sold, if they haven't I am bringing them home with me. I also know that Sally enjoyed the experience too. All I can say is to just think about your girl rat and if it is worth it before you decide to breed.

And I am not telling you not to breed because no one can do that, all I am saying is that even a pregnancy and litter that goes perfectly has negative side effects.

Offline Lady Drace

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #116 on: December 29, 2005, 08:10:22 PM »
Iv'e had rats for about 4 years now, and I must confess, that I am a breeder. Not that I breed all them time, but when I have the perfect parents, I have a litter. And I spend a lot of time considering many factors, before I let the pair mate.

First: They must not have had any sickness or temper problems.
Second: They must be the right age (By danish standards, females 6-10 months, males 12-? months) and the right weight. (Females 250 grams, I prefer 300, and males over 500 grams)

If the family is known, they are judged too. No genetic health problems are allowed or if there are any other promblems that MIGHT be gentic, that is considered too.

Only then do I breed. And only when I have the time, energy, and space for the babies. I'm always ready to keep all the babies, if I can't find homes for them.

So breeding is wonderful, I do think that. But It's a LOT of hard work, and it costs a lot of money.
Lady Drace / Minna Pedersen


Offline TessTheRat

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #117 on: January 20, 2006, 06:15:52 PM »
This is my story:

I had two girl rats and really enjoyed them.  My Mom thought she would like to have two pet rats as she saw how nice they were at my place.  Anyways, we went to the pet store and picked out two "males".  It turns out one was female and one was male.  The female rate became pregnant, and I told my Mom that I would look after it for her.  The rats arrived fine.  The mother had 7 little rats.  I told my Mom that when the rats were old enough, that she could look after the boys and I would look after the girls.  That was around a year ago.  As for myself, I still have 4 rats.  One of my rats (Tess) died today.  I had brought her to the vet to have a tumor removed.  Unfortunately, she died after the surgery.  My Mom's rats are doing fine.

Offline JohariZ

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #118 on: January 25, 2006, 03:13:55 AM »
Well, Sadie is having her babies right now as I write this. Not an intentional litter by me. I was volunteering at an animal shelter near where I was staying. Well, somebody had brought her in after finding her in a box in a dumpster. I felt so bad for her. So I brought Sadie home. She was so sweet. And she still is. But after a while I noticed her tummy growing. and her teets getting bigger. I was glad that I had adopted her from the shelter because I knew I could take care of her and her babies. She's had two so far, and I only know this because when I went to change out her bedding and food this evening the first thing that she did, instead of her usual coming out and wanting to cuddle, she tore out from under her cloth and bit my finger. Hard bite too. Gotta be careful with her from now on.

This will be the second litter i've raised. The first was when I was working at a pet store a few years ago. I brought home this beautiful little girl, so nice and so desperate for a home. She was a gorgeous beige self. She just stole my heart. We didn't keep the males and females together at that petstore, they were all seperated. But obviously once I was surprised a while later with three beautiful babies, I realized whoever brought them in had kept them together. Though I was quite lucky, I took care of all the babies, two boys and a girl. They were all healthy and lived long. Died naturally... no major health problems. pure luck.

But I would never intentionally breed any rat. Though I love raising the babies and everything, it's just not worth it. But if a pregnant rat needs a home, I'll sure give it to her. And care for her young.

Zechnas

Offline lotsarats

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #119 on: February 14, 2006, 05:57:20 AM »
I am new here....this will be my first post
These stories are certainly eye openers thats for sure

I am certainly not a breeder ( Much to my partners disgust...smile) but i do have a breeding story

6th of October I came home from work, looked in the girls room and said " Boy kimmy's getting big isn't she ". Trev said " yeah she's had a big meal hasn't she".

7th of October I came home from work, looked in the girls room and said " Oh boy, she's doubled in size, she isn't just eating well, she's pregnant ".

Kimmy had chosen us as human companions just 4 days ago. And now we were looking at increasing the size of our family.

8th October 2005: I was sitting with Kimmy in my lap and I started to feel babies moving inside. I decided it wasn't going to be long before we had babies. I immediately got on the internet to find out as much as I could about pregnant Rats and breeding etc. Discovered there is not much I could do except provide a nice safe place for mum and babies, and also to provide a healthy diet for mum.
We already had a smallish cage for transporting Ratties to the vet etc...So this now became the nursery. Kimmy was placed into the nursery away from the other Rats that very night, but we didn't want her to be lonely so we placed the nursery cage right next to the main cage....Smile

9th October 2005: 4AM. I heard a weird noise coming from the girls room....Got up to see what was going on...Kimmy was very distressed, banging at the roof of the cage. I thought she was upset at being in an enclosed area....cos normally we have the cage door open so the girls can sit on top. But this wasn't the case....Kimmy was in labor....
9th October 2005: 9AM. I went into the room and all was quiet....kimmy was sitting quietly. Then I heard it...The distinct sound of a little squeak, then another and another. I yelled out to Trev......"We have babies ". He said "how many?" I said no idea...Cant look yet. We left them alone for the rest of the day...Just ensuring Kimmy had plenty of nutritious food and water and peace and quiet.

10th October 2005: Today we caught our first glimpse of the babies....Kimmy was away from the nest, so without touching we managed to count our new family members and checked to see if all was ok ( I even managed to take a pic). With mega excitement we discovered 12 little 'pinkies', all huddled together and all very small. Wow what a miracle. You see Kimmy is a very young Rat. She would have been only 3 or 4 weeks old when she conceived...therefore having the babies when she was only 6 to 7 weeks old.....only a mere baby herself. I read on the net that Rats should not be breed til they were at least 3 months old. But we had no say in the matter. Kimmy was to be a young mother and thats all there was to it. We would help her in any way we could to ensure the survival of her clan....smile

11th to 27th October 2005:The first week saw the babies developing very quickly. By day 5 they were starting to show their markings. By day 9 they had fur. It was at this stage we found out that we had 6 Berkshires and 6 Hoods all silver in colour. We were also able to distinguish their sex at the stage. We were the proud owners of 8 females and 4 males. Unfortunately the 4 boys will be going to other homes as we are unable to keep males. But kimmy will be able to keep her 8 little girls. I always wanted a pet that was able to keep her babies....and now i have one.

6th November: Today was the babies 1 month birthday....i cant believe its gone so fast. They are all socialising really well...not only with the other adult rats, but with us humans as well. We have been handling them frequently so that when the boys go to their homes they will already be socialised and make good pets. Would be nice if all 4 boys could go to the same home.
We had a little party, all the girls joined in. We ate rice with chicken and vegies, cripix cereal, drank boost juices, and had a small piece of butterscotch pudding and icecream for dessert. Beatrice and Gypsy were being a little anti social, so as soon as the food was over they retreated to our bed for some peace and quiet.

This was copied from my " thelifeofdomesticrats " Blog

I guess this shows that some Breeding can be a good experience
we were very lucky that we had no problems
we were able to find homes for the boys and our girls give us much joy
We are also lucky that we are able to give our girls all the love and time they need to be wonderful loving pets and we also have the funds to keep them as healthy as we can.

will i breed again......smile

Not if i have anything to say about it...smile

Why?

just call it womans intuition....smile

Deb
Rosie Ginger Gypsy Bambie Beatrice Cassie Kira Shapelle Shelley kath Kim Corby Chloe and kimmies bubs: Leelee Lilly Molly Morgan Jassie Jayjay Tess n Tammy
Roxy 30/06/2004 to 28/11/2005 Relaxing on the banks of the river at Rainbow Bridge

Offline lisa.j.31

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #120 on: February 22, 2006, 03:08:38 PM »
I DID NOT BREED...

Hi! Well as many of you know I purchased a female rat from a breeder n February 13, 2006. When we got home we did what any new ratty parent would do and did the full body inspection. We noticed she was walking a little funny, so I posted and asked if maybe she could be pregnant. We were not sure cuz she was a tad bit round but not much and more just on one side. Well that saturday ( the 18th ) I took her back to the breeder to ask for sure. The breeder confirmed with me she was at least 2 weeks pregnant. Well on monday the 20th Honey went into labor around 6am. I woke to find bloody towels on the bottom of her cage.  Finally at 2:50pm she had her first baby. She finished up around 4:15pm. I knew something wasnt right, her tummy was still a bit big, but the vet assured me she was prob just a little swollen from being pregnant. My intuition told me no, something is wrong, but I ignored it. Last night Around 8pm Honey delivered 2 dead babies.  I was frantic because I felt like had I done something the night before we wouldnt be going through this. I took her to the vet last night and she assured me there was nothing they would have done for her had we brought her in the night before. We have 3 healthy little babies that are adorable. Honey is a good mommy but she was too young to have been bred and it was totally irresponsible of the breeder to have allowed her to become pregnant. We love our Honey and our babies, but I would NEVER want to go through this again.



Offline Vampiric_Conure

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #121 on: March 05, 2006, 04:37:11 PM »
My breeding experiences have been a mix of good and crazy. My first 2 litters were accidental. I went from 2 to 16 rats in 2 days. The litters were cute though. I'd bough the moms from a local pet store who didn't seperate males from females. They were my first rats and I was inexperienced. despite plenty of research. I thought the females would be okay because I bought them when they were 'too young' to reproduce. HA!

I ended up giving the pet store back all but one of the babies, who I named Bungee. She died just under a year of age. Her genetics were not the greatest, as the rats at that pet store  were badly inbred. Her mom died during surgury when a huge tumor was being removed. Their room mate died of old age and possible heart problems several months later. Both girls were almost 2 years old.

The other litter I had went better. I had 10 babies between the breeding of Slick and Troi. I studied the breeding rats carefully, making sure I was breeding well for personality and health. They were pet shop ratties, but I inspected their temperment closely and their health. I was glad when most of the babies were born healthy and I managed to keep one boy. I named him Nosecone. The unfortunate thing that happened with this litter was that one boy escaped  into the wall of my apartment. He started running along the baseboard heaters in the other apartments and the Landlord had a fit, though she didn't find out about me. While that was going on, the babies were housed at my parents' place. The babies eventually went to a pet store that only sold their rats as pets. I've since bought many rats from that store and have been pleased with their stock. Once in a while you'll get a sick feller, like my Digital, but otherwise their rats have been pretty good. :-)

I say go into breeding rats with plenty of research under your belt. Also realize that things don't always go well. I breed cockatiels and I've lost a few clutches due to inexperience and illness. Work with an experienced breeder if you can and if you can't, talk to those who have been doing it for a looong time. It's more than putting a male and female rat together  :icon_rr:

Offline Moonstones

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #122 on: March 06, 2006, 01:57:51 AM »
After 8 successful deliveries, I had a bad experience yesterday:
My beautiful roan Alaska started nestbuilding and spotting in the morning. It was still watery blood so even though I was concerned, I didnt think it that serious. She finally delivered 1 baby by 5pm in the afternoon, but then no more, and she was bleeding pretty heavily. So off to the emergency vet, gave her subcutaneous fluid with glucose, a calcium injection and oxytocin. She still wasnt pushing, so vet gave her a second oxytocin injection. Vet could not feel any obstruction, so 'technically' no reason why she just stopped delivering. finally at 10:30pm that night she started delivering, but all 13 the babies were either stillborn or died shortly after.  :'(
Alaska is on antibiotics, and we hope to pull her through. I put her baby with one of my very good lactating mommies who promptly took over and tried her best, cleaned the pup and got all protective, but sadly I think the little one was just too weak, and didnt make it.

Offline Hack

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #123 on: March 13, 2006, 04:32:19 PM »
about fifteen years ago, rats were not sold as pets in most pet stores.  the only way you could get a rat was by getting a 3 week old from the feeder bins.  (by getting the rat at 3 weeks you could be sure that it wasn't pregnant).  this was the source of most of my rats.  for whatever reason, my parents (i was fairly young) thought it would be ok to breed my male and my brother's female.  we had done some (obviously incomplete) research and thought that by lining up homes for about 10 rats that it would be fine.  fortunately, the rat had the babies with no complications, but there were 16 of them.  needless to say, rats were still enough of a cute weird pet that we managed to find homes for them all, but we have all decided that it was a really bad idea in retrospect.  i would never breed one of my rats ever again.  i had a positive experience, and all the babies were healthy, but i would still never repeat it.  there are too many rats in this world that need loving homes.  so i'll leave the breeding to people who do it full time and know what they're doing.

Offline Rats Rule

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Re: Personal stories about breeding
« Reply #124 on: April 04, 2006, 03:24:19 AM »
I got my first two female rats years ago when I was 18. I got them from a friend who bred them for years supposedly. She would take them out of their cages play with them etc. They seemed really well socialized. I ended up buying the two rats from her. Unfortunately they both ended up being pregnant. After she said that she made sure that they were not pregnant. It was awful I had 28 babies and I didn't know what to do. My mom ended up taking most of them too a petstore because nobody wanted to adopt any rats that I knew. I felt horrible because they probaly were sold as snack food. It was my fault for not making sure I bought from a good breeder I should have made sure she knew what she was doing more instead of just buying from a friend.

I feel horribly guilty about this still. I have just spent over 300 dollars on two rats that I don't own yet to make sure that they are treated right. I will wait till i can get some from a rescue place before I even think of buying one. I will definately make sure that they are males though. I am too scared to adopt two ever females again!  :'(