Goosemoose Pet Portal

Rats Rule! => Rat Care Corner => Topic started by: kmw on April 10, 2003, 03:49:20 PM

Title: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kmw on April 10, 2003, 03:49:20 PM
We had a thread before the forum went down where a few brave souls posted their personal stories about breeding.  I'd like to re-create that thread here, so that others may learn.

 
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Marybelle on April 10, 2003, 04:09:58 PM
I'll start.

When we first got into rats, and before we found this forum, we decided it would be a good idea to breed our own rats, as the ones we were getting from the petstores always seemed to be sick when we got them (should have been our first clue).  

We thought we had the perfect candidates. Katt was the sweetest thing, and she even purred when we held her.  She never had respiratory problems, so we figured she'd be a good candidate, even though she was a petstore rat.  The male was laid back, and one of the healthiest, so we figured we were doing good.  Katt had a beautiful litter of rittens, and we were thrilled.

We ended up keeping almost all the babies, as we discovered a disturbing lack of homes after we bred.  I'm thankful for that, at least.  We didn't put anyone else through this heartbreak.

As Kat got older, she started to waste away.  No external tumors, she just got skinnier and skinnier.  We gave her all the high calorie foods we could think of, and tried to keep her weight up and keep her happy.  Eventually, she died of cancer that just ate her away.

And then we watched all her kids die of the same thing.  Every one of them wasted away, even the 2 pound boys she'd given us.  It's not something I ever want to experience again.  We lost 11 rats in a 3 month period to this.  And to think, if I'd have just done more research and found more information, I never would have bred.  We had the best of intentions, but that just isn't enough.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: LittlePixie on April 10, 2003, 07:25:29 PM
I work in a petstore. A lady constantly brings in rats, and claims she "doesn't know how to tell the difference between males and females". She got quite irate when I explained that GENERALLY, the ones with the large balls are the males.

The last lot she brought in included a pregnant [8-week-old] female. I took her home. She was very weak, and so thin aside from her enormous belly.

She had a litter of nine. One was stillborn. She didn't know what to do with the little ones, and scattered them all over the cage, with placentas and sacs often still attached. There was a lot of blood everywhere; all the bedding was soaked in it.

I cleaned the babies up, removed placentas and sacs, and changed the bedding.

Over the remainder of the day, I watched three more of the babies die. I watched it happen, and there was nothing I could do. Every hour or so I'd have to reach into the tank and remove yet another cold body. I had no way of knowing if any of the babies would survive, and even with the mother, it was touch-and-go if she'd pull through. Gee, that would have been a really lovely experience for somebody's kids.

In the end, five survived. They are all very small. The mother, also, survived, but I doubt she will ever grow any bigger than she is now. At six weeks old, after six weeks of advertising, I only have a home for one.

The miracle of birth indeed.

Edited, 12 October 2004: Gryphon died at the age of 1 year and 5 months from myco.
Egan died at the age of 1 year and 6 months, exactly a month after Gryphon, also from problems stemming from myco.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: LittlePixie on April 10, 2003, 08:03:34 PM
There is also this:

http://www.jotenheim.com/ratrescue.html (http://www.jotenheim.com/ratrescue.html)

If that doesn't discourage people, nothing will.



*Edited by Dearpie to say that this is a dead link.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: anklebitr on April 10, 2003, 10:16:58 PM
Ok that last link was just nasty.  Those poor little things.   :sad2:
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: gentlesummerrayn on April 11, 2003, 10:22:56 AM
As I have done rescue work for years I cannot recall how many times I took in litters..with the parents..as people thought it would be so cool for their children to witness the miricle of birth and such only to be left with a dozen rats and no homes for them. Rats do make the best pets in the world...but not all of us should be breeders. It takes so much work and knowledge to do it right.
Marianne
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: DebW on April 11, 2003, 11:30:22 AM
A little over a year ago, I allowed 2 rats in my classroom to have a litter (Eloise and Dexter)  Eloise was a double rex dumbo and Dexter was a blue standard fur dumbo.  I thought I knew enough about where they came from.  They had 9 lovely babies.  Three were hairless and the rest rex.  These ratties have great personalities.

However...........

Dexter and his brother Dewey died young.  Dewey had neurological problems.  The vet wasn't really sure on Dexter.

Claire just died at 16 months - pituitary tumor.

Claire and Daphne developed mammary tumors at around 14 months of age (young) Daphne's will  hopefully be removed next week.

One of the brothers I adopted out died very young.  Unknown reasons.

I love these babies to death, but will never breed my own again.  I'll leave that to people who know more about the health and backgrounds of their babies.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Wolfchan on April 12, 2003, 01:51:24 AM
I never meant for Zylle to be pregnant, but an idiot co-worker of mine put her in the feeder bin and Voila!  Fifteen little squeakers.  I am keeping three, and three more have found a home with a WONDERFUL person a few hours away.  That accounts for the girls, but I have had no luck whatsoever placing the nine boys.  Next week they are going back to my workplace if I don't find homes for them.  I can at least guarantee that they don't go as feeders but I can't screen the potential owners... *sigh*

No health problems have developed yet in either Zylle or the litter, but I'm making my emergency vet fund bigger because I'm fully expecting them. :(
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: bonnie kljm on April 12, 2003, 09:39:17 PM
i got my first rat when i was 12 and the pet store owner said it was definitly a male...little did i know. then about 3 months later i got another male for "him" and i noticed a big difference if you know what i mean then 2 months later she gave birth to 11 black hooded babies...i had to give 8 of them to ACC and it was heart breaking and 2 others were givin to a friend who unfortunalty couldnt keep them. but it was terrible because i didnt know enough and just made alot of stress because i had to worry if they were going to get good homes or not...sigh...regrets....
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Mollicus on April 13, 2003, 06:13:32 PM
After discussion with lots of experienced folks, I know now that what I've done was wrong, but here's my experience:

Back in October, I began my Science Research class. I thought it would be neat to breed rats to observe and determine genetics. I'd been keeping mice for years, so rats wouldn't be much different, right?

I got my three rats from the local petstore, who i later found out gets their animals from a mill.

My parents said I could keep them in my room until the end of the school year, and I'd have to find homes for them all.

I didn't think it was a problem, and asked around to all of my friends, and came up with about 10 homes.

I didn't do much research before allowing the female to breed with the males, and the research I had was from a bad source. ALWAYS, ALWAYS use more than one source... I ended up with 5 pretty babies, whom I handled as often as I could, but I didn't seperate them soon enough, and both females ended up pregnant when they were only about 8 weeks old.

I seperated them, but by then it was too late, the damage was done.

I had two girls pregnant much too young to be healthy, and my parents flipped when they had their litters and I ended up with 16 babies, 24 rats total.

I had overcrowded cages for a while, and it was all I could do to keep them all fed.

Both moms started biting every time I would get near them, and they could not be handled. The two friendly rats seemed to turn feral. It was difficult to handle the babies, but I did the best I could. To this day, they still nip, and it's going to take a LOT of effort to get them used to people again.

Once they were weaned, I found homes for many of the babes, and several adults, but not all. It took months to get down to 7.

Every single one of the homes I had lined up in the fall fell through. I had to start from scratch to find the homes I did, and I thank everyone out there who took one or more of my kids.

My parents don't want them in the house, have threatened to let them go, all kinds of things.

It's been REALLY hard, all because I didn't do my research. If I had known how hard it was to care for this many animals, i would NEVER have bred them.

Luckily, my parents are letting me keep two females, so I only have 5 to find homes for...

All I can say is that I wish I had done my research. I really do. I learned my lesson... and I will never jump full force into something like this..

And I'm very thankful to have found this board and all of these people who have helped me get through this whole mess!
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Urbanratgirl on April 14, 2003, 02:14:42 AM
I have never wanted to breed, as much as I love rats, I figured I didn't know enough, there was too much risk.
Seeing and reading the stories, it reaffirms my belief that it is not right for me, thank you everyone for sharing your sad stories.
Lets leave it to the experts!
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: flambled on April 14, 2003, 06:55:18 PM
I got 2 dumbo females and a dumbo male from a breeder about 6  and a half hours away.  That was the closest I could find any.   I decided I would breed them so I would have some after they originals got old, plus they were DUMBO and should be easy to give away.    One female turned out already pregnant and only had a few standard ear babies.  I kept 2 and the rest died.  The other female had several dumbo babies.  I couldn't give away any near by.  I ended up driving to Florida (10 and a half hrs away) to give away some (I think I gave away 3 or 4) and I drove to Lexington (4 and a half hours away) to give away (4 I think).  One of the females I gave away ended up having to get spayed due to medical problems (not sure what they were), luckily the person I gave her to was able to get it done and loved her dearly.  I haven't heard anything about the boys so I don't know their health.  I ended up with 3 left over.  One female and 2 males.  Both males got out one day and died the female is 2 this month and has had a mammay tumor removed about a month ago.  The father died at 2 years and a month.  The mom is still alive, she is 2 years and 4 months.  I was just sure it would be easy to place dumbos because every where I looked online someone wanted one.  All the homes I had lined up before they were weaned fell through.  I didn't give one single rat away near by.  While I am glad I have Rattilda (the female dumbo I kept) I will never breed again even if the rats come from a breeder.  

Belinda

Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: maryz on April 14, 2003, 11:25:17 PM
I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of breeders before I started breeding last October.   I picked a big gorgeous doe (RTR Tamara) and one of my favorite bucks (OSED Logan).  It was going to be the perfect litter.  I had the genetics all worked out and quite a few homes lined up.

Well, things didn't turn out the way I had planned.  Tamara gave birth to 4 babies, then her labor stopped.  She continued to bleed, so I brought her and the babies to the emergency vets.  They gave her two shots of oxytocin to start labor, but it didn't help.  She started to go shocky, so she needed a C-section.  She had another 8 babies in her and we were able to revive 4 of them.  Tamara wasn't able to take care of them, so I hand fed them, kept them warm and they each got a shot of sub-Q fluids.  The next day I brought them to a foster mom, where one by one they died.  They just wouldn't nurse.  Their foster mom kept them warm and tried to take care of them, they were just too weak.  Plus the vet mentioned that the doe didn't have colostrum in her milk anymore, so even if they didn nurse, they weren't getting all that they needed.

Tamara survived her ordeal really well.  She's gotten kind of fat, but she's healthy and  you can hardly see the scar on her belly.  She's as sweet as ever.  

I felt very guilty for a very long time about putting my girl through this, and for the loss of the babies.  Not to mention the $540 hole in my pocketbook.  But by talking to others, I realized that what happened was quite rare, and that there wasn't anything different I could have done.  There are stories of 'breeders' letting their does die rather than pay the costs of sugery.

I bred again in February.  Leda had two healthy babies and was a great mother.  Her sister had a single still born.  Again, that was hard, but Io got over the birth very quickly and was back to her old self in a couple of hours.  My third litter is nine big fat pups with a great mother.

Breeding isn't for everyone.  It can be so heartbreaking, not to mention expensive.  And you have to have the room and time for every single pup you have, just in case adoptions fall through.  But looking at my babies really makes it seem all worth while.  I just dread having to let most of them go to new homes.  I haven't had to face that yet.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ruthiechan on April 15, 2003, 12:29:47 AM
Okay...my turn...

I had a friend in college who's rat had babies. The mama was from a pet store, and I'm not sure where the dad came from. Probably the same place. There was this runt that I fell in love with. She was so cute, but EVERYONE wanted her. So I offered my friend $20. Of course she said yes, and after getting the okay from my husband, Robert, I got him.

I mentioned to Wolfchan that I was getting this runt and that I was thinking about getting her a friend. At the time she was working at Evil Petco and she was able to give me the "nappy" (read: rex) looking rat for free.
Robert named them Yin and Yang. (The runt was very dark, and the other was white.)

Then, due to unfortunate circumstances Kathy wasn't able to keep Dexter anymore, and so I took him in, and bought Yin's brother, Cid as a buddy for Dexter.

All was seemingly well until one day, I picked my little girlie runt Yang, only to discover she was a he! His testicles dropped at eight(8) weeks instead of the standard four(4). I didn't separate them soon enough because I thought that Yin would beat him up if he tried anything, and a friend mentioned that he should be sterile. This of course was foolish on my part.

Yin had eleven(11) babies. Six (6) girls and five (5) boys. Seven(7) of them went to my family while I kept the rest. Things seemed fine for a while until slowly but surely the tragedies started to happen.

-Cid(m) at 6 months old had a tumor removed and was always getting respiratory flare ups. Later he developed a tumor inside his bladder that was inoperable. It made him lose all mobility in his hind legs and often he would urinate blood along with a grey and dark grey matter that smelled. He died at 11 months old.

-Yokiko(m) died of myco (possibly pneumonia) at 6 months.
-Katra(m) died of myco at 12 months.
-Toki(f) died of a pituitary tumor at 19 months.
-Jumper(f) had a tumor the size of two golf balls. She died of severe heart disease at 22 months.
-Squeaker(f) had a tumor the size of 1.5 golf balls. She died of severe heart disease at 23 months.
-Sniffles(m) had diebetes, an eye that hemorraged, and died of a possible heart attack (uncertain) at 23 months.
-Junior(m) had melanoma, a slight arythmia, and a tumor removed from his throat. It came back fast and he died at 23 months.
-Yang(m) had chronic bumblefoot and heart disease. He died at 26 months.

-Yin(f) has a tumor literally the size of another adult rat, another tumor above her bladder, and heart disease.
-Washu(f) had a tumor removed. She now has another as well as cataracts and possible heart disease or sleep apnea.
-Smoothie(m) has chronic bumblefoot.
-Ashi'taka(f) has had 6 tumors removed. Not all were mammary.
and last but not least;
-Ogre has had 2 tumors removed.

Some have had problems with abcesses, and ALL have had respiratory infections off and on all their lives.

Every single one had (or have) wonderful personalities and made great pets. After experiencing this heart break, which isn't over yet, anyone who isn't a knowledgeable and reputable breeder should NOT be breeding. I firmly believe that all rats deserve top knotch genes not the crappy ones that are perpetuated by mills, backyard breeders, and people who want "cute babies" and see the "miracle of life."

My poor babies did not deserve what they got. They deserved better...
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: atombessy on April 15, 2003, 08:51:02 AM
I don't have any personal breeding stories, but take a look at some of the pics of rats posted on this forum that are from real, dedicated breeders. Lonestar, for example. They are BEAUTIFUL rats. Not that petstore rats arent sweet and cute too, but the quality of animals that CAN be produced becomes apparent when real attention to breeding is done. Great idea for a link mods.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Katy M on April 16, 2003, 03:00:17 PM
Oh, such a HAPPY post.  :(

Well, Me being the lovely unexperienced moron that I was just 6 months ago, I didn't give anything a second thought. My 6 month old male was in one cage (even then I knew I shouldn't keep him alone, but he wasn't one for appreciating company) and my 2 month female in another cage. I opened my Girl's cage to go fill her water bottle. I came back and noticed that the male had excaped. Didn't give it a second thought. I put him away and went on with doing whatever it was I was doing.
And my female never looked large, never changed her eating habits...

Then one morning I was laying in bed debating wether to get up or not, and I noticed a lot of squeeking in my girls cage. And even being a moron, I quickly concluded that those were baby squeeks, therefor she must have had babies. I got up and, indeed, there were 9 babies. It lookes like it had happened hours ago. Any blood in the cage was dry and chop was asleep, while 8 babies fed. The other, off a little ways, I figured was stillborn. I did know a good bit about taking care of baby rats, since I was, and still am, obsessed with learning everything about rats. I was more afraid of my mom being upset then I was of anything else. I took the day of school saying I didn't feel well and watched the babies and choppy for hours.

Choppy was not much of a mother, I didn't think. If she felt like getting up, she'd just up and run off, dragging 5 or 6 babies with her. If she wanted to lay back down, and all the babies were scattered from her doing this, she didn't retrieve them. Several times I walked in to find a baby cold and half dead becasue she was not going and getting them.

So, for a week, every 15 minutes, I'd go in and make sure all 8 babies were there.  At about a week and a half, I noticed they all looked malnutricioned. Choppy was to young and didn't have enough milk. So I started aiding Choppy by feeding the babies 8 times a day along with her feeding. Then at 2.5 weeks, I noticed 3 were simply dead. I removed them from the cage and checked on all the babies very carefully. They looked normal.

Then at 6 weeks, after everyone was seperated, another one was getting very very sick quickly. Within the hour she was to the point of not being able to walk, not opening her eyes, and hardly breathing. I didn't have the kind of parents who would take me to a vet at 10 at night, so I force fed her some water and held her close to keep her warm. I put a heating pad under her cage and put it by here, and watched her make no improvement.  I fell asleep during my watch at about 3 AM.

I wook up the next day at about 8, and was so afraid to lift my head up, just KNOWING she (Oh, her name was clay, by the way) would be dead. But I had to get up. So I looked, and couldn't see her because the otehr 3 rats were atop her keeping her warm. This was probebly the ONLY time I'd seen their mother acting like a mother, and the sisters actually acting like sisters. I still thought she was dead. I carefully pushed some rats off her. And to my surprise, little clay raised her head, annoyed at me for disturbing her, then got up ant acted as any normal rat would. She stretched and ran over to another one of the rats. I picked her up and played with her, and she was normal as ever. (BY THE WAY, if you know what could have been wrong, PLEASE tell me!)

And to this day I am having constant problems with the babies health. Since they had an inbred dad and an underage mom, they simply are not healthy. They are all drasticly smaller then they should be, and each of tehm has there own little defects. But I kept the 5 little babies and love them all dearly.


And, As a ncie little ending, all 3 of my boys are getting neutered soon!

KD
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Heather on April 16, 2003, 11:48:06 PM
I'm the worst one here. The whole thing started with Meeu, who I bought Feb 13 of last year and I knew she was pregnant. She had 11 babies, I kept one black self (Dante) and gave the other 6 boys to a girl at Petsmart. The 4 girls all went to a "breeder" whom I got Jinn and Zeke from later on. Carmelita got out into the woods and was never found, and the other 3 girls were so aggressive they had to be seperated because they almost killed a pregnant himilayan they were housed with until she had her babies. After that, I got Gracie from the girl.. already pregnant. She agreed to take all the babies, 6 of them. After that, Mala and Salem got out and she had a litter of 13 I think. Megan worked at a petstore where she found homes for her babies at, so I gave her Mala's litter when they were weaned. I thought it was the end of pregnant rats and babies but I was wrong. Gracie got in with the boys one day and ended up pregnant with 8 that time. While Gracie was still nursing her litter, Jinn (my little hairless) slipped through the bars of the crappy ferret cage I had seperated for the two sexes (girls on top, boys on bottom.. 2 solid shelves were bwtween them) and got Mala and Meeu pregnant. Together they had 26 babies. Mala had 9 and Meeu had 17. Kim was nice enough to take 3 boys, and 3 girl's from Gracie's last litter. I still had 22 babies (I kept Beans from Meeu's litter).. so I contacted everyplace I could and asked if they sold rats for pets, not feeders. I posted around for weeks but no one wanted them.. and at the time I had over 30 rats. I finally found a store that guarenteed to sell them as pets. They took them all in and I never seen them again.. as I've never seen the other rats I gave away (except the ones that went to Kim who lives like 10 mins away). It was the WORST experienece ever.. and I feel so horribly guilty I couldn't stand to look at myself for the longest time. :'(

Edit- I also wanted to add that I received some heartbreaking info awhile back and just forgot to post it here. The babies I took to the pet store that said they would be sold as pets, were infact, sold as feeders. I talked to someone who went to that store sometimes and said all the feeders were PEWs PLUS black berks and hoodeds.. just the type I dropped off at the store.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: DragonTamer on April 18, 2003, 05:15:48 PM
I don't breed, and I never will.. but I have had experience with two "accidental" litters...

the first one, was with my second rat, Blueberry.  The father was my step-brother's rat, Digger, who always escaped from the tank.. since my step brother never closed the lid all the way when he was done holding him.  Anyway, the rat escaped, and got to mine..  I found them together and freaked out.  of course, a few weeks later, I had 7 babies.  

I kept one female to house with my girl, since the female she was housed with originally had died of cancer not long before this happened.  The second female, I gave to the special ed classroom at my high school.  what a mistake...  I finally started hearing about them swinging her by her tail, poking her with things, and abusing her.. and almost no one would actually HOLD her because she "bit".   So when I heard this, I took her back.  She was extremely afraid, but never ever bit me.   she just would sit in my arms shaking ...   Her mother and sister seemed to recognize her immediately, and started grooming (not power grooming, either) her, and they all slept together immediately...   Mimi died before her mother (Digger, the father, was a poorly bred feeder rat)... and both her mother and Ash (who was also ridden with cancer, while the mother just had a bit of arthritis and that was it) were put to sleep during that whole ordeal I had..  

the second litter I had, was a pregnant himalayan rat I bought from a pet store.  I had NO clue she was pregnant when I got her... but I wound up with 15 babies, one stillborn.  I kept two girls from this litter, gave one to a person I knew online, another Suebee helped transport, and the rest went to an absolutely wonderful woman I met online, who I later got two rescue rats from years later.  

Well... the mother bit badly, and constantly.  I handled the babies every single day, but they still wound up being extremely skittish rats, and one of them that I know of, wound up being a biter, as well...

I would never breed intentionally.. and my rats are absolutely 100% not allowed anywhere near the opposite gender..  the same goes for the mice.  trying to find homes for that many rats is next to impossible!  
 
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Noe on April 20, 2003, 10:30:32 PM
Although I have never bred rats, I want to plead to anyone considering breeding their rats, to please think about it some more. If you want more rats, there are so very many without homes, who would be overjoyed to share yours. Remember that even if you find homes for all the rats you breed, those are homes that could have taken in rescue rats instead.

All the brave people who are sharing their stories here, are hoping that others can learn from their mistakes. Don't let them down.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 01:44:23 PM
I thought I'd "share" my story here too as well, since I've recently had a new litter born, to one of my rats.  This has been the first litter for me & so far it's been quite a positive experience.  Having already owning several female rats (all from pet stores, including some I've "saved"possible reptile food) of various colors & ages & all mostly in very good health, I was interested when I saw an ad posted in a local grocery store several weeks ago, advertising that someone privately was giving away rats, so of course I had to check it out and ended up w/2 more rats (a male & a female) both approximately 5-6 months old.  The male, Tiny, (who was already named when I got him) male is a very hairy all black boy, and the female Nikki (whom I renamed from "Nokia", which was her original name & I really didn't care for it too much, so decided to name her something quite similiar to "Nokia") is a pink hairless female.  Since I already owned a younger female pink hairless rat, Bo (whom is absolutely adorable, both looks & personality wise) I couldn't resist getting another hairless one, and I also really wanted to get a nice healthy young male rat, for breeding purposes (BTW Tiny has a great personality, except for one small thing I'll explain about later).  Anyhow not too long after I got Tiny & Nikki, I decided to put them together, and after a couple of weeks, Nikki started to look fat, so I figured that she was pregnant.  I then seperated them and house Nikki in a special "maternity" plastic enclosure that I had (& really "pampered" the little mommy to be, by offering her extra food & a few "goodies", etc.).  Anyhow I work a night job PT at a group home (my shifts there are generally from 11pm to 7 am), and two weeks ago on the evening of April 7th/8th I worked and, after I got back to my apartment I went to sleep in the morning, to get some shut eye.  Anyway I woke up @ about 3pm to what sounded like baby birds,  and got all excited.  I went to Nikki's enclosure & she was giving birth to her litter!  So far she had 5 babies and over the next hour or so had 6 more babies, all alive at birth.  She appeared to be doing an excellent job, cleaning the babies, (& I know that this sounds gross) eating the placentas, and nursing right away.  I was thrilled and examined the new family and the babies all seemed to be really healthy, so I let them be for the next day.  However the next day one of the babies had died, so I have no idea what happened other than I suspect that it possibly had a birth defect (though the baby appeared to look fine).  Anyhow the rest of the babies grew rapidly. except for the smallest one which is really a runt, so I was quite worried about him (& I did sex the babies right away), and didn't know whether he was going to make it or not, but a few days later when I was away for several hours visiting a friend, I came home to find another baby (not the runt, but a good sized one)dead, but it was under all of the other babies and looked like maybe it had been crushed or suffocated or something as to put it bluntly, it was flattened out.  Anyhow the rest of the babies (now 9 total) are doing fine, including the runt (who though is still very small appears to be healthy & vigorous), and Nikki is a great mother rat.  They'll be 2 weeks old tomorrow and I'm not quite sure as to what to do with the litter (though I do definately want to keep at least one on the males for possible future breeding purposes to my other hairless rat, Bo, whom is completely unrelated to Nikki) and will try to find homes for the rest.  The babies are all dark and appear to be just getting their fur in.  Three of them have curly whiskers and one of the males seems not to be growing very much if any hair yet, so that's the one I'll probably keep.  There's a Pet Expo (where I got my very first 2 ratties, Velma & Daphne , over a year ago) nearby, that says that they would take the babies to sell them there, and then give me store credit for each rat I'd give them.  I also may let go of a couple of other rats, including Zoe (Bo's sister), who is a grey Rex, simply because I haven't had very much time to spend socializing her and she is a bit shy & "skittish".  I've also put Tiny with Bo, and hopefully she'll produce a litter too as well as I'd like to keep a male from her litter to breed w/Nikki, and then possibly give Tiny to Pet Expo too is well, since he's still quite a young rat.  BTW Zoe & Bo are both about 4 months old now.  What I basically want to do is try & get rats that are 3/4 hairless by breeding Nikki's & Tiny's male offspring w/Bo and breeding Bo's & Tiny's possible (yet to be) male offspring w/Nikki, and even though this may sound a bit complicated, there wouldn't be any inbreeding involved as I find that I really love my hairless girls (especially since they both have such great personalities, very, very friendly & loving) and would likr to possibly produce some young to share with or introduce other owners the joys of owning hairless rats.  As I had mentioned earlier there was a bit of a problem w/Tiny (& I sure hope that it isn't inheretid or anything) and that is even though he's a real sweetie who loves to cuddle & such and that is that he has a poop problem and deposits big stinky turds just about everytime I take him out, so I don't know what to do about it.  At first I thougt that maybe it would pass w/time, but since I've now had & handles him for almost 2 months, he still does it.  The place where I got him from though, I don't know if the former owners, handled him very much, especially since they had several other males all in the same enclosure, and they apparently had a favorite.  Well I've got to get going now and I can't think of much more to say, but I just thought that I'd share my fairly positive story (so far) about my first litter of baby rats!

T/C,
Sue
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 02:36:11 PM
Sorry about that last post there as I apparently got unexpectadly & rather harshly flamed for it, in what I thoght would be a positive posting.   :'(
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 02:37:02 PM
Not here on the MB's but in a chat.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Anna on April 21, 2003, 02:39:00 PM

Ratfan- read this http://www.feycat.net/blue-velvet/breed_rats.html
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 03:04:17 PM
the rats I bred are not from any pet shop.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 03:05:47 PM
or maybe I'm just too innocent to know everything  :sad2:
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kmw on April 21, 2003, 03:14:48 PM
The intent of this thread was to give members a chance to let others learn from their mistakes with regards to breeding petstore rats.  Breeding is best left to those who are willing to make the time and money sacrifices required to improve the species, and not just "witness the miracle of life."  I'm sorry that was not made clear in the beginning of this post.


I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.   ;)
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 03:22:31 PM
I read the article and if I can't get homes for all of the babies, me as well as several members of my family are certainly more than willing to keep the little ones as long as there is more than enough space & love to go around for them with my family & friends, as that's the type of a background I'm from.  In the past I've had and have bred & raised other pets (mainly dogs, cats & rabbits and I never had any one complaining to me about being ignorant for raising them)  previously & was always very responsible for the offspring.  Though this isn't really related, quite recently I nursed Knee Hi, a very sick (& quite old family pet housecat, that may have died if I hadn't taken some specific steps in his care) so I am a very caring & nurturing person when it comes to just about ALL animals.  BTW Knee Hi isn't exactly crazy about my rats, but he's never shown any hostility towards them at all, but I am very very careful about this.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Anna on April 21, 2003, 03:24:47 PM
The point is that there are too many rats who need homes, and breeding non pedigreed stock with unknown backgrounds is highly frowned upon.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 03:27:51 PM
 :worry:  I'm very very sorry if I misinterpreted the original intent of the thread as I certainly didn't mean to deliberately cause anything to happen here, since I just posted about having rat babies "in general" (& didn't know that it was really meant for negative rat breeding experiences), and hopefully will learn from this lesson and try to move on.  So I hope that I can be forgiven for having made such a serious error.   ???
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Noe on April 21, 2003, 03:50:01 PM
It's okay, ratfan (now jagu). In general, this board is quite against amatur breeding, and some of us are against all breeding, but you couldn't be expected to know that. It's just that, as you can see, so many people have witnessed the suffering that can be caused by breeding that we take it very seriously.

A lot of us are also involved in rescue work, and we know that every baby bred on purpose will take up a space that could have gone to a homeless rat in a shelter. I think a lot of people would rethink breeding if they had access to all the information we do, and spreading that information was the purpose of this thread.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jagu on April 21, 2003, 03:53:23 PM
Oh ok then do you mean sort of like the same extent of humane society shelters being so full of dogs & cats, and puppies & kittens?
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kmw on April 21, 2003, 03:58:39 PM
I'm going to ask that this thread not be hijacked anymore :)  I'd like to keep it as relevant to the topic as possible.  Maybe starting a new thread would be the best solution?  Thank you.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Anna on April 21, 2003, 03:59:41 PM
Oh ok then do you mean sort of like the same extent of humane society shelters being so full of dogs & cats, and puppies & kittens?
Exactly. Please see this thread http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php?board=3;action=display;threadid=4807
to continue this discussion.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: musichick2004 on May 07, 2003, 08:46:37 AM
Well, going back to the theme (but maybe not QUITE the point....), I have never had an experience with breeding, although I have had 2 pregnant scares...

One day, I would LIKE to breed...just one litter is in my plan, but definitely not until I have the time and the money to devote a lot of it to gene research and health research and health care (just in case) and just plain research in general, etc.  (not for many, many moons my friends!)

Threads like this one (thank you!) are ones that make me realize a) how horrible irresponsible breeding can be and b) how wonderful responsible breeding can be (oh, and c) how devastating breeding can be altogether if complications arise)

May I just say that all you responsible owners/breeders are wonderful and I am glad to have so many awesome people who are willing to share their experiences (sometimes good, sometimes not so good) for the purpose of educating the unknowledgeable!
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: shayneko on May 08, 2003, 06:43:15 PM
I havent had much expireance with rats. Though I currently own three of them and use Rat Fan Club as much as possible. I am still looking into Vets though. Right now they all seem to be heathly and happy rats.

Though when I got them I thought that both of them where pregnant. I used the help info on RFC site to find out what the signs of pregnancy where, only one of them turned out to be pregrnant.

I was pretty worried about it and how the mother was doing due to she wasnt doing normal things such at nesting and I had gotten nesting bedding just for her. (it ended up being all over the cage) When Colly finally had her litter I was worried because I could tell she was having problems. That and I had to remove the other female  Harilequin(hooded rat) due to the fact she wouldnt stop bouncing on Colibume(shes a burk rat).

Appearntly she went though 4 hours of brithing, something was wrong all the babies where dead on brith. I was really upset due to after a while I was kind of looking forward to it, but that happens sometimes. Though was up set me the most was the fact I was really scared that I would lose Colly as well. Colly didnt like giving up her babies I checked them all and all of them where dead. She kept trying to warm them, I found out that is natural for even rats to do sometimes. Thankfully Colly is still alive very heathly, shes active and loves getting out the cage as much as possible. Though Harilequin has turned into being shy after the deth of the babies.

I just wanted to share this with people, I was really lucky with Colly. But not everyone is lucky, I dont really have any real plans to breed Colly or Harlly any time soon. Though I am sure I will when I get more knowage about rat and care for both babbies and mothers. Though I am pretty stickler about them already, so the likely hood of breeding them is not in light at the moment. When I have more space for them then yes maybe. Right now I am working on getting money from my parents to get my only male snipped and looked at. He is very skiny and would of been snake food if I hadnt bought him.

:BlueDumboBigEyes:
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: FattusRattus on May 10, 2003, 11:50:25 AM
Wow, what an educational thread! Thanks so much for encouraging these brave folks to post their negative breeding experiences. It can't have been easy relating these stories. My hat's off to all of you who used your bad experiences to educate the rest of us.

I decided at the outset that I would never breed my rats for a number of reasons: too much can go wrong and I'm scared one of my girls would have a dangerous labor, it is logistically impossible for me to successfully house a couple dozen rats no matter how much I love their little selves, and lastly, I can't assume I'd find homes for them. I will spend any amount of money (not that I have much!) to have my pets treated by a vet should there be a problem, but why buy trouble?  ;)

It seems that all I do is thank you folks for your insight and wisdom, but I'm getting ready to do it again: THANK YOU for this enlightening thread! There is no telling how many problems have been avoided because of these courageous posters.


Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratqueen on May 10, 2003, 11:26:57 PM
I realize the goal of this thread is to post negative breeding experiences, but the horror stories posted here are not the experience of every person who breeds.

When I got my first rat, Ramona, better than ten years ago now, she was very young, and unbeknownst to me, pregnant.  She had a litter of twelve about two and a half weeks after I brought her home, and every single baby was healthy and thrived.  They were exceptionally well socialized and LIVED to be with people.  I knew that homes would be hard to find.  I did find homes for approximately half the babies and the rest I kept, purchasing new cages and making space in my room for them.  The kids grew up fantastically healthy and all lived beyond 3 years of age.  Sometime during their lives, realizing what healthy, wonderful rats I had, I decided to breed Midnight, one of Ramona's babies, for one litter, to continue this exceptional line.  Midnight had a litter of eight, again without a hitch and all were healthy.  I continued this line through four generations breeding one litter from the pick of the rats each time.  I checked around and found healthy bucks with owners who wanted some of the kids, and the other babies all stayed with me.

I stopped breeding the line after the fourth generation, not because I wanted to, but because I couldn't find a buck who I knew would sire a healthy litter.  My last rat from that line passed away four years ago this month.

Last year I rescued two mothers and their litters from a pet store with the intention of turning them into ratsicles.  I had a total of 22 rats.  I've found homes for eight of them and invested better than a thousand dollars in vet bills, cages, housing, etc in the rest of them.  I would never, NEVER consider breeding from these rats, because their health is poor and I've watched each of their mothers develop tumors and abcesses prior to one year of age.

At any rate, what I'm trying to say is that the stories here are truly horrifying.  Irresponsible breeders cause a lot of heartache and euthanised or 'feeder' rats, and stretch the resources of good-hearted rescuers.  But these situations are not necessarily the norm, and a lot of the health problems/deaths described in this thread are experienced by reputable "professional" breeders everywhere.  By no means am I encouraging you to breed to witness the miracle of life or for the sake of making money (you won't, in case you were wondering), but if you seriously research, take into account the ramifications of choosing to breed, and are willing to accept all of the responsibilities - including having a population jump of up to 22 rats which will likely mostly stay with you - I don't think that some of the harsh comments here are deserved.

rq
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: angelratgirl on May 11, 2003, 10:50:50 AM
i have, in the past, taken in several girls that i found out later were pregnant.  at the time, i had a good friend at a local pet store who took the ones i could not keep and made sure that they were sold as pets.  (i have known her to turn down suspicious "pet rat" buyers and others who refused to get the proper things for the pets they were interested in.)  well, anyway, the ones i kept were always healthy and lived to a good age.  so i decided to breed one special rat, and borrowed a male just because of his looks.  well, mama had 14 babies and was all gung-ho about nursing and raising them, she refused to lay down at all while they were nursing and always kept them together when they wandered off.  when they were old enough to be weened, i took all of the males and all but three of the female babies to a prearranged foster.
fast forward 14 months, (14 months of fun and love).  angel, one of the babies, developed a uteran tumor.  i discovered it too late and she died in my hands after a brilliant but unsuccessfull spay/tumor removal. (too many organs had been compromized) i schedule the other two daughters to be spayed but harley died from a resporitory infection after the surgery.  baby lived to just shy of two years.
less than a month afterwards, mama died of nothing more than a broken heart.  there was absolutely nothing wrong with mama, and even though i had lined up an adoption for keeping her company, she would not wait.  the adoption search is what led me here. i know now that borrowing the male based on looks was mistake #2 (breeding just for a mother/daughter pack was #1).
but now i do have my three rescued/adopted rats who chose me this time.

i say if you want to raise babies, volunteer to help a reputable and resposible breeder.  that way you get to have all the fun of watching the babies grow, without all the worries of genetics and finding homes (that's the breeder's job)
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: BabyBlue on May 11, 2003, 06:27:41 PM
Ratqueen, my understanding is that this thread isn't necessarily to scare people into not breeding, or to make them think that all breeding is bad. But since so many people think breeding rats is so easy, and people rarely understand the consequences of breeding, we're just trying to tell people this CAN happen and trying to tip the scale a little. Yes this happens to the best of the breeders too, but we just want to encourage people to do their homework and know ALL sides of it before they get into breeding, which unfortunately isn't the case most of the times.

We can discuss the ethics of breeding in a new thread if you want to, but I believe the purpose of this thread isn't to say what is right and wrong, but to help people understand the full scope of what can possibly happen and hopefully get people to learn from others' mistakes.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratqueen on May 11, 2003, 07:46:30 PM
BabyBlue, definitely fair.  Breeding isn't and shouldn't be for everyone.  Research is the single most important aspect of breeding.  i respect that this thread is trying to show all the different aspects and possible outcomes of breeding, which is why I chose to post my own experiences.  By the same token, a lot of the users here are likely well enough rat-educated to recognize the complexities of breeding being as they're already here on a rat-lovers group.  I do hope that people who consider breeding do consider the different things that can happen, because it really isn't something a lot of people should do.  

rq
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Marybelle on May 11, 2003, 10:51:25 PM
By the same token, a lot of the users here are likely well enough rat-educated to recognize the complexities of breeding being as they're already here on a rat-lovers group.  I do hope that people who consider breeding do consider the different things that can happen, because it really isn't something a lot of people should do.

Actually, you'd be surprised at the numbers who don't give it a thought until it's actually done and too late.  And unfortunately, just being a member of this group doesn't grant us all omniscience as far as rats are concerned.  It'd be nice if it did.  :)  I'm glad you were able to share a positive story.  I'm sure that for every negative there are plenty of positives, but people need to think about what CAN happen, and be prepared if they're going to breed, and that's the real purpose of this thread, to make people aware that it's not all cuteness and light.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Zzzzeta on May 17, 2003, 01:06:56 AM
After all the horror stories, I'm wondering if I'm the only person with a positive breeding experience - although it was accidental.

I originally owned 3 hooded agouti females, then I was given 2 hooded agouti males by a friend who was moving to an apartment where pets weren't allowed. I had 2 nice big cages, so everything was fine until my young niece let them all out ......

Well, I ended up with 21 babies from 2 mothers, and fortunately they and the mothers were all in good health. I couldn't persuade any of my friends to adopt a rat, and there was no way I was going to let the pet shop sell them as snake food, so I ended up keeping all 26 of them.

That was two years ago, and only one rat has died so far - he lost most of his tail when he was very small, and he died of heat exhaustion in January of this year (it was about 47C the day he died). There hasn't been a single tumour, or any mycoplasma cases, so I can only guess that I was lucky and fluked a good genetic combination.

IAN

Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: TianaKaeSha on May 17, 2003, 06:46:35 PM
One of my rats was mated with one of my boys.  I was very certain that the mating had been a success and that I would have a healthy litter on the way.

Anyways, she was not getting as big as she should have been, though she was putting on weight. I had some other more experienced breeders look at her and we all said she was definately pregnant.

Well, she built up her nest and I moved her to the loungeroom so I could keep an eye on her.  She started bleeding and I thought it would not be too long until we had a couple of pinkies (only expected 2 or three due to her small size).  Well... they were not forthcoming.  She was having contractions but there was nothing else going on.

We ended up taking her to the vet where they examined her and said that although she was in labour, she appeared to have miscarried halfway through the pregnancy, but her hormones carried her to term.  Her body absorbed the birthing remains.  She was put on antibiotics and mde a full recovery... but it was very scary.

------------------------

story two.  A couple of female rats came to live with us after their owner's job started sending him overseas for months at a time.  they came to us in a very small cage - but we did not have a spare at the time.  

Came home from work one night to find that one of the girls was missing  She had learnt to open her cage :(  Anyways hunting high and low we could not find her. we turned the rat room  upside down to no avail.  I was distraught so went and cuddled some rats - only to find the little girl in the boys cage.  

She had opened her cage, run across the room, climbed up a curtain, jumped across a table and forced herself into the boys cage (the bars are wider on the boys cage).  The poor little thing had been mated what appeared  to be numerous times :(  She had plugs coming out of her,  she was red and raw.  I cleaned her up, gave her some nutrigel and locked her cage.  

The next morning I check on her to find that her vagina had become swollen and infected.  She SMELT BAD!  I rush her to the vets.  She had to go on special antibiotics because we assumed she was pregnant.  23 days later she had a litter of 11 wonderful babies who were very healthy.  they all thrived.  But when they were 5 weeks old a couple of them started getting myco.  

We believe that because of the infection she had, the babies immune system was comprimised in the womb.  regardless, all bar one have found homes.  I still have one boy left though. Black Jack has battled Myco on 3 different occasions now...  he'll probably live forever with me unless someone takes him.. not that I am worried, he is gorgeous...

Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Dreama on May 30, 2003, 02:45:17 PM
I'm very ashamed to say that I started off as one of the worst kind of breeders. Breeding before I even knew how to look after rats at all. I had a cage full of mice which I bred. My ex flat mate had a deal going with the local pet shop which has a very bad reputation. I can't pretend I didn't know anything about it as they'd already sold my ex flat mate(Z) a bearded dragon with gangerine and told her it was pregnant!

Anyway, I got home one day to find Kulz and Iska in a cage in my bedroom. Although I've always wanted rats and Z mentioned she would get them for me before.  They were very nervous. Iska became very tame eventually but Kulz was always very nervous of people and so was his daughter Tinsle. The problems started after the pet shop failed to take all the first lot of babies in. I was left with  5 females I named Tinsle, Trickster, Tracy, Tasha and Tessa and a male I named Tom. Tom went to join his dad but not before Kulz had made all females including the 5 female babies pregnant. I just panicked. We were planning to take them to the pet shop plus the males as well and let them deal with it. I kept Trickster and Tinsle. Tinsle actually gave birth to the babies in a small box waiting to be taken to the pet shop. I'm not too sure what happened to Tracy's babies. They were probably used as snake food. Tessa's  and Tasha's babies may have been sold in that conditon as they weren't too obviously pregnant. At least when Z took them to the pet shop. 10 of Tinsles 12 babies were murdered by being put in a freezer. I was told at the time this was a painless death. I know better now. A friend of Z did it. I didn't like the idea but I'm afraid I didn't do anything to stop it happening as the cage was full with Iska's 2nd litter of 13 and I couldn't come up with a more humane solution in time.

Tinsle wasn't looking after the 2 remaining babies. After the first one died I tried to feed Kadra with a seringe only I wasn't doing it regularly enough so she also died. I meant to keep all Trickster's babies and not tell Z about tehm. Only Trickster wouldn't look after them properly. Z found out and all Trickster's babies went into the freezer.
Iska's 2nd litter were  taken to a differant pet shop.

This whole experience made me feel terribly guilty. :'( I stopped breeding after that. I was latter sold a pregnant female from a private breeder. Fortunately she only had 4 babies. I kept Dreama, gave Nicodemus to mum and the remaining 2 to another pet shop which did not deal with reptiles at all. All the rats have since died between 13 and 30 months from Tumors and/or chest infections. Nicodemus is the sole surviving rat and he has 2 cage mates called Poppy and Honey.

I think you should be required to have a licence to breed animals as there are far too many bad/ignorant breeders around. That goes for all animals, not just rats. It's good to have a thread where people can show the pitfalls in bad breeding. I'm planning to get more rats after I finish college. I'll try to get them from a refuge if I can get transport to go to one. I love baby rats but won't breed any more although I might rehome a pregnant or nursing female and keep the whole litter myself.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: apollo33me on June 04, 2003, 12:20:32 PM
WOW after reading some of your stories I feel fortunate that my forst rat I got from a pet store lived to be healthy and died at the old age of 4.5 and its brother lived to be 5.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: josiephine on June 05, 2003, 03:27:23 PM
I plan not to breed my rats at all. Since I read about these stories
I glad that I have made a right decision.

but there is true to about going with proper breeders and envold the pet store ones.

I have 5 rats.  4 of them are pet store ones.

Then I got Daphine & Josiephine... they were surpose to be females.  Daphine had a cold, and the nurse told me that  I had
boy.  Lucky for me, because I did separted them in time and no litter.   Daphine became Daffy..

Daffy had is blind in one eye with catract.  the other is aways swolling.  but other wise he is just a great guy.

Josiephine got an inner ear infection and now has a lend. but other wise she is fine.

a feeder rat, name Pinky, that a couple couldn't feed their snake.  He is my healthy one. I got him free.

then I got Storm from the animal shelter in town and she seem to be doing well.  don't know if she is pet store or not. the family couldn't take her with them..
 
go figure...  
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Meowlet on June 07, 2003, 11:26:26 AM
I have a couple of accidental breeding stories.  The first story involves the second pair of rats we owned.  The first pair of rats we owned (2 boys adopted from a junior high dairy council experiment) passed away, and we missed the lil' guys so much we went to a pet store and bought another pair.  We purchased what we were told by the pet store workers were a pair of brothers...but obviously they weren't, if I'm posting to this thread.  ;)  Eddie and Timmy got along just fine and we didn't have the experience to know that "Timmy" was a female until she'd already become pregnant.  Timmy became Tina, and eventually had a litter of 14.  Because she was no more than 7 weeks old when she had the litter, she was too young and small to be able to take care of them, and many of them were stillborn.  I think that having such a large litter while so young also stunted her growth and caused some other sort of injury, since she didn't really grow after she had the babies and one of her back paws didn't function properly and she had trouble walking.   :BlueDumboBigEyes: We tried to save who we could, but only 3 of the babies lived, 2 girls and a boy.  We gave the boy away, and kept the baby girls in with their parents (the father having been neutered by this time), and felt very lucky when all of these rats lived to at least 2 years of age, and Tina became the longest-lived rat we've have to date (she lived 3 years).

The second story involves a rat we adopted a few months ago.  My mother works at a high school, and in late January one of the students thought it would be "funny" to buy a rat at a pet store and drop it in the school courtyard to scare people.  :'(  Fortunately, one of the teachers saw the kid do it and we were able to promptly rescue the poor thing (who we later found out hadn't been fed or given water in almost a day, since she was "just for a prank").  Mom adopted the rat (who we named Nezumina), and she was rather nippy for a while, which for a while we chalked up to her having such a bad experience.  After a few more days we realized she was pregnant and, sure enough, about 9 days after we took her in she had a whopping 16-baby litter, all of which survived.  I think we were very fortunate that Mina turned out to be such a great mother, as she couldn't have been more than 3 months old when she had the litter and all of the babies survived (12 boys and 4 girls).  We were able to find homes for 9 of the boys, but ended up keeping 3 boys and all the baby girls.  The babies are about 4 months old now and so far, so good, but we're all expecting there to be some sort of health problems, as the prankster who bought the rat didn't think about the long-term for the rat and probably just got a cheap feeder.  

I'd never planned on breeding rats anyway, and having these experiences really reinforced that view.  I think breeding is something best left to the experts, to people who specialize with rats, unlike a lot of pet stores who don't have the knowledge and/or experience to deal with breeding rats properly.  We're being ultra-ultra-careful with our boys and girls so we don't have any more unexpected litters...we love our ratties, but I know how hard it would be to deal with more litters.  :(  We've been pretty lucky so far with the way our accidental litters have turned out, but we're definitely not planning on having more. ;)
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: SuzanneR on June 14, 2003, 02:15:15 PM
Geez what a depressing topic, but glad its all out in the open.

I found a male rat. That's LuLu who is now elderly and ill at the moment (That's what got me on line with you rattie peoples). I felt real bad about him being alone and adopted a wonder friend (Clark) from someone who really knows rats and had babies. Clark has always been the smart one and has a wonderful generous personality.

Well, Lu didn't take to Clark right away, so Lu ended up by himself and I needed another friend for Clark, cause he had never been alone. My breeder friend suggested that I might do a good deed by going to the reptile store and getting one of their babies as a rescue. Did that, told it was a boy. That's Curly.

Long story, shorter, Clark had an amusing, and perverted fixation on his new "boy" friend, until I caught them doing the nasty for real! Too late.

Curly had 8 beautiful babies  which she systematially abandoned all over  the cage. Cold little dead babies. We got her to save 4 out of the bunch. She was a good enough mom and became a sweetheart of a rat when she finally got over the abuse of being raised in a bucket as snake food.

Clark rose to the occasion and took all the rittens that survived home with him at the first opportunity (which came when everybody was neutered). He was a WONDERFUL mom, cuddling and cleaning his babies like he knew they were his.

The vet gave me a great bargain on neutering everybody in one swoop. The reason being that so much disease (like cancer) turns up in the reproductive organs. All 7 live together happily without any hormonal whacki-do (the vet touted that as an advantage also). I think this was a great thing and will always appreciate it.

Turns out all the rats from the reptile store were somewhat unhealthy. Curly had the sneezes, which she  got past with better nutrition, but that can ultimately fe an unsolvable contagious problem, might just be what's wrong with the big Lu. Do some reading about lung disease in rats and you'll be really heartsick about assuming your rat  might be ok for breeding even though you don't know where he came from.

The bottom line is that pet rats are way too inbred as it is. No breeding is the kindest thing to do.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Ibelinna on June 19, 2003, 01:05:42 PM
HI there..

I run Little Villains Rattery, and am now planning my SECOND (only my second) litter...

I know how hard it can be to find homes for everyone.

My first litter was from Cruella, a beautiful, healthy Black Berkshire Dumbo Rex, and Sauron, a wonderful black mismarked capped dumbo with a headspot with and ENORMOUS pedigree...

SHe had 12 beautiful babies, and was an EXCEPTIONAL mother.

I handled the wee little ones several times a day, and cruella was so good with them that i could actually hand them back to her, and she'd carefully place them back in the nest :)

My only bad experience was with my planned keeper from the litter.... i placed him into the cage with my oldest male and his cagemate, and watched them for an hour before going out to dinner.... they seemed to be getting along ok.

I came home to find my people loving, darling of a older boy eating my darling split cap boy :(

THAT would have to be one of the worst experiences of my LIFE.

I figured out later that the boy was probably too young, but i WATCHED them, and didn't expect such a drastic response....

I ended up keeping another male from the litter, a beautiful dumbo standard boy, mismarked collared, and a real sweetie.

Oddly enough, he lives with the older male, and they get along swimmingly.

my website is http://ibelinna.tripod.com

I'm STILL greatfull that i did a LOT of research prior to breeding, and that i am waiting to evaluate interest BEFORE i place my next two together.

I wish everyone could have as good an experience with their litters as i did, but i know this isn't always the case, and that factors into all of my future breeding plans.

Darcy
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Flyswatter on June 20, 2003, 06:23:25 AM
 :shocked2:

Here's my story. I adopted several pregnant mothers and babies from a petstore that was going out of business because the owner and I couldn't stand the thought of all of them going for snakefood. I ended up with quite a few babies but found homes for many of them and was happy to take care of those I couldn't find homes for. Some of the people who adopted them later had to bring them back but I took them back, no problem. I was really proud of family and myself, taking care of 28 adult rats, keeping their cages clean, feeding them, spending individual time with them (well, there is hardly a time when at least one member of my family doesn't have two or three riding on their shoulders), keeping the genders separated. Yes, I was a good rat owner.

Le sigh....Our rat Romeo escaped and visited one of the girl's cages when we were unaware and apparently impregnated one of the females through the cage bar. Yesterday, she presented us with 14 surprise pinkies. The mother, Panda as well as the father are not the rats I would have picked as parents, but they are not related as far as I know. I must assume that we are probably going to have to keep all of these unless I miraculously find someone to adopt several. A so-called friend told me take all my rats and dump them in the woods but I would never do that. She is ragging on me as usual because I am a vegetarian and an animal lover.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: mirale13 on June 21, 2003, 12:17:10 PM
In my naive days (several months ago) when i thought all petsores were created equal and had their animals best interest at heart, i bought 3 rats from PetCo all in the "female cage" and ended up with 2 prego females and a male.  Within two weeks one had a presumed inner ear infection with a cocked head and the others were sniffling..

Well B.R. had 6 beautiful babies and S.C. had 8 despite our ignorance.  1 Litter is 7 weeks old the other 5.  They are successfully weaned and separated and all are healthy and happy..well this thread breaks my heart. Im sure my "Ratty Pile" has horrible genetics given their origin and there is an already established myco presence given the whole "Pile" sniffles..i shudder to read others experience and think mine might begin to suffer soon
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: SmSweetAngelGirl on June 28, 2003, 02:02:07 PM
I wouldnt breed my rats, i would just rescue one or two...
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: sanntaich on June 29, 2003, 08:03:33 PM
Firstly, I want to thank all of you for posting your stories up here.  While sad and sometimes horrible, they are educational and hopefully will do some good for others to hear.

I really hope this doesn't qualify as off-topic, since it isn't technically a story in which I breed a litter, but here goes anyways.

I have 2 female rats, Bean and Gus, both from a local petstore.  Gus is outwardly, very healthy; never a sneeze, extremely laid back and cuddly, eats well, etc.  Bean has and always will be a runt.  She's about half the size of gus and her body would barely stretch from the palm of your hand to the tips of your fingers.  I would have loved to breed my rats, but after much deliberation I decided not to.  One obvious reason was that I had no idea of Gus' background, and I would feel so badly if the litter had serious health problems.  Also, I didn't know the proposed father of the litter as well as I would have liked.  Right there it sounded like something out of the "Do You Really Want To Breed?" pamphlet I'd read earlier.   I had solid homes for at least 14 little rats, and sometimes told myself "well, I know about the hidden dangers, tumors, myco that can show up in petstore rats, but Gus is fine, and I know the people who own her brother and he's just fine too."  But logic won out and I simply couldn't take the risk.  

I still would really like to breed rats when I get older, out-of-school-with-a-steady-job older.  But right now, I think I'm just too inexperienced.  And what's more, the world doesn't really need 8-14 more rats (especially/mainly ones with questionable backgrounds) when there are already ones out there without homes.  So in the meantime I will continue to read as much as I can about rats, especially their genetic traits.  I may plan, or speculate, hope or wish, but for the time being I will not be breeding any rats.  

Now here is where this post may be a little off-topic.  It seems to me that this post is mainly just what you shouldn't do, and I don't always feel it completely helpful when only the negative side of an arguement is presented (ie "don't do this" but never saying what to do instead?  if that makes any sense).  I also think there would be benefits to saying what one would have to do to become a successful, ethical rat breeder.  I imagine there would be many requirements that most people would not be able to fill.  And, on the other hand, this might help me with knowing what exactly I might be getting myself into 10 years down the road  ;)

Thank you all for reading, and the best of luck.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: catcov on June 29, 2003, 08:29:02 PM
I bought a fawn hooded rat two years ago. I had always wanted a fawn hooded rat, so I overlooked the fact that she was older than my last female rat purchase. We didn't figure out that she was pregnant until she built the nest that night --- there were no signs at all. The next morning there were 6 kittens. We were able to keep 4 and 2 were given to a local pet store on the condition that they be sold as pets and as a pair (the pet store had helped locals find homes for rodents in the past). I have no idea who they went home with, but both were beautiful and seem to have found an owner quickly.

The babies have been tame and sweet. Of the four that we kept, 3 made it to their second birthday, and two are still with us. However, both of the females have developed tumors. Joanna, who is still with us as well, obviously had her growth stunted by having a litter too young... she is much smaller than her grown children and requires nutritional supplements.

We neutered the two males so that we could keep all of the rats together without any more litters. I do not plan to breed rats intentionally any time soon... right now there are eight rats at our local humane society, and a bunch of them are siblings that someone dumped there, probably from a poorly planned litter.  :(

However, if ten years from now I am still living in the Southeast, I would like to try starting a rattery of my own with rats from other parts of the country, where the rat fancy is more established. I want to breed for health and longevity, and plan matings that will improve the local rat population. Feeder tank rats were the only kind available in my area when I started looking, and it has been rare for one of my pets to live more than 2 years. Two rats that I bought even died of a genetic heart defect when they were only a month old --- the pet store that was breeding them obviously didn't care about the health of the rats it was selling. (That pet store, by the way, is now under new management - and now it features pet rats from a responsible local breeder of dumbos!  :) )
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: sarahspins on July 01, 2003, 01:59:04 PM
That pet store, by the way, is now under new management - and now it features pet rats from a responsible local breeder of dumbos!

Responsible breeders don't place rats via petstores... most likely they are being supplied by a breeder who either bred without thinking if there would be enough interest in their rats and feels their is little other choice (in which case they shouldn't be breeding in the first place), or they just see the dollar signs coming in from the store and don't care... and again, they probably shouldn't be breeding if that is their motivation.

"Responsible" breeders provide a forever home for every rat they breed which they are unable to place in a good home.  This means both keeping extra rats from litters AND taking back rats from those who can no longer care for them.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Baby's Mom on July 20, 2003, 02:31:40 AM
I know this is a thread about rat breeding stories, but I have a hamster breeding story I hope might be of some benefit.  Some friends of ours had 2 hamsters, a male and a female.  I'm not sure if they knew at the time the gender difference, but they kept them together.  Of course, if anyone here is familiar with hamsters, Syrian hamsters are solitary, so it's pure luck these guys didn't kill each other.  Anyway, litter number one came and was immediately cannibalized by the male.  The owners decided that they really didn't want 2 cages to clean, so they had contemplated taking the female back to the petstore.  I knew that she had probably been impregnated again, so I offered to take her as I didn't think it was fair to have to give birth in a petstore.  So finally she gave birth to what I believe were 10 pups.  At first, she appeared to be a good mom.  But then, one by one, she proceded to eat her litter.  At 11 days of age and 3 pups left, I became very fearful for there welfare, and I looked up all info I could on handraising hamster pups.  Although all 3 got dehydrated quickly, with my vigilant care, 2 of them bounced back and were soon off my worry list.  The runt, however, didn't fair so well.  She was very weak and eventually passed away 2 days after seperation from their mom in my hand while I was trying to feed her.  The other 2 pups did very well for the next 2 days.  Then I woke up to find one of them had passed away since the last feeding.  And then hours later, the other one was also dead.  I don't know if they would have survived if left with their mom, or if they too, would have been eaten, but I do know that any notion of wanting to breed out of an impulsive desire to see cute little babies left me quite quickly.  Now that I have ventured somewhat out of the hamster world and into the rat world, I know that I will not breed rats, at least without doing A LOT of research.  I don't know if I will breed rats, but at this point after what I went through with the hamster family I have absolutely NO plans to put any rat (or myself, again) through the trauma.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: rodent_luver on July 22, 2003, 08:29:14 PM
I have never bred rats befor, considering I have only had 2 in my life lol. and they are brothers with big testicals so I know they are not females.  :shocked2:.. I would never breed my rat boys because I wouldent want their unknown genetics to get passes on no matter how friendly and well tempered they are. My boys were taken away from their mother MUCH to early at 4 weeks old and they were housed with there sisters and other brother in PINE bedding and fed hamster mix food in a pet store where they were surrendered. I am super glad I saved my boys from that hell hole. I feel so sorry for the two baby ratties that are still there. at least they have each other. I hate the pet stores here. ughh  >:(
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Tizzrah on July 23, 2003, 07:39:56 PM
I do not have any stories because I have never, and WILL never breed.  Ever.  I have never had any 'accidental' litters, because my cages are secure and I am responsible enough to make SURE they are secure.  I have never taken in a pregnant female, because I do not have the money, time, or conscience to be able to deal with such a task.  

The bottom line is, there are too many rats in the world.  Too many without homes, too many without the love and care they need to survive.  There is no reason to breed, AT ALL, unless you know what you are doing, have mentored with a long-time, RESPONSIBLE breeder, have the funds to spend if your females need emergency vet care, have rats with pedigrees, AT LEAST four generations back, and have the space and time to devote to EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE of the babies in case you cannot find homes for them.

And if you cannot find homes for them?  DO NOT BREED AGAIN.  

*Climbs down off soapbox.*

That is my opinion.  
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: willow15133 on August 14, 2003, 10:45:27 PM
Hello all. I don't have any breeding stories, but I've read all the stories posted here about breeding and I don't think I will EVER be breeding any of my rats. I do have a suggestion for anyone who wants the same experience of having baby rats and doesn't want to actually breed their rats. I suggest you either start a rescue or foster some rats. If you have the time and money. This would be a much safer alternative. That's all.

Alison
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kuronezumisama on September 26, 2003, 08:23:08 PM
I never intended on breeding my rats, but accidents apparently happen when you trust your rats care to others while you're on vacation.

Two years ago one of my female rats had suprised me with two little babies. As far as I had known, she'd had no contact with my male rats, and two was a bit of an odd number I thought. Turns out while I was on a trip to see my boyfriend, my father had left both cage doors open and found the females sleeping with the males, but he didn't tell me until later. In short, two was indeed an odd number, as she still had some babies left inside and a c-section was required to remove them. Still, only the original two survived, and I kept them.

Now, due to old age or illness, I only had those two babies left (both males.) They were supposed to be my last rats as well until I'm out on my own. However, a female rat literally crawled into our lives. We found a fancy rat living on our balcony. She had been coming inside to steal our dog's food though and ripped up our newspapers for bedding. She was terrified of us at first but has become a very sweet and friendly rat. But again..I'm starting to think someone let the males a bit too close to the female. Even though they're in seperate rooms, I'm not always home and who knows what my parents or brothers let them do when I'm gone. I noticed she's starting to look like she's swallowed a tennis ball. Her belly is huge! If she is pregnant instead of some other problem, I'm not sure I'm able to handle this.  I don't know how old she is, the males have had problems with myco before, and I may not have enough funds in the bank to pay for any emergency vet visit should something go wrong during birth. It's rather frustrating.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: fishyforest on September 28, 2003, 08:57:08 PM
Not about rats, but close enough.

I once brought home an extremely pregnant mouse.  I know it's wrong to buy from pet stores like those - after that time, I've never gone in there again.  I'm way too soft-hearted, and she seemed to be begging me to take her home.  Besides her giant stomach, she was painfully thin.  She ended up with 11 babies, all of which I intended to keep from the beginning.

Something was wrong with one of the girls from the day she was born - the vet couldn't diagnose it but I believe now it was encepholaphy (sp?).  Charlotte had almost no coordination, and as soon as the other babies started crawling around she was completely unable to nurse from her mom.  I started feeding her myself.  Eventually, Charlotte became anxious and upset when I had to put her back in with her mom and siblings.  She never thrived like her siblings.  One day she died.

I was devastated.  She'd practically been my own child.  The other babies from the litter are wonderful, but nothing could ever make up for Charlotte.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Rob Scarlett on November 28, 2003, 11:43:10 AM
Well I bought my hairless rat, Zoopa, from a craptastic pet store thinking I was saving her. Little did I know she had spent some "quality time" with one of the males there, most likely her brother.
After picking up another female to give them both a friend I let them play.
Less than a month later Zoopa was getting awfully chubby and nipped at me once. She didn't seem to be getting the kinda big mentioned by other people when a rat was pregos so I didn't think anything of it.
When I came home yesterday from a Thanksgiving dinner I had a surprise. A litter of five pups squeeking away in this huge nest Zoopa built during the day.
I'll let you know how this turns out. I'm off to the store to buy things to make more and bigger cages.

Well Zoopa had 5 babies. All seemed to be doing well the first few days but on the third day one looked a little less cared for. Later in the day it seemed to be doing better though it still seemed smaller than the others.
Today I found its remains. The other four pups, two males and two females, are doing well so far but they are still very young.

Today another pup was missing. I can only assume it was eaten as I found nothing of it. One of the babies had been moves aside but I thought Zoopa was rearranging the little ones as she moved them to another nest and cage to be with her sisters again. I now have three babies left, one male and two females. Sadly this is the number and sexes I had planned to keep. I hope nothing further happens to the babies as this is really beginning to break my heart.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: devaney on November 28, 2003, 01:45:56 PM
I had been seriously considering breeding rats for quite some time when a friend who worked a petstore directed me to one of her former breeders who was getting out of the business. I met him and he literally just handed me 25 rats and his 16-cage breeder system set up. I thought, how hard could it be?! I had had rats growing up as a kid and it had been no problem. I thought it strange when the man never called me back or returned my calls to pick up his payment. Wow 25 rats for free! Great huh? 2 days later, one of the rats died. I was upset but figured it was old. And then another died. And another. Ok lots of old rats? And then babies started to die. I didn't take long to put things together. All the rats looked the same. All the rats WERE the same. They were HORRIBLY inbred. Thin hair, stillborns, parasites, deformities. Half of them ended up dying within the first month. The other half cost me so much money trying to keep alive. In the beginning I didn't understand how the breeder systems were used. I still have a few of the original 25 left. They are very sweet but they can never breed again. They are healthy but their babies don't live past the 2 month mark. Not a one. I have a lot of rats now, about 60 or so, and I love all of them very dearly. Each one is close to me. I still breed but I make sure I have an extra 5 cages available when I do. I make sure they will have toys and food and a good life or I can find homes for them that will provide these things for them. In the beginning I didn't know what I was doing which is partly my fault but it makes me so angry of what people do to rats. They think of them as things, and pay no attention to the rats' pain or well-being. Some of those rats I really got close to. Pepper and Tina were my favorites. Tina died while being in labor for most of the day. I didn't make it to the vet in time. All her babies died too. Pepper was malnourished, mite infested, dehydrated, everything. I spent every single day for 3 months trying to nurse her and checking on her and hand feeding her and bathing her  and giving her antibiotics and trying to keep the mites off of her for just 1 minute so she could be relax. She held on though for so long. She'd barely move at all, like it hurt too much. I'd put her in my hand and she would just look at you, so sad and so tired. One morning I looked in on her and she had been alseep. She opened her eyes half way and looked at me. I stroked her frail little body. The fur mites had come back again and I tried to brush them off of her. She closed her eyes again and died. If that man who had sold me the rats wouldv'e been there I would have smacked him.

I love rats  :heart: not the money they make.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Ray on February 06, 2004, 03:21:10 PM
You know, I have to state my two cents here, because I understand the logic that breeding should be left to professional breeders to insure healthy rats, etc., but I have to add that I'll bet a large percentage of rat lovers first met rats in a pet store.  If I hadn't let my son buy his first pet store rat 15 years ago, I would still think they are disgusting creatures.  However, even though it only lived two years,  I learned what wonderful pets they are.  Three pet store rats later, he found the RFC and became aware that there are rat breeders.  We got our first "pedigree" rats just last year and we actually had two litters of babies.  We were thrilled to experience the pregnancies, births, and development of 25 wonderful ratties.  We found good homes for all through hard work.  We did have great cost because we changed litter daily, bought new cages to house males/females, gave bags of food to each new owner (along with our recipes), a cage to a new rat lover, etc.  Will our babies be healthy and viable?  Only time will tell (although I will assert that the same is true for the rats that have been produced by "reputable breeders."  
I do agree that we should all strive to do what's best for rats, but who are we to judge whether someone else was right or wrong in their decision to have a litter?  You can't just give a generic "no" to everyone, otherwise it sounds like an exclusive "club" to me, and I'm not one for those.  Perhaps I took $$ away from breeders in the area by having my 2 litters, but I introduced hundreds of local children to rats,  recruited many new rat lovers, and I think that's a good thing.  So, my personal story is a positive one.  If you are willing to research, spend lots of TIME and MONEY to find appropriate homes, you can have a positive experience and perhaps even promote rats ine the whole process.  
That's what I think Rats Rule should be about!
Kathy  (Ray's mom)
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Scamp on February 06, 2004, 04:29:29 PM
I don't think anyone should breed an animal unless they have a full genetic background of that animal available. I've got a story that can illustrate the tragedy that can come out of breedings with no genetic history, though it involves mice rather than rats.

A friend brought me a mouse that she had "rescued" from a feeder tank at PetCo. Said mouse turned out to be pregnant. She produced 12 beautiful babies. She was a wonderful mama, and all of the babies thrived and lived into adulthood. I found homes for some, kept some, and thought that all was well.

Fast forward a month or so.

One night, a friend who had adopted two of the little boy mice called me in tears because one of them had suddenly died without any signs of ill health.  A week later, her other mouse died while running on its wheel. It was alive one second, dead the next. A few days later, one of the mice that I had kept from the litter also died without any sign of illness. The baby mice kept dying. The mother mouse died at age 8 months.

It has been slightly more than one year since the litter was born. Of the original 12 babies and their mother, all but five died before reaching a year of age-- well below the expected lifespan of a pet mouse. One of the remaining babies has a tumor and will probably not be with us much longer. There is something terribly wrong with their genes-- something that we could not tell by looking at them, and did not become evident until the long chain of deaths began. Anyone who breeds a litter of animals without knowing their genetic history runs the risk of something like this happening.

I didn't even breed the mouse, but I still feel horrible every time that somebody calls to tell me that one of my babies has died and I hear the sorrow in their voice when they say things like, "I thought they lived one and a half or two years. I wasn't ready for this yet..." I feel bad for having talked these wonderful people into adopting animals only to have their lives be so much shorter than what they bargained for.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: LoriZubie on February 06, 2004, 04:54:55 PM
Thank you to everyone who posted here!  I believe this post was started to speak directly to me!  :-*

I have 3 rats that I just love and I was talking with the kids and they asked if Baby could have babies of her own because she is soooo beautiful.  I told them I would think about it and do some research on the subject.

I don't know what I was thinking!?!  It would be fun?  It would be a good experience for the kids?  The babies would be cute?

I will leave breeding up to the professionals!

Thank you for setting me straight!
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kmw on February 06, 2004, 04:57:47 PM
Will our babies be healthy and viable?  Only time will tell (although I will assert that the same is true for the rats that have been produced by "reputable breeders."  
I do agree that we should all strive to do what's best for rats, but who are we to judge whether someone else was right or wrong in their decision to have a litter?  You can't just give a generic "no" to everyone, otherwise it sounds like an exclusive "club" to me, and I'm not one for those.  Perhaps I took $$ away from breeders in the area by having my 2 litters, but I introduced hundreds of local children to rats,  recruited many new rat lovers, and I think that's a good thing.  So, my personal story is a positive one.  If you are willing to research, spend lots of TIME and MONEY to find appropriate homes, you can have a positive experience and perhaps even promote rats ine the whole process.  
That's what I think Rats Rule should be about!
Kathy  (Ray's mom)

I agree and disagree with this last paragraph.  This thread was not intended to prevent everybody on the planet from breeding.  It WAS intended to give people information about RESPONSIBLE breeding, and the reality of what breeding is and the consequences of breeding.  I hold firm to my stance that it is never a good idea to breed two petstore animals of unknown backgrounds and "hope for the best."  Whether it be dogs, cats, gerbils, rats or birds.  

Accidents happen.  Inexperienced small animal owners sometimes get sold two "females" who turn out to be male and female.  People do the best they can in the situations they find themselves in.  If you want your child to experience the "miracle of life", find a litter of animals to foster, or work with a breeder to further the fancy, rather than adding more "might be great pets".  
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: KeokiGrrl on February 06, 2004, 05:51:43 PM
Not to depress folks, but even well documented lines can have "glitches" from time to time and produce hitherto unknown genetic problems.  I've seen it happen twice - once with a line not bred by me that suddenly out of the blue ended up producing a litter that all had serious heart problems.  I had adopted from this line, with high hopes, but my Rigel developed serious heart issues shortly after coming home.  We did our best to manage his condition but had to put him down just a few weeks after his first birthday.  He was, luckily, never bred.  The other bad juju litter, sadly, happened here.  I had two brothers from extremely well tracked, carefully bred lines end up with bladder cancer at a little over 1.5 years of age.  One of the reasons this particular line has been so popular is for its overall good health, famously great temperment and general lack of tumors and other congenital issues.  Half-siblings and close cousins to this litter have had no history of problems - it seems like there was just a fluke and poor Vicar and Zeek ended up getting an unpredictably bad toss of the genetic dice.  It truly broke my heart - The Vicar was Keoki's heir and succsessor.  As much as it pains me not to have any "grandkids" from the Vicar or Zeek, I am altogether glad they were not bred because it would be worse to have passed the cancer prone genetics on to a new generation.  That is one reason I personally tend to breed my males and females later in their fertile months - gives me more time to track health and personality.  A rat generally is not going to display serious health or behavioral issues when it's 4 months of age, but once they get closer to a year, things can begin popping up, like mammary tumors, weak lungs, cancer, etc.  

And why, oh why, does it seem that planned, carefully thought out breedings can take such work to actually pull off when every sad inbred tumor ridden feeder bin female of breeding age seems to get pregnant at the mere sight of a male (usually a relative.)  What a cruel joke of nature.  I'm having trouble getting my pedigreed girls pregnant of late (yes, I did ELISA test and no, nothing funky.)  Yet I took a poor sad girl with a big ol' mammary tumor in to my quarantine space who had a litter of 7 three days after tumor surgery, while still caring for another 4 week old.  There were more in the 4 week old's litter, but apparently the mother could get out of her cage at her former home and when the people gathered her up to drop off at the charity office, this was the only one they could find.  Shudder!  Apparently, this last (and it WILL be the last ever) litter makes FIVE @#$%& litters for poor one-year old mama.  Some people need to be whacked with the smart stick.  Female + Male + living together at all times + no neutering = a crapload of babies!  I shudder to think what happened to the first 3 litters.  As my mother would say, some people's kids.  If you want to see more about my little rescue mama, you can visit her at www.worldofrats.com/ROUSMissJane.html  Her offspring will be needing homes in the next month or so.  She was ELISA tested and we are now waiting for interpretation of the results.  She did come through surgery nicely, and both her older and younger kids look good, thank goodness.

Lynn and the Ruckus of Rats
www.worldofrats.com/ROUSIndex.html
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: LittlePixie on February 07, 2004, 04:22:40 AM
It WAS intended to give people information about RESPONSIBLE breeding, and the reality of what breeding is and the consequences of breeding.

Yes so why isn't this a sticky topic any more?
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: uk rattie on February 07, 2004, 05:48:39 AM
I have never considered breeding rats (and probably never will). I have 3 rats (all bought from pet stores) 2 of them were bought from Petsmart and another from a local pet shop. I have to say, I will never buy from pet stores again. The 2 from Petsmart have myco and the one from the local pet shop is smaller than he should be. I urge people NOT to buy from pet shops. Since then, I have been to several rats shows wich the SRC run and have names of breeders - from now on I will only adopt from breeders. :heart:
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kmw on February 07, 2004, 09:05:04 AM
It WAS intended to give people information about RESPONSIBLE breeding, and the reality of what breeding is and the consequences of breeding.

Yes so why isn't this a sticky topic any more?

Because we don't want the whole first page to be sticky topics.  Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.  
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratlife on February 07, 2004, 02:39:54 PM
You know, you all have done a great job here, I am in tears and have changed my mind.  I have been wanting to breed for months now.  I know I would be a great breeder.  But I have decided to run a rescue instead.  I am going to take in and try to rehome unexpected litters and unwanted ratties.  I have plenty of time for them, I have great vets in my area and will soon have more room for them.  The feeling I got from saving Fred Wilma and the babies she was carrying at the time I bought her has brought me joy every time I get a kiss and cuddle from Fred and play and kiss those babies, everytime I look at those adorable faces, every day I get closer to Wilma trusting me, I know that bringing them home with me from that horrible place was the right thing to do.  So thank you for these stories.  I personally have chosen to save the ratties that are already out there and not breed...even excellent quality ratties.  Thank you so much.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: rhinecat on February 09, 2004, 02:23:41 PM
Goober was a nice, friendly, goofy-as-heck little PEW from a feeder rat's litter at Petco. I adopted (not bought) her when she was 5 weeks old, after having handled her since pinkyhood... she was one of the ones that got pregnant when Moody escaped and went over to the females' cage. Now, she's a very disagreeable rat who looks stressed out all the time and likes to bite everything and everyone. As soon as she had babies, she started biting, and hasn't ever stopped...

I feel so bad for her. I can tell she wants to be held and cuddled like she used to be, but she apparently is still guarding her babies, even though they were weaned months ago, and have all gone to new homes. :(

She's not sick, just permanently "on guard" to defend her babies.. never mind that they're not around.  :'(
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: t-rat on February 09, 2004, 05:26:21 PM
fascinating...
well, i have no interest in breeding rats... maybe chickens one day...  :D
in addition to everything that i have read here and all over the 'net about good rat breeding, just visiting my breeder's house and seeing all the work and care and time that goes into producing her rats would be enough to convince anyone how hard it is to do it right.    
i leave all to her and people like her.
thanks
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratlife on February 09, 2004, 08:02:05 PM
I take in any unwanted rat, even if it is from a petstore.   Pet store rats deserve homes as much as breeder rats.  I don't agree with people breeding their rats so they can have more rats...there are plenty of rats out there, go get them don't add to the problem.  There are so many "accidental" litters out there and it has to stop.  My babies are 3 weeks old and it is very obvious which ones are boys.  Now I don't know if that will change but from what I have seen there is no way to NOT know the difference.  It breaks my heart to see how many accidents there are....60 rats?  How can you possibly give 60 rats the love they need? :'(

http://www.freewebs.com/perfect_pets_rat_rescue/
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: LittlePixie on February 10, 2004, 06:32:50 AM
Because we don't want the whole first page to be sticky topics.  Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.  

Okay. How about moving it to Rat Tails? Or, better yet, the Reference Desk?
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Noe on February 10, 2004, 01:15:37 PM
Okay. How about moving it to Rat Tails? Or, better yet, the Reference Desk?

It may actually be more suited to Rat Tails, since it's a thread of stories, not care info per se. I wouldn't put it in the Ref section though; a lot of people never even go there - you can tell by the questions they ask.   ::)
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Suebee on February 10, 2004, 01:32:45 PM
I'm going to re-sticky it here for now... since it's related to breeding, and is meant to discourage backyard and careless breeding, I think it would still be better suited here than in Rat Tails.

I'm trying to keep the number of stickied threads down... I DO have this thread linked in the "Start Here" thread, which was my solution when I unstickied this, but I guess that didn't do as much good as I had hoped.

/me wonders how many newbies ACTUALLY start with Start Here... *sigh*
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratlife on February 10, 2004, 02:08:55 PM
 sorry.  I didn't start with the "start here". :-[
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: PrincessoftheRats16 on February 14, 2004, 03:38:07 PM
I don't breed them,I had a great experience with Ivory having babies. When i got Ebony and Ivory the petstore girl said they were both girls (and i thought so too, Apparently Ebony sucked them totally in). When we got home and the rats relaxed, it became obvious Ebony was a boy, but I decided to leave them together because I wanted rat babies. So Ivory got pregnant, and I moved her to a seperate cage after she really show, and got another rat to keep Ebony company. Ivory gave birth to 11 babies, and they all survived. I kept them all and they're all healthy and happy.

I realize now soooo much could have gone wrong, because I knew nothing about Ivory or Ebony, their health, or history. I'm grateful that everything turned out ok, but the babies are extrememly skittish and hate being handled.
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kratties on February 23, 2004, 08:27:42 PM
Well my rattie family started out as four, 2 boys and 2 girls... One of my boyfriends friends decided it would be funny to let them "play" together, UI know I shouldn't have even let somebody like that touch my rats but i didn't know how he was at the time. That's how we ended up with 13 more ratties. I love all of them dearly. I adopted one out, thanks to this board and 2 more went to a friend. So we ended up keeping 10 of the babies, they are all so precious and have such wonderful personalities, but if I could stop somebody from breeding just for pleasure then I would having this many ratties is so very tough! Lot's of cleaning, and we spend lots of money on food. Spending time with them isn't a problem since, I stay at home and my boyfriend works from home. anyway just wanted to tell my story... :rattysmiley:
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: bluratz on April 08, 2004, 02:03:21 PM
I am very new to this website, although I have been a rat fan for years.  I adopted a male rat who I named Elwyn, and his sister Anna(who is pregnant with his kiddos, she came to the shelter that way).  I am fostering her and the babies until they are old enough to go back to Kim at the ARL in Westbrook, ME.  I am hoping to give them a good and happy start in life.  If anyone has any suggestions or anything, do let me know!  llnirish@yahoo.com  I am hoping to have some happy stories to share when the babies are born!! :BlueDumboSmile:
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: bluratz on April 08, 2004, 02:38:06 PM
p.s.... Elwyn is going to the vet tomorrow, this will be his LAST litter of babies!!   :shocked2:
Title: Re:Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Elaken on April 16, 2004, 09:45:47 PM
Two things to say, first of all I agree with what someone said earlier, how on earth can you properly give 60 rats the love they need?

Well I actually wrote the second thing, and realized it has almost nothing to do with breeding so I felt it doesn't belong.  But as for my two accidental litters that I had to deal with (this was when I was young and my first pet store rats so didn't know what to look for).  Most of the rats died because the mothers were too young and inexperienced.  It was one of the worst periods in my life, having to bury so many babies.  I sincerly believe if a person truly cares about rats that they won't breed without putting an amazing amount of time into considering it and making it their passion in life.  To improve the health and tempermant of rats out ther eis one of the only valid reasons to breed.  
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: DebW on May 02, 2004, 07:18:35 PM
I didn't breed these rats, they were part of a rescue and they show how genetic flaws can be passed on.

  Two years ago, I was told about Emily and her 3 small children.  She had been brought back to a petstore when her owners decided she smelled.  She had been kept with a male even after the babies were born, which meant she was already pregnant again.  Between the 2 litters, she had a total of 12 beautiful and sweet children

I kept Emily and 6 of her children (3 boys and 3 girls).  I also have contact with some of the people who adopted her other children.

Emily was euthanized along with one of her daughters last week because of multiple tumors.  Each had at least one tumor which involved the neck area.  They would have been very difficult to remove.  Anna had a total of 5 tumors.  Emily had 3.  Every daughter she produced (except 1) has developed multiple tumors.  Several have had the tumors develop around the neck too.  The males seem to be wonderfully healthy and tumor free.  A rat who produces this many children with this problem probably has a genetic disposition toward tumors and should never be bred.  Thank goodness none of her children were ever used for breeding.

Emily and her children have been well loved, but should have lived longer.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: sarahspins on May 21, 2004, 05:45:29 PM
Not to depress folks, but even well documented lines can have "glitches" from time to time and produce hitherto unknown genetic problems.

Yep, I wanted to expand on this a little.. a lot of good breeders have already posted on this thread, but I just wanted to make sure that everyone understand that these things happen to *everyone*.  No matter how much planning, how much research, and how much heart goes into a breeding, nothing is ever certain.  ALL breeders will inevitably have to deal with the heartache of litters that just don't work out as planned, or brought together recessives that were unknown from either line.

I've had it happen myself.. I got two babies with hydrocephalus out of two completely unrelated rats, and I was devastated.  That was and has been one of the worse experiences of my life.. I felt like I had failed those rats.. rats that barely had a chance in this world, rats that *I* was responsible for creating.  However, no amount of researching prior to breeding that litter would have shown me any reason not to do it.. the information I found out after the litter, was only found out because I was asking about a fairly specific and not very common condition... the connections never would have been made if I didn't know what to look for.

Sometimes rats in lines without any known birthing issues will suddenly have some serious problems.  I had that happen with two girls of mine (sisters), they each lost more than 2/3 of their litters due to what I beleive was placental abruptions.  They lost a lot of blood in the deliveries, with blood gushing out between each baby, and I honestly think it's a miracle that both moms survived.  That was *very* hard to handle.  I don't honestly know if I will continue that line or not.. it was just horrible to witness, and I don't want to be responsible for it happening again.  However other related rats (siblings) of those two girls have had normal healthy litters, so it's possible it was just a bad genetic mix between those girls and the boy I bred both of them to.. I just don't know, and it's hard to make determinations without a lot of information.

I also had a mother last month *kill* an entire litter of 3 week old babies when I went out of town.. I will never know for sure what happened, but something snapped in her head and then they were all gone, and that was a *horrible* thing to come home to.  Obviously she's retired now, and I was already planning on not breeding from that line anymore in general to focus on other things, but that doesn't take away any of the pain.

Breeding is not all about "cute babies".. there's a lot of hard decisions and broken hearts involved, and sometimes it can be VERY hard to handle it.  That's part of the "new breeder" phenomenon... someone wants to breed rats because they love them, they come across their first issue or bad litter(s) and they up and quit.  Very few breeders that do that accomplish anything more than just making more rats.. no matter where their "foundation" rats came from.  The breeders that stick with it, change the way they do things, stop certain lines, etc, are the ones who are actually accomplishing something positive... not the ones who throw a few rats together to get some "great pets".  In breeding ANY kind of companion animal that is a given, but WHAT else are they trying to accomplish?

The best compliments I've ever gotten from breeding are hearing back from people who have adopted rats from me and write me months or even years after getting them, and they go on and on about how wonderful those rats are.. from breeders telling me that my rats are some of the best they've ever gotten.. it's those encouraging words that get breeders through the "hard times"..
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Claire on June 20, 2004, 10:22:19 PM
In November 2003, I met a girl at my school who had just gotten her first rats around the same time that I got my own two girls.  However, she told me that she bought a male and a female from a pet store and was hiding them in her house to breed them but she didn't want her mom to know.  Needless to say, this girl's mother found the rats when the female was around three weeks pregnant and told her that if she didn't find a home for the rats overnight, she'd kill them.  The girl came to me, asking if I could take them but at the time I backed down since I knew that raising that many rats would be a huge responsibility.  So, the girl found a teacher at my school to take the rats.  The teacher also had two snakes in her classroom and later confided to the girl that she wanted to keep the male and the female and keep breeding them - to feed the pinkies to her snakes!  The mother had her litter of 7 babies over a three day weekend but the girl never separated the mom from the dad; so the mom was pregnant again!  The girl asked me to watch all of the rats over Thanksgiving break and I said yes.  The rats never went back to the school.  I worked out a deal with the girl and paid her $30.00 for all of the rats (it was the only way I'd be able to take them from her).

I immediately separated the male from the female at my house and kept the mother and babies in a 20 gallon aquarium (I didn't research rats for over a year before I got my first ones for nothing).  In December, the mother rat had her second litter of 12 babies.  She was under a year old at the time.  I put the boys from the first litter together with the father and the females from the first litter together with my own females in my Martin's cage.  The poor mother rat, she was nursing for almost two straight months.  The second litter and mother got sick after I went to the pet store one day and brought home a little baby rat who was the same age as the litter (big mistake and stupid on my part).  Took them to the vet, got medication.  The little girl that I brought to the litter died about a week after I bought her.  So I was very worried.

All of the babies survived in the end and went to forever homes in January/February.  I enjoyed watching the babies grow up so much but also learned a lot about raising rats in the process.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: vixen on July 04, 2004, 11:55:50 AM
Edited.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: meghanyeah on July 07, 2004, 01:37:15 PM
My rats mated and the just had babies!  :hyper: They are separated right now...the female with the 5 babies and the male in his own cage. Do they have to stay separated? And if so, for how long? The babies were born July 5 and today is July 7. The daddy seems anxious, and I was wondering when I can connect the cages again.  ???  ??? Let me know soon please!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sorraia on July 07, 2004, 03:21:21 PM
My rats mated and the just had babies! :hyper: They are separated right now...the female with the 5 babies and the male in his own cage. Do they have to stay separated? And if so, for how long? The babies were born July 5 and today is July 7. The daddy seems anxious, and I was wondering when I can connect the cages again. ??? ??? Let me know soon please!

YES! Your male and female MUST stay separated! If you don't, they will keep breeding and before you know it you'll have hundreds of rats.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: BabyBlue on July 07, 2004, 03:26:23 PM
My rats mated and the just had babies! :hyper: They are separated right now...the female with the 5 babies and the male in his own cage. Do they have to stay separated? And if so, for how long? The babies were born July 5 and today is July 7. The daddy seems anxious, and I was wondering when I can connect the cages again. ??? ??? Let me know soon please!
I think you may have missed the point of this thread. I'd suggest you go through it again and read about the experiences of many rat owners and what we have learned from it all, and hopefully you'll re evaluate your situation as well.

As for other breeding questions, you should make a new thread about it since it is off topic from this thread.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: MarburysMum on August 06, 2004, 01:54:59 AM
Oy! I hadn't planned to breed my rat, and I have to say that these stories only reinforce my conviction!  :BlueDumboBigEyes: I have always felt that way about breeding humans as well. Before we were married, my husband and I agreed that we should adopt children who really needed parents and a loving home rather than having our own. I don't have the best genetics (illnesses in the family, etc.) and have never been gung ho about babies. I hope that over the course of my life, I will be able to give a good home to the rats AND humans that have already arrived on this earth.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sunilata on August 18, 2004, 07:02:09 PM
I have to admit, rather sheepishly, that I was considering breeding. I was even thinking about just borrowing a buck to breed with one of my females, just because I wanted sweet handreared babies (none even CLOSE to my area, and I live on an island so that makes transport somewhat difficult), but after reading this thread, I won't ever breed any of my own. Thanks for enlightening me (and I am in the process of arranging with Kim's Ark to get a neutered male or two). :)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Gypsy on August 26, 2004, 07:20:47 PM
I have never bred any of my rats yet and I don't plan to due to an experience a friend of mine had with her rats. My friend and her two sisters got their rats from a friend of their mothers. The three girls got to pick out one rat each for themselves. My friend got a male and her two sisters got females. The mother of the rats had a large tumor in it's stomach and it was there even during her pregnancy and birth. After some time, one of the females began to develope a large tumor as she got older. The tumor grew to be the size of the rat herself! Somehow, a rumor got to the ears of my friend when someone told her that male rats, unless they are neutered of mated to another rat, their testicals would get so large they would explode! Now, I don't know if this is true or not, but it sounds like immature garbage to me. But she believed it and so did her family and they ended up mating the male rat with one of the females. And soon, one of the females gave birth to a litter of 16 babies. They tried giving the rats away to homes and they did find a few. But in the end, they ended up giving the rats the a pet store who sold them for feeders. Two of the babies were given to her aunt, and eventually those two babies ended up developing tumors as well and slowly died.

Gypsy is the rat I own now. I got her from the pet store and she is nearly full grown, beautiful, friendly and lovable. And eventually, I do plan on getting a male simply so I can experience the difference of males and females. But, I will never breed her or any other rat that comes into my care. I don't want a horror story like that to happen to me.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: hamtaro on October 21, 2004, 09:05:50 PM
Just think about what happens to the wild rats that live outside :o :worry:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ssjay on November 30, 2004, 08:35:17 AM
I guess I'm lucky. Brought Misty home from the pet store and two weeks later bam! I was grandma. She almost died so I ended up bottle feeding until the vet said it was ok for her to have the babies back. I kept Lambeau and a couple of the girls and found homes for all the babies. Well 3 weeks later i found out lambeau consorted with Belle and bam!! Here we go again! More homes were found. Everyone loved the kids and loved how I raised them.Since Daddy was the only male, I had him fixed.All babies were healthy and to my knowledege some of them are two years old. Pet shop rats are the worst in my opinion
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: RKEM on December 11, 2004, 08:01:32 PM
I have never bred and never will. I could afford to but I just wouldn't want to have to deal with all the misshaps that could come with it, the intensive research needed and finally I know for a fact I'd be way too overprotective to allow 99% of potential homes to take them in.

But I did get two baby girls from someone who ended up with an accidental litter. One day she had one female rat and the next she had 11.

The two girls were very well socialized and nice and everything but they both developped pituitary tumors. The first one barely made it to 18 months old. In one month she went from happy go lucky to stumbling and barely able to eat ... antibiotics did nothing and prendisone bought her maybe a week at most. Her sister almost made it to two years. She had the same PT but it grew slower but I helped her over sooner than her sister. I knew what was comming and I decided that when she went one full day without eating on her own and just laying there listless ... from a rat who would scale my closet walls ... was her telling me it was time.

All and all I don't regret getting them, they brought me lots of joy and happyness but it was also very sad that I lost them so young due to bad genetics and it was especially painfull since nothing could be done to help them.  :-[

It saddens me when I read about new breeders who breed their first rats, of course they seem healthy ... when they're around 6 months of age ... but they don't know what they're doing, what heartbreak they are producing ... and then when their "healthy breeders" turn 18 months and start to get sick they are all sorry and now they know what awaits the rittens they bred. Breeding is best left to people who have had many rats, who do the genetics research, who know the background of their breeders and who have the financial resources to do so.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sammage on December 18, 2004, 08:25:52 PM
This thread was very interesting to read and man oh man it kept me entertained for awhile because it is so long!

However, the few people who did post positive breeding/birth experiences were basically attacked! If this thread is to help people, then why are people ganging up on the people who have had positive births? (And yes do I know this is a thread for sad experiences so don't bombard me.)

Please, don't bad mouth these people (even if you disagree with them) instead we should be helping them and using kindness to educate them on how breeding is not a good idea.

And also, good breeders start out as a beginner. Everyone has to start from somewhere. Those excellent expert breeders were once someone who it seems most people using this forum despise.

PS,

I have never bred, nor will I ever in the future.

Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Dearpie on December 18, 2004, 09:40:40 PM
This thread is not really about discussion, but about sharing a story about breeding.  Let's keep it that way please.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: October on December 23, 2004, 04:16:50 PM
well, I didn't plan on breeding at all, but ashley brought her girls over and now its been a month and a half and there are babies, her females both had babies, atticus neglected hers so they are with scout, 22 in total, 10 died, left with 12. Scout and atticus are separated and in different cages in different parts of the room.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: SqueakinJellybeans 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
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: LadyV 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!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: bluerattyrat 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sorraia 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Dearpie 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!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sorraia 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!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: SR&P 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)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: critterkeeper 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!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sakara 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: akaangela 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Elaken 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Alter Ego 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..
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: jj615 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!!
Title: Meet the face of bad breeding
Post by: RKEM 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 :

(http://k00kie.freeshell.org/other/buro/02-10-05/pc.JPG)

(http://k00kie.freeshell.org/other/buro/02-10-05/pc3.JPG)

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

(http://k00kie.freeshell.org/other/buro/05-23-2005/paimei2.JPG)

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

(http://k00kie.freeshell.org/other/buro/paimei-parade/paimei5.JPG)

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.

(http://k00kie.freeshell.org/other/buro/02-07-05/paimei.JPG)

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*
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: misfitsiq 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. ;)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: rosie and lucy 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Lady Drace 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: TessTheRat 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: JohariZ 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
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: lotsarats 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
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: lisa.j.31 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Vampiric_Conure 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:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Moonstones 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Hack 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.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Rats Rule 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!  :'(
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: aquajen9 on April 12, 2006, 06:13:59 PM
As a UK breeder, there seems to bea lot less open pet shop rat breeding, because it is so frowned upon. There are always people, who are misinformed, or just  :-\ well... who will breed from rats from pet shops, but in general the majority of breeder in the UK who aren't breeding for pet shop 'stock', are breeding from Pedigree rats.

I've had 8 litters, and have two more matings planned tomorrow actually  :)

I keep a waiting list for the babies I breed, I only breed from rats with known backgrounds, and who are the healthiest, and friendliest. My rats are pets first and foremost, and I rehome all my babies to prevetted homes, with contracts, stating various things. (more info on www.hkmrats.co.uk (http://www.hkmrats.co.uk) if anyone wants to know :) )

However, my sixth litter, went pear shaped. The mating was planned out very carefully, and we decided to mate my doe, Orion's Haven Liatris, to my mentors buck Shunamite Taras. They were a perfect match, they were mated, and Liatris took.

Day 21 came, and went. Day 22.. Day 23... Day 24... at this point, she started to bleed. And so, I waited.. 4 hours later she'd given birth to what was 9 babies. 7 were still born, and 2 alive. The two live ones were very bruised looking. After 2 hours, they'd not fed, so I fostered them onto my other doe who had a litter a couple of days old. But, they had no chance. I stayed up with them for hours, and kept an eye on things, I took out some of the foster mum, Auriga's, own babies, and kept the warm and fed them myself, in the hope it would give Liatris' two a better chance. But within 6 hours, both babies were dead  :'(

Liatris went through a long series of blood tests, to try and find out if something had gone wrong because of a virus, but everything tested clear. To this day, I don't know why they didn't survive, perhaps a baby had gotten stuck in the passageway, and caused several to die, and the two who were alive, to be too battered and bruised to survive. But, it was a heartbreaker.

I'd urge anyone wishing to breed, to get a mentor. And to breed from rats with known backgrounds (Pedigrees). It isn't easy, it isn't cheap. I spent a lot of money on bloodtests, a lot of people might not have done. But I needed to know that she, and my other rats, were safe. Breeding isn't something that should be taken lightly, in any cases.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Aja on April 17, 2006, 04:17:06 PM
Wow, I guess I can write in this thread now.

I did NOT breed. A rescue I got came pregnant. I wasn't expecting it at all, and then one day she just looked huge- and I realized, CRAP, she is pregnant!!!!!!!!

The babies were born fine, healthy, 9 of them. Thats the easy part.

The difficult part is being ETHICAL in deciding what to do with the babies. Sure, it would have been all too easy to take them down to the petshop--- to become feeders, 5 minute pets (when a child begs for a pet, so they get them a rat so they shut up, and then the rat gets terrible care), to become god knows what. It was extremely difficult to find homes for them, I advertised from the day they were born, and didnt release them until they were 8 weeks old... and I still wonder about the ones I gave away too.

4 went to an expirienced rat owner- I see him usually twice a week
2 went to two college girls
I kept 2 girls because I could not find them homes
I kept the only boy because I did not want him to be a solitary rat.

I do not want 6 rats. It is expensive, it is time consuming, and frankly, it gets a bit smelly in here no matter how much I clean their cages! Don't breed unless you are completely dedicated to EVERYTHING that comes along with those cute little pinkies.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ArcticSilver84 on May 02, 2006, 01:00:51 AM
I would like to share my story as well...I am still fairly new to the rat world so when I got my first 2 rats (a brother and sister) they were 5 weeks old. The person I got them from told me that they didn't need to be separated until they were 5 mos wrong, I believed her because she was a "breeder" so I figured I had time to decide whether or not I was going to get them each a friend of their respected genders or get the male neutered. So I went about my days researching vets that neutered and seeing how much that was etc. Now mind you they were born December 2nd so I figured I had til about the beginning of May to decide. Well it took my girl (Expresso--shes all black with a white tummy and feet as is her brother puck and the father of her babies) a little over 3 mos from the time I got her but she got pregnant...I however did not know that because she didn't get any "fatter" than her brother so I was shocked one morning when I woke up and went to the bathroom and as I was getting ready to take a shower I glanced over and noticed my male (puck) cowering on one side of the cage in a corner while on the other side of the cage all the bedding was pushed up against it and falling out...I was thinking no it can't be and then I heard the chirping I was like oh no. So I went to investigate and sure enough there were some pinkies suckling on momma. So I tentatively put my hand in the cage and she came right up and licked me (shes a sweet heart) so I counted the babies...8 total born but one was dead. So I set up an aquarium I had and put her and her babies in (she had 5 boys and 2 girls). She was a good mom and immediately built a nest everytime I cleaned the cage. She would let me hold the babies. Eventually the babies grew fast. She had 4 black babies with white bellies and feet 2 boys and 2 girls whom I named Rocky and Bullwinkle for the boys and Connie and Carla for the girls. She also had a black self who I named Houdini because he can escape any place I put him to run around in while Im cleaning the cage. She also had a PEW and a Tan whom I found homes for they are boys and I tentatively named them Peanut butter and Fluff. So anyways...today they are 5 weeks and I separated them from their mom. I will probably end up keeping all the other ones except the 2 I found a home for because the lady that was interested in the wanted them all which could only mean that she wanted them as feeders, so they will be mine unless I can find a suitable home for them. In terms of health though everything is so far so good, I read online and did everything they said to do to take care of a litter. They are all healthy happy little babies that LOVE to ride on my shoulders and sleep in my hair lol. But I will never Breed or accidentally breed again. In due time I will eventually have all my boys fixed starting with their dad who doesn't get along with the new buddy I got him when I had to take the mom out or his own sons he just beats them all up so I after he heals from his neuter I will put him back with his sister because he still gets along with her. So I guess this story isn't as sad as a lot of the ones I have read but I just wanted to share my story with all of you. Eventually I do want to become a breeder but right now I just have all 10 of my babies (5 boys and 5 girls) as loving pets.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ollie_763 on May 22, 2006, 05:22:03 PM
are there any happy stories? this is making me realy depressed. :'( also because i want to get another male or two i now dont have a clue where from because of all these really sick rats got from stores and breeders, please cheer me up  :'(
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: SR&P on May 22, 2006, 08:07:51 PM
That's kind of the point of this thread, to show all the things that can go wrong with a litter, even when they are carefully planned or accommodated. It helps people decide whether they really want to breed. Ollie, if I were you, I would contact a responsible breeder and ask to be mentored.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: vbeberness on July 06, 2006, 10:38:29 AM
I too have a new littler of six beautiful squeakers. I bought them at a pet store. The mom had given birth that morning. I was interested in a female friend for my rat at home. I fell in love with "Maggie". But as pet stores go... they were kind enough to sell me the mom, but could not take her home for four weeks obviously. So I would stop by and feed her in the morning and evening some nutritious veggies. Then the pet store talked about how they could sell the "pinkies" as feeders!!!!!!!! :mumum: :angry4: :angry5: :BangHead: :argue:  To make a long story short! I have Maggie and her babies here at home now. I will keep them all!! I love rats anyway. I am home with them all day and they get much time out to play.My litter seems to be doing well so far. The mom takes wonderful care of her babies.              viki
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: mayflower on August 04, 2006, 01:14:48 AM
I've had a variety of experiences with breeding, particularly in recent times.
My first ever litter was a careful planned and researched affair and I was pleased that all babies found proper forever homes and we didn't even have to consider the pet store (big arguements between my mother and I over that one, over time she has come to see things the way I do: Pet stores + baby rats = NO).
That one was a good experience, everything went well, the babies had gorgeous temperaments and were healthy and robust.
My more recent experiences, however, have not been so rosy. Of the three litters I have dealt with in the last year (well more like between september and january), two were straight out rescues, and the other one came as a result of a woman breeding one of my males to her female without asking me while he was boarding with her. I'm not sure which of the circumstances makes me angrier, though i think it is the last, in that she knew what she was doing, and she never even asked - she just assumed I wouldn't mind. At least in the case of the rescues it was a result of ignorance.
The first two litters were 3 days and two weeks old when I got them. I rescued the mother of the 3 day old babies from a store that was breeding their females back to back despite health issues in the line not to mention the stress for the poor mothers. I'd managed to get them to remove the male, but the damage was still done. I took her home, but went back two days later after a friend informed me that the mother that had been sharing her ridiculously small tank was too old and unwell to nurse her two week olds babies - the mother I'd taken was fostering them. So they came home with me too. I had trouble finding homes for them, but in the end, I managed it. But along the way, I lost two of them. One died when he was only 10 days old. When he was about 8 days old, his mother stopped nursing him. I tried to nurse him myself, to no avail. He died in my hand two days later. The other was Spot, a girl from the older litter. There was epilepsy in her line. Her brother had two fits that we know of, she also had two, unfortunately the second one was too much for her body. She also had other things going on in her poor wee body. At the age of two months, we said goodbye to her. Her brother (the only male) was neutered and remains with me, as did the mother I was able to take home. The #$^$&^*@#s at the store would not let me take Bud's mother home, despite being able to offer her a better quality of life. The poor thing was confined to a small tank, after being bred back to back for god knows how long, and she had a tumour as well. Not that the SPCA did anything.
It was a heart breaking time in my life.
The third litter, which my boy fathered, should never have happened. If the woman had asked me if she could breed him, I would've said no. He was too young for us to be certain of his health and temperament and suitability to be bred. By the time I found out, it was too late. He fathered 16 babies. Some are doing better than others. Some have had respiratory problems, as did their father a couple of months after they were born. Some have had minor aggression problems. Their father turned out to be the kind of male that ends up having major issues due to his hormones, and became rather aggressive to rats and people. His brother also had the same problem and was neutered. His father had stress issues that I am aware of (and yet the person who has him is breeding him despite all this :( ). Had she left well alone, that boy never would have been bred. There's no way I would have allowed it. There wouldn't be 16 young rats with potential/existing health or temperament problems. I have one of his daughters... never before have I encountered rats that are so incredibly difficult to bond with! Even a biter that I recently adopted has bonded with me in less than a week! After 7 months I am still no closer to her than when I first brought her home permanently. Her father passed away after I had him neutered. He woke from the anaesthetic, then went back to sleep to never wake again.
I worry every day about those rats that I found homes for. I worry that someone will ignore my request that they DO NOT breed from them and that they will further weaken the already damaged lines we have here in New Zealand, that they will put them through hell and bring suffering upon them.
So far, three of the homes I found for various rats since october have ended up not working out. One of them rehomed her rats with my consent, but failed to advise me properly of health concerns for the rat she had adopted from me as company for her existing girls - something that we may have been able to resolve before it got as bad as it did. Another rehomed hers after promising to me that of all her rats, she would never rehome the youngest girls, including the one she had adopted from me. I only found out that she had rehomed her by accident when she slipped up in conversation. it took a lot of work to get out of her that she had rehomed her and where she had gone. The third home has suddenly, 5 months after adoption, said that she no longer has time for the rats, nor can afford them.
I despair of breeding sometimes. It is just so damn hard to find a decent home for the babies, one that will treat them right, care for them properly and keep them, instead of giving up on them when the 'novelty' wears off. Yet at the same time, if those of us here in NZ who know how to breed properly don't continue the healthy lines, eventually our healthy lines will be so tainted that one day we may no longer have pet rats here in NZ.
 :'(
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Chesterroo on November 07, 2006, 11:35:37 AM
I think that no breeding should be done unless it's by a professional.  First off there's so many rats out there with no good homes. And way too many end up dead in a snake's belly.  Second, I rescue rats, and work at a no kill animal shelter.  I took in this female from a cruelty, who lived her whole life in a cage full of males. She undoubtedly was pregnant, and being a hairless, and constantly being humped by the males, she was all scratched up. I decided to keep the litter, rather than euthanizing them, which is what we normally do with new born babies, of any species at our shelter, because at the shelter, in the stress the moms stop feeding and there are no foster homes so the babies all starve. So euthanizing is better for them than starving.  But these little snobs all grew to be great babies, there were 9, 6 girls and 2 boys.  All got homes, and I kept two.  Another male I had was neutered, and now they all live together in a  R-695 cage. Happily. But these babies were a lot of work.  They got out of almost every cage I could get them in. And ate me out of house and home! But it was worth it to save these lives, but with all of the work, finances, and for the fact that they took up the homes for 9 other rescue rats, who are already here, I would never do it again.  I actually think that no animals should be bred unless they are by a responsible, and registered, pure bred animal breeder. There is such a surplus of animals in our world, we really need no more....
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: mayflower on December 29, 2006, 06:04:53 AM
My post relates to temperament, health and breeding, and why it is so important to not breed a rat with poor health or bad temperament... ever.

There are two cases that I have dealt with.
First there was Beau. I had gotten him because of his exceptional markings as a hope to continue to develop the line in NZ as we have such limited varieties and his was unique. He was around 3 months old when I got him and initially he was boarding with a friend of mine. She knew that I was hoping to be able to breed him, and while I was away on holiday... it happened. I got home to find an email along the lines of 'I hope you don't mind, but I put him in with one of my girls the other night!'. Well by then it was too late. Most disappointing was that I had pointed out that I did not want to breed him before he was a year old. Had it been up to me, he never would have been bred.
His litter turned 1 year old this christmas.
Once he came home from boarding, he always seemed very neurotic, no matter how much time I put in to him. Then Beau developped temperament problems in about march this year. Knowing that one of his brothers had also become badly tempered and was a problem for people and rats, and neutering had been successful, I made the decision to neuter him when he failed to improve in temperament. Unfortunately although the surgery went well, he woke up from the anaesthetic and then went back to sleep again... and never woke up.
His offspring, of which there were 16, all found homes with a lot of effort on my part. I have one of his daughters and she is one of the most neurotic rats I have ever encountered (with the exception of Gecko, who will be mentioned later). She has also developped a tendency to bite first and ask questions later. Several of her siblings were also bitey when young and can still be temperamental.
Beau's either father or brother (we're not sure what to believe from the pet store), Apache, was adopted by someone else in the country. He sired two litters, which personally I didn't really approve of given what we know of the family. And this is why.
Apache showed a tendency towards a nervous disposition. His offspring have also developped this. One of the boys, though less than a year old, looks very elderly and has always been very shy, nervous and uncertain. Apache had also barbered himself in the past. He has since developped a urinary infection. There have been other health problems within the line.
The temperament of rats cannot be outbred, and health issues only get passed on to future generations.

The second case involves a group of interbred rats from a pet store. The thread I posted about Screech (Vicious Rat - help desperately needed) partially documents this family. Screech seemed like a nice little boy. Unfortunately he is genetically aggressive. While he seems fine most of the time, for some reason he is prone to bouts of aggression. Dangerous levels of aggression.
His daughter, only a few months younger than he is, due to repeated breedings, is following in his footsteps and has begun displaying the same type of behaviour. We're not sure anymore that it's genetically hormonal behaviour, as Tardak (chemical castration) combined with Screech being neutered (the behaviour started 4 months post neuter) have failed to improve the situation. I am starting to wonder if it is in fact neurological or so severe that neutering and Tardak simply aren't enough to combat it.
Both Screech and Shadow have a nervous disposition. Gecko, Shadow's sister, and Kahli, a daughter from an earlier litter, also both have nervous tendencies. Well Gecko's is hardly a tendency... it's just who she is. She is simply neurotic and cannot be allowed to free range in some areas because she is impossible to recapture. She runs from her own shadow. Kahli is also a very grabby rat and I have fears she may become worse.
Due to a pet store's indiscriminate breeding, I now have a damaged finger and two severe bite wounds still healing. But worst of all, several rats are unable to lead a proper life because of the damage resulting from poor genetics that were allowed to be continued. They may be able to live reasonably happy lives, but never what they could be.
http://www.geocities.com/project_rat/finger
http://www.geocities.com/project_rat/Casestudy
The above links are to my website. The first one shows the damage to my finger and the second one includes a further indepth case study of the above.

In addition to this, there is my "Drury family".
These rats came to me from a south auckland pet store who had been back-to-back breeding their females and inbreeding them to all hell. Thankfully when I gave them hell about it, they removed the males from the females' tanks, but by the time I discovered it was happening, the damage was done.
I adopted a female and her babies as well as the other litter that had been in her cage. The mother of the second litter was no longer able to nurse her babies and the mother I rescued was fostering them. Her name is Mum.
Mum's litter (her second since she was sexually mature) consisted of four babies. At the age of 10 days, despite my efforts to nurse him myself for two days, including sub-q liquids, one of the little boys died. The other three were fine, but never developped to the sizes that one would expect a rat to grow to. They were all stunted, particularly their poor mother.
In the other litter, which was two weeks older, there were 8 babies. Half of them flourished and did quite well, the other half were always smaller. They were all rehomed (with the exception of two that stayed with me) before I discovered that their line carried epilepsy.
ALL of these rats have a highly nervous disposition. Both Mum and the boy from the older litter, Bud, have suffered resp infections and Mum has aged very prematurely and I struggle to keep weight on her. While both have come a long way, particularly Mum, it is still noticeable that they are nervous rats - particularly Bud. Spot, my little Spottiebot, never flourised no matter what I tried. She sustained a small bite wound behind her ear and scratched it in to a huge sore overnight. All efforts to heal it and prevent her from making it worse failed for nearly a month. She lost weight and I couldn't get it back on her. She became more comfortable around me and was happy to play. She suffered two epileptic fits in front of me, and one evening I found her dead in her cage at the age of only about two-three months.  She had suffered a seizure greater than what her body could cope with. Bud has also suffered at least one epileptic fit. Some idiot wanted to buy him off me to try and breed 'pink eyed minks'. I told him where to go and chose to keep Buddy boy and have him neutered. He's never been a big boy, but has finally started to put on more weight and lives happily with a group of other rats who he adores.
Related to these rats, I know of two rats who developped cataracts at the age of only 9 months. Bud and Spot's mother had a tumour when she birthed them. The... nasty people... at the pet store refused to let me take her as well. She was their 'special rat'. Fools.
A friend also has a relative of Mum and Bud. I think from the timing of it all that he is one of Mum's sons from her first litter. He was rescued from a woman who no longer wanted him because he wouldn't bond with her. He is still far more nervous than Mum or Bud, but has also come along way.
They are all worried little ratties and it breaks my heart to know that it needn't have ever happened.

Please please please do not breed unhealthy, young, or ill tempered rats and please don't bred back-to-back!
I am going to the SPCA tomorrow to find out how we can put a stop to pet stores breeding rats and mice themselves and to make sure that rats at least are sexed properly in stores. New Zealand is reaching a crisis point with our rats. Life expectancy and health and temperament are all deteriorating because of bad breeding. We cannot import any more blood lines, and at this rate, soon we may no longer have rats at all.  :'(
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Chaosbadgerling on January 21, 2007, 11:26:16 PM
I haven't ever, and never plan on breeding my girls.  Even though in Townsville, australia where I am I don't think there are any breeders.
My girls are both petshop rats and while the petshop are careful they still don't keep track of the litters after they are sold at 6 weeks.  I still go in and give them updates on both my girls but they tell me I am a rarity.

This is something however something that one of my overseas friends posted at another forum.  Please, before you even try breeding, read this thread and look at the pictures of what happens when breeding can get out of control and people don't care for their ratties.

http://www.annemccaffreyfans.org/forum/showthread.php?t=13906
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sun of Samsa on March 23, 2007, 11:56:43 PM
Being very new to the wonderful world of rat ownership, I have no plans to breed them, if ever at all.

Back in late September/early October '06, I was starting to feel my maternal drive kicking in, and desperately needed something to take care of. A classmate of mine was hiding two female rats in her dorm room. On a geology field trip one day, she told me how great rats were as pets, how they would run up and down her arms when she opened their cage. My heart melted, and there was my first mistake. A week later I set out with my now (very, VERY understanding) boyfriend to search the city high and low for a pet store that sold rats.

After a full day of searching, I finally found a store that sold rats. I was under the impression that these rats were being sold as pets; hairless were kept in one tank, small and large both separated and all marketed under the title of "fancy." What should have tipped me off was how crowded these tanks were. Small 20 gallon tanks filled with at least 10-15 rats of various ages. But I was all gooey-eyed, and picked up two females. If the small living quarters didn't tip me off, the fact that one of my females, Darwin, was brought out from "the back" as a special sale because she was dumbo-eared.

My other girl, FitzRoy, was very skittish. My boyfriend noted that her nipples were very swollen, and we panicked because we thought that might mean she was pregnant. We watched her carefully for two weeks, but no change in her behavior or abdomen. (I now think that when I bought her, she recently had a litter taken away from her; I went back to the pet store not long after I bought Darwin and FitzRoy to find a dozen small rats in the cage I had gotten FitzRoy from, with nearly identical markings, and all looking like they were much too young to be weaned.)

Darwin, on the other hand, was getting plump. I admit I was giving these girls way too many treats, so I cut those out almost completely when I noticed Darwin's quick weight-gain. I moved the rats from my dorm room to my Aaron's apartment (that we now share). I told him to make sure not to spoil them while I wasn't there, because I feared for Darwin's health. To make this long-winded story short, about three weeks after I took the girls home, I happened upon an article about pregnant rat behavior. After I processed the info, I ran to the nearest phone to call Aaron. Before I told him what I had found, he said, "Darwin's building a nest." D'oh.

Darwin had approximately 16 babies, at least 4 of which "disappeared." I suppose Darwin ate them, there being not a single trace anywhere. Being inexperienced, I had no place to keep FitzRoy except in that same cage. Darwin didn't mind, and FitzRoy kept her distance. When the babies grew up, FitzRoy gave them a lot of attention and let them sleep with her when Darwin was overcrowded. I was lucky on that part. I admit that having the babies was fun. They were cute, they didn't fuss much when they were picked up, but they were getting EXPENSIVE. Their age inversely correlated with the money in my wallet. I called unnamed pet store and told them the situation. They said something along the lines of, "Congratulations, you have free pets!" Haha. I said I couldn't keep them, and no one I knew would take them. Okay, bring them in at 7 weeks and we'll take them.

So, at 6 weeks (after I had the boys separated from the girls-- by that time a friend had given me a 30-gallon tank to house the boys) I called the pet store. I mentioned the accidental birth-- to which I received verbatim the same "Congratulations, you have free pets!" I stopped. Obviously this wasn't something the pet store was unfamiliar with. I said I have 10 dumbo-eared rats I'm bringing back, as per the earlier phone agreement. The woman on the other end asked if I couldn't keep them, because they were full of rats at the moment. My heart was breaking, because I knew what that meant. I finally was able to convince them to let me take the babies I had raised, cared for, played with, for no compensation whatsoever.

Giving the babies back was a traumatic experience. I watched the store attendant take the box of boys and the box of girls, and dump them both in the same tank that I had bought FitzRoy from. I cried right there in front of the tank, because of everything that implied. These babies I had raised were just profit for them, and they had no concern for their health or wellbeing whatsoever.

I know anyone who is thinking of breeding wouldn't wind up in the situation I was in, which I was wholly unprepared for. Raising kittens is very expensive, and very time-consuming. My cages had to be cleaned at least once per day, which ran up extra costs for bedding. I went through many 5-lb bags of rat food over the course of those 7 weeks. Not to mention the overpowering smell after coming home from a day of classes. I didn't mention my boyfriend had a roommate when he was so nice as to take the rats to his apartment.. his roommate left after that experience, and for other reasons as well, but he asked repeatedly that my boyfriend get rid of the rats. I'm still heartbroken over this whole experience, to think of the 10 boys and girls that may or may not have found good homes. I fear for Darwin, FitzRoy, and the two boys I kept from Darwin's litter, Gollum and (Big) Ben, because of all the health complications I'm sure unmonitored breeding will result in.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: a1issa on March 28, 2007, 06:27:03 PM
I just read this thread for the first time today, and I take offense.  Nowhere in the title, "Personal Stories about Breeding," nor in the first posts, is it communicated that this is just a conglomeration of testimonials about breeding-gone-wrong intended to fear-monger people into not breeding.  It would have been nice for there to have been forewarning that the following stories would be disgusting, traumatic, and generally awful.  Or was the intent of labeling the thread so benignly to lay a trap?  Instead of disuading someone who wants to breed, in this case, you've managed to genuinely offend someone who is interested in vicariously experiencing breeding through the experiences of others... so that I can avoid the potential of creating hideous birth defects and health problems, yet still see how cool it is to watch babies be born and grow into furballs.

Why doesn't someone label this thread for what it is?
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: queenbellaloca on April 05, 2007, 06:49:40 PM
A while back my boyfriend and I decided we wanted baby ratlets. So we put my baby girl Francesca with our manrat Sir Lix-A-Lot.
A month later, I checked in on my sweet girl, and I witnessed what I thought was the miracle of birth.

Was I ever wrong.

As soon as she started popping them out, she started... you know. "Disposing" of them, for lack of wanting to describe it in any other way...

Well, she did that for a little while, and then she just stopped. Entirely. There were still little babies in her. She slowly started to deteriorate. Barely eating, barely moving.. I'd pick her up and she would just cuddle with me. I really thought she was going to be a goner.
We took her to the vet [the next day, she started giving birth at some god awful time in the morning], they gave her some Baytril. She slowly started popping out more babies. She was not expected to live.

Needless to say, there were no live babies. The only positive thing that had occurred through this whole ordeal is that Francesca survived. She is stull with us today, as crazy as ever. But never again will I ever attempt such a foolish thing.  :doh:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: twilight on April 27, 2007, 04:20:04 PM
Quote
Why doesn't someone label this thread for what it is?
Heh...its labeled exactly how it should be. These are personal stories and they are about breeding. All we are doing is shareing the stories you dont hear about because they are sad or depressing. Who want's to hear about those? Sadly they must be told to educate.

Now here is my story. I warn you, It is pretty disturbing.  :(

I have owned rats all my life. I had two litters from pet store rats that turned out OK, though im not sure what kind of lives those babies wen't on to live. I thought I knew alot. So when it came time to breed my favorite rat of all time, Jade, I was feeling good. She had a great personality, so did the boy she mated with. I thought it would be alot of fun. Everything was going good until yesterday.

I looked in Jade's nest and saw some blood and a pink thing. I instantly became excited. Then I realized something was horribly wrong. It was just a head, I thought it was deformed and Jade had probably killed it. Later I learned she did not kill it, it was just the result of a horrible birth defect. Jade seemed fine so I didn't think to much of it.

A few hours later she gave birth to two basically clumps of horribly deformed baby rat. She was in labor and there was quite alot of blood. I figured I'd give her a few hours, to give her a chance to give birth to something alive and normal. Nothing happened. Jade began to through herself around the cage in distress. I called my mom and told her we needed to take her to the emergancy vet. I had to wait til my mom got off work.

My mom was waiting in the car when she got home, I wen't to pick up Jade to put her in the box. She was cold, but alive. Instantly I broke down in tears, knowing she was dieing. We where no more than a few miles from the vet when she died. I have never felt so guilty in my life. The ironic part, the day before I read an article on how bad it was to breed pet store rats.

We paid the vet $25 to have her ashes blown across a field behind their building. What I have learned from this horrible experience...Wanting a cute litter of babies just isnt a good enough reason to breed. Breeding a pet store rat is a huge risk due to horribly common overbreeding and inbreeding. Had I known this sooner I never would have bred.

RIP Jade
(http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g79/crusinslow/100_9338.jpg)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Aimee on May 07, 2007, 10:43:28 PM
If you want to breed you should definitely research it and hookup with a knowlegable breeder, and have a good rat vet on stand by just in case. Those two can help you if anything goes wrong.

 I have had around 10 litters myself. My very first litters weren't well informed,but I could either breed or get them from a petstore. The rats I bred were always friendlier than the petstore rats.
 I have never had a doe die in childbirth or anything childbirth related. All my rats have been great mommies. I have had one litter that was skittish and aggressive despite socialization from birth. They were from petstore parents. I have only had 3 babies die, and they were the result of megacolon. My first rat to get a tumor was from a breeder. I have never had a doe attack or kill her own babies or the babies of another rat. None of my does have had any problems making milk. I have had problems with people I sell rats to. One person thought I was a rescue and she was rescueing. Even though I told her I was not. I have also had people tell me they will update me and then I never hear from them again. I have also had great people adopt rats from me.
I consider myself pretty lucky to have no major problems thus far.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Dearpie on May 08, 2007, 12:03:24 PM
I just read this thread for the first time today, and I take offense.  Nowhere in the title, "Personal Stories about Breeding," nor in the first posts, is it communicated that this is just a conglomeration of testimonials about breeding-gone-wrong intended to fear-monger people into not breeding.  It would have been nice for there to have been forewarning that the following stories would be disgusting, traumatic, and generally awful.  Or was the intent of labeling the thread so benignly to lay a trap?  Instead of disuading someone who wants to breed, in this case, you've managed to genuinely offend someone who is interested in vicariously experiencing breeding through the experiences of others... so that I can avoid the potential of creating hideous birth defects and health problems, yet still see how cool it is to watch babies be born and grow into furballs.

Why doesn't someone label this thread for what it is?

Because as a whole, this community discourages breeding by the general public for whatever reasons, leaving it to the experts.  This thread (http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/topic,7048.0) sums it up.  I guess we expect and encourage members to read ALL areas of the forum.

Also, please note the :( icon in the original post.  That would indicate sad things. 
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: thewolfplush on July 25, 2007, 07:25:01 PM
I havn't bred rats myself, but I got a rat from a poorly-bred batch and the outcome was horrible.

I adopted Z-Reaper from a rescue. Being the fact that she was from a rescue, I assumed they had screened for temperament and health. They charged me $35 (unspayed) for her. I did hold her, check her health and she seemed fine. She was curious and inquisitive and very athletic. I figured she wasn't too keen on me because I was a stranger, and socialization would take care of that.

Introductions went smoothly. Everything was fine. She got along wonderfully with my black dumbo, Vandal, and my Himi, Chaos. But she was always a bit 'off' - stared into space, was very quiet, and bit. A lot. It took a good 2 weeks to make sure they were fully introduced. I spent a lot of time with her during those weeks, and since I was working at a place that let me bring pets, she had plenty of socialization. I took her to a vet to make sure there was nothing medical about her behavior, and she was given a clean bill of health.

But the biting still continued. I attributed it to a 'human' thing and developed a hand movement that would gently push her away and keep my fingers out of reach. I can't count the amount of times she's broken skin and drawn blood. She wasn't afraid of me, she was never put in a terrifying situation in my care. She'll take food from my open palm and crawl up to my shoulder, and let me pick her up out of the cage. But she still, randomly, bit. and bit hard.

Then one day I returned home to find my sweet Chaos ripped to shreds, Vandal hiding on the upmost level of their cage, terrified, and Z-Reaper covered in blood. This wasn't a normal 'things got out of hand' fight. The way Chaos looked is something I will never go into detail here because it was horrifying. I had to scrub the cage clean after. I suppose that would give an idea to the extent of the damage caused.

I immediately returned her to her quarentine cage and continue to work with her on her biting and socialization. I can't be attached to her or even LIKE her - I adored her at first, but now I can only resent her. Chaos was nothing but good to her - she even let her have the first pick of the fresh food, best spot on the hammock. For a good 3 months they got along wonderfully. I figured it was because Z-Reaper was the 'baby' that Chaos doted on her. Chaos was always the sweetest girl, very nice to everyone - humans, rats, and other animals. I feel horrible for feeling that way about an animal, but I can't help it. She still bites compulsively. If anything, without a rat companion, she's gotten worse.

I'm trying to rehome her, but I don't know if I can, in good concience, rehome a biter and a killer. I know it wasn't Vandal because Vandal was not covered in blood and has since taken exceptionally well to her new sister, Kami, who is helping her get over the shock of Chaos' death. Vandal, the typical piggie rat, would barely eat her favorite food for about a week after Chaos died. She didn't play. She didn't run on the wheel. I'd give her fluffystuff and bedding and she didn't nest with it like she used to. I'd take her out and she'd just sit on my shoulder instead of explore like she usually did. I'd peek in on them at night and Vandal would be at the spot of the cage Chaos died, Kami grooming her gently. And no matter what I did, nothing could help Vandal for that whole week. It broke my heart even more to see Vandal like that.

I can only assume Z-Reaper is from an unwanted pregnancy. I would like to send her back to the adoption agency, but I am so angry with them (perhaps unfairly, I admit) that I'm afraid to contact them for fear of losing my temper. Moreso, I don't know if they'll adopt Z-Reaper out to some unsuspecting person and I cannot live with myself if someone else's rat ends up like Chaos. At the same time, I know it's unfair for Z-Reaper to be living in a cage by herself, but I'm terrified to get her a cagemate. So I just spend a lot of time with her, even though she bites me and I resent her so much. I try not to show it, but I think she can sense it. I really have to talk myself into a happy tone of voice and giving affection before I even look at her.

We're at a standstill here and I honestly do not know what to do.

I know this isn't a breeding story - but it does prove what happens beyond 'I had too many babies and I couldn't find homes for them all!'. The rats people breed end up in someone else's home, with someone else's rats, with their kids, their families. Please, please, please be responsible when you breed rats, if you do at all. I just thought I'd give a good home to a rat who needed it and instead, I lost one of my precious girls. Please don't let another rat end up like Chaos. Don't let another rat end up like Vandal, who misses her sister dearly. Whatever you do, please be responsible! I cannot find the words to stress this enough.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Trisnic on August 16, 2007, 07:46:54 PM
Amazingly I have never adopted a pregnant pet store rat despite adopting 8 girls in the past from pet stores.

However my sister did, she adopted a pair of girl rats of a pet store and one ended up having a litter of two.  The first baby died within days and the second one died within a week.  I remember going over there after school one day to make her feel better.

I did breed my rats once.  It was around 7 years ago and my hairless girl Peaches had reached 8 months old.  A picture of Peaches is still at http://petoftheday.com/archive/1999/January/29.html  Peaches was a wonderful pet and I decided to breed her with one of my nice boy rats, Smokey.  Smokey was a blue rex.  The problem was that even though both rats had great temperments I had no idea of the background.  Another problem was that my rats had myco and even though I had tried to treat it it was still around.  At the time (7-10 years ago when I participated) everyone on the rat lists and rat forums were saying that most rats came with myco and there wasn't much you could do about it.

Anyway so Peaches had her litter and I gave her a nesting box.  I woke up in the middle of the night to chirping.  I went to check it out and saw that Peaches had some babies with her.  She was a friendly rat and allowed me to check them right away.  Well, she gave birth to 11 but 6 of them were stillborn.  I remember pulling out dead baby after dead baby out of the nest and feeling horrible about it.  That is the one time I wished that I knew someone with a snake or lizard who ate baby rats as I ended up flushing the stillborn babies down the toilet.  I felt bad that these babies grew and then just died.  Well the 5 babies started growing up and getting hair.  I had three beige hooded rex girls and two standard black hooded boys.  Then, for seemingly no reason, two more of the babies died.

The remaining two girls and boy grew up and I had quite a bit of fun with them.  I ended up asking if anyone wanted to adopt any of them and one person adopted the boy.  I know that she gave him an awesome life (she is the lady from the lost Golden Boy story and she even mentions the little boy in her story).  I had grown quite attached to him.

I kept both girls and named them Fuzz (for Peaches Fuzz) and Toffee.

Peaches died from a small tumor that must have been cancerous as it did not grow large before she died.  She was around two years old.
Fuzz was a wonderful pet but she died at only one and a half years old.  She just wasted away and I have no idea why.
Toffee died a few months later from something similar.
Smokey died from myco.  He lived until he was two.

At my peak I had 12 rats.  I haven't owned rats now for around five years because losing them one by one was so devistating.  I am just getting back into rat ownership.

In a way I would like to breed again but if I did I would make sure to get pedigreed rats from good stock.  Genetics are very interesting to me and I love to research things like history etc.  At the same time homes are hard to find and anyone willing to adopt my babies could get them from another breeder around here or they could rescue them.  Plus if any of my babies went to a bad home where they were abused I would feel so guilty for putting them there.  I can't see myself doing this for a long, long time to come.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: spazrats on August 31, 2007, 03:34:06 AM
My ups and downs of rat breeding  :BlueDumboSmileTongue:

http://spazrats.tripod.com/mischief.html

spazrats
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: hidechan on November 08, 2007, 06:46:46 PM
I will never breed rats, there are too many unhomed ones out there in the world, but accidents happen, and my life mission is to care for them when they do.

I adopted my latest girl already pregnant.  I already had 3 girls, and intended to adopt 2 more girls.  I had one girl pass away a few months ago, and 1 of the remaining 3 was getting on in years, so I wanted more energetic company for my two 1 year females, and mothering little ones has kept my oldest girl on her toes and young at heart.

Well, when I was told (well in advance, I'd like to say!), by the rescue, that one of the girls I promised to adopt was definitely pregnant, and the other may be, it wasn't even a thought for me to cancel the adoption.  The rescue only had me adopt the definitely pregnant female, which I thought was very responsible of them, and they had several other foster homes for extras to go to.

She came from a place where she had been kept with her brothers (25+ rats), and she became pregnant at barely 3 months old.  I felt so badly for the poor little girl, being made a momma so young.

I researched like mad how to care for a pregnant mom rat and the subsequent little ones so I would be prepared for the best and the worst.

So, I couldn't have been more excited!  I waited on pins and needles for Ashes to arrive.  I was hoping that she wouldn't pop before she got to her forever home.  My husband was less enthused.  It brought me down a peg to think of him not being as excited as I was, and I thought it might sour him against Ashes (he loves rats in general, I just wanted his interaction with Ashes to be as positive as our others had been).  But, I kept on!  I built a nursery cage, with a lot of swearing ^^; and when she finally arrived and I held her in my hands, tummy all wiggly with babies, it was love at first sight.  My husband too fell for her sweet face, and I knew then there would be no problem.

Barely 24 hours after she arrived, she gave birth.  I watched all but one born, and it was fascinating.  After 1 hour, our baby Ashes had 11 squirmy pink things to care for herself.

She seemed to be a wonderful mother, cleaning and nursing with no qualms.  All the babies had thick, full milk bands, and everyone seemed very comfy and happy.  My biggest fear was that some would not survive.  I was already so attached to the little beans, I just wouldn't be able to stand it.

I was already prepared to keep all the babies, regardless of gender.  I purchased a total of 3 proper cages of different sizes (some to connect together, some good on their own) on top of the large one we already had (for our 3 original girls, which could house 2 more eventually), and the nursery cage I planned to turn into a 2 level monstrous cage once everyone was big enough and weaned.  My husband was more inclined to have some adopted off (from 3 to 15 rats in one day is a little overwhelming, I concede).

Ashes developed into a very protective mother.  I received my first nip when I went in to add some food to her bowl, and I knew that it would be more of a chore to handle the little bubs.  After consulting with the rescue she came from (she was previously very sweet, and several of her sisters turned into nippy moms, so I knew it was just hormones and fear (both of which can be worked through)), we developed a great tag-team system (my husband would don welding gloves and play defense, and I would pick up and cuddle the bubs) and handled the babies every day.

To my absolute delight, they all survived their first week, and from then on I feared not at all for their survival.  They were all growing at about the same rate and showed no signs of illness or distress that might concern me.

Almost right away I advertised the bubs for adoption on various websites and lists, getting moderate success in contact, but most of the potential homes fell through and only 2 little girls out of the 6 are to be adopted out.

I researched deeply how to determine sexes, and established the genders of the babies as soon as they showed, so that when they are weaned, I'll be able to split the genders and prevent any of the girls becoming pregnant accidentally.  I do not want to create a situation similar to where Ashes came from.  They are all wonderful miracles and I love them dearly, but it is up to us who know to be as responsible as we aught.

The babies are almost 3 weeks old now, all have fur that should, and two have none but are beautifully colored.  My husband has already fallen in total love with our two black berk boy babies, and I'm head-over-heals for our two hairless girlies.  All together we will be keeping 9 out of the 11 babies born (6 girls, 5 boys), and 2 of our hooded girls will be going to a wonderful home when they are old enough.
Ashes is less worried when we take the babies out to play with, and it has been 4 days since she last nipped the welding gloves.  We're not quite ready to try handling her without protection, but I don't think she is a naturally nippy girl and will rediscover her wonderful personality in time.

We already intend, 3 years from now, to adopt another accidentally pregnant female, if possible, and keep all the babies born.  Though, it is not something I would recommend to anyone, unless they are prepared to keep every single one of the babies that are born as well.  It's impossible to depend on having any adopted out, even if people express interest initially.

My opinion is that it is not morally responsible for anyone to intentionally breed rats currently, reputable breeder or not.  There are so many accidentals and homeless rats out there already who need love and homes, every new rat just keeps pushing the others down the line.  I can understand breeding lines, genetically speaking, but drastically reducing the amount of litters reputable breeders produce only makes sense.

So my story has a happy ending, and I only wish more could be; some of the stories posted here have been truly horrific.
The moral really is to be responsible and careful.  There isn't much more one can do.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Peep on December 12, 2007, 06:05:34 PM
I have a happy story :) (well it hasa  sad part :( )

I have a cottage which constists of 24 small cabins scattered along about 120 acres of land. We have staff members because we run it a little bit like a resort, and the staff stay in the "staff house" which is a run down old place with mice and chipmunks and everything else you can think of getting in and out as they please. One of the staff members brought her rats-Princess and Butch. They had babies. I came up to my cottage (and mine is the one right next to the staff house. My dad has a good boat with waterskiis and stuff so they staff usually hang out with us) I got to know one of them pretty well and one time I came to her room and I saw the rat. I'm a sucker for animals so I was like AWWW. SO CUTEE.
then I saw the babies (her bf took butch away) I wanted one soo badly. I played with them from everyday for two weeks. She put up a sign and for everyone to see. Every one got adopted, except two. One was the runt of the litter, who escaped and got caught in a mouse trap (very gruesome, he was too big for the trap, I won't go into details :'( )  and the other one who died an hour after birth when one of the other guys dropped her/him. :'(
But so far, everyone is healthy and well. :)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: RWS on December 14, 2007, 05:54:21 PM
I thought I'd post about the stress of breeding.

My first litter was from a rescue girl who I knew would be pregnant. I had her for 2 weeks before she gave birth to 9 lovely babies. Being a young mum of 9 weeks herself, she was not the best mum in the world (though fed them etc) and bit me if she got the chance. Finding homes for the bubs were easy - they were well socialised and there is always a demand in my area. However, they turned out to be a bit pratty temperament wise - not terribly bad, but not the best pets ever either. So some guilt there.

My second litter was well planned, best parents I could get, etc etc. The litter is so far a really big sucess. However, I find it hard not to be a bit paranoid - watching mum and dad for any signs of illness, dreading that something will go wrong etc, etc. Because that is one of the problems. You never really know if all your bubs will be healthy despite your best efforts.

The other problem is dealing with all the enquiries from people wanting babies from you. Fortunately a large number of unsuitable people won't wait for a litter as they want a rat 'now' and when you have a litter there is already a list. But trying to figure out if some stranger is going to treat your babies well, love them and care for them, keep in touch and not breed from them without asking - it's sooo hard. It really can keep you up at night, wondering if you've made the right decision.

RW
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: MsMagpie on March 16, 2008, 01:28:11 AM
I guess it's time to share my story too.

I got a call from work that a rat had delivered babies in the store, and they wondered if I wanted to take them home. Of course I said yes, I was really in no way prepared to care for a mom and babies, but nothing I could do would be worse than the alternative.

I brought home mom, who thankfully was friendly and sweet, and four little babies. I gave myself a bit of a crash course in their care and we were off. Sometime during the first week one of the male babies disapeared. I panicked and turned the whole room upside down. We never did find him so I could only assume mamma ate him. Then I panicked again and ran to the store to get some formula and feeding stuff in case I ended up having to try and hand raise the rest.

Also during that first week I was informed that the only reason anyone noticed the babies was that mamma was being humped by her cagemate (they are supposed to be seperated by sex). It turns out that on my first run I was being dealt back to back pregnancies! It soon became very obvious that she was indeed pregnant again.

I fretted over the calander trying to decided when to try and wean the first litter, when mama would be due again, and always, what am I going to do with all the babies? Is mom going to have a safe delivery? What if a pup gets stuck? What if a million other complications that are more common with pregnancies so close together?

The first litter was weaned successfully and I started posting adoption ads for them. Soon mamma had her second litter of twelve. By the time I found them in the morning several were already dead, but I could see at least two were still alive. I started giving mamma some formula and hoping for the best.

In the end all twelve died and I had to pry them out from under mamma a day later because she simply did not want to give them up. On the one hand I was relieved to not have to find homes for twelve more babies, but on the other hand I couldn't help feeling like I'd done something wrong and that I was horrible for it.

Mamma is now living happily in a home where she will never have to bear rittens again, the surviving boy found a great home and the two surviving girl babies stayed here with us.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Sola on May 01, 2008, 07:06:29 AM
I work in a petshop and had a surprise litter, the mum gave birth to 3 babies and was well in herself.

It seemed to be going very well, except she had a tiny little runt, one middle sized and one huge baby. All survived to 3/4 weeks old, then they started to get resporitory problems and I went on holiday. When I came back they said they found one dead then mum killed the other two. Mum was completely healthy and happy with other rats and people, she had no resp problems like most rats in petshops have so I have no idea why this happened. :( They were lovely little babies.

Again I know of someone who took in a big agouti rescue, all the rats rescued were agouti and most were pregnant, one of the mums suddenly turned on her 3/4 week old litter, I think killing one before they had to be removed. There was no reason for her to do so.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: s.bates77 on June 03, 2008, 11:21:09 AM
 ok well i am on here to she that after reading all of your post i don't know what i am going to do we just got into rats about 3 to 4 months ago an now we have a pergnat rat has we speek an if i would have known all of this i would have not done so an now i just want to know what to look for signs of trouble she is so big an i don't want to lose her an we r keeping all of them got cages for all we love them an i just want to keep them healthy an let them grow to be lovely parts of are family please if anyone is willing to talk me through this an i will take good with bad advise i know we did worng now just help me to know how an what to do she should be so close to brithing now i don't know thank you for giving me a chance to say sorry an i hope it all works out ty
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Chaosbadgerling on June 09, 2008, 04:02:53 AM
Breath honey.

It would be best for you to post out independantly of this thread.

While there are some bad stories out there, there are also some good ones.  What's done is done, we just hope you don't do it again.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: redgingerkisses on July 24, 2008, 11:36:43 AM
Breeding doesnt always have to end in tragedy. As long as you get your breeders from and non-commercial breeder you should be good. If possible asks around in your group of friends to see if anyone knows a breeder. I adopted mine from a friend who breeds and they are wonderful. I had one die at the young age of 2 years but the rest lived until 3 or 4 or are still living! My baby Roxy is going on 5. She is very slow and blind but still sweet and healthy. Roxy was one of my first litters. I have a thing for adopting the pregnant ones from my friend and my uncle (also a breeder). Once the babies were weaned I took them back to the pet shop my friend works with and they were all adopted on the same day! There were 7 and all went to what I hope are great homes. The one went to a 'regular' and she took kyle (breeder friend) that came in last week and her rat is still going strong at 4 years old!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: cheerio on July 28, 2008, 02:09:00 PM
Yay! You sent babies to a pet shop. Probably not the best thing to post, as one thing we tend to discourage here is due to most pet shops not being where ratties belong in the first place. Well planned litters belong with waiting lists and open arms awaiting their arrival. Mistakes happen, good homes can be found, and pet shops should not be considered an alternative. This goes to show that there are those that still continue to breed without a care in the world for their "pet", the pups, or their customer. I received a baby from a very poor "breeder" who worked through a pet shop. He had to be brought back immediately. He had severe respiratory problems, and I'm sure passed them on to all in the immediate area (as the small animals are all kept together, in small, useless tanks). This was such a sad experience, and all because they just "threw together" a male and female to see if they could get babies and make money. Breeding should be done with papered animals with a lineage, so as to show respiratory, and other illness patterns, as well as socialized behaviors. Without it, the babies born can add to those pets needing homes and requiring extra care due to illness and other issues. Breeding rats shouldn't be done because they're cute, or because everyone wants a baby. It should be done to promote the health and standard and socialization of a particular breed. Kudos to those who do this and follow up with their contracts etc, to those who turn to pet stores to "adopt out", I'm sure that you'd get a fast "adoption" line at your local reptile store... just think twice about the homes they may or not be provided and that you are responsible for that. There are hundreds of rescues available, and if you can rescue more, open your heart to them, don't breed unless you plan to promote the standards, not just a male and female you got from a friend or family who can breed and you know that they're just good rats....
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: redgingerkisses on July 28, 2008, 02:44:09 PM
The pet store my friend works with is a very small shop. They depend on breeders for their animals. Well they always have some animals, stray kittens, fish and the like but with puppies, ratties and many other things, they keep a list of people looking to adopt and when there is a litter availible they call to tell them they are ready. The ratties go faster at this store than anything else, lol. My friend Kyle could adopt them out on his own but he helped the store open and they advertise and all that good stuff so he knows his ratties and mice will find good homes faster than doing it on his own.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Jayen on August 11, 2008, 05:19:57 AM
The first time that I bred was in november last year with my first Rat, Psi (who unfortunately succumbed to heat stroke in february his year while I was moving house). She was the largest, most friendly rat I had ever seen - she was even bigger than my male who was the largest male I had seen.
Psi had a whopping 15 babies in her first litter, but lost one in the first week. Psi's second litter was an even greater surprise with 19 baby rats, and my other female had her first litter of 11 at the same time.
I have since had 8 other litters born to my other younger girls, all successful and ranging from 11 babies to 15 babies, however I had one girl who got a kidney infection and I treated her with antibiotics whilke she was pregnant which resulted in her giving birth prematurely. I hand fed the 7 babies that she had for three days before they all died due to my own failure to check them in time on the third night.
She is now pregnant again, and although her kidney infection has returned, my vet has assured me that it should be alright not to treat her until until next week when she gives birth as it would be better for the babies to treat her while they are feeding.
I now breed twice a month for three local pet shops so I always have buyers for my babies, and every now and then I will keep one baby whose colouring I think is unusual or different from what I consider normal.
The only problem my rats have is that they get colds in any weather below 22 degree's. I've had them checked out and treated them with antibiotics and everything to no avail. They don't have myco or rat flu or any other respiritory illness, they just sneeze constantly every time the temperature gets below 22, but once they are put into a room that is over 22 degrees in temperature they stop sneezing altogether. Even my pet shops can't explain it when they suddenly stop sneezing after a couple of days in the warmth. It only starts once they hit 4 weeks and get weaned.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Fiishies on September 09, 2008, 12:06:27 AM
Ok here goes.
I have had rats for years and they have always been boys, since girls are harder to come by.  So we decided to give girls a try.  We adopted Honey and Baby and they loved each other forever etc.  Honey passed a couple of months ago and it broke my heart.  In the meantime we found a boy in the mall who was full grown and caged in a teeny 5 gallon aquarium!  So we saved him, adopted him a friend, and kept those two together.  Baby is almost two years old at this point.  I have three books that i bought that all say that rats go barren at 18 months of age, and of course i believed them.  Baby and the boys were together for almost 6 months and getting along great with no sign of pink eepers at all, so i thought i was in the clear.  Until one day when SURPRISE!  There was a single baby inside one of the tubes, milk belly and all.  There was no sign of any other babies and mom was curious and bright as always, no distress at all.  I was floored.  She allowed me to handle the baby as i moved them into a nursery cage and has never given me a problem with holding it or her.  She was a great mother and first class baby butt licker, and the baby is doing wonderfully at 11 days presently.  He looks just like his daddy and we have dubbed him Squishy.  Even though things turned out, i was still horrified that my fragile aging baby girl had to go through this.  So let this be a lesson...don't believe everything you read!  There are so many things that could have gone awry with this situation because i believed these seemingly credible books that obviously held false information.  I am just happy that there was one single baby and that i still have my little momma rat.

Learn from my mistake!! :eek:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Nekojin on September 14, 2008, 06:40:36 AM
Well, this is more of a positive story than a negative one. I'm expecting to get yelled at for the decisions that me, my partner, and my flatmate made during our rat's pregnancy, but we've had spectacular luck and I'm happy with the result.

We had three rats before we bred - Tea and Coffee, six-month females from Jansens, and Sugar, a three-month from a small pet shop that bred their own rats, and owned their own pet rats at home. After we decided to breed, we arranged with the pet shop to borrow a male rat (Sugar's uncle, as it turned out) and set up a breeding cage with Tea and Amsterdam in it.  I'd looked up as much info as possible online, and I'd also talked to the two owners of the shop about it - they assured me that their rats were healthy.

The servicing went well - we bred Tea as she was a little more sociable - and Tea gave birth on the morning of her 24th day after intro with her boyfriend to ten healthy pups. Coffee and Sugar were kept away from the boy and neither were knocked up. Seven girls, three boys. We kept three girls (Squiggle, Fog, Princess) and gave the rest on to the pet shop to find homes, as per the lending agreement. They were absolutely NOT sold as feeders, and I believe they were mostly sold in pairs.

Out of the three rats we kept, we have two remaining. Sugar unfortunately passed away to unexplained causes (No distress, no squeaks, just there one second and gone the next) but Fog and Princess are the healthiest and friendliest of our five rats. They love cuddles, and while Princess is on the small side, she has displayed no health issues in the nine months we've had her. Fog is on the large side, but again, no problems.

I am aware that we were incredibly lucky to get through what was a moderately well-prepared breeding with no serious accidents - but I do believe that we did well by our girls, and by our temporary boy. We looked on as many sites as we could find, asked the shop owners for help, and (with the aforementioned dollop of luck) I think that also contributed to our positive outcome.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Schrute on September 14, 2008, 10:21:23 AM
So, you bred pet store rats, and then sold them it a pet store. That sounds like responsible breeding to me!  :doh:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Fiishies on September 14, 2008, 01:20:00 PM
I don't think it was quite that bad.  Can we not bash everyone who comes through here with a happy ending?

My little Squishy is 19 days old today and he is doing great.  He's nibbling my earring from my shoulder right now =].  However, i do not plan to endorse breeding or try again based on my experience.  So we all have something to learn.  THE END!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Schrute on September 14, 2008, 05:30:21 PM
No bashing, only sharing of opinion. Just like you're supposed to do on a public forum.  ;)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Nekojin on September 14, 2008, 08:20:49 PM
Gee, I'm sorry for trusting people.
The impression I got from the shop we gave to (Gave, we made no money) was that they were effectively breeders themselves who liked to get outside blood for their rats so as to prevent excessive inbreeding. They also ran a small vet clinic, and Tea was checked out before we bred her. I don't believe that any of my babies went to awful people, because the owners of the shop owned pet rats themselves, looked after our rats when we moved house, and only let us get Sugar because she wouldn't be alone. I think they had enough people sense to screen people a little.

I understand that pet shop rats in general may be bad to breed, but (As Tea shows - she is over a year and a half old and still no problems whatsoever) they aren't all the mangy fleabags that everyone seems to make out. Tea, as far as I can tell from two books, four websites, and my own common sense, does not have genetic predisposition to disease, myco, or ongoing problems. She may have predisposition to tumours, but no one (Not even breeders) can reliably tell that until they get them - which is after breeding age. Amsterdam, the dad, was also prime breeding age, and visibly healthy. I do not believe they would have let us continue if we had faulty rats. Especially as they also kept one of the girls we gave them, and homes had been lined up for most of the litter before they even arrived.

In general, pet shop rats may be lower quality than bred rats, yes. But bred rats can often be bred by irresponsible breeders (Just as well as pet rats!) aiming for a perfect "look" and forgetting about the health problems that might come with it. (Examples in dogs are daxies have back issues, labradors are prone to joint problems, persian cats are prone to respiratory issues, and oriental cats are prone to ear problems.) I'm sure these people were respectable breeders with pedigreed animals.

The point I want to make is that not all pet shop rats are the scum of the earth when it comes to genetics. Not all bred rats (Most, yes, but not necessarily all) are the pinnacle of success. There are pet rats at or near breeder quality out there. I am not telling everyone to go buy some feeders and breed them, but if you have a few decent pet rats and you've done all your homework, and you're ready to look after anything that misfires, then I don't see what the problem is.

I am not trying to argue that we didn't have a better chance of success with breeder rats - it would have been more certainly a positive outcome, yes. But I am trying to get people to see that not all pet shop rats are created equal, and while two feeder rats bred together are likely to give a bad result, and two bred rats are likely to give a good result, it's more of a gray area with non-feeder pet shop rats. It can go either way.

We got lucky, yes. But I do not regret trying, and I do not regret getting Princess and Fog out of it. I don't intend on breeding again in a hurry, but I don't believe that I should be flamed quite so much for something that turned out well. Surely, on a rat-happy board, more people would like to see successful litters, regardless of stereotyping the parents?
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Schrute on September 15, 2008, 06:39:16 PM
In general, pet shop rats may be lower quality than bred rats, yes.

What does that even mean? The point is, why even breed all of these rats to be sold in pet stores whenever there are so many homeless rats out there that nobody even knows about???

As far as your argument... why would someone want to get outside their bloodlines and possibly taint bloodlines that they know to be good? You're not going to know if these rats are predisposed to tumors because, as you said, they won't have them until their beyond breeding age. It's just really bad practice to breed rats unless you absolutely know their genetics 1000%.

As far as screening at a pet store... pet stores do not require applications, or do home checks. I never believe what people have to say about "pet store screening" because all you have to do is answer a few questions correctly, and voila! It's really easy to do.

What you'd said about purebred dogs and cats having health problems... that is true. Which, again, is why it is not a good idea to breed. What don't people understand about NOT bringing more animals in to this world when our shelters are filled to the brim?

I personally am not thrilled to see any litters... successful or not. Let me note that it's totally different when someone rescues a pregnant rattie... then I'll be more than happy to look at their pictures and comment on their litters. I would agree that I am not the only one that is not happy to come on here and see intentionally bred litters. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I know that I am not the only one. People are not happy to see more and more rats, and other animals for that matter, come in to the world when animals that have already been here are put down every single day. It really makes no sense.

It's such a huge pet peeve of mine when people throw out words such as "attack" and "flaming" when someone expresses an opinion that is different from theirs on a public forum. Isn't lively debate, and sharing different schools of thought, what public forums are for?

Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Nekojin on September 15, 2008, 11:44:59 PM
Everyone tells me - whenever I mention that all my girls are pet shop rats - that I should have got breed rats, and such and such, because they're better, because you know they'll be healthy. Everyone says that you should only ever breed if you're bettering the species, by making them healthier and happier, and such. So, I simply concluded that everyone believed that pet shop rats, with a higher likelihood of issues, are seen as lower quality and worse to get.

Maybe I should mention that I live in New Zealand. I don't really know many other people with rats, and there is a lower demand for rats than in other countries. We have next to no reptiles in the country, I believe, due to strict restrictions, which means few or no feeder rat mills. As such, every time I've visited my local animal shelter (SPCA) there have been no rats, mice, or guinea pigs up for adoption. I think that there were two rabbits, once. But nothing smaller. I have never seen any advertisements for unwanted rats, heard of unwanted rats, or seen unwanted rats, apart from one or two wild rats in parks. As such, I doubt our girls were taking homes from other possible rats.

I understand I would have been better off breeding rats from a breeder, as they're more likely to have better genetics. But I also wanted to point out that not all pet shop rats will automatically be genetically predisposed to all sorts of nasties. (As far as I can see, it's actually terribly bad practice to sell sick animals, as you'll end up losing all your customers...) As ours show, they're still perfectly healthy at nine months. If I were to breed again, I would breed bred rats, but I do not believe that it was a mistake to breed this litter in particular.

As for the screening, what I mean is I do not think they would have sold the rats as feeders, or to anyone who was obviously looking for rats on a whim.  It gets rid of the worst people.

If no one who cared about rats bred rats, the only people who bothered breeding would be the ignorant, selfish people who were doing it for kicks or to get lots of rats really fast, to sell as snake food. Only being happy for a litter if it's a rescued litter seems a little...odd...to me, but each to their own. I personally disapprove of litters that are bred by accident (letting rats out of the cage together, or such), litters bred with obviously inappropriate rats (Too old, too young, not healthy, bad nature) or rats bred when they're never going to find a home.  If I had thought for a moment that our rats would not find homes in a short time, then I wouldn't have bred them. As it was, every rat that we gave them had a home within two weeks, and I believe half the litter went home within the day. I don't think that would have been the case if we were taking homes from other rats.

It's not so much that you disapprove of breeding totally, whereas I'm more selective. It's that you came across as disapproving directly of my litter (And therefore coming across as thinking that half my rats never should have been born) and me. I apologise if I read you wrong, but that's what it came across as, and that's why I was irritated.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Fiishies on September 16, 2008, 09:21:08 PM
Seems to me like you have to be in some exclusive club to have babies (accidentally or not) and for other people to accept you for it.  :P
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: libertatis on October 10, 2008, 01:49:54 AM
Reading this thread has made me realise how lucky I've been.

I've never had the desire to breed any of my animals. Possibly because I'm extremely tokophobic.

But I never realised how lucky I've been to never bring home a pregnant female. I guess there's really something to be said for getting your animals from good sources.

Yes, I've gotten all my rats from pet stores, but all but three of them have come from a very good, locally owned independent pet store in my town that is really quite good. The owner has rats herself, most of the staff is extremely knowledgable about all the pets there (or if the person you're talking to doesn't know about the animal you want, they'll call over someone else who does). They get all their rats from several local breeders, and seem to sell consistently healthy, friendly animals. All my rats from there have lived to a ripe old age, and I've never had an unexpectedly pregnant female, thank God. Also, they charge more money for their rats than most places to keep people from buying them for snake food.

Anyway. Just wanted to point out that not all pet stores are terrible. It's unfortunate that so many are, but there are some good ones out there. It's only been until recently that I've become aware of how many rats end up homeless and need rescue, and since then, have decided that all my rats from now on will be rescue rats, but not all pet shops sell horrible, in-bred animals. Some really do care about selling quality animals to quality homes.

I never, ever plan to breed my rats. Not only do pregnancy and childbirth terrify and disgust me, but I just can't imagine how I would feel if something went wrong and I lost the mother. I don't think I could forgive myself. If I ever have the time and resources, I might consider rescuing a mother with young babies, because rattie babies are painfully cute and it would be fun to watch them grow up (a lot of hard work, but fun), but that's as close as I'd even consider coming to breeding.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Hotaru on October 13, 2008, 12:33:04 AM
I got a pet shop oopsies, myself. I've since started going to another store, that I trust much more.

Although it wasn't planned, and it kept me up quite a few nights, worrying about the mommy, everything turned out alright. I had actually read nightmare stories about breeding, ending in the death of the mother, or most of the babies. That's what scared me the most.

But, as I said, everything turned out fine. Marissa, the rat momma, when through her term fine, popped out nine healthy little black hooded rats, and I found homes for all of them, except two, who went on to be some of my favorite rats. I expected some behavioral or health problems, their mother being a pet shop rat, but they lived long healthy lives. They were two of the only rats that trusted me enough to allow me to roll them over and rub their bellies.

While I got some of the best rats of my life out of it, I would never hope for it to happen again, or purposely breed my rats. It caused way too much stress on me, worrying about them, and the moms. Breeding is best left to the professionals.  :BlueDumboBigEyes:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Jennicat on October 13, 2008, 07:05:41 AM
Quote
It gets rid of the worst people.

I have to say that that sort of reasoning really bothers me.  You don't have to be a bad person to mistreat an animal.  The latest rat I took in off of Craigslist had a family that loved her dearly.  They spray painted her cage neon pink (shudder) because they wanted it to be pretty for her.  They got her the most expensive rat food they could find, they said.  They bought her the cage with the most levels, and they fed her the best treats.

Unfortunately, they were pretty ignorant.  The "best food" was a seed mix, the cage was less than 1 cubic square foot, she had to have been saturated in paint fumes.  They had her on pine.  Now she's wheezing away with what's most likely lung scarring problems (like my dear Phedre) and her nice cage with all the shelves gave her bumblefoot.  She had a filthy little washcloth that they had bought just for her (it was pink!) covered in blood from the burst wounds on her feet.

Being nice does not mean you are a good home, and in some cases is worse because the suffering of the animal goes on and on and on.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Nekojin on November 07, 2008, 04:33:14 PM
Perhaps I should have been clearer about "the worst people". It was meant to include both the people who deliberately abuse their pets, and also people who don't bother to find out what they'll need to do to look after their new pet properly. Doing this to the extent of a little extra fat in the diet is not too bad. Doing this to the extent of living in painty pink hell is (or should be) criminal. Pets are like kids, in that they depend on you almost exclusively to look after them. Neglect this bad is awful, and any responsible pet seller will make sure that the people taking their animals have at least a basic understanding of the need for space, breathable air, and food worth more than cardboard.

The reasons that they (the shop I was talking about) were so happy to let us take Sugar (She'd been a maybe on the phone, he said we could "come take a look") were that we had our rats (Tea and Coffee at the time) with us, and they were happy, healthy, alert and friendly with them. So, by the fact we had rats, the chances of her going to snake food is virtually nil. We had rats, therefore she wouldn't be by herself. Our rats were happy, therefore no deliberate mistreatment, and they were healthy, so the bed-and-breakfasts must have been of okay quality. They were alert, therefore probably not ill, too. If we had not met their standards, I suspect they would have simply decided that they really did want to keep her themselves, and apologised for the trouble.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Drache on December 24, 2008, 03:50:52 AM
I've lost track of how many litters we have had here at the rescue, between the rats who were surrendered already pregnant and the ones who had just given birth.

Most of the time, everything turns out okay. The mom gets bigger and bigger, builds a nest, has the babies and breaks them out of the placenta one by one and waits to nurse them until the last one is out. She might become territorial and nippy for a few weeks but when the babies start popcorning around the cage at all hours she will look up at you as if to say "please! Get me away from these little hooligans!" And then you separate them at about 5 weeks. Every once in a while there will be a stillborn baby or two, or one who just totally fails to thrive.

All in all I can say my "breeding" experience has been "good" in the sense that most of the babies and moms survive. But as a rescue, adopting them out is often a nightmare.

And as a rescue person, I don't hear back from many of my adopters so I don't really know about the lifelong health of the babies born here. The ones I have kept for myself usually average about 2-2.5. But I did have two who ended up being just over 5.

Story 1:

The PEW mom who had 22 PEW babies, mostly males. It was impossible to adopt them all out. I ended up keeping 5 of the males their whole lives because PEW and MALE are pretty much a doomed combination. NO ONE wanted them.

Story 2: We had a beautiful red-eyed mink variberk who came in already pregnant. She was very healthy, super sweet, and her pregnancy seemed to progress nicely. Until the day she went into labor. I checked on her and she had built her nest and was starting to breathe heavily. Half an hour later she was laying on her side panting and blood was pooling out of her vagina. I knew something was wrong. I immediately packed her into the carrier and put her in the car. On the way to the vet clinic, she alternated between jumping at the roof of the carrier and gasping for breath. She lashed her tail back and forth and started to whine. She started jumping harder and harder and right as I pulled into the parking lot at the clinic, I heard this thunk/crack. I looked over and she was dead. She had broken her own neck by throwing herself at the side of the carrier. I asked the vet if there was any way to save the babies, but he just shook his head sadly and said they would probably all be dead already. Since I didn't have a nursing mother available and I couldn't realistically make the time to handfeed a litter at that point, I didn't push the issue.

Story 3:

We got in a dalmatian rat. She was white with black eyes and three white spots on her back. According to the woman who dropped her off, the dad was a pure white odd-eye dumbo. I knew about megacolon already and immediately feared for this litter. They were born on Sept. 13th while we were evacuated from Hurricane Ike at my grandmother's in Brenham, TX. She gave birth to 10 babies, with one being stillborn. They all seemed to be doing fine until they turned about three weeks old and it became obvious that several of them were failing to thrive. They had tiny pointed heads and huge bellies that kept swelling and swelling. Their eyes were sunken in, their limbs were bony, they were pale and listless. You could see them wanting to keep up with their healthy siblings and just being totally unable. Every day they got worse and worse. A few of them died before they were even old enough to separate from mom. I ended up having to euthanize 1/3 of the litter because of the megacolon. Anyone who had done the tiniest bit of research into rat genetics would have likely been able to avoid this problem.

Story 4:

Whenever we have a litter here, we usually separate them from the mom at about 5 weeks, and then separate the boys from girls at 6 weeks to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

We had a litter here and we followed that guideline to the day. I adopted out a pair of baby females from this litter. The new owner called me two weeks later and reported that one of her girls was really fat. She ended up having her own litter at less than 8 weeks old! Luckily, the mother and babies did very well (minus the one who was stillborn) and all are already adopted (except the BEW dumbo I am greedily keeping). But I will forever feel guilty about inadvertently having an oops litter!

Story 4:

The elderly female who had a litter of 8 and seemed to be doing fine, until the next day when I walked in to find that she had completely slaughtered the litter, and everything in the cage (including her) was absolutely covered in dried blood and....pieces.

I still plan on breeding responsibly someday.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: paulandashia on January 24, 2009, 03:21:24 PM
Ok, here is mine.

For as far back as I can remember, I have awlays, ALWAYS wanted Rats, but my parents wouldn't hear of it.

Allmost 15 years ago (eeeewww), when I was 17 and moved out on my own, I finally decided I was getting some.
I drove to the ONLY petstore in my area that sold them, and got 2 beautiful Fuzzies that were housed in the same tank.
Being young, ignorant, and inexperienced (and not having any internet, or resources to know any better at the time besides what they told me at the Petstore), I was thinking they "won't breed" so young, and I would have them "fixed in a few weeks".  They were about 10 weeks old at the time.

A week and a half later, I ended up with a littler of 9 gorgeous multi-colored babies.  5 Females, and 4 Males.

Even though I never planned on breeding, I was thrilled, and watched the babied grow like weeds.

At about 8 weeks of age (which I STILL thought was WAY too early for the girls to get pregnant, as they were less than 1/2 the size of their parents) they all went to their new homes.
I decided to re-home the mom, and kept one of the males as a companion to his father, and a Lady took all the girls (including the mom), and another the remaining 3 boys.

4 of the 6 girls were (SURPRISE) pregnant, and soon, she ended up with a total of 31 babies (on top of the 5 females she already have.  She was overwhelmed, couldn't find homes for any of them, and ended up letting ALL the rats "loose" in a local Park (IDIOT!!!), which ended up on the News, and the rats were hunted down and killed without mercy.

My father and son duo were about 2 months apart, and lived to be a tad over 2 years of age, as they were, unfortunately, (per the Pet-Stores recomendation) being fed a "rodent-food seed-mix" that I was aquiring at the local pet-store.  Thankfully, both passed peacefully in their sleep.

I haven't owned rats since, until now.
I love all my babies, but have done my research, and have only males now.

I LOVE all my boys. :)

(Although a few months ago, a pregnant female DID make her way to my house, but all the babies have found homes with RESPONSIBLE owners, who constantly stay in touch with me).
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Paige84 on March 11, 2009, 01:36:58 AM
First off, I'd really like to say how impressed I am with most of the established members. There were some stories that on other forums would have brought some really nasty comments but from what I've seen, the confessions, if you will, were handled really well. Perhaps I missed something off the thread but from what I've read I'm impressed.

Onto my story! It starts off positive but I promise there's a negative aspect.  :wink5:

I didn't breed, but I was landed with a pregnant female and left responsible for her for the lack of better options. The mother was a sweetheart throughout her pregnancy and trusted me throughout the entire experience. When the peeping started I couldn't help marveling at the wonder of the whole situation. Suddenly there were pink, beautiful babies. All were alive and well, no baby was sick or died and the experience of watching them grow up was rewarding and I felt lucky to witness it.

Rehoming the ten babies wasn't a challenge, though I was very lucky. Though the mother wasn't anything "special," her offspring were all sorts of various colours, patterns, and coat types. I highly doubt things would have ended so happily if they were plain or identical and in years since then I've yet to see more than a couple of litters that matched mine on that "fancy" level. I advertised on the internet ahead of time but only received responses when I was able to report these sought after colours and rex coats. One woman showed a keen interest in one particular baby and I was happy. I screened her as best I knew how and felt sure she was a true rat lover and would offer the baby a good home. She changed her mind, but that turned out for the best because as it turned out, what I learned months later, was she bred irresponsibly and intended on breeding that baby. She's still breeding and active in the rat community so I won't mention her name, but I almost unknowingly let a baby go that would contribute to the problem of so many rats with no homes. What I mean to point out there is sometimes you can try your hardest and you still can't know for sure where your babies end up, short of physically checking in on them over their entire lives. People can answer every question correctly but may still breed your babies or give them away to someone who doesn't deserve them months later. Rats don't live very long but it's amazing how people can change aspects of their lives in just two years, particularly if they're students.

So, the negative aspect is pretty clear there assuming you do care about the well-being of the offspring. It's a firm belief of mine that you are responsible for any life you bring into this world and it's extremely difficult to keep tabs on every rat you breed, ensuring they live long and healthy lives with responsible and loving people.

I did keep tabs on most of the babies, some people lost touch. The ones I was keeping track of lived pretty long lives considering they came from what I can only assume was a rat mill of sorts. No tumors, no illnesses until the very ends when it was somewhat acceptable to fall ill and succumb to a sickness as old animals tend to do.

There was one minor mishap with one of the babies (he was wounded by another rat after being weaned) and the wound was of a nature that I'm not sure how he would have done if he were in someone else's hands with less of a handle on how to treat delicate things like that, and dedicate the hours to do so. So again, I was lucky in that it was something I could handle, but it made rehoming him a challenge because by the time he was healed and ready to be adopted out, his brothers were all gone.

The entire experience was very much worth it for me because it made me aware of so many problems out in the rat world like backyard breeders or breeders who think they know what they're doing, and a general sense of how things work in the rat world. Though I was not responsible for the pregnancy, I was responsible for the babies by accepting the mother and it was, dare I say it, a fun experience though a little harrowing near the end when I had to part from them to what I could only hope were the best homes available. I'm happy I didn't suffer through birthing problems or deaths like many of you did and some people can dodge that bullet but none of us are really safe from the question, "How do I know these babies are going to be in safe hands their entire lives?"
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Rmv1983 on April 08, 2009, 10:03:21 PM
In March if this year, I brought home a feeder bin dumbo eared berk. I had intended on getting her e-spayed, but the day before the vet visit she decided to have a litter of four. Luckily for me the litter was small, and Oreo suffered no complications. She raised (and is still raising) her bubs. I was lucky nothing went wrong, and that finding homes for the babies was easy (considering my mom is keeping Oreo and her two daughters). I fear that is she had a bigger litter that rehoming would have been more difficult and I would have been stuck with several rats. I would never breed on purpose, but it is a wonderful experience watching the bubs grow, although I never wish to have a pregnant female again.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: masterpockets on May 09, 2009, 07:50:18 PM
Like others i would like to state the i never intended to breed or have any litters. 

We had just saved are little girl from the pet shop she is missing two fingers and is basically blind in one eye but anyway we started to notice she was getting bigger and bigger and until we realised she was pregnant. we did everytihng we read to do we seperated her from are 2 other girls we gave her a variety of different foods that would help her and the birth of her 13 were perfect except one was missing a leg. they did fine they were healthy and active. we slowly started to ween them from mom and at about 6 weeks we seperated males and females again they all looked healthy. one day i came home from work and noticed one had died i was heartbroken i had already grown attached. i took out the babie and placed the others in a new cage while i cleaned theres out and every one else looked healthy. i was wrong. as the next couple of days went by i lost a for more males and a for more females. i decided that enough was enough i seperated the ones that looked ill from the healthy looking ones. it didnt help. i continued to lose them until only 3 were left one female and two little bits both the runts. they all looked healthy and i decide to be extra safe and took them to the vet. the vet said they were healthy and i was excited. until the next morning i seen the one of the boys crawl out of his house and collapse i pick him up and tried to hand feed and give him water. i wrapped him up be he was cold. i sat there for 3 hours until he died in my hands. shortly after that the last female died. the one boy is still alive and is healthy and big. momma is fine and so are our other two adult females. when we went to the vet for a necropsy he told us he had no idea why they died. needless to say we dont go to him anymore
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: shakou on June 25, 2009, 03:10:26 PM
I don't really have anything tragic to relate to in my personal experience of rat breeding. I had a couple accidental litters with some of my pet rats a few years ago and I think the worst that came of that experience was trying to find them all homes. But I did, and all was well with the world.

However there is a very sad story that happened to my friend's rat years and years ago. And the thing that really get's me angry about it was that it all should have and could been prevented with common sense by the adult involved. When I was just a kid, my best friend and her 2 sisters adopted rats from a friend of their mothers. My friend got a male who she named George, and her sisters each picked out a female who they named Koko and Beauty. Right from the start George was a BIG boy. Infact, he grew to be the largest pet rat I have ever seen. I don't know where exactly my friend heard the rumor from, but somehow she had heard that if a male rat doesn't mate, his testicles will get so large they will explode o__O I knew even at that age it was obviously a sick myth and I tried telling her that. But she wouldn't listen, and to make matters worse, her MOTHER believed it too and let my friend breed George with BOTH Koko and Beauty, his SISTERS  :doh: Needless to say, they ended up with a TON of inbred baby rats, most of which they ended up giving to a pet store. But some they found homes for. My friends aunt, who lived next door, ended up taking a few for her children. Not even a year later, ALL the females ended up developing tumors that grew to be the same size as them and died. The end.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: fenshae on July 12, 2009, 01:25:20 AM
I bought Velvet and Nicodemus in '06, my second pair of rats after losing my first pair (rescued feeders).  They had been housed together at the pet store I bought them at, and I made the decision to buy them both and have Nicodemus neutered, and if the female was pregnant, so be it.  Nicodemus died during the neuter (due to the vet staff being incompetent and me being naive and believing them when they told me not to feed him the night before surgery) and sure enough, Velvet started getting tubby. 

She had 8 babies, 2 boys and 6 girls.  As soon as I realized she was pregnant, I started calling people and putting up a waiting list for potential owners.  Being a college student, I knew plenty of other people in the university who would've been delighted to have a dorm-friendly companion, and i had quite a few sad people when I only had 8 babies -- a lot of people went without rats since I required them to go out in pairs. 

I kept two of the girls, and adopted out the others in pairs to three of my friends, all of them previous rat owners.  There were no complications at all, and all eight babies grew to be healthy, happy adults; every one of them lived to be 2+.  The last of the babies died a few days ago at the ripe age of 32 months. 

Would I purposely breed another litter?  Probably not.  But I don't think the occasional "backyard litter" of ANYTHING is worth the witch-hunt that it always seems to spawn.  Sure, breeding is best done by responsible breeders with an eye toward the breed standard, and there's more animals than there are homes....these are lovely arguments, and quite true, especially in bigger cities or places where rats are more popular as pets.  (where I live, there are no breeders or rat rescues in the STATE, much less my city; the options are the usual pet chains and the occasional ad from -- gasp -- a backyard breeder). But are people who occasionally breed their own (rat/dog/cat/rabbit/etc) the terrible, irresponsible people that "pet fancier" enthusiasts always make them out to be?  Not necessarily.  It IS a two-way argument and I really wish the other side had some representation around here.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: MammaKim on August 07, 2009, 10:27:08 PM
I have never bred, but did end up with an unexpected litter. 

I went into a petstore where someone had just dropped of a PEW that was bought for snake food, and the snake and rattie become buds.  She was so sweet, gentle and cute, so she came home to be a cagemate to my female that we had.  The girls never made it into the same cage.  Within a week, this sweet PEW got a very large belly and gave birth to 11 rittens.  All of them pews.  I had no clue what I was going to do with them!  All the babies were doing great, they all survived, they were fully furred and eyes open.  So cute to watch them explore!  Then the unexpected happened.  We had gone shopping or something - I dont really remember...what I do remember is walking into the room and discovering a masacre.  This very sweet little rattie, who had raised these babies for quite some time, had killed all but one, and that one she severely mangled.  It was unbelievable.  I was afraid to put my hand in the cage, but knew I had to get the lone survivor out as well as clean the mess that she was continuing to create by throwing the bodies all over her cage.  She was not eating them, she was simply killing them - aggressively.  I was horrified.  I checked and double checked to be sure her conditions were good.  She had plenty of food, water, a clean cage, toys, etc.  I knew I had to get the survivor out, but the mama was crazy!  She hissed and growled and was trying t get that baby no matter what the cost!  I had to wear a glove to put my hand in the cage.  The baby ended up going to a friend of mine who nursed her, and then she became a class pet for her sons class.  The female I gave away.  I just could not feel any affection for her after that.  I never want to see anything like that again.  What was a very sweet little girl ended up being a mass-murderer!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Schrute on August 15, 2009, 06:42:24 PM
I'm so sorry that happened to you, MammaKim, but I'm glad you were able to share your stories with others that might be thinking about breeding irresponsibly. Anything, even the most unexpected, unlikely scenario, could happen.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Phalaeo on August 25, 2009, 03:19:59 AM
There are many, many rewards to being a breeder but also many aspects that should be considered if one wishes to start a rattery.  It's a lot like opening a nursery or restaurant.  Just because it is something you like does not eliminate hard work.  I work in horticulture and I can't tell you how many retirees come into nurseries and ask for applications because "they love plants".  Telling them that the job requires you to be on your feet for 8+ hours unloading shrubs from an 18 wheeler in 90 degree heat persuades them otherwise.

We started the rattery in 2008 and are just on our second litter as of August 2009.  We found a mentor in Serendipity Rodentry in Delaware, roughly one hour away.  Both Serendipity and Paper Heart have been very generous in allowing us to use their rats to start up our lines.

Considerations-

Here's a cost breakdown for our first year:
Cages (3 large Martin's, two maternity cages)= $500
Water bottles (Edstrom Valve)= $60
Rats= $20 each (we have 9 at the moment)
Food (bulk Harlan Teklad)=$55
Bedding (aspen)= $15-20 per month
Web hosting= $25
Breeder's Assistant software= $70
NARR membership= $25
Hammocks and Igloos=$125 in one year

Time (not including cleaning cages and daily tasks)-
Web design (Yahoo site builder)= 100+ hours
Picture taking, editing, and uploading for website
Filling out registration forms for NARR
Record keeping of birth dates, pedigrees, etc. for each rat by hand
Having to input information like birth dates, pedigrees, etc. into a program because you realized that it's better
Emailing and tracking wait list, contacting adopters and arranging pick up
Drive time (for us, two hours there and back) to pick up rats
Research on genetics
Sending your information to sites that list breeders and ensuring the info is updated and correct
Contacting other ratteries for questions
Posting litter info and updating it in adoption forums

It's a lot of work to run a rattery properly.  You do it for the love of the animal and you don't enter into it thinking that it's a money making enterprise because the costs are double or triple what you plan for, especially when there's an emergency.  It's a lot to digest and I don't want to dissuade anyone by posting this, but it's good for people to hear what's really involved before they jump in and get burned.

Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: SlaveToBadTaste on October 05, 2009, 12:40:40 AM
independenthis counts as as a breeding story? It's not exactly first hand, although I was involved quite a bit.

My high school biology teacher (I don't mean any offence, he is an amazing teacher, just not an amazing rat owner) decided to get some rats to breed for the class to watch and learn from. I have no idea where he got these poor little creatures, but breeding them was not a good idea at all. Besides not having nearly enough out of cage time, a few handfulls of students were very unkind to the mom and pop, banging on the cage, poking with pencils, etc. He did at least know to sex them right after weening, so that much was done right. After they were weened and "taking up too much space" I adopted one (sigh, yes just one...parents and poor information ::)), and another student took the rest to give to the pet shop she worked at (a small independant one owned by caring people). My poor little guy (Grungie) was not at all used to being handled, and bit me a few times. I had only had him for a few weeks when he died unexpectedly. I found out from the other girl, who was still hosting the other ratties until there was cage space at her shop, that every last one died during the same week. The daddy rat became plagued with shaking spells and died not long after. The poor mama rat remained in her abusive, neglected 'home' for the rest of the schoolyear. I worked out a schedule with the girl that had tried to save the rest of the babies and we each stayed after school every other week with leather work gloves cleaning her cage. Luckily pine and cedar beddings were too expensive, and she mostly lived on free shredded papers from the office. After the semester my well meaning teacher said he was going to set her free, although she had never seen the wild and had to lean on the sides of her cage for support to walk. I ended up taking her in just to give her a quiet, clean, peaceful place to spend her last days. She was much to old and abused to be tamed, so mostly I just let her be. We would have had her put down, but she seemed to enjoy playing with and chewing her toys, so we just let nature take its course. Considering how poor of health the parent rats were, it's almost a blessing that the babies were spared so much suffering.

This whole thing was so ill constructed. Seeing the little pinkies was absolutely adorable, but I think a documentary would have been suitable.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Cauliflower on November 05, 2009, 06:06:14 PM
I posted here recently about my 2 "girls" I had just got from a breeder. They were 5 weeks old when I got them and soon discovered one was a boy. I separated them up but my girl had babies shortly later (3 weeks ago in fact, when she herself was only 9 weeks old) I was gutted. The one who turned out to be a boy was never very friendly and always hiding. The girl who had been friendly started biting just before the babies were born (we didn't know she was even pregnant) When I came down and found her in her hammock with 9 babies I had the shock of my life. I swore ALL including mum and dad were going to be rehomed and rats were not the pets for us. We quickly rehomed the boy and I reluctantly kept the girl even though I was totally akward with everything, but obviously didn't want to disrupt her family until they were old enough to go elsewhere.  We hadn't even had time to bond with our girl and now she had babies and was biting. Well over past 3 weeks our girl and her babies have gone from horrifying me to amazing me. 2 days after they were born I decided to cut down her hammock as I was concerned the babies might fall out. I was totally taken aback by mums maternal reaction. She squealed in distress and frantically grabbed the babies and moved them. She then built a nest about a foot high around them and bit me anytime I attempted to get near. She squealed whenever I opened the cage to feed her as though terrified I'd touch her babies. I couldn't wait to get rid of them all. Now, only 3 weeks on, after a lot of patience and careful handling, I have the most beautiful, friendly mummy rat and 9 georgous little bundles who fight to get on my hand when I open the cage. Mummy rat actually tugged on my trouser leg last night when out for a play, and when I reached down she placed a little escapee in my hand. I'm now in a complete dilemna as I have advertised everywhere to find homes for the babies and no-one wants any. The SSPCA have said when they are 5 weeks they should be able to take them, but they too have been trying since they were born to find homes and can't. I've had only 2 people ask about them and I've found myself questioning them about how they will care for the babies. I'm also horrified that in only 2 weeks time my lovely babes have to go. They are sooo friendly and mum has been so good that I just want the very best for them. I may be buying more cages soon.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: chl0et on December 06, 2009, 05:06:52 AM
First let me say I will NEVER breed, I would rather that be left to people who have the time and passion towards finding long lived lines and bettering the fancy. Do you guys know what breeders REALLY do? They have the responsibility to make longer living and healthier rats. So, that the future will have rats not living 2 years, for your heart to be broken from such a short little life... but 4...5.. even 6 years! Its not all about colors and ears its about the health and welfare of the rats of the future! the more you taint the ratties of today the worse you make the rats of the future!~

I've never bred my rats, but I've witness ratty birth and let me say... its difficult.

My rescue Mischa gave birth to 9 ratties...

I CANNOT stress enough how difficult it is to find GOOD homes for her litter. First of all do you know how upset I am to screen adopters and discover they wish to breed my babies? Rats aren't little breeding tools... and if you love them as much as you say you do you should think twice before putting them in such a  situation...

I had to keep three of the girls, two of the boys... and screen potential adopters.


Because, I really do CARE where these babies go to. Do you care what will happen to YOUR rats babies once they're born? They're not puppies... or kittens.... no ones going to pay you to take them off your hands... so if you're thinking of making a quick buck you're wrong. They'll most likely end up in a shelter if you can't keep them... and people like me who help in rescues cant stand to see people bring more little lives intothis world when others are sitting waiting patiently for someone to love them and give them just one chance.There's always a rescue somewhere, don't breed... leave that for the people who wish for a better tomorrow for the rat species as a whole. ;)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Rana on December 07, 2009, 05:05:25 PM
I have one-and-a-half accidental breeding stories, but only one with rats.

The first was with a gerbil that I had when I was about eleven. I knew I wanted a girl, because boy parts freaked me out. They even told me at the pet store that she was most likely pregnant, but I decided to get her anyway. She was indeed pregnant, with I believe twelve babies. None were stillborn, and the only one who died was from being accidentally dropped by my sister. She was also a biter, most likely because she was pregnant or nursing the entire time I had her. The babies at least got handled every day, so when they were given to the pet store (No one wanted gerbils that I could find), they were social. I gave the pet store the mom back as well, she was still a biter even with handling and I was too young to really be as patient as she needed. 3:

The half story is from my two first rats, Kaylin and Olivia. They were rescued from some sort of bad situation. The only thing I know for certain is that they were housed with their two brothers for what the store (One of PetCo's adoptions) said was six months. I knew they might be pregnant, and sure enough Kaylin started ballooning... But she passed the three-week mark without babies, and the weight just gradually dropped off. I think she reabsorbed the litter, because I could find no signs that she ever gave birth. Right now she's cuddling away with her sister in a hammock so finally, a happy ending!

One day in the future I would like to breed, but that's only when I have the job and money for it. Most likely I will have to wait until I'm retired, and I'm okay with that. :3
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: pisces_chick on December 17, 2009, 02:17:22 PM
 had no intention of having a rattery..

here's the link for the full story...

http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,99999999/topic,4064224.0/topicseen,topicseen

after reading all these horror stories m very nervous..and f the past week i've been crying myself to sleep because im so stressed about the situation

Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: RubyRattery on February 08, 2010, 06:36:38 AM
Wow...so many horror stories....I can understand why there are so many rescues in America.
Down here it is a little different, you still get the same idiots breeding "for the fun" of it.
I do bred, but rarely, and we do not have any of the diseases that you guys have. The only problems we really have are Myco and Tumours. Myco probably has a 50% hit rate i would say, as far as tumours, about 30%-50% of females get them as they age. Our average lifespan is about 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 years. I had a rescue boy end of last year....he was 5 when i got him! i could not believe it. He had NO myco symptoms, no tumours, even no back leg paralasis! Whenever he was free ranging he would always try to jump over to the girls area (he was quite the athelete). He is exactly what all breeders should be aiming for, life span of 5, and as healthy as a rat can get! Unfortunetley he passed away on new years eve, im pretty sure it was old age, although it was very hot that day (we have air con) and i was doing everything to keep him cool.
I know he was definetley 5 years old as the lady had him ever since he was 6 weeks old, she purchased him from a pet store, which is even more outstanding.
I discourage people i hear from through emails etc. from breeding, some of them are so rude, some of them actually understand and really have a hard thing about what they are considering doing.
Over all, i think anyone who CAN rescue SHOULD rescue, after all, i think i read it in Jorats(?) Signature.
Until there is none, rescue one.
So true.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Critter Crazy on March 04, 2010, 01:38:47 AM
I can't say I've had particularly bad luck with rat litters, but I'll give my story here for reference.
I'll try to keep it short as possible.

I have a friend who is a feeder breeder, & she gave me a single female rat, then later gave me 3 more rats. Holly (Black mismarked Berkshire), Floss (Champagne mismarked Berkshire), Pearl (Argente Hooded) & Rico (Black mismarked Hooded)

Holly was the first rat she was a tiny ball of black fuzz, with white socks, a stripe down her belly, & a fascination for hair & TV. But, she was the only one, so my friend got me two more: Rico & Floss.

All 3 were snugly rats, I often had the girls on my shoulders, & Rico snuggled in my bra. Now Rico was originally meant to be a girl, but his balls dropped, & I didnt want him to go as snake food, so he stayed.
I only had a basket he could live in, but he would have no friend, & I figured it would be cruel for him to be lonely.

After 3 months, I got my first two litters 11 babies in total. I removed all the babies, & gave them to the friend. I didnt see much to it.

Then I got Pearl, who wasnt a snuggle rat. She had her first litter same time Holly & Floss had their second it was bad. The entire litter was scattered, hadnt been fed, & Pearl was distressed. I put her litter with Flosss, as Holly was busy with her own bubs. I gave the bubs a week, & then dropped them off at the same friends.

Now, in total, I had 9 litters 3 per female - over a 12 month period. I didnt worry, as the bubs were being killed humanely, & I wouldnt have heaps of them.
At one stage all 3 girls gave me 33 baby rats, which is when it all changed. I decided to keep 5 babies. I sexed them, something Id never done before. But I was confident, & got it right 1 boy, 4 girls.
The boy was a Mink Berkshire, the girls 2 Agouti Hooded, 1 Black Berkshire & 1 Dove Berkshire. I kept the Dove & Mink, the others found pet-only homes.

I loved watching them grow & play, eventually getting another cage to house Rico & his son, who I named Seth. I named the Dove girl Sophia, & she was a velveteen coated rat, rather rare to find here.
Pearl had her last litter, & I didnt have another litter till Seth & Sophia were 13 months old, & I paired them to each other, resulting in a beautiful litter of 8 Mink & Dove baby rats.

Ive been given a lot of rats over time for various reasons age, boredom, neglect, & so forth, some being sickly or poorly cared for their entire lives.  Im lucky in that my lines are healthy, producing well developed & long lived rats, which are handled from day one. 
I only breed 2 or 3 litters a year, & none go to snake food anymore. I have room for 50 rats, & currently have 15, some of which are pushing 3 years :)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: KieruNatsuki on March 21, 2010, 09:36:50 PM
I have a bit of a story, although it's not really mine to tell.

It all started with a friend of my moms taking in about 25 rats from a summer camp that ran out of room. Since I already had two of my current girls (my third was a baby at the time) and I have always had a passion for rats, I took them in and offered to foster them. Everything was going fine, a few were placed, but I was running out of money and couldn't feed them all or give them all the attention they deserve. So a few went to a petshore (ugh I know) and my mom kept 2 boys and 2 girls. Why? Because she wanted to try giving live to her two pythons. I swallowed my objections (she is not a very nice person usually and i'll admit I'm afraid to stand up to her) and I let it happen. She put them all together. Not knowing much of anything about rats, she ended up with one female getting pregnant directly after birthing one litter. Three litters in total all at one. I believe the litters were roughly 9, 11, and 15. So 35 plus the original 4. 39 rats she didn't have the time or the knowledge to tak care of. Some babies went to the snakes, but only one would eat live. Maybe 7 were placed by myself, all females. Their conditions were horrible. Stuck in uncleaned tanks with no food or water, about 5 per 10 gal tank. As a rat owner iwas disgusted. I did what I could to care for them, but with college all day and no job/money it was hard. About a month ago I finally contacted a rescue in my area, RatChick in Philly, pa. She was wonderful. Genuinely worried about the rats and very willing to help. My mom was fine with it and we were trying to set things up to drop the rats off (at this point 15 boys and 3 girls) but my mom kept procrastinating and not answering the rescue's calls. The rats were getting worse. Last weekend things were finally set up to drop them off. We finally dropped them off today. It was a bit of an adventure. RatChick was awesome. She's was very kind and had a gorgeous home, two beautiful rats on her sofa. All she did was try and offer some knowledge on keeping/breeding rats and my mom flips. It was all I could do to get her to not call the cops! For no reason! Anyway, before this turns into a rant about my mom, i'll just end with how heartbreaking it was to watch those rats in such conditions. Breedings by amatures just does not end well. Just thinking about the pain they went through, and the trouble RatChick will have to go through to give them the lives they deserve, it's so upsetting. And it all couldve been avoided if my mom had not bred in the first place.   
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratbaby#1 on April 13, 2010, 11:49:23 AM
The rats that i had and had accentental litters were just fine and they all found wounderful homes and i am sorry for those of you who have had a rough time with accetental litters and had sad stories.  :D :(
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Stacy M on April 13, 2010, 07:32:03 PM
This thread is supposed to be about negative experiences with breeding rats/byb/accidental breedings.  It's not to scare people out of becoming breeders (I think we all want good breeders to be out there improving the health of the rats) but to show what CAN happen.  All too many times, people have no idea that things like this are a possibility, or that it "can't happen to me."  That is why there are all negative stories here ;)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratbaby#1 on April 14, 2010, 11:41:20 AM
I know it can happen to everyone. I once lost a baby rat right after birth and i was so sad.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Kelsey on July 06, 2010, 07:27:33 PM
I thought I would share my story about Daisy. I bought her from someone off of Craigslist. I believe Daisy herself was from an accidental breeding, but I'm not positive. Anyways, I couldn't believe how fat a rat she was. At one point she was so fat my sister, friend, and I began to wonder. We googled pregnant rat images and I knew she was pregnant right then...it looked like she had swallowed a tennis ball! I was so excited for Daisy to have babies...it was going to be so amazing to watch them grow up! One day when my sister, friend, and I were playing with the rats in our dorm room, my friend noticed a spot of blood on her leg. We were concerned, but assumed it was Daisy going in to labor. Sure enough it was, and we put her back in her cage to wait. Right after that she just stayed fluffed up in a corner and was just not herself at all. I voiced my concerns to my mom over the phone, and she just said 'pregnancy is hard'. I had my doubts but I waited maybe a day. After there was no progress, I booked an appt with a vet. X-rays were done and the vet told me she was definitely pregnant and trying to give birth. She sent me home with Daisy and told me if nothing happened overnight, then to bring her back in. So of course nothing happened, and Daisy was brought back to the vet. She was given I think 3 injections of something to help her pass the babies. The first baby, I was told, was immediately attacked by Daisy. They took the baby away and kept it warm, but sadly it passed away. I came home with my rat and her 2 new babies. Unfortunately Daisy was young and wasn't made out to be a mom...she just didn't know how to take care of them, and even with me trying to hand feed them, they died. I don't know if they were so stressed from the long delivery or what happened. I buried the babies outside my college dorm in a garden (thankfully nobody saw me!). When I peeked in to her cage the next night, I saw a stillborn baby lying in the hammock. I buried that one too. So all in all, it took Daisy the span of a few days to pass a mere 4 babies. None of the babies survived, and I think I am so lucky that Daisy survived...I was really worried about her! My sister is always saying "You should breed one of your rats!", but I never will. Watching babies grow up is always tempting, but so many things can go wrong, and my rats aren't even breeder quality, not to mention there are so many needing to be rescued out there. I'm one of those people who would never to an e-spay. So anyways, rescue or buy from a breeder!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: zoink03 on July 07, 2010, 06:36:19 AM
I had thought briefly about breeding rats, but after reading this, I don't think I ever will. I love my pet store "feeder" rats. Thanks for your stories that confirmed what I already suspected: much goes into responsible breeding.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Stacy M on July 08, 2010, 12:20:12 AM
I had thought briefly about breeding rats, but after reading this, I don't think I ever will. I love my pet store "feeder" rats. Thanks for your stories that confirmed what I already suspected: much goes into responsible breeding.
That's great-I think everyone should know about all aspects of breeding before they start.  It's certianly not for everyone, and "feeder" rats should never be bred regardless.

Also, Kelsey, thanks for sharing your story!!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Melissaratmama on July 14, 2010, 09:23:32 AM
Before i began i must say breeding rats just for fun is wrong! My experiance: at the time i had 2 males and two females. Are electricity went out and it was cold. We were leaving and could not take our rats so stupid me put all four together. We had no power for 4 days everyone in our area didnt either. We lost our whole tank of fish. Anyway i ended up with one litter of 13 black and whit hoodeds and berks and a litter of 10 dumbo rexes and one hairless and one doudle rex in many colors. Lucky for me they all found homes and were all healthy. Ill never ever do that again. Although babies are adorable unless you wanna deal with keeping all the unwanted ones and taking full responability for their health care..dont breed ur rats.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: RayN on October 02, 2010, 03:02:03 AM
My very first experience with rats as pets was an accident in itself. I'd never thought of them as pets, though I grew up with a mini zoo so I didn't have anything against them either. I was about 11 or 12 and my family was staying with my cousin's family to help my aunt with some health problems. My aunt had 6 kids (3 were already moved out) and 3 boys were staying with my brother, my mom and my dad and I all in a HUGE house. They lived on a ranch, and it was a massive ranch house. It had 6 bedrooms, and 4 bathrooms, and all the rooms were massive, it also had a "den" next to the living room, it was down 2 steps, and the biggest area in the house.

My aunt played favorites big time with her middle boy. They went to the mall together, just the 2 of them, to get him some new soccer gear. They came home that evening with the boy having a rat of his own and 2 mice for the 2 other brothers, my brother and I to "share". My mom never played favorites and right away said "Nope. Everyone in the car, you all get to pick one rat each." So off we went to the mall to get pet store feeder rats. I wanted a girl and my brother wanted a boy, so the clerk handed us what he told us was a boy and a girl. My Evie(eevee) girl later became Stevie as it became obvious she was a he. Luckily I had my rat alone in my room. But my cousins on the other hand, had all of theirs together with my brothers. My brother ended up with a boy too, so when we eventually moved out his Milo and my Stevie got to live together.

Within a few months when we went back to visit they had an entire wall dedicated to the rats and their cage, and the youngest boy had become an expert at sexing(telling the genders apart). I don't know what they ended up doing, I know they were very capable of taking cage of all the rats physically, I'm sure they didn't get the attention they needed, but food, water and even a vetting was readily provided. And when we left they had 2 massive home built cages with the boys and girls in each. I don't know the entire story, I'm sure they lost some and had heck figuring it out, but I do know they ended up with over a hundred rats at one time.

My brother and I were very lucky to have gotten boys, and Stevie lived to over 4 even though he was always small and sickly, and Milo lived to be a whopping 5 and a half. My mom was going crazy when he was 5, saying the pet store said no more than a year and half. lol

Anyways, I didn't understand very well then, but now anytime I think about maybe having babies I just remember that WALL of rats at my cousins house.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Koley on November 11, 2010, 10:39:01 PM
wow yall have some horror stories, i bred for 7 yrs never had an issue with my breeders and minmual pup deaths.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: mrshaymes on November 15, 2010, 01:42:46 AM
Wow! Some of these stories are so awful, and now I understand the hesitation from members in the states. In Australia, in my experience, rat breeders are very experienced, kind, and usually quite loving and clean. I mean, there are always bad stories, but I've had many many good experiences.

I've breed one girl, intentionally. I consider myself a breeder, but not as most people see it. I have 10 rats, 5 girls and 5 boys. I only want to breed my very special girls to continue the line. I bred my beautiful girl Boo, she comes from a very good healthy line from another breeder, with a boy from the same breeder, and my darling produced 5 very gorgeous babies. She was a wonderful mom, absolutely no bleeding at all, and the babies grew to be plump and healthy: 4 boys, 1 girl. I kept all 5 because I fell in love with them :) I'm so happy with my decision, they are my babies and love to kiss, lick, snuggle, and pee all over me. They are always right at the door, and they even leap off it to get on my shoulders.

Now, I won't have baby rat lust and go for less handled rats. I don't plan to get anymore so I can enjoy my gorgeous kiddos for a long time.

 :heart: :heart:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: MaatAset on July 24, 2011, 12:15:19 AM
Wow.. reviving a (dead?) old thread, but I can see it's been going on awhile.  I wanted to throw my story in not necessarily just as a warning about breeding rats of unknown history, but making sure you have the resources to take care of the animal you adopt.

I'd had pet rats as a kid, but around the time I was nearing the end of my junior year of high school, a rather antisocial biter and just going through generally being a self absorbed teen, I decided that was it for me and once my pets passed on, that I was done having pets to look after.  Fast forward about 5 years and I'm nearing the end of my second year of college.  I'm a handful of months away from moving into my own apartment (and out of student based housing) and feeling lonely and missing the experience of having a pet.  I knew, being a broke and busy college student, that dogs were definitely out of the question and I'd never grown up with cats so they were a bit of a mystery to me.  I fell back on what I knew: rats.  Out of curiosity, I looked for shelters or rescues.  If I was going to get a pet, it wouldn't be for another couple months until I was in my new place.  Lo and behold, the local humane society had one lone female rat.  She tugged at my heart strings and I did not like the idea of her being there and all by her lonesome.  So, I hopped two buses (did not have a car at the time either  ::)  ) and made the trip to the shelter to meet her.  Course, I loved her instantly and wanted to take her home, so I adopted her.  Poor Rosie had to endure very warm outdoor temperatures in her cardboard box, and since I missed the bus, a long walk to catch the second bus.  Finally, and after an additional adventure where I lost my keys, she was home with me safe and sound.  I hadn't had time to get her a proper cage yet, so I made one out of a very, very hard plastic drawer (one that I couldn't even cut through with my sharpest knife), and some wiring over the top.  I figured it'd do temporarily until I could get a decent one.  Rosie and I bonded pretty well.  She generally preferred to have me leave her be, but when she wanted attention, she'd run by me to say hello when I had her out.  I got the impression that she was aware that I had saved her from a horrible situation and was grateful for it.

About a week and a half after getting her, I arrived back to my student apartment one day to hear an alarming squeak, the likes of which I'd never heard a rat make before.  I ran to the make-shift cage thinking she'd hurt herself and cursing myself for not having gotten a proper cage yet.  Imagine my surprise when I found 15 little pinkies!!  I was absolutely shocked.  I hadn't even prepared properly for the one rat.  Also, she hadn't even really looked chubby to me.  I made plans to go out that following weekend to make sure I got a decent cage for her.

A day or two later I came back from school and went to my walk-in closet, where the little cage sat, to check up on Rosie and her babies and further imagine my surprise when I discovered no Rosie and only about 5 pinkies in the cage.  Rosie had managed to do what I couldn't, and tunneled a hole out of the corner of the thick plastic drawer.  Thankfully, my experiences with having rats in the past told me not to panic.  So, I sat down on the floor, near the cage and quietly waited.  Rosie came hopping, calmly as you please, across the floor.  I waited and watched her.  She tunneled back up into the cage, took hold of one of the babies in her mouth.. and this takes some imagining, it was really quite impressive.  The cage sat on top of about a 2.5ft tall set of plastic drawers in the corner of my walk-in closet.  The hanging clothes were pulled back maybe a foot, or slightly less, away from the drawers (I have plenty of lovingly nibbled objects and I learned that lesson already).  Rosie took her little one, tunneled out her escape route, walked across the set of drawers, leapt onto the hanging flannel jacket, scaled it like a mountain climber, got on top of the rod the clothes were hanging on, and pulled herself onto the shelf above the hanging clothes that lined the closet.  She disappeared behind one of my boxes.  I got my chair and very carefully pulled the box out to discover all of the babies sitting in a little nest made of tissue paper.  Thankfully I had decided to count the babies!

Needless to say, I hatched a temporarily inescapable cage, and begged a friend to take me out that night to get a real cage.  All of her babies did well and I kept two of them myself.  Sadly, I tried to find homes, but being relatively inexperienced in such matters and not knowing about resources like this forum, I ended up taking the rest to PetSmart when they were about 10 weeks old.  I have no idea what happened to the rest of em and I desperately hope they went to good homes.  To this day I shudder to think of what happened to them and I feel really bad about my bad decision (taking them to the pet store).

So, I never had any intention of breeding, but I ended up totally unprepared and having a preggo rattie.  And to stave off comments about lone rats, I'd had EVERY intention of finding her at least one suitable mate before I adopted her, but was just waiting on getting a proper cage.  So, I ended up with two good pals for her (two of her daughters) and I kept the three of them.

As for health, no idea about the others, but all three eventually developed mammary tumors.  The first was one of the daughters, Solaris.  The vet told me that her heart actually stopped at one point during the surgery, but they were able to bring her back.  She recovered swiftly.  Sidra (the other daughter) was the next, and made it through surgery just fine (although we had an additional, mostly funny story where the end result was her removing her stitches and basically having her paws taped together).  Solaris made it to about 1.5 years old, then developed pneumonia.  It was very heartbreaking for me because she was my little baby.  She was very shy and didn't really like anyone to hold her but me, though she'd put up with it without much fuss.  She held on and fought, but eventually she was having so much trouble breathing that she was darting around her cage in panic and I had no choice but to leave her with the vet so they could put her in a ventilator chamber to help her breathe.  To this day it tears me apart because she ended up dying within 2 hours of me taking her in.  I'd have rather she died at home with me, than in a scary place with strangers when she never really liked anyone but me to begin with.  Rosie finally developed a mammary tumor as well, though she was well into her second year.  I didn't think her age would be very amenable to surgery, so I just focused on keeping her happy while I could.  Sid never redeveloped any tumors, she eventually died of what I believe was just old age.  I just woke up one morning to have cheerios with her as always.  She ate breakfast with me and seemed fine.  A couple hours later she was gone.

That was my only real experience with any sort of breeding.  I have pretty much always adopted (mostly rescues) and have had no end of these health disasters.  The tumors being most prevalent.  With one of my current girls having an inoperable tumor, it's making me decide that I think I really would like to get some young'uns from an experienced and reputable breeder for a change.  Not that they wouldn't get sick either, but it'd be nice knowing where my pets came from for a change.  Still, I've had no regrets with the girls I have rescued.  Most of them were older and I suspect that none but more diehard rat fans would have taken them.  A shame really because they've all been such amazingly sweet pets.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: ratatastic on July 28, 2011, 07:51:48 AM
sorry this was a repost xo
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: cncst on July 29, 2011, 03:18:07 PM
I have two tragic stories about accidental litters. My first started when I was only 16. I bought a little girl rat, named Gidget from a pet store. I have had many pet rats before, but it had been years since the last one. I remembered how great the rats I grew up with were and wanted that experience again. Gidget was very cute, but her stomach seemed larger than I remembered rats stomachs being in the past. I asked the clerk if there was any way that she could be pregnant and they ensured me that she wasn't (I had my suspicions still.) Gidget and I bonded for about three weeks. She spent most of her time snuggling in my sweat shirt, eating out of my hand, giving me kisses when I called to her. She was absolutely wonderful. Then, one day I looked into her cage to play with her and noticed that she had 11 little pink babies nuzzled against her. She was an excellent mother and very protective with everyone besides me. She had 8 black hooded rats (some Dumbo, others standard) a beige boy, a completely white/red eyed girl, and two hairless. I loved them all dearly, and they all bonded really well with me. I gave the female hairless and another hooded female to a family friend, they are still living and are very happy. I immediately separated the boys from the girls. My five boys were the sweetest, happiest boys I knew. My girls were very aggressive. I couldn't even put my hand in the cage to grab their food dish with out them trying to bite me. I eventually had to take them back to the pet store, including my baby girl Gidget, because of their aggression. I cried for days, knowing that I had betrayed my babies. I kept the boys for another year until their health started to take a turn for the worse. They all began developing respiratory issues and large tumors started to form all over their bodies. I was only 16 and didn't have the money to take 5 rats to the vet to have them removed or helped. Every day I would cry holding my babies, knowing that they were in pain. One by one, the lost movement in their hind legs and stopped eating. I couldn't bare watching them all suffer. I knew that they didn't blame me, they still gave me kisses and cuddled me, but it hurt to see them that way. I watched all five boys pass away. I had to watch them all suffer from the depression of losing their brothers. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and I still can't forgive myself, even though I did not breed Gidget.
I waited to get another rat until this last winter. I found her on craigslist and instantly knew I wanted her. Her name is Cairo and she is the greatest rat I have ever known. Until just a couple months ago, it was just her. Then I decided to pick her up a friend from the pet store. Her name is Sniff and she is very nervous still, but a sweetheart. I recently rescued two male rats and have kept the boys and girls separate until all hell broke loose. I was letting my girls roam and play while I cleaned their cage. They really enjoy this and I never have any problems. Until now. While I was in the other room, my small girls squeezed themselves in between the bars of the boys cage. The moment I walked in, I realized what they were doing and tried to separate them quickly. I have been worrying that they were pregnant and my suspicions have been prooven with Sniff. Her stomach is now very large (she even has the mommy nipples), she is being sluggish and not acting herself. I am praying that Cairo isn't pregnant, but she is larger and it will take a little longer for her to show. I am hoping that I can find safe homes for the babies and that now that I am older, I will be able to provide the funding for vet visits.
Rat babies take a lot of responsibility, and if you can't provide that, the heart break of losing them is overwhelming and hard to forget.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Tekozi on May 29, 2012, 09:44:07 PM
One of the little hairless rats i adopted from a local pet store (over 10 years ago ) ended up being pregnant. Not even a week after bringing her home she had a bunch of little pinkies one morning. sadly they were all dead. she was kind to them, but they were either still born or she had no milk. I know hairless females are often unsuccessful mothers. It was so sad, they were so cute and tiny  :'(
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Raa on June 21, 2012, 10:01:30 AM
 Thought it might be worth mentioning that bad things dont only happen in unplanned litters. Ive been breeding for just over a year (but have had rats as pets for 18) and have had a few weird things happen.

 The first litter I had was a bit of a mess. I did all the right things, sourced from the best breeder in my area and knew the line (had a 4 gen full pedigree and partial back 6 gens which is about as good as it gets in Aus). Alaska was paired to her brother and things developed nicely. She poped 17 squeakers. I went out for a few hrs and when I came back we were down to 15, I also noticed that she had maimed some of the babies. About half had half tails and the runt, who I kept, had half a foot missing. Other than that things progressed normaly untill 4 weeks old when one of the babies dropped dead unexpectedly. Thankfully all the ones I know of are still happy and healthy but thats only about 5 of the litter. The three I kept both had to be euthanised for resp issues at about 6 months.

Aura the runt
(http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn114/xx_ashy_bash_xx/DSCN0324.jpg)

 Harlow was from the above litter. She seemed so healthy and a realy good weight, 220g by 12 weeks, so at 4 months old I paired her. Things went well untill 2 weeks, the babies realy struggled to thrive and by 6 weeks all but three had either died or been PTS. Two were PTS at 12 weeks when resp finaly hit them. There is only one girl left and she suffers from the occasional resp flare up, has never needed meds, and is tiny but otherwise OK.

 The third and final story is just one of those things :(. A little background info first... Gabe is the product of the first outcross from a line that has been purely inbred for 5 years, he has produced hundreds of babies and grandbabies buth inbreed and outcrossed. The doe I used, Bubbles, Father is the same I think that line is into its 3rd generation of crossing back to him? Hard to say as the friend who owns him is a feeder breeder... So I had no reason to suspect anything would go wrong. Bubbles pregnancy progressed smoothly, much to my releif after discovering an umbilical hernia on her a few days after pairing her (yes im an idiot but it realy is tiny, cant even get it to show in pictures). The babies were born quickly, only 7, when I checked on them one was clearly deformed. It had no eyes and its face was smooshed in, like that of a persian cat, it was alive at the time but when I checked on them 15 minutes later it had passed. Bubbles is a bit of a dippy mum, perfect with her human but a little to eager to get away from the little life suckers :P A few days later there was a dinty bub (dint in its head).

 Thankfully these are all minor issues, but it goes to show that even with the best planning and the best intentions the raisin can still hit the fan.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: buzzy3013 on October 07, 2012, 08:06:47 PM
At 12 years old I  began to breed, I am comming up on my 2nd year of beeing a breeder, and so far so good my oldest male Zeus is over 2 and going strong. I did end up having to give almost all the bays o a petstore one litter was all placed to good loviing homes, however, the litter of albinos were all sold a feeders... :-\
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: betuana on October 08, 2012, 12:34:45 AM
A story of how the best plans can go heartbreakingly wrong...I'll share my story of BVR Tabit and BVR Adam Young.

After years of research, decades of owning rats, and a long time of being involved in the rat community and getting to know some excellent breeders, I got started with my breeding program. My first litter however has been an ongoing heartbreak.

Both parents are from a very well regarded, responsible, ethical, and respected breeder. Both have pedigrees that go back for MANY generations (checking NARR right now I can trace pedigrees for both back to 1996, and this litter was born in February of 2012, so some 16 years worth of pedigree, and there are notes on health, etc for at least the past 10 of those for many of the ancestors). Both parents came from lines with good health, no significant problems, etc. Very sweet rats, who had shown good health through their lives when they were paired, were both well built with good conformation, etc etc. Everything seemed set for things to go well.

Breeding proceeded in a very normal fashion - I hand bred them, meaning I monitored Tabit for a heat, when I found her to be in heat I paired her and Adam in a temporary caging where I could monitor and record pairings, and they were left together about 12 hours or so overnight, then separated. She was weighed daily at the same time to monitor her weight gain, and gained on a relatively steady and normal scale when compared to pregnancies tracked by others.

Then her due date came. And passed. And another day. And another, she looked like a balloon about to burst, I had felt movement, but no signs that she was planning to go into labor anytime soon. We were preparing to take her in the next day for an emergency c-section, as a failure to deliver could put her at serious risk, and could even kill her if she had some problem preventing delivery, when finally, between 24 and 25 days after pairing (2-3 days overdue, especially for her first - and only - litter), she gave birth overnight to 12 squeaking, squirming babies. She was a wonderful and attentive mother to them, grooming them, sitting over them to keep them warm, retrieving babies who squirmed out of the nest, all the while being very sweet and happy to interact and take extra treats and bedding from me, offered to help boost her strength.

But I noticed throughout the day that when I'd peek in and get a look, I saw no milk bands on the babies. I checked her a couple times but felt no swelling to indicate she was producing milk, and no real signs of any suckling or grooming around her nipples. The line has no history of lactation problems, and nothing to indicate it should be a concern, and after talking to my mentor and others it was the general consensus that sometimes it takes them a few hours to start nursing, and that there shouldn't really be any problem.

However, clearly there WAS something wrong. Tabit, who had been so gentle and loving and careful with her babies during that first day, clearly knew there was a problem. Overnight she quietly removed all traces of her litter having ever existed, and I woke in the morning to a mama rat who seemed a little stressed out, and no babies at all in the bin. On exam it was clear she still was not lactating, and had no mammary development whatsoever. My first litter was completely lost.

Tabit's maternal instincts were still present, and when her buddy had a litter a few days later she desperately wanted to go help with the babies any time she heard them squeak. It was heartbreaking to see how much she wanted to take care of them, but with such an unexpected disaster, we decided it was best not to risk breeding her again and losing another litter. There was no real reason that we could find as to why she didn't lactate, and what other problems may have occurred, and it was definitely not something we wanted to pass down to more rats.

But the tragedy doesn't end there. Tabit, who as a baby survived an attack by an older, unrelated female when she first came here (during intros), who lost the ability to open one of her front feet as a result of that attack (though she adapted and still ran in her wheel, climbed, held food, interacted, etc like any other rat), and who had to undergo surgery to remove an abscess and repair some damage from it, with repeated exams, intensive at home care, etc, the poor girl never got a break from bad luck. She developed a tumor a few months later at just 9 months of age. Early for tumors, which are also uncommon in her line (and certainly not seen in a rat so young!), but assumed to be a basic benign mammary tumor, it was removed before she was 10 months old. A spay was considered, but the $600 price tag was prohibitively expensive, especially with more than that amount having already been spent on previous vet bills for the poor girl.

Within 2 months, the tumor was back, in the same location - which indicated that either it had not all been removed (and therefore was likely NOT all removable, as it was in her inguinal area near several vital structures such as her urethra, major blood vessels, etc), or that it was malignant. After consulting with several vets, we decided to keep her as comfortable as possible while we could. The tumor kept growing, and a disturbingly fast, and increasingly fast rate.

In the meantime, we lost Adam's brother (and tragically the father of our 2nd litter - bringing to us concerns about their longterm health) to an extremely aggressive and fast progressing respiratory problem. And another brother of his was lost just a couple weeks later, and several states away (having not been together since they were much younger) from nearly identical problems. Both around 14 months of age. Adam started showing signs of respiratory problems as well. Though there were some respiratory issues in older rats in the line (not uncommon for rats), issues at this age was unprecedented. Though we pursued aggressive treatment with both Adam's brother (who spent time in an oxygen cage at a vet, visited an emergency clinic in the middle of the night, etc), and followed through with very aggressive treatment with Adam (nebulizing, anti-inflammatories, theophylline, antibiotics, etc), Adam ended up dying at home when he was around 15.5 months of age - with his necropsy showing much the same issues as had been seen in both of his brother's necropsies.

A day later, we ended up having Tabit euthanized as her tumor had grown to such a size that she was having extreme difficulty in moving (though she still tried), was showing discomfort in urinating and defecating, and was getting sores and showing early signs of some of the tumor tissue starting to have necrosis due to size. She was only 14 months old. It has been less than a week since we lost them both, and is still very painful to walk in the room and not see her eagerly climbing the door for attention, or him leaning out of the hammock to get scritches. We are still waiting on histopathology results to let us know if her tumor was a benign mammary tumor, or something worse.

We still face an uncertain future with our second litter given the health of their dad and uncle - though they and their mother seem to be doing well at this point, only time will tell if they too will add to the heartbreak we have already experienced with our first litter.

We lost our entire first litter. We lost both parents to unexpected causes at a very young age. The breeding was done with tons of research, pedigrees, information, data, support, mentoring, and more behind it. The circumstances under which it was lost were bizarre and not previously recorded in that line with many years of documentation. The health issues experienced by both parents were similarly unexpected and unusual, especially given their young ages. And perhaps the silver lining of losing the first is that they aren't alive and at risk of developing the same health problems experienced by their parents. Our second litter may be in jeopardy from similar issues - we can only hope that their father did not pass down his respiratory issues to his offspring. Only time will tell.

So yeah, hopefully this story helps people realize that even many years of preparation, even more years of experience in ownership, many years of research, building connections, etc, having rats from some of the best lines, with extensive documentation, having a support network of several experienced breeders, etc, will not exempt someone from having serious problems, and having to potentially face heartbreak, tragedy, losses, and concern for any that survive that they may be in danger as well. Not saying that someone who has done their research, taken their time to learn, to prepare, to gain as much experience as possible, to find good lines and good people for support, etc shouldn't breed. I certainly still plan to try to move forward and work to try to improve the species by trying to breed healthier, friendlier rats. But it is very important that anyone considering breeding be prepared that things do not always go as planned, and instead of cute, fuzzy, happy babies they could find themselves faced with heartbreak upon heartbreak upon heartbreak. If thats not something someone wants to deal with, its probably best if they don't get involved with breeding. You need to be prepared for the bad as well as the good.

My poor first parents, BVR Adam Young and BVR Tabit.
(http://www.moonlitwatersrattery.com/adamtabitpair1.jpg)
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: SqueeHazard on October 26, 2012, 08:07:51 PM
Well, my first litter was planned.
A standard ear and a dumbo, one from a breeder and a lovely one from both a mill/breeder background.

Used to keep the line going but to improve the genetics.
She ended up having 6 beautiful babies no sweat.
They all went to good homes but I decided to keep two of them.
They're much more people friendly and they are doing very well today, three months later c:
Mama recovered fine, and the two little boys love their dad <3
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kitsu on December 03, 2012, 12:27:27 PM
I never intended to breed. I adopted what I thought were two female rats from a pet store - one pink hairless dumbo and one white and gray fuzzball, named Pinkie & The Brain. Turned out Pinkie was a boy (his balls didn't drop until it was too late), and The Brain got pregnant.
Great, they aren't even fully grown themselves and she's pregnant. I'm freaking out, reading up all over the place about what to do extra for her; Pinkie and her were still very close but I knew as soon as the babies were born he had to be taken out in case she got pregnant while breastfeeding...I still wanted to keep him, and had made an appointment for him to be neutered.
12 babies were born at some point in the wee hours of November 1st (4 weeks ago). Some of them are "hairless" pink with giant ears, and some look just like mama. Neither parent had pink eyes, but a few of the babies do (I need to find a good resource for rat genetics as this was fascinating for me, I've worked in cat rescue for five years and their coloring always floor me). For some reason the first day they were born, I was sitting at the cage giving mama some yogurt treats when daddy (who had scratches on him which worried me, I figured she attacked him?) jumped up and bit me on my face. No idea why, as he had always been the "sweeter" of the two, but my husband immediately took him to petco to surrender.
Fast forward two weeks, I'm attempting to line up homes for these baby rats (so far zero luck, my friend works at petco and promised they wouldn't be feeder rats but that was before we found out the following), starting to play with them, handling them, getting to know their individual personalities, and petco calls.  Turns out Pinkie had "rat bite fever" and they advise me to call the small animal vet I had planned on getting him neutered at. Vet says it's very rare & dangerous to humans, but was vet was vague about if the babies/mama were guaranteed to have this "rat bite fever" - instead suggested I bring in all 13 and have them all tested. Yeah, and how much will that cost? Sigh.
Now I'm wondering if this could be true. I'm immunosuppressed and if there is possibly a way for me to come down with something, I do. Dad bit me in the face, it was a really deep wound, and it is still healing, but I have no symptoms of this supposedly "rare" disease.
Now it's four weeks and the babies are all hearty and healthy, and last week started eating solid food (first just the yogurt bites, now cereal treats, carrots, apples, and watermelon). The "hairless" ones (they have peachfuzz like their dad did, though eventually he was pretty bald) tend to be on the smaller size (not sure if that is normal) and the hairless ones also tend to have the giant dumbo ears daddy had and be males (I think, some have tiny balls dropping but it's hard to tell what is what), while the ones I am sure are girls are all MUCH bigger.
My husband absolutely does NOT want to keep all 13 of these rats. I just ordered them this cage: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12458305 (http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12458305) and am going to have to split the males and females up next week (I will be blocking the cage bottom/top) to prevent another "oops".
I'm afraid if they do have "rat bite fever" they'll just end up getting put down if I surrender any, but I'm also concerned if I keep them all it will be far too much work for me, they won't get the kind of attention they need. I also would need to have all the males neutered, as I don't think it feasible to separate them for life, as well as there are a few "pairings" in there of best friends who I think might be different sexed.
Basically, I wish I had made absolutely sure both were female and taken them to the vet straight from the pet store.
Attached are some photos of them as they grow. Before you complain about them in the tiny cage - that was because I was cleaning their big cage (which is rapidly becoming not big enough hence me buying the $225 giant cage from petsmart). Oh, and yes, I have three cats, and the one in the picture seems to think he is a mama, as he likes to come over and attempt to lick the babies when I'm playing with them.



(http://www.noobcoil.com/ratties/pinkieandthebrain.jpg)
Pinkie and The Brain the day they came home
(http://www.noobcoil.com/ratties/mamaandnewborns.jpg)
The day the babies came!
(http://www.noobcoil.com/ratties/dumbo1.jpg)
2? weeks old Dumbo1 (there is a Dumbo2)
(http://www.noobcoil.com/ratties/dotti.jpg)
2? weeks old Dotti (turns out Dotti is a boy)
(http://www.noobcoil.com/ratties/3weeksold.jpg)
3 weeks old - cleaning the cage
(http://www.noobcoil.com/ratties/hangingout.jpg)
3.5 weeks, they love climbing! they hang out on the shelves and hang at the top of the cage all the time.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: kitsu on December 04, 2012, 01:25:33 PM
So after being PM'd by a member of the community (thank you BigBen) I got back in touch with the vet (vs talking to who I now will refer to as The Evil Vets of Petco) and apparently most rats test positive for this, it's not a big deal for people or rats unless there are symptoms, and as long as the mama and babies are healthy I shouldn't worry (which they are!). So yay, I don't have to worry about the babies being sick or not being able to find them homes because they carry some Evil Super Rare Deadly Disease. So all in all, this accidental breeding experience has been good (knock on wood, and not that I will EVER let something like this happen again, I made an appointment to have their sexes VERIFIED by the vet this week), and the babies are starting to come to the cage door and sit up asking to be picked up when they see people instead of hiding behind mama...now to only find homes for them...and complain to petsmart about how long it's taking them to send me the big cage.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: gawgeouspaws on January 28, 2013, 02:47:29 AM
While this thread looks rather lifeless (that's a good thing, less sad breeding stories to share) I have something I want to toss in. A lot of people have these accidental litters because they've got an intact male and an intact female in the same household. Rats are very resourceful -as we all know- and if they feel like mating, they will find a way to get in done. My policy is:
No boys with balls allowed. (you can tell I have only girls)

I wouldn't mind a boy if he'd been neutered, heck, I wouldn't even mind a boy if my girls were spayed. But they aren't yet old enough for the surgery, and so that means No Boys With Balls Allowed.  :yelcutelaugh:

I guess the same thing could work for you if you have boys, you could change it to:
No girls who haven't had their spay allowed.  :yelcutelaugh:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Ratgirl61 on April 06, 2013, 11:33:39 PM
I have read a lot of stories about breeding rats and people ending up with a lot of heartbreak and trouble finding the rittens homes. I originally had 2 females and I should have been happy having just them two but then a 16 year old girl that used to be my neighbor called me and said she had a male dumbo rat and a nice cage and she couldn't keep him because she and her mom were moving to another state. Well I took him in. I had the male living in the upper section and the females in the lower section. Well, there were times I would take all 3 of them to our king sized bed and let them run around while I sat there and watched and played with them. One time I had to go to the bathroom real quick which was just off of the bedroom, so I did and when I came back I saw our boy breeding with one of the females. At first I thought, Oh No! Then I thought it might be kind of neat to have baby rats and I could probably find homes for the babies and since rats dont have long life spans I thought well I'll let the younger female rat to continue to breed with my male rat. Well then I went to a rat support group and told them about it and I was warned that I didn't know what I was getting into. So I stopped letting the male have access to the females. Well I think my one female is pregnent and it has been a couple weeks. I saw the stories here and feel so guiltly and now if she does have babies I am seeing from the stories here that I am going to have problems and I am not a rat breeder and who is going to want baby rats from someone who is not a rat breeder. I have learned my lesson but now am hoping my female isn't pregnant!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: lessthansign3 on April 20, 2013, 02:03:03 PM
Ah, the accidental litter. If you have enough female rats, it's bound to happen someday, right?

I was a good rattie mom, and I adopted Gertrude from the now-defunct Minnesota Valley Humane Society. She was living in my bedroom in quarantine, and one night before bed she put her little paws up on the glass of the quarantine tank (it was all I had at the time for QT, all of my other cages were being used) I noticed she was rather... rotund. Her nipples protruded a little more than normal as well. We hadn't yet taken her for her complimentary vet visit, so it was a couple days later that we got it confirmed - there were little babies in her belly. And, about a week after that, eleven more PEWs were born into this world.

Because they were PEWs, of course, nobody wanted them. I adopted one out here on Goosemoose, and I kept one for myself and named him Hamlet. The rest went back to MVHS, who I assume found good homes for them all. I hope, anyway. It was all I could do - I was fast running out of room for all of these babies, and well, it was partially *their* fault for adopting out a pregnant rat, even though there was no way they could have known Gertrude was pregnant. She was knocked up before they got her and she didn't show until I'd already brought her home. My assumption, because her former home said she came from an accidental litter herself, is that she was kept in with her brothers for too long.

After that, you'd think the story was over, right? Not entirely. You see, because I kept Gertrude's son, I got to see poor genetics and probable inbreeding at work.

Gertrude died suddenly around two years old. I have no idea why she died or what she died from, and I have a lot of pets so I can't really afford to have a necropsy performed each time I lose one, unfortunately. That money is better spent on the living - especially considering what my vet charges. All I know is that in the morning she was climbing the bars, happy as can be, and in the evening she was lying dead on the floor of her cage.

A few months later, Hamlet died, also of mysterious causes. He, too, seemed perfectly healthy, and then all of the sudden one evening he was walking strangely, he convulsed, and he died. He was about a month and a half shy of two years old. He was my <3 rat, my neutered boy, my big squishy love - and here he was, gone before his time and I can only guess that he inherited a heart condition from his mother. That's my best guess, considering a similar condition runs in my own family and my mother just had a valve replacement last year and my grandpa will likely be having one himself. Perhaps something similar was wrong with Gertrude and Hamlet, and once they reached a certain age their defective hearts just gave out. I know had my mom not had surgery, she would have died before her time, so it's something to consider.

So, although this was not a purposeful breeding, it was proof that genetics matter. You can't just throw any two rats together and hope for the best, because you won't know until later what sort of genetic surprises lay in store for your rats' futures. If you want to breed, understand the genetics first, and start with rats that have proper pedigrees and known bloodlines. That way there's far less risk of producing babies that mysteriously die in the prime of their lives.

I still miss Hamlet something terribly, and wish there was something more I could have done for him. Maybe I should have shelled out for that necropsy on Gertrude, but I guess I didn't think about the same thing happening to Hamlet. Still, I hope to never experience any of that again - the pregnancy, the bunches of baby rats I can't find homes for, and the unexpected deaths of two wonderful rats.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: E-marie on May 12, 2013, 07:34:11 PM
I go to is petstore who breeds their own rats. :( They say they "make sure they don't go as feeders" I asked another employee, who said they breed just to stock. :(
I had a small part of me wanting to breed, but I don't have money or time, and I don't have the knowleage.
But after hearing they put in rats just for color I REALLY wanted to help. What if they breed a fatal litter?
I haven't done this yet, and probably won't, but I want to hear your opinion.

What I was thinking is that I would take the pregnant mom to make sure all goes well. They know me, (I try to supervise, they actually listen to me)
I'd be able to take her to the vet, and take her pups too. Then sadly I'd give them back. Actually after writing this I know I can do that. I can't let my rats go down a snake.
Ok nevermind, but if you think there's anything I could do can you tell me??

ETA: the one person I talk to a lot takes a pretty male and a pretty female and says: These pups would be gorgeous. I smile and say "Yeah... Do you know their parents." She looks at me and chuckles "Why, what does if matter?"  I mumble "everything." But I'm shyish and don't want to talk back. UGH!!!!!
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Stacy M on May 12, 2013, 07:47:08 PM
No, don't take the mother and babies.  You'd still be supporting the breeding of rats, and they will just pick another female rat to breed more litters.  It's a sad situation, which is why I suggest not going to petstores that sell animals.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Ratatata on May 26, 2013, 12:32:30 AM
My litter was planned. I was a mere 9- year old.
Of course, I "knew everything about rats" at the time, and was so excited to get a male for Heidi. So I bred them, pairing them for a couple hours a day for a week. Heidi swelled up, and a day before her due date gave birth to 13 healthy babies, one runt. They all did pretty well, one died unexpectedly at about 5 weeks. I sold them for pretty cheap through craigslist, lots of my friends adopted a few as well.
Nothing terrible happened, but I wouldn't want to experience it again anytime soon... now that I'm older, I would be way more stressed. I was very lucky to have an easy time breeding rats.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Raa on May 26, 2013, 04:45:40 PM
 I don't understand why people backyard breeding to 'educate' their kids don't make friends with local breeders. I would much rather let someone raise one of my planned pairings then have them go out and get some petshop rats. A friend of mine is raising a litter for me, she wanted some bubs from the same background as one she bought off me, and we're both loving the experience.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: dpishlo on June 04, 2013, 05:44:28 PM
I don't understand why people backyard breeding to 'educate' their kids don't make friends with local breeders. I would much rather let someone raise one of my planned pairings then have them go out and get some petshop rats. A friend of mine is raising a litter for me, she wanted some bubs from the same background as one she bought off me, and we're both loving the experience.

This is a great idea! My boyfriends daughters classmate was asking about if they could get a couple of our babies for a genetics project over the summer for a senior project next year. My boyfriends daughter said no but the girl plans to get some from somewhere.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Raa on June 06, 2013, 04:24:16 AM
While this thread looks rather lifeless (that's a good thing, less sad breeding stories to share) I have something I want to toss in. A lot of people have these accidental litters because they've got an intact male and an intact female in the same household. Rats are very resourceful -as we all know- and if they feel like mating, they will find a way to get in done. My policy is:
No boys with balls allowed. (you can tell I have only girls)

I wouldn't mind a boy if he'd been neutered, heck, I wouldn't even mind a boy if my girls were spayed. But they aren't yet old enough for the surgery, and so that means No Boys With Balls Allowed.  :yelcutelaugh:

I guess the same thing could work for you if you have boys, you could change it to:
No girls who haven't had their spay allowed.  :yelcutelaugh:


 The issue isn't entire males and females kept in the same house, its usualy human error. I have had up to 40 rats of both genders kept in cages similar to FK's for 3 years and am yet to have a whoopsie litter. If you are carefull whoopsies don't happen.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Amaterasu on September 25, 2013, 09:36:23 AM
My breeding story ended up with 8 dead babies trapped in the mother. A few days before it happened, I had this gut instinct that something was going to go horribly wrong. And it did. She was in labor for several hours, had a baby stuck in the birth canal. I had this feeling that the babies died a while ago, and the only thing I could do was save the mother, Charlotte. I was actually able to help her push out a baby at home (was still born..), and it was huge. Too big for her little body. I'm pretty sure her babies were bigger than average. I'm so lucky and grateful that my vet was willing to accept a deposit down on the surgery, and full payment the next day. After the surgery, she was so skinny it was scary. She is looking a lot more healthy now. I do feel really horrible about this, but one thing I can feel good about is that I was able to save her life in the end. Though it must be really heart breaking for a rat to lose all her children :BlueDumboBigEyes:
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: gawgeouspaws on October 02, 2013, 02:15:29 PM
While this thread looks rather lifeless (that's a good thing, less sad breeding stories to share) I have something I want to toss in. A lot of people have these accidental litters because they've got an intact male and an intact female in the same household. Rats are very resourceful -as we all know- and if they feel like mating, they will find a way to get in done. My policy is:
No boys with balls allowed. (you can tell I have only girls)

I wouldn't mind a boy if he'd been neutered, heck, I wouldn't even mind a boy if my girls were spayed. But they aren't yet old enough for the surgery, and so that means No Boys With Balls Allowed.  :yelcutelaugh:

I guess the same thing could work for you if you have boys, you could change it to:
No girls who haven't had their spay allowed.  :yelcutelaugh:


 The issue isn't entire males and females kept in the same house, its usualy human error. I have had up to 40 rats of both genders kept in cages similar to FK's for 3 years and am yet to have a whoopsie litter. If you are carefull whoopsies don't happen.

I suppose. I just find it all too risky. Don't get me wrong, I would love a big squishy man, but only once the girls have been fixed and/or if he's neutered. Having intact rats of opposite sexes in the same house is something I wouldn't want to risk. You'd have to be careful, and you wouldn't be able to let the boys and the girls mix for play time. When everyone's fixed, everyone can play together and have out of cage time together. It's more of a personal choice for me, especially because I have little sisters, and I can definitely see one of them (the youngest) making an honest mistake with a boy and getting my girls pregnant. I plan on spaying my girls soon anyways, because spaying lowers the risk of mammary and pituitary tumors, which I don't want to encounter later on.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Kibafang90 on November 16, 2013, 08:58:15 PM
I hope more people read this before they get pets or breed!
I myself would never breed anyways, never had any desire to bring more life into this overcrowded world.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Azusanga on June 26, 2014, 12:31:42 PM
I guess here's my story.

I got two rats from a pet store, impulse buy. Checked them at the store to make sure that their genitals were identical. I'd owned females in the past, but they were adults when I got them. I had no experience with young. I got them an appointment with an exotic vet, and was told that Leroy was a girl, and Lennon a boy. I immediately separated them, monitoring Leroy closely. After a month, no change, I got two big squishies for Lennon and a dainty little champagne hooded for Leroy.

One day I notice something unusual. I notice that Lennon is a bit bigger that before. And I notice... Nips. Mitherfacker. The vet missexed my darling rat. I put her in a tank I had, and filled it with bedding. I switched her onto oxbow young, and watched. Two days later, 11 pups were squeaking their mad heads off. Lennon happily allowed me to handle her and the pups just minutes after birth, and I cleaned the birthing nest. Lennon ended up being a terrific mother. All of her babies survived, they all thrived and are growing, growing, growing. I kept one, Titan, who looks similar to his father. A friend was able to take two babies in. But I had to surrender a majority of my mischief, and few (no)  people showed interest in them on forums, Craigslist, and local listings. I had to bring them to a shelter, where I don't doubt that they'll be adopted quickly. The shelter staff loved them and spent most of the time I was there cooing over how tame they were. But I wish the vet hadn't messed up. I wish the litter had never happened. It was a great, but incredibly expensive, taxing, time consuming mistake.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: Rattiesforever on April 07, 2015, 11:43:49 PM
When, I brought my first rat home Jasmine, I was given her by a dear family member when I was 10 years old. Jasmine was a very sweet black and white hooded rat, and I imagine a feeder rat. She was laid back and very cuddly, I had her for a few weeks and noticed she was getting a plump belly, and quite territorial;
I reached in to pet her and she bit me. One morning, I woke up bewildered when I saw 12 squirming little pinkies in the cage, I ran up to my grandma and told her, so she took me to the petstore and gave them to the store manager,  they said they would sell them as pets, but I'm possitive they sold them as feeders.  :'(  :BlueDumboBigEyes: A few days after the momma Jasmine died from unknown causes.  A day after she died, she was really weak, and didn't touch her food or water bottle, she was walking funny and fell alot to her side, my grandma told me she may have had a stroke and to give her a day to recover, although the next day she was sleeping in her hideaway and I took her out and she lay limp in my arm. Poor Jasmine she was such a sweet little girl, she left pawprints in my heart, she used to run up to greet me everyday and I'd spend alot of time with her letting her roam, whenever I went to the kitchen she followed right behind. I loved her and always will.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: artgecko on September 30, 2015, 06:51:31 PM
I have only begun my journey as a breeder (I'm working on my first two litters now) but I already have some anecdotes to consider if you're thinking about going into breeding.

A little background on why i'm breeding first...  There are NO breeders in my area, not even feeder breeders.  There are also no rescues or other groups that work with rats or small mammals.  Because of this, your only option as a pet buyer is to go to a chain store like petco and buy a mill-bred rat that is probably not social and has not been bred for health or temperament.  I began owning rats in such a way.  I purchased 3 males from petco from the feeder bin.  Within 2 weeks one showed signs of MC and had to be euthanized.  The other two lived to approximately 1 year of age and died from a seizure and unknown causes, but neither were ever willingly social with humans. 

I began by doing research and found that the only breeders in my state that breed for show sale on strictly non-breeding pet only contracts, so I had to go out of state to find a breeder that I could work with.  She had established lines, socialized her pups, and selected for health and temperament.  I picked up my first pups from (2.4) and thought I was set.

One of the pups, my favorite female from the bunch started showing signs of MC at about 8 weeks of age and had to be euthanized.  I came to find out the pup was from an outcross litter the breeder did with an untested female.. All pups from the litter had MC or were carriers.  She did not know that the breeder she got the female from had crossed MC lines into his own (he had worked with lines from her in the past). 

I also noticed that two of the female pups were showing temperamental flaws.. One was a little "nippy" and one was extremely skittish.. to the point that she would bolt in fear when I opened the cage.    I ended up deciding to breed from the one female with good friendly temperament and also from the "nippy" female but to pair her with my friendliest male. 

So, from the above, you can take that even when you do your research and you think you are getting healthy, friendly rats... It may not work out that way. 

I came to regret my decision to breed the "nippy" female.  Even though both of my litters arrived safely and both mothers nurse their pups, the "nippy" female developed serious maternal aggression and gave me a nasty bite.. I have to wear gloves to go in her cage now.  Because of this aggression, I may have to end her line and only keep back breeders from the other litter. 

This creates an interesting dilemma for me and anyone considering breeding.  If a line you are working with shows aggression or has the potential to develop aggression when they hit sexual maturity, how do you, in good conscious, place those pups in pet homes?  Also, are you committed enough to your standards of health or temperament to end a line even when you have invested a lot of money and time into it, when you are emotionally attached to the animals involved? 
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: flatsound on November 01, 2015, 07:35:42 PM
Okay so i've owned rats for about a year and a half before things happened. So one day after a few months of trial and error of trying to breed Sophie and Romeo, I got a pregnant sophie. I never realized she was pregnant, figured the breeding was another failure as the past few times had been. She never got fatter, never acted different, never changed her eating habits. I was spending the night at my partners house the night she gave birth. She had six baby girls, each of which are all healthy to this day. One day though, one of the babies I'd dubbed "mocha" got her head stuck in the door somehow and her sisters ate her...  :-[ I now always check the corner where she got stuck to prevent it happening again. Anyways, all of the babies found homes, and are all super sweet hearts! Just, please, make sure there are no spaces for them to get stuck in. -shudders-
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: PalePaws on December 04, 2015, 08:33:04 PM
I have been considering breeding to improve temperament... but reading this, it really scares me. What would you all do differently if you were to breed... like how would you prevent these mistakes? Also finding people to buy rats as pets is pretty hard... especially for males so there's that. Also, story time. A long time ago when I was 2 or three, my parents got two cute little girls named chichi and booboo from a pet store.
 They were white with black eyes, one was naughty but one was nice. Well, we had a nice big tank for these girls with no lid. Weeks later we realized one was a boy and now they had kids! Who knows how many litters later we had rats in the walls, in the couch, in the closet and everywhere in between. I don't have any clue what happened after that as I was too young to remember but I'm sure poison was put out for the babies that escaped and the rest given as feeders, and the parents were probably given away or given up to a shelter. It's my parents fault for not having a lid, and how on earth you miss - sex a rat is beyond me, as the only time it's hard to tell is when it's so cold the testes disappear into the body but they should never be that cold... and anyways, boys don't have nipples! Long story short, accidental breeding suck, and with so many shelter rats I'd feel bad for bringing more into the world even if I were doing a good job of improving their genetics and health :( I want to be one of the professionals you all say to leave it to, but I'm not sure it would be worth it so I'll continue to put a lot of thought into it. Thank you everyone for contributing, it really helps put things into perspective. To anyone that is not willing to keep 30+ rats for 3-5 years because they can't find good homes, don't. As you can see its extremely hard and costly and the work that goes into doing it properly will take years to even learn and mentors are a must if you want to actually put it into practice! Love from Kagome and Ghost my girls, and Vader, Charlie, Tack, Nash and Moonlight my boys :) none of which have babies fortunately.
Title: Re: Personal stories about breeding
Post by: artgecko on December 07, 2015, 07:17:34 AM
Palepaws- If this is something you feel strongly about, you shouldn't give up on your dream.  If you want to gauge interest in your area, you might want to look for a local (state) rat group on FB... Look for one for breeders or a pet group that is NOT strictly against breeding.  Tell them what lines you are planning on working with (dumbo, rex, Russian blue, etc.) and gauge their interest in pups... i.e. if you get a lot of responses from near you of people that would be interested, that might show you have enough of a base to breed.  You will also want to look into the availability of rescues near you.  Do people have rescuing as an option?  If not, they may be more likely to buy from you.  In my area there are no rescues and no other breeders, which is partially what lead me to my decision to breed. 

Other factors to consider would be what to do with pups that you can't find homes for or pups that have bad temperaments, etc.  Are you going to consider selling them as feeders?  This is a personal decision and one people feel strongly about, but it may be a viable option if there is little interest in pet rats in your area, but more interest in feeders.  That said, because people feel so strongly about this issue, some pet-adopters may not want to adopt to you if you are known to sell as feeders. 

Other than gauging your market interest, my only other advice would be to be very careful where / who you get your staring breeding stock from.  Make sure there is no MC in their lines and be very choosy about which pups you want to buy as possible breeders.  Accept nothing less than good temperament and if a pup seems unusually nippy (as mine did) see that as a warning sign.  You want to buy from someone with excellent temperament and health, especially health issues that are known to be genetic.