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Ratties??
foggyimage wrote in snakecommunity
Does anyone here have experience breeding rats? I hope so! I am having real difficulties trying to get any of my rats to breed. My oldest sister had rats breeding out the wazoo for years but none of mine will breed. I tried two adult (one male/ one female of course) feeder rats that were at least two months old and kept them together for about two months before the male died (he was sick looking when we first got him but we thought he had just fallen in his water dish).  The female died a few weeks later by seizing (She died practically in my hands. It was super sad for me :(   ) Now I have two hand raised rats that are pet quality that are about five maybe six weeks old and I am waiting for them to breed. They might be too young but really some rats are breeding by six weeks. I am not in a big rush but I am running out of frozen feeders and since I have been trying to breed rats for five months and I haven't been getting anything, I am a little peeved. Also, I have thought about breeding gerbils but I only own two boas so I would be feeding lots of gerbils at one time. Plus, I have thought about bunnies but bunnies smell worse than rats and are really too cute to feed lol.

Any ideas why none of these rats have bred?

BTW for anyone who read my last post about a slightly aggressive BRB, she is doing much better. I am still not handling her every day but she has gotten a lot better at not trying to bite me, just looking at me like I'm food. She has had some good handling sessions and let me take her out of her feeding tub last night without trying to bite me. (I'm using a snake hook to first pick her up and then put her in my hands because I think it makes us both more comfortable)

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There is a decent chance that you are not providing them with conditions that make them want to breed--what kind of enclosure are you keeping them in?

Your very best bet is probably to try and find someone who will sell you either a proven breeding pair or a female rat in pup, and go from there.

Starting from scratch with baby rats is possibly not the best way to go.

^This.

Also yeah, 5-6 weeks is rather young. It's possible to get them to breed, yes, but the rats' youth may be working against you here.
Your first pair probably didn't breed due to the health problems. If you're trying to breed animals, you don't get the one that looks even a little ill or weak.

Glad to hear things are progressing well with the snake!

Totally understandable. What happened was this lady is a mass seller of rats and snakes and I was buying a snake from her and she happened to have a bunch of rats and she just pulled two and handed them to me. Guess I should have complained that the male didn't look too good but sometimes I feel really bad being a picky customer. I would understand that those feeder rats may have been unhealthy to breed but my new two are super cute and curious. They tried to escape last night while I was restocking their food and I found them mid-process out the door lol.

Pointing out the health of an animal isn't being 'too picky'. It's perfectly reasonable to decline an animal that looks ill. Any seller who gives you grief over that, or insists you take an ill animal (or knowingly and willingly sells an ill animal without informing you) is someone you should stay far away from.

Maybe the new rats just want to be friends? :p

I am upgrading their cage to a 3ft by 2 ft by 2 ft. Currently they are in a classic 2 ft by 1 ft by 1 ft (Which I guess is pretty small but not smaller than a 10gallon tank). Both cages I described are wire mesh and they get water bottles, food dishes (full of dog food) and hidy boxes with fabric and newspaper which they hid in and shred. Also, my mom thinks they are more like 8 weeks old. They are close to full size.

Can I ask why you are feeding your rats dog food? They aren't dogs. And they need much less protein than dogs need.

Mostly because dog food is a common and easily obtainable food for rats. It is pretty much universally accepted but I know some people feed cat food instead. I owned a pet rat when I was younger that lived for 6 years and only ate dog food. He started as a feeder but my six year old heart wouldn't let my sister feed him. I also give them fruits and veggies but not as a main food source.

Please stop feeding your rats dogfood. Feed them lab blocks. They're not even expensive; I'm not sure what the rationale for feeding a rat dogfood is. Rats can survive on most things that have calories, but dog food is optimized for dog nutritional needs, not rat nutritional needs.

The upgraded cage will probably do for them size wise. Do you have toys for them? Rats need to be intellectually stimulated.

Also: what you think full size is in a rat is absolutely not full size if you think an 8-week pup is "full size". 8 weeks is basically still teenage for rats. They're often reproductively mature but they're usually not full adult size.

They don't like lab blocks. I have tried these. They must not taste very good. I was reading on some rat forum (not livejournal) that rats have very good taste buds and like things that a human would eat. Someone said that their rats stopped eating lab blocks when they offered dog food and their rats wouldn't eat the lab blocks after that. Yes, they have toys.

I kept rats for about ten years, and mine had lab blocks always available and then were hand-fed bits of whatever we ate (vegetables, bits of meat, bread, crackers, fruit). I never had them refuse the lab blocks even though they ate a lot of things much tastier than dog food.

That's very interesting! Too bad not all rats are made alike. It would be cheaper if they would eat lab blocks :/

They'd probably eat lab blocks eventually if you feed less dog food; my experience is that they don't particularly like the flavor of lab blocks, but will eat them if hungry.

Haha your probably right. I will try to get them to eat lab blocks since some people believe it to be healthier but there is no real nutritional analysis to be found on lab blocks besides they contain lots of corn and soy as does the dog food I feed (I just checked the label to be sure, they were the first two ingredients on there!) So really, I just compared the two products and there wasn't that much difference :/

Sorry, just to give a little bit more information, the nutritional analysis of lab blocks of 2018 is 18% protein and 5% fat. The dog food I feed is 20% protein and 8% fat. Plus, I supplement with fruits and veggies to help with other needed minerals and vitamins. Personally, I really don't understand the push for lab blocks if the percentiles practically line up.

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