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 Post subject: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:04 pm
Posts: 60
Hi all

Following my other thread (which I notice is not far below this one! viewtopic.php?f=139&t=30681) I have now lost another rat :(

So I am now down to 2, and am therefore looking to ensuring succession so the last rat isn't on his own for any length of time. I have read guides online (including the carrier one on here) about how to introduce rats but I just have a couple of queries I'd like to run by you:

1) Where do I get these new rats from? I got my first 4 from Pets at Home, but I have been boo'd for that on various sites as rat enthusiasts don't seem to like them. Are there reputable rat breeders in each town I can find a list of somewhere?

2) I think I can handle 4 rats, so am I best getting 2 more 'now' and introducing them to the 2 existing rats? I imagine that is better than waiting till one is alone then trying to find cage-mates.

3) I have almost no idea what specific breed of rats I have (PaH called them 'rats' and gave no further details). Their ears make me think dumbo... Regardless I can find that out with a Google, my question is, can you mix breeds or do they have to be the same (can I mix dumbo with fancy?)?

My two are docile as anything, so I don't anticipate push-back, but I will obviously monitor closely as who knows how they will be with new friends.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
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Location: South Cambridgeshire
Sorry for your loss, but definitely a good idea to add a couple of kittens now, then the next loss will be easier for your other original rat.

There is a list of breeders registered with the NFRS here - remember that they aren't vetted at all, but at least they have made the effort to find out about the NFRS and join, lol! I can recommend Lilly at Lilliput, and Hannah at Renegade, both in Sheffield. :luck:

There are no different breeds of rat (it's only the pet trade who call them fancy and dumbo, dumbo rats are still fancy rats), so there's no limitations on what kittens you can introduce. They only differ in the way they look, and you can get a wide range of different varieties within the same litter.

When you do get them, follow the carrier method for introductions once the kittens are big enough (Lilly/Hannah will advise what age is best for their line).

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Mary x

Zephyr Rat Stud


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 Post subject: Re: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:04 pm
Posts: 60
Thank you, I'm more upset about it than I normally am when a pet dies, I was very attached to him :(

I've messaged a couple of the breeders from the NFRS list (and confused one by phrasing my query like I was emailing a shop; she kindly explained that's not how it works :))

I never knew that about breeds, I'll bear that in mind! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:04 pm
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Is there a sliding scale of rat quality? Like, breeder who pays careful attention to bloodlines to remove aggressiveness and promote healthy rats at one end and 'yeah I just chuck 'em in a box and pick out any babies that don't get eaten each week' at the other? Basically all the breeders from the NFRS list won't be able to provide rats till later in the year, and I'm a little concerned I'll have lost another rat by then (the one I just lost looked in perfect health, until his weight plummeted and he had to be put down; the remaining two don't look half as healthy as he did... but then maybe they look scruffy but are in perfect health, while my latest was some sort of expert at hiding his failing health).

Are all pets shops terrible is I suppose what I'm asking?


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 Post subject: Re: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:08 pm 
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The problem with pet shops is that the rats there are bred for quantity rather than quality, meaning that they are often more prone to health problems or are nervous around humans. Our very first pair of rats came from an 'exotics' pet shop and we were thought because they weren't from Pets At Home we wouldn't have any problems. Although they were handled a little in the shop they still took a long time to come round and both suffered with chronic respiratory disease all their lives, which caused heartbreak and not to mention a lot of money.

No breeder can guarantee that their rats will ever get ill but good breeders spend a long time carefully selecting which rats to breed from; their kittens are also usually a lot more confident and outgoing from the off. We noticed a marked difference when we acquired our first breeder rats.

Have you thought about looking a little further afield when going through the NFRS list? Rats travel really well and mostly just go to sleep! We're not close to any registered breeders where we live, so all our rats have had journeys of over 100 miles, by train as well as car.

Good luck :luck:

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 Post subject: Re: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:00 am 
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Location: South Cambridgeshire
ElizabethW wrote:
The problem with pet shops is that the rats there are bred for quantity rather than quality...

The prime problem with petshops from my pov is that they treat all rats involved as mere cogs in a profit making enterprise, they don't care about them or give them anywhere near a decent level of care. I couldn't support that kind of business by paying them for rats.

In my view, the only ethical alternative to a responsible breeder is to rescue. There may be rats available in rescue centres withing reach (and as Elizabeth says, rats travel well, so the distance constraints are yours rather than the rats'), or you could try the Rat Rescue Network UK facebook group which may have suitable rats listed, or you could post a request. :luck:

Note that the rats in rescue will mostly have come from petshops or 'back yard breeders' originally (responsible breeders would take their rats back if a home could no longer keep them), so will be no better in terms of genes, but still deserve a good permanent home, and by rescuing, the pet trade gets no financial gain. Kittens from rescue will however have been raised well being handled lots and fed a good diet, and that will have a beneficial effect.

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Mary x

Zephyr Rat Stud


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 Post subject: Re: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:16 pm 
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The inability of so many pet stores to correctly sex rats does sadly mean there tend to be a lot of babies out there in rescues or homes who have often been much better socialised than those in pet stores and hopefully had a better start diet-wise too.

The comments on how well rats travel are worth considering too if it opens up more options. Probably a bit on the extreme side but my latest two additions did a 250 mile trip via train/underground to reach me and coped fine! A bit sleepy but confident, engaged kittens from the get go :)

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 Post subject: Re: Where to find new rats (Sheffield)
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:04 pm
Posts: 60
Thanks all :)

I'm putting my name down for a local breeder and hoping for the best, as I've contacted everyone I can find in about a 50 mile radius and they are all either retired or booked up solid.


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