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Help please!

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:57 pm
by Flobble12
Hi, first time posting
My daughter is a first time owner of rats, we got her 2 boys who were great. Unfortunately we lost Sirius to a brain tumour early on. It was decided we would get another 2 boys to keep Remus company.
Sometime last night/today either Lysander or Lorcan gave birth which we discovered about an hour ago.
We are now in a bit of shock and a bit of panic as we don't have a clue what to do.
We only discovered the babies as we let the ratsout of the cage for play time and Lorcan hid under her cupboard and wouldn't come out ( not normal behaviour.) we put his cage on the floor flush with the cupboard hoping for him/her to go home on its own which is when we discovered one of the babies which must have been kicked out of the house where the others were found shortly after. as I said we don't have a clue what to do, we need to find out if they're both girls and how best to look after mother and babies and even who is mum.
Can anybody please help.

Re: Help please!

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:29 pm
by squeakrat
First of all, have you got a separate cage to move the boy(s) into? I would leave the babies where they are. You will need to determine if Lorcan or Lysander is the mum - if you pick them up and have a look at their tummies, you should be able to see nipples on a girl. If you can see nipples on them both and aren't sure which is the mum, you can leave them both in with the babies. But Remus (plus friend if you have another boy from the new pair) must be separated from mum and the babies asap as she will be able to get pregnant again straight away.

Re: Help please!

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:55 pm
by Mayamy - may or may not be useful sexing wise (but the nads -should- be fairly noticeable if the rat's a boy). If you can get photos (1 person hold, 1 snap) then people may be able to help otherwise. If both of the new rats are girls and you aren't sure who's mum, it's probably easiest to leave them together, at least until it becomes more obvious.

Step 1 - don't panic! If the newbies are pet store rats it's unfortunately ridiculously common for them to mess up sexing and often rehome already pregnant baby girls :(

A second cage so you can split the current boys/girls is a good starting point. Ideally you want a low cage with not much in it (no hammocks or things mum can accidentally carry/lose babies on). How long have you had the Lorcan and Lysander for? If they are from a pet store it's also possible you may be able to get a cage etc out of them if you point out their mistake (at which point they're highly likely to say they'll take the babies back to sell once they're older, please don't do this as they can easily screw up again and keep profiting)

Possible useful articles here too:

I don't breed myself so won't try to give any detailed advice but can easily prod a few more experienced people this way if they don't see this themselves :)

Re: Help please!

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:03 pm
by Flobble12
Thanks for the replies.
Had a good look with the aid of picture on google and one is defo a boy. We already had 2 cages as we were taking introductions to Remus slowly but now have had to put the other boy in with him due to the emergency situation..
Have left mum to do her thing as she probably knows better than we do. Still a bit panicked but I suppose it's just a case of wait and see now.
Don't plan on letting any of the babies go to a pet shop especially after this has happened to us. If we're lucky and all turns out alright then it's onto a hunt for loving homes

Re: Help please!

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:23 pm
by squeakrat
Try not to panic, you've got the right rats in the right cages now. Next step is to sit down and have a nice cup of tea (or something stronger) :lol:

You will get a lot of good advice and support on here - I don't breed so I can't give you any of the details, but I'm sure someone will be along tomorrow who will tell you everything you need to know.

Re: Help please!

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:26 pm
by Mayamy
Yup, despite your girl probably being young, they're amazingly creatures and usually pretty good mums so fingers crossed :luck: Do be aware that it's possible the girl is pregnant again already, hopefully not though.

If Remus and the other boy have any issues in the other cage if it's too big, you could always just opt towards the *carrier method* for a day until you can procure another cage.

I think there's an article on feeding nursing mums in the section I linked to before but do feel free to post if you have any other questions as there are people around who do have experience in raising litters. You can probably more or less leave her to it for the first few days or so anyway, especially if mum's not that confident around you :)

Re: Help please!

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:13 am
by Flobble12
Thanks for all the help.
All seemed to be going well after we separated mom from the males but after 48 hours mum has now removed the babies from the nest and put them in 2 separate piles out in the open.
It all has us very confused but are just leaving her to it, as we don't understand any of it but don't want to do the wrong thing here. :|

Re: Help please!

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:11 am
by cyber ratty
Give mum lots of nesting material (tissues, straw, substrate) so that she can make the sort of nest she feels is needed. If the babies were in an igloo or other enclosed space, it may have been getting too warm in there. Also, if the litter is large, she may have decided to split it to ensure all the babies get fed equally.