My first (stressful) week as a rat owner

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[cub]
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Re: My first (stressful) week as a rat owner

Post by [cub] » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:25 pm

Do you have a small carrier? It's what I use to contain the various rodents when they're being weighed. Pop one in with a treat and shut the lid, and even the skitty ones will usually eventually stay still for long enough to get a roughly accurate reading.

When I'm going in and out of the rats' play room, if any are at the door I just nudge them away gently with my feet, which usually works. It can help to have someone else on hand to catch any escapees just in case.
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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amycool
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Re: My first (stressful) week as a rat owner

Post by amycool » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:04 pm

I got my first (and hopefully last) proper bite yesterday. It was entirely my own fault. I put my finger into the sputnik to give Adeline a little stroke. Adeline is the bitiest of our rats as her eyesight isn't very good. She really got me but luckily near the knuckle so not much blood. I won't make that mistake again.

This came after a bite on the bum from Apple! The other night I'm not sure what had happened to my ladies but they were all insane. All in heat maybe? There was loads of fighting whilst I was sat in the enclosure and all three were grabbing my clothes. At one point Adeline's tail was in the water bowl and Angora bit it! I've never heard such a yelp! Anyway, Apple was inside my dressing gown and tried to bite through my PJs. It ruddy hurt! I tried to stand up to signal to my husband through the window to come and save me and all 3 rats ran right up my body and tried to leap out. They were still crazy the next morning but have now calmed down.

Since DD went back to school yesterday they all seem very sombre. Normally they're running around the cage from about 8am-10am but both days they've stayed in bed.

I've now added loads of ropes to the cage and they're all getting really good on them. We've had to move one of the litter trays as they were weeing in the corner, probably because I had moved the sputnik. Generally they're really great at weeing and pooing in the litter tray. Before the cage stank after 3 days and now I'm cleaning every 8 days. They've also worked out the puzzle ball, which we fill with Gammarus shrimp.

Adeline is visibly much larger than the other two. She feels quite fat but looking at photos, I don't think she's overweight yet. I guess if she gets much fatter than the other two we'll have to start separating them for feeding. Angora still looks more like a hamster than a rat!

We have big plans for the conservatory. It's going to take a while but we're going to get rid of lots of the stuff from in there, put pipe around the only wire (fridge) and then see how our girls enjoy having a huge room to play in. The enclosure is just too boring for them now. It also means I can sit in with them and read a book or something rather than being cramped and fearful that they will jump off my shoulder and out (Angora has succeeded once).

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Re: My first (stressful) week as a rat owner

Post by [cub] » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:59 am

I have found that a doe being in season can lead to the group turning into a bit of a soap opera for the evening, especially if it's more than one of them in season at the same time. If the fighting continues, particularly if they're still biting each other (and you!), then spaying may help. Though for elective neuters the recommended age is 6+ months, so that won't be for a few more months yet. (If you have a vet who's experienced with rodent surgery, I'd personally recommend electively spaying all rescue does/does of uncertain background simply for the health benefits. I'm planning on that myself with my two new little girls, and they can be such drama llamas that I think their older cagemates are all counting down the days...)

If they continue to be unusually subdued then I'd consider taking them to a vet, but it may just be the change in schedule that's upset them.

It sounds like they're going to love the conservatory once it's been turned into a rat room. :luck:
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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amycool
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Re: My first (stressful) week as a rat owner

Post by amycool » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:57 am

Thankfully the craziness ended as quickly as it had begun!

They're getting up in the mornings again too, which is nice as DD gets to have a stroke. We're still getting the occasional sneeze but they're all so full of energy that I still think it's not worth the stress of a vet trip. They all like to sit on my shoulder so it's a good chance to hear them breathing up close and there's no wheezing.

The conservatory is open!! It was hilarious as my confident climbing rats all looked terrified of this big open space! Surprisingly, Apple was the most adventurous at first whilst the other two hid under the sofa. Eventually they all had an explore and a snack (they wouldn't eat at first) and they worked out how to climb through the back of the cane sofa, through the cushions to come and sit with me. :D

I'm sure they'll be confident soon. My only concern is escape. We currently have wooden boards blocking off the door and fridge but we have such good climbers that we need to make sure they can't get out.

My friends still don't understand how anyone could love a rat, but we adore them. They're all so incredibly pretty and funny to watch. The top of the explorer is now mostly ropes with a few hammocks and they're such good climbers.

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[cub]
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Re: My first (stressful) week as a rat owner

Post by [cub] » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:02 am

I personally reckon the odd sneeze is fine; everyone's allowed a sneeze on occasion!

I have to admit that whenever I do a new playroom layout, I go round with a tape measure to make sure there's enough of a gap between rat-accessible things and possible escape routes. I find a 60cm gap is sufficient for my most intrepid rat, but there are definitely rats out there that are even more of a headache... :lol: Also, beware of thin objects: chair/table legs and slim radiators are both quite climbable, as a rat can just put a paw on either side and push their paws together to haul themselves up. It's good exercise though!
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
Avatar by Ursula Vernon.

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