Frequently asked questions about my rattery
How long have I been breeding?
I've been breeding for about 4 years now.
What is my oldest line?
My oldest lines are currently (as of Feb 2018) on their 6th generation, this would be my main Siamese and Russian Blue lines. I also have many new lines though.
What do I feed my rats?
*I am constantly researching rat nutrition and diet. Diet is one of the most important things for our rats health. So this may change a bit here or there. I will try to keep it updated!
The base of their diet is Oxbow® Essentials Adult Rat Food. All of my rats get fed this as the main source of their diet.
Rats under 6 months get extra protein in the source of mostly fresh foods and some high-quality dog food in their base food.
I do feed a variety of fresh foods and treats in moderation.
What bedding do I use?
In all of my cages I use kiln dried pine from tractor supply, the fine quality. Kiln Dried Pine is 100% safe despite many myths out there. It also does one of the very best jobs at controlling odor and ammonia.
Where are my rats kept?
All of my rats are housed inside my home. I have a bedroom on the first floor of my house right between the living room and kitchen that is the rat's room. The door is always kept open and they are part of the family!
How are my rats housed/caging?
Rats are always kept in same sex groups, only removed to be bred or moms being removed to have their litters. Males are always removed back to their cages far before the does ever give birth. I prefer to keep my does alone with their litters (one mom/litter per cage) until the babies are 3-5 weeks old and then depending on the litter/mom I may combine them.
My expecting moms & new litters all get housed in large 105 qt or larger bin cages, which are the safest cages for raising babies.
Most of my rats are kept in bin cages. I also do have a martins cage as well as a critter nation and a double critter nation.
A lot of non-breeders do not understand bin cages or have misconceptions. Why do I prefer them? The number one reason is cleanliness. Bins make for extremely well clean cages and are easy and quick to clean. That means healthier safer environment for my rats. Cages have small spaces between bars that collect urine. This ammonia from the urine is very unhealthy. It also is a much more time-consuming process to clean. People think just changing the bedding is enough but it is not. The entire cage needs to be taken apart and washed, at the very least a month but ideally every week or two depending on how many rats you have.
Aren't you just being cheap? Well, bins are less expensive than a critternation sure. But fewer rats can fit per bin, I also buy an expensive large shelf to put the bins and making the bins is ALOT of work and trouble. I seriously hate making bins lol Being mindful of expenses is always wise but I would not lower the care of my rats over money. If so I would spend less on food and not feed Oxbow, which is one of the most expensive rat foods out there!
But ventilation? Properly made bin cages provide perfect ventilation. The longest sides have windows so air can freely flow right at their level so there is no issues.
But size/climbing? I only use 105 or 110qt bins, these provide the perfect amount of floor space being almost the size of a CN. They are tall enough for rats to stand up outstretched. Rats are fossorial meaning by nature they spend their lives mostly digging, burrowing and living underground. Sure climbing can be fun and enrichment, but it is not the only form of enrichment and not required. I have a DCN, 99.9% of the time all of my rats sat on the top shelf/in the top beds/hammocks. They only went down because I placed food/water down there. Even when I went all out to make the cage super engaging, they rarely used it and mostly only young rats then. For rats floor space is far more valuable than height always.
Bins can still have a ton of enrichment through toys and you can still include baskets, and hammocks and even some wheels.
How often do I clean my cages?
Bins are cleaned twice a week in general. My larger cages are cleaned every 5-7 days.
When do I breed my female rats, how often and when do they retire?
Does are not bred until after 5 months old 250g (for standards) But I generally wait until closer to 6 months/300g. I judge by their structure/size and maturity. Dwarfs are not bred until after 6-8 months of age.
Most does only have a single litter, some may have two. I am open to having a third litter for a good momma rat if needed but it would be very very rare. I prefer to retire does by 10 months of age or under a year at the latest.
At what age do I wean and separate babies?
I let my moms wean their babies naturally on their own. I trust my moms know what they are doing.
Girls stay with mom and other female adults.
What age do I sell babies?
I never sell any babies before 6 weeks of age. In most cases I sell standard babies at 8 weeks of age and dwarfs upwards of 12 weeks.
This is my rat room. Please excuse the ugly wall color lol! It was here when I moved in, I am hoping to paint this spring.
If you have any questions on how my rats are kept just ask!