Policies & Ethics
I treat all of my rats as beloved pets and part of the family. Their physical, mental & social well being is of the utmost importance. I love rats and they pretty much have taken over my life lol. I handle, play, snuggle my rats every day.
I decided to breed rats because I am absolutely in love with them. I think they are amazingly smart, adorable, sweet animals with so much personality! But sadly a lot of the rats out there come from not so great sources. As a community, we are overrun with rats from mills, backyard breeders, and "accidental" litters. This has caused there to be a lot of unhealthy rats & rats with just awful temperaments from aggression issues to just being timid and anxious. Rats have the potential to be so much more though.
Currently in rat focused groups and forums I see people posting that they think it is normal for rats to show aggression, be fearful, bite, need to be tamed or have trust training and for them to be sick all the time....NO. Just no. This is not how rats should be at all and there is no reason for it.
We need real responsible legit breeders who are improving the lines. And adding to the world rats how they should be- friendly, sweet, curious, cuddly love butts with strong healthy foundations!
I do not take breeding lightly. I have volunteered with shelters & seen how many animals are out there in rescues and need to be put down every year. I am strongly anti-BYB (back yard breeder). People should get their cats/dogs fixed, should not just randomly breed any pets or just breed for the fun of it.
IMO breeding should ONLY be done to improve the animal/lines as a whole. If you are not working towards a goal, you should not breed IMO.
I don't want to breed just to have cute babies or always have a piece of my favorite rat. I am constantly working towards many goals.
I work towards having the healthiest animals as possible. This means not breeding unhealthy animals or animals that will add unhealthy/flaws to my lines. For example, rats that have shown they are prone to tumors, URIs, etc...
I also work towards building a strong healthy foundation for my babies to grow into healthy rats- having healthy moms that are of proper age/weight/maturity & making sure they have big fat healthy babies. Making sure the babies stay with mom as long as possible & get proper nutrition for the best start in life.
This also means controlling environmental factors & husbandry- clean well ventilated cages, good nutrition, and a happy stress free life.
Many health issues are more environmental or based on their care but I do believe that when you set up rats with a good background and a good start at life they will be stronger and better equipped to handle illness if it should occur or to fight it off much better.
Temperament is very much genetic. During a discussion on temperament in a breeder group someone said: "nature determines how far nurture will get you" I absolutely love that & strongly agree. There are a lot of good studies out there on it as well. While I do handle my babies, I breed for temperament and want the background & genetics to be the strongest source of their temperament.
The ultimate goal is to have confident, curious, relaxed, calm and very friendly rats that do not just tolerate people but actively seek people out for attention and love. Rats that would even contemplate biting. Rats that are social and calm to other rats and that do not have hormonal aggression issues.
I breed to better temperament, monitor and correct hormonal issues in my lines and only sell lines when they are perfectly pet ready.
I choose the sweetest most friendly rats with the most lovely temperament to breed. I temperament test all of my babies, many many times over the course of their growth & development.
I follow AFRMA Standards & do breed to improve structure & form. While I do not show my rats (they need to bring shows up this way!!) I still want show quality rats.
Body structure standards are important for overall health.
Variety standards are important as well to me, such as my Siamese line which is currently fairly marked and I am working to improve that. I try to stay away from rainbow litters & do not just randomly throw 2 rats together, my breedings have goals in mind.
I have the knowledge and understandings of the genetics behind my lines. I won't say I am a genetic expert, I am always studying and learning more and more on the subject. But knowing the genetics behind the rats is so important. Understanding why and how it works and what to expect when pairing, along with knowing what I need to work towards a goal.
While I do taking breeding very seriously it is important to note that this is a hobby. I am not breeding to try and get rich or even turn a profit. Any money I make goes right back into the rats care- food, cages, bedding, toys, vet funds, etc... I am breeding for the love of rats.
One of the first things I did when I decided to breed was sit down and right down my ethical views. What do I feel is right and wrong, what is the best care methods, what am I comfortable with, what is best for the animals, my views on common issues, etc... Since then I have grown, have experiences that changed & shaped some thoughts, and have been lucky enough to have a wealth of knowledge available from the breeder community.
What follows is my views, practices and ethics on breeding.
Every rat has daily interaction and health checks to monitor their physical and emotional wellbeing.
All rats are given health care as needed. No animal will ever suffer under my care.
My rats are kept in appropriate caging that is kept clean and well maintained. With proper ventilation and appropriate bedding and toys. They are kept indoors and provided a proper environment and temperature.
They are fed healthy and appropriate food in sufficient amounts. Including a wide variety of fresh fruits & veggies.
I breed for Health first and foremost, temperament & then with a focus color/variety. I breed the varieties I love and have a passion for.
The most important thing to me is to be open and honest about my breeding practices. I am very active in many breeder groups and openly discuss and share my methods (as well as always striving to learn and better myself as a breeder!) If you have any questions about my methods, please do not hesitate to ask.
I breed quality over quantity. I do not breed just to breed or to have babies available all the time. Each litter born fits into a goal and a plan. I do not breed on demand, but for what best fits me & my rats. I ensure not to overwhelm myself, have enough space/money/time for each litter born. I am very picky about selecting which rats to carry on as well. This may mean a long wait between litters. But they are so worth the wait!
I only breed healthy females with a wonderful temperament. Females are not bred before 5 months old or 250g in weight. Though I prefer to wait until 6 months/close to 300g in most cases.
My females retire usually at about 10 months but up to a year depending on the rat.
I will never overbreed a female and let her have plenty of time to rest between litters to recover. Most does only have 1 or 2 litters in their life, except in very rare cases where they may be bred 3 times and get at the least a month between weaning their babies and mating again. I do not colony breed.
I do not breed rats that have had any signs or issues with their health. I rarely breed rats with aggression issues and only in lines that are works in progress that are not being sold at that time and only to breed out the aggression issues. Any signs of health issues & they will be retired. I am striving to improve my lines and that means only breeding the best of the best.
My rats are all kept in proper clean cages. I do not keep my rats in racks. I do use large well ventilated bins as cages. Proper bins are quite large, never crowded. Bins provide safety for babies & are superior to keep clean. The health of my rats is the most important thing to me and bin cages provide a healthier cleaner environment. Even bin cages are filled with proper enrichment! Despite the popular myth, floor space is more important for rats than height.
My rats are all kept indoors, inside my home in their own room off my living room.
I do believe in humane euthanasia if necessary to prevent suffering. I do not hard cull my pets to make room or for non quality of life reasons. I will hard cull pinkies to keep litter size smaller. This is to help babies have a better start at life. They do not have to compete at nursing or care from mom. This leads to healthier, stronger, chubby little babies. This is done humanely with care, consideration and love for the betterment of the babies. It is not something I take lightly. I follow appropriate AVMA standards for home euthanasia.
I breed pets only. All things need to eat and I don't hold it against the animals. But my rats are born to be pets.
I am open to selling to breeders after I get to know them. I do not do stud services. I will not loan out my rats.
For the most part I ONLY adopt out same sex pairs or more. Rats do best in groups and we do not support single rats. Even if someone already has rats I feel it is best for them to have someone their own age to play with. It also means they will not be alone during quarantine. And in case introductions with your other rats do not go well or need to be done more slowly they will still have their sibiling for company. I may make exceptions if someone already has rats around the same age but I do prefer to only sell in pairs. Plus 2 is always better then 1 right? :)
My rats, even the ones used to breed are my forever pets. When they retire from breeding I still keep, love and spoil them as pets. My rats are pets first, I love them and they are part of my family. There may be times when I have older rats for sale that were not needed in my breeding program.
Our babies will only be adopted out after 6 weeks of age usually 8+. Dwarfs are kept until 12+ weeks. I strongly believe babies get much more then just nutrition from mom and need to wait until they are old enough before going to their new homes.
Everyone interested in our babies must fill out an application to show intent and make sure potential homes are well suited for rats. I just want to make sure every baby goes to the best home possible.
We are a closed rattery for the safety of all involved. There are a number of contagious and very dangerous diseases that can be spread easily and wipe out entire ratteries or harm litters. This is also out of my home and we do not really wish strangers coming and going. We are an open book though and will answer any questions, keep up to date pictures of our operation, cages and play area. Any concerns you may have we will try to answer or show.
Rats are my passion. They are the best pets and I only want the very best for each born! Every single life I bring into this world is special & I take full responsibility for that life.