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Old 06-14-2011, 11:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rat pups question

As some of you guys know, I work in a laboratory that uses rats. Well, we have just started doing breeding, and four of our moms had pups last week! They are all so cute and growing so fast! All of the rats are being very good mommies - we haven't had any pups die or be rejected.

My question is, one of the moms had a very large litter - somewhere between 12 and 15 pups. I don't have a definitive count since I didn't want to disturb her and the babies too much. They all seem fine, and are nursing well, though they are a little smaller than our other litters. Mom, however, looks pretty tired and skinny. I've ordered some "breeder" food that is higher in fat, which should get here soon. Until then, I was wondering if I could maybe give her some milk, like I've heard people talk about giving new hedgie moms?

Despite hanging out with rats every day, I'm definitely ignorant on a lot of things, especially physiologically. Can rats even have milk/dairy? Has anyone else here ever dealt with rat moms and pups? I'm sure she will be fine; I just want to make sure she stays strong and healthy, especially since this is her first litter.

Thanks guys! Also, I wish I could post pictures but I'm totally not allowed to. Trust me when I say they are very, very, VERY cute!
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rat pups question

I don't know a lot about rats, but I do follow a rat forum (I love them but I haven't had the privilege of owning them yet).

I'm sure the people on the forum will be able to answer this question for you!

http://www.goosemoose.com/component/opt ... /forum,rat

I've heard of people giving hamsters extra protein like eggs to help their mommy hammies, so perhaps you could do the same with rats?
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rat pups question

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Originally Posted by shaelikestaquitos
I don't know a lot about rats, but I do follow a rat forum (I love them but I haven't had the privilege of owning them yet).

I'm sure the people on the forum will be able to answer this question for you!

http://www.goosemoose.com/component/opt ... /forum,rat

I've heard of people giving hamsters extra protein like eggs to help their mommy hammies, so perhaps you could do the same with rats?
Thanks! I'm not sure if I'll post or not (just because I don't want people getting angry at me for asking about lab rats and not pet rats since there are, unfortunately, limits to what I can and can't do) but I've been looking through some old posts and they are very helpful!

Hopefully I can get the mom to eat a little baby formula or ensure. She's funny - she usually takes two or three babies at a time and nurses them away from the nest instead of just laying on top of them like the other moms do. It's like she doesn't want to get mobbed!
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rat pups question

Lol poor momma, she sounds like she's working hard to keep her pups happy!

I know a lot of people also breed feeder rats on there... but yeah, I've seen some posts turning really ugly. The people there love rats, but there are many younger members who will sort of "jump on the bandwagon" and start giving the same advice... and when that happens it usually escalates into something really big and bad >_<

At any rate, you're trying your best to provide the best life possible for your lab ratties, and I'm sure people will respect that.

You could try posting but yeahhh xD

Also, does your lab have pink-eyed whites? Because I LOVE THEM.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rat pups question

Yeah, while I certainly understand that people want the best for animals and are very passionate, the last thing I want is to have my job and animal care bashed when I just want advice. I really do go out of my way to be as compassionate as I can for all the animals we use.

Yes, the vast majority of the rats we have are albino, with red eyes - I love them! Very sweet and SO smart. These moms and babies are black and white though, with dark eyes. Hooded, I think they're called, because their heads are all black. The little pups don't have fur yet, but you can already see black patches on their skin. Eeeep! (Seriously, I go check on all the babies like three times a day. Everyone else in the lab thinks I'm crazy. )

I've already decided that when I leave this job (in a year or two) I will get a couple of rats, because I just love playing with the ones we have! I recently discovered how much they like having their noses and tops of their heads stroked - just like Liam! Maybe one day we will be adoptive rat moms together.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rat pups question

Quote:
Originally Posted by cylaura
Yeah, while I certainly understand that people want the best for animals and are very passionate, the last thing I want is to have my job and animal care bashed when I just want advice. I really do go out of my way to be as compassionate as I can for all the animals we use.

Yes, the vast majority of the rats we have are albino, with red eyes - I love them! Very sweet and SO smart. These moms and babies are black and white though, with dark eyes. Hooded, I think they're called, because their heads are all black. The little pups don't have fur yet, but you can already see black patches on their skin. Eeeep! (Seriously, I go check on all the babies like three times a day. Everyone else in the lab thinks I'm crazy. )

I've already decided that when I leave this job (in a year or two) I will get a couple of rats, because I just love playing with the ones we have! I recently discovered how much they like having their noses and tops of their heads stroked - just like Liam! Maybe one day we will be adoptive rat moms together.

Yeah I never thought I'd like rats... Their tails creeped me out and I was always under the impression that they were like bigger, dirtier hamsters... as horrible as that sounds >_<

But then I got to meet some rats in person at an animal convention.. and oh my gosh it was love at first sight <3 They're so curious and intelligent. I'd love to have some one day!

My plan is that once I finish university, or once I have more time, I'll let myself get more pets.

For now, the two cats, fish and hedgehog are more than enough on my plate
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rat pups question

I bought some vanilla Ensure last night and put some in a water bottle for mom this morning... she went right for it! I watched her lap a bunch up before going back to the babies. Hopefully this will help her out until the new food arrives. Her pups are still doing fine, still smaller than the pups from another mom who delivered the same day, but definitely still happy and healthy.
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