Accidental Ratties

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TheRatsThree

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Hi! I am a unintended rat owner. My nephew asked me to get some feeder rats for his Boa, and at the reptile shop they let you pick baby rats out of a cage. There was one blonde mom rat who would hurry and pick up the only blonde baby and carry him to the other side of the cage every time I tried to pick any babies up. The other 2 moms were more interested in getting their heads scratched. There were only about a dozen babies which is too little for 3 moms so I started feeling bad thinking “that’s your last baby isn’t it?”. Needless to say I had to heed the voice in my head saying “save that baby. His mom loves him.” So I decided to get him as a pet. Did a little research at home and found out they need friends. Ok, I’ll keep they grey one too it’s kind of pretty. They are very young, so I ended up getting kitten formula for them. Black one learns to drink both out of water bottle and kitten bottle and samples food first. So your the smart one? Darn now you have a personally. So now I have 3 new pets and a grouchy nephew with a still hungry boa. Sorry dude.
Anyways, the blonde is Cheddar, the grey is Gouda, and the black is Brie. According to rat breeding websites I found, they are about 15 days old. (Mostly due to the rolled up ears and squinty eyes. Cheddar is a few day older has he has wide open ears and eyes.) I think according to the pictures on the breeder websites they are all boys, but they are too tiny to be sure.
if anyone has any advice on caring For such little babies, it would be really appreciated. Kinda fumbling in the dark now, but hey it’s been 3 days and they’re getting more active so maybe I’m doing ok???
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lilspaz68

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If their eyes are open they are over 2 weeks old which is good! At this age they will start trying solids and can be slowly weaned off formula (kitten is too high in protein to stay on long. Puppy or human powder formula is better). Try soft foods at first until their jaw muscles strengthen up, offer good quality lab blocks and see if they will chew on them.
Adorable babies :). Take a video and I can try to age them better for you. Their eyes, head shape, body shape and movement can all help with that.
 

TheRatsThree

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Thanks! I will try to add a video if I can get it to work. I’d like to ask your thoughts... I got the kitten formula idea from a wild animal rehab site. They said that when first put on the kitten formula, they will get diarrhea which will go away as their body adjusts. This does seem to be true as they had diarrhea the first day but their stool is getting firmer every time. Do you think this would go away on human formula? I also saw a recommendation to try to feed them plain yogurt on a Qtip for benificial bacteria to help them adjust on another website. Good idea or no?
 

TheRatsThree

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I did get rat blocks but they seemed awfully hard for their little teeth. I put a small amount of special K cereal with freeze dried strawberries in their cage instead. Brie did sample that the first day, and they did drag one of the strawberries into the area they like to sleep in last night. What kind of soft foods can be offered? Just softened rat block?
 

lilspaz68

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for a video the best thing to do is upload to Youtube then paste the link in your post :)

You can leave them on the kitten formula for now but not for weeks on end. I took in a 6 week old rescue girl who was given ONLY kitten formula the entire time from being a rescued pinky and she was malnouished scrawny and small when I got her.

I usually only worry about probiotics if a rat is on antibiotics or is having digestive issues.

rats were born to gnaw so you will be surprised at how much those teeth can grind through a hard lab block.

I will feed baby cereal with the formula mixed in to start them off. For soft foods to tempt and transition thmn to solids, i use thawed frozen veggies that are warmed like peas, corn etc.
 

lilspaz68

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They are darling babies!

Here's what I am seeing.
1) they are just over 2 weeks old, maybe 2.5 weeks, they will need formula til about 4 weeks, but keep offering the soft foods as well as lab blocks.
2) Looks like you have a russian blue banded with a head spot (bit worrying) a siamese (I'll explain below) and a black berkshire.
3) the sneezing is worrying in tiny babies. Can you check around for any amoxicillin in your home, a friends or family members? Or even better azithromycin? These are both human antibiotics that are used on rats and are pediatric friendly.

The colour explanations...

black baby has a white belly making him/her a berkshire
tannish baby looks to have a darker shading down the back towards the rump? This is indicative of siamese. These babies start off darker and lighten up.
the blue banded has high white markings which means you are going to have to watch this wee one for stomach bloating, diarrhea, constipation, failure to thrive. These markings are more likely to develop a very nasty genetic issue called Megacolon.

Now we have to figure out what sexesvyou have as girls and boys have to be separated at 5-5.5 weeks of age to prevent any possibility of pregnancies.

I have pics of 5 week old babies with diagrams showing what to look for. The boys in this case will have their testicles descended which happens around 3-3.5 weeks. Then I will post pics of 20 day old babies so you can compare to your own little ones.
 

TheRatsThree

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Thanks for all the color and age info. But you were right to worry about the sneezing. The babies have gone downhill since last night. Cheddar was already gone when I went feed them. Gouda looks unwell. I put a damp washcloth in a large ziplock in the microwave then wrapped it in another and have Gouda lying on it for warmth. Brie is being his normal self. I rubbed Gouda all over to try to invigorate him to keep eating. Guess he liked it as he started bruxing. Family has a little Cipro and Flagyl but none of the antibiotics you suggested. I’ve called a couple vets but they don’t take rats. Really worried about Gouda 🥺
 

lilspaz68

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Damn. I'm so sorry. :( For all we know they have a super contagious rat virus, so since you are losing babies, get that cipro and I'll teach you how to mix and dose it. Any chance you have a medicating syringe? Let me know if he cipro is 250 mg or 500 mg tablets then i'll work out dosing. I can guesstimate a weight from their age and the video. You'd need a syringe, a small bottle with a tight cap and a sweet syrup to mix the tablet with.
 

lilspaz68

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okay your babies are tiny. My guess is 35 grams.

You will want to mix 20 ml of fluid with that pill.

Put 7 ml of warm/hot tap water in the bottle, drop the tablet in and leave it to dissolve (unless you think you can crush it up), then add 13 ml of sweet syrup.

Gouda's dose will be 0.02 ml twice a day.
 

TheRatsThree

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I’m sending pics of Brie and Gouda naughty bits so you could take a stab at sexing them. They are both wet as I was trying to clean them up down there. Gouda going to be getting some veggie oil down there later to try to loosen that stubborn dirt on the tail. I’m thinking boys?
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lilspaz68

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The first baby looks like a boy (black berk?)
The 2nd baby might be a girl? Is this the little bluish grey one with the head spot? If so that might be diarrhea under the tail :(
 

TheRatsThree

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You are right. The first was the black one, Brie. The second was the blue, Gouda. The dirt probably was poop, but their poops been on the runny side. It was complete diarrhea the first day on the kitten formula, then soft, then firm by the third day. Gouda gone back to soft but the part in the tail was stuck solid. I did get it off finally. I just took the pic anyways because I had someone to help at that moment. Sorry 🙁
 

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