Breeding Rats

Discussion in 'General Rat Chat & Photos' started by SQ, Jul 30, 2008.

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  1. Jul 30, 2008 #1

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

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    I have been involved in raising rats for over two years.
    The rats at Sunshine Rattery (SR) are well handled from birth and well socialized.
    They are fed Harlan blocks, distilled water and daily vegs such as peas.
    They live in large spacious martins cages on fleece, with yesterdays news kitty litter in their litter boxes.
    All rats are handled daily and get out to play for at least one hour a day. I have two play areas - a large, well equipted martins play pen and a large free range play area full of toys to climb on and play in.

    LP Laurel (a beautiful beige hoodie) has never had any health problems except for an abcess.
    She is a sweet but shy little girl.
    LP Laurel had a healthy litter of eight by another rat from the same rattery. Her babies were born at Sunshine rattery.

    SR Clover (a beautiful black hoodie) and SR Rubbarb (an adorable beige berk) from the above litter will be bred in a few weeks.
    I am line breeding so it is acceptable practice to be breeding a brother and sister.
    Neither SR Clover, SR Rubbarb nor any of their siblings have ever had any health problems.
    Both SR Clover and SR Rubbarb have wonderful temperments and are very friendly, social rats who love people.
    All of their siblings also have wonderful temperments.

    Would you be interested in adopting a pair of babies from this line?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Would you change your mind if you knew:

    - that LP stands for Liverpool rattery where a very pregnant Laurel was rescued (along with the other Liverpool ratties) from a tank in a shed. These lice infested rats were kept on pine, and were terrified of people.

    - that Laurel under went emergency surgery for an abcess the day prior to giving birth in the backseat of my car.

    - that another Liverpool rat (sister to Laurel?) has a short lower jaw and a long upper jaw so her front teeth can not wear normally and her teeth will need to be trimmed weekly for the rest of her life. She also has only 3 front teeth, not 4. She can not eat hard food.

    - It sounds good that I will know 3 generations of these rats health history, but is it really? Laurel is probably around 5 or 6 months old, Clover and Rubbarb are almost 3 months old. Who knows what health problems will appear in their futures. Who knows what recessive genes they may be carrying.

    - The care I provide is excellent, but that doesn't change the fact that these rats have poor genetic backgrounds. Certainly not what people expect when they know rats are from a breeder.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So I ask myself ...
    - does it really mean anything if breeders know the health history of their rats for 3 generations? what about 4 or 5 generations?

    And no .... I will not be breeding the two ratties
    I am involved in rat rescue and do not breed rats.

    I was just thinking about how I could meet or even surpass the standards for being a good rat breeder ...... it just illustrates to me how those standards don't really mean much ...
     
  2. Jul 30, 2008 #2

    lilspaz68

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    I think when ethical breeders mean they "know" is that they have tracked 3 generations of offpspring, deaths etc...

    BUT a lot of people do not know that and would take your ad at face value. Its best to know all the things good and bad about the rat fancy, even if you plan on never owning a breeder rat you might be able to help someone who is thinking of adopting from a rattery that is not responsible or ethical, and steer them in the right direction.
     
  3. Jul 30, 2008 #3

    SQ

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    Good point Shelagh,
    that is what I thought good breeders ment when they said they knew the health history of 3 generations, but the breeders I looked into didn't mean that at all.
    They ment it the way I have it above.

    Unfortunately, those that track lineage for 3 entire generations, birth to death don't necessarily also track the health history of all rats adopted out. If that is the case, those particular ratteries would have very limited info. too.
     
  4. Jul 30, 2008 #4

    lilspaz68

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    I had that discussion with a pile of ethical breeders once, and they actually insist on being informed of any illnesses, etc, changes of temperament, and causes of death so they can add it to their records.

    Its part of the adoption contract. :)

    We also had a big discussion on not so ethical breeders and their "shortcuts". :roll:
     
  5. Jul 30, 2008 #5

    SQ

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    Sounds like you spoke to a few of the better breeders.

    But I still wonder if 3 or 4 or 5 generations is enough.

    If I were to follow Laurel, her babies and Clover and Rubbarb's babies from birth to death would that make any real difference? My rescues usually live well past 2 years and most die from the normal rat problems, as opposed to things like CHF.

    People wanting to buy rats certainly need to know a great deal of info. in order to ask all the necessary questions.
     
  6. Jul 30, 2008 #6

    LA

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    WOW Holly, I was reading the first part of the message and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. But then I went on and realized.

    You bring up some very good points. Thank you for that.
     
  7. Jul 30, 2008 #7

    SQ

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    Thanks LA,
    I thought I would share what I have been thinking about ...

    You will notice that I said I have been involved in raising rats for over two years.
    I haven't been breeding them but there have been a few pregnant rescue girls ...

    btw, Clover is not pregnant and Rubbarb will never be a daddy
    .... saving my pennies to get 9 more spays and 5 more neuters ...
     
  8. Jul 30, 2008 #8

    jorats

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    You've hit the nail on the head SQ. No matter the rat, there will ALWAYS be some undesirable "illness" in some of the babies. I would wager a year's salary that no "lines" are without illness in one way or another.
    If one of the babies turn up with CHF, the breeder will put it in their records but continue the line nonetheless because so far, it's only been the one. (lets see what there others turn up)
    Or how about a breeder that breeds high whites but will very carefully "watch" those babies in case of megacolon. But that's when it's too late!! The babies born with megacolon will suffer a great deal, but at least they were watched. :roll:
    There are no breeders, even the ethical ones can ever guarantee a healthy rat. They can't guarantee that all rats born from their lines are in the best of health and will live to over 30 months of age.
    It's a game of risk, each and every time you breed.
    Does that mean the ethical breeders need to stop. Not really. They provide a socialized pet for those seeking one since most people don't even know about rescues. They try their best, they make fancy looking rats with the cute dumbo ears, the high white markings or worse yet, a tailless rat but it makes people want to have a rat. The more people with their beautiful rats, the more the rats will shed that bad reputation. ...hopefully.
     
  9. Jul 30, 2008 #9

    SQ

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    You are much more generous then I am Joanne ....

    edit: I hope you are right
     
  10. Jul 30, 2008 #10

    jorats

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    It's incredibly hard to find a good reason to breed. And even then, I'm not 100% sold on it.
     
  11. Jul 30, 2008 #11

    Vanessa

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    I just cannot turn down answering to a thread where I can bash intentional rat breeding. Are people baiting me? :wink2:

    If breeders were doing what they claim to be doing, we just would not have the health issues that we do today. If a breeder has been practicing what they preach, and claim to be breeding for years, their gene pool should be superior and the rats should be healthier and longer lived. The fact that they are not, means that breeders are not practicing what they preach.

    When a breeder tells you that they have been breeding for health and temperament for more than a few generations, but still have rats suffering with cancer and severe respiratory issues and temperament problems, then they have not been breeding for health and temperament. If a breeder blames their health and temperament issues on back yard rat breeding, petstore genetics, and feeder breeder genetics after breeding more than a couple of generations, then those are the genes that they are breeding with. If a rattery's health and temperament issues mirror those from feeder breeders and crappy back yard breeders, then those are the genes that they are introducing into their rats.

    Bad genes do not jump off pet store rats onto a breeder in a petstore and then get taken home on someones clothing and then jump off and contaminate their 'perfect gene pool' rats. Genes are not a virus or bacteria. The reason that bad genes are still active in a rattery is because they have been put there by the breeder. Either the breeder is intentionally breeding rats with questionable backgrounds themselves (mostly because they could not pass up breeding a prettier rat), or they are not being diligent enough in researching the other breeders that they are outcrossing with and the other breeder has recently intentionally bred petstore rats. Either way, they are cutting corners and you will always be able to trace that back to a certain physical appearance that they wanted to achieve.

    In the last decade there have been countless new rat physical characteristics introduced, coat types, ear types, markings and even a change in the size of the rats have been achieved, which goes to show how easily manipulated their genetics are - and yet their health and temperament has disintegrated in that same decade. Add to that, that most of those characteristics are recessive which makes it even more incredible that entire litters are being born all showing those physical genetic traits in just a handful of generations. In that same period of time, we should have been able to breed rats that are almost cancer free - not just cancer resistant. If you compare changing those genetic traits in people, it would take hundreds of years, and in that time we will be able to breed humans that are cancer free. I just don't understand how breeders can still say that they breed for health and temperament when those rats are still suffering with the same health and temperament issues as poorly bred rats do.

    When was the last time you heard of a rat breeder buying a couple of PEW's or Hoodies from Wistar, Harlan or Sprague Dawley and starting their breeding programs with those rats? Rats being supplied to laboratories have been bred in the last few years to be almost illness and cancer free, and have the absolute best temperaments, in order to provide accurate test results in medical experiments and be easily handled in stressful and painful situations. Those are rats that have superior health and temperament genes. Why aren't more of those rats being introduced into breeding programs? For the same reason that they are almost impossible to find homes for - they are just dull, run of the mill, PEW's and Hoodies. It all boils down to looks.

    As much as I do not support the breeding of cats and dogs, strictly based on the number being destroyed in shelters, I have to hand it to a lot of cat and dog breeders that they HAVE been able to extend the lives of those animals in some cases. And cat and dog genetics are no where near as easy to manipulate as rat genetics are. Even non purebred dogs and cats, from back yard breeders, mills and even strays, are living sometimes double the lifespans as they were a decade ago.

    Plus, in the same decade we have advanced at lightening speed in our daily care and medical treatments of rats and have found dozens of ways to help extend their lives through medicine and overall better husbandry.

    It is just an unbelievable crock, there are no rats being bred for health and temperament out there, and breeders are just hoping that people are too stupid to question them and too overwhelmed with their gorgeous rats to care.

    Sorry, but the mods are going to have to start making these posts invisible to me somehow because I just can't control myself when it comes to anything to do with intentional breeding of rats. I have heard the excuses and responses from dozens of breeders, and those that support them, and still I haven't heard one decent and valid reason for their breeding. I guess I am still hoping that one of them either comes up with a valid argument or just fesses up that they concentrate on looks at the expense of health and temperament.
     
    SQ likes this.
  12. Jul 30, 2008 #12

    lilspaz68

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    I was wondering why you hadn't posted yet Vanessa. :cheeky:
     
  13. Jul 30, 2008 #13

    Vanessa

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    Just to be fair, I do want to add that I blame those people who seek out rats from breeders almost as much as I blame breeders themselves. If there was no demand for all these 'fancier' breeder rats, then ratteries would just close down. It is all about supply and demand - Economics 101. I am just tougher on breeders because in many cases the people that are buying from them are first time rat owners and are being brainwashed by these 'breeding mantras' that breeders use about health and temperament.
    There is one thing that I have noticed over the last decade that warms my heart so much - and that is the longer that people have rats the more likely they are to move away from buying from breeders and turn to primarily rescuing. That isn't by accident. It is because with time and experience they learn that intentionally bred rats are in no way superior to rescues, and many will tell you it is because they eventually caught on to the fact that rat breeders are full of it.
    That makes me very happy.
     
  14. Jul 31, 2008 #14

    theratlady

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    hmmmm i guess i cannot pass this opportunity by either.
    in all fairness(not defending anyone in particular) you would have to breed more then 1-3 litters in a rats life and all of their offspring many times over to determine the true health and genetic make up of a lineage. having bred rats for 8-9 yrs i can attest that it is really difficult to map out health issues down to predict what your going to get or not get. hell colors are hard enough to predict. i found that when you thought you had tumors pretty much licked you ended up with respiratory problems or vise versa. no matter how long you breed anything you will never get rid of all problems with that particular species as not all problems are totally related to genetics but can be influenced because of how they are raised and fed and treated in their new home as well.
    to me breeders are should be much more then just making better animals they need to be responsible and accountable for the lives they bring into the world. i was always there if someone couldnt keep my babies or had questions or needed advice. its not a venture to be taken lightly breeding rats because they have such large litters and i still made room for rescues. most breeders dont do that, they need to be there for the animal first.

    something i want to point out too is that i NEVER advertised, i talked to people, i networked, earned a good rep to establish homes for either my babies or resuces over the years. i still dont advertise the rats i have here are here for good if homes arent found.

    hell it could be said that more people should adopt the orphans then make a child themselves!!!

    this isnt meant to be more then just my feelings on breeding and how i handled myself as a breeder. i never touted my rats were healthier then any other rat and would often encourage people to adopt many of my rescues as well. but i can tout that my babies were 100% friendlier then petstore rats. :D i may not have always gotten the health from my breedings(my intention to get the best) but i always aimed for temperment.

    im seen so many stupid people over the years that thought it "fun" to breed their animals (any type) with no more thought to the animals or what would become of them. sigh
    but no matter what i say people will still hate me and just "love" to "hate" thats ok most of you dont know me personally because you know what they say about opinions.............
     
  15. Jul 31, 2008 #15

    jorats

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    theratlady, I'm glad to see a breeder respond! Nobody can make an informed decision or take a stand on things without weighing both sides to everything.
     
  16. Jul 31, 2008 #16

    theratlady

    theratlady

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    youre so right joanne, i have many strong beliefs as well but i try really hard to listen to people and not judge them. sometimes the best lessons are ones that you learned on your own.
    and i do agree there are a lot of breeders out there that are not kosher.
     
  17. Jul 31, 2008 #17

    Alicemcmallis

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    SQ, you gave me quite a scare there with your original post! ;) I totally agree that there are no true, honourable standards for breeding, particularly with rat breeding. Here are my two cents:

    1. So many breeders of all species say that they have always taken the animal back if the people who purchased it could no longer care for it. But what about all the animals that they don't know about? Can a breeder of any quantity of animals honestly say they know what's happened to every single one of their animals?

    I say no, because I know of many breeder animals of all species who have ended up in rescues and shelters.

    People don't want to contact the people they got their pets from and tell them they can't keep them. Because of embarrassment, not wanting to burden the breeder/rescue, not thinking that it's necessary - any number of reasons. Those animals often end up in shelters.

    2. My main objection to breeding is the fact that there are hundreds if not thousands of animals who are just as healthy and friendly as breeder stock and who would make wonderful pets being euthanized daily in shelters across North America.

    In breeding more there are not only more being added to the shelter populations, but homes are being taken up by the intentionally bred animals that could have been homes for the animals being euthanized.

    It just seems ridiculous to me that you've got animals being killed for no reason aside from there are too many of them, and people are making more of them. How can the lives of those animals being killed not be worth more than whatever reason is given for breeding others?
     
  18. Apr 9, 2016 #18

    Canarats

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    Indeed interesting to read these old historical rants propagated without facts or references (or even one), not to mention an amount of assumptions that would be embarrassing today. Thank god for the improved availability of scientific information on the internet, that even newbies can debate with engaging and accurate info.
     
  19. Apr 10, 2016 #19

    Canarats

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    Just thought about my reply, and hope the OP didnt assume I was referring to them. My reply pertained to the rant–happy minority only. Thank god theres so few of them around these days.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  20. Oct 8, 2018 #20

    SQ

    SQ

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    The information and concerns in this thread are as applicable today as when it was written.
    The two dissenting opinions are from two rat breeders
    One who despite being a vet tec, denied vet care to a young girl she was fostering, ultimately causing the rats death. She also convinced a person into letting her foster some babies, and the person had to call the police in order reclaim their surviving babies after some babies died from the care provided.
    The other is a breeder who was banned from this forum
     

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