New member handrearing 4 wild baby rats.

The Rat Shack Forum

Help Support The Rat Shack Forum:

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Today they have been really aggressive...well, I'm not sure if it is just one rat (I think it is the girl rat) who keeps sniping at the others, but the usual rough and tumble play has escalated into quite alarming squeaks, and I'm not sure what this means or what to do.

I'm going to attempt to separate the girl from the boys, to see if that solves the problem. I know this was unsuccessful when we tried it a few weeks ago, but I will keep her under observation if we do manage to separate them, and see how the next 24 hours go.

If the fighting stops, I know the girl was the issue, and maybe take this as a sign that we need to keep them apart in case she gets pregnant. I am contacting my ratty friend today to ask for her advice also.

If the fighting doesn't stop, then I will have to think again and come up with a different plan.
 
Last edited:

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
We have babies.
I've just found them now.
We are going to separate the girl and the babies away from the boys. I really hope she doesn't get distressed. I was dreading this happening.

I will update as soon as we have separated them.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
There are 5 babies.
All seem alive, we haven't interferred with them.

We discovered them at about quarter past nine tonight, and it took until just after 1am to have the girl and her babies separated from the boys.

I cleaned out their cage yesterday at 4pm, so the babies were born sometime after that but before 9pm tonight. So they are about 24 hours old.

I hope mum doesn't reject them. We were very careful not to touch the babies or their bedding, we just softly scraped a slim piece of cardboard underneath the babies and the bedding, and transferred the whole lot into the other cage.

I honestly thought all the fighting we'd been hearing and seeing yesterday and today was the boys hitting their hormones. Now, it's more likely that mum was either making a nest ready to drop, or she had already had the babies.

Now I need to breathe and think what the hell to do next.

Priority is to keep everyone happy and healthy.
 

Kye

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
345
Location
Maine
Rats go into heat almost directly after labor is done so there's a chance she's pregnant again unfortunately. Touching the babies wouldn't make her reject them so don't worry too much, if she was defending them there's a good chance she won't reject them.
 

Rattie

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
367
Now I need to breathe and think what the hell to do next.

Priority is to keep everyone happy and healthy.
We're you clueless until the last minute?:) I'm sure you'll have lots of options. Hope she's a good mother.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Rats go into heat almost directly after labor is done so there's a chance she's pregnant again unfortunately. Touching the babies wouldn't make her reject them so don't worry too much, if she was defending them there's a good chance she won't reject them.
Thankyou. I've marked Monday 4th July on the calendar as the earliest day they could have been born, there is no way that it could have been earlier than 5pm that day because that was when I cleaned the cage.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
We're you clueless until the last minute?:) I'm sure you'll have lots of options. Hope she's a good mother.
Hi, yes, i didn't know she was pregnant. I know that it has been a worry in the back of my mind, that's why I tried to separate them a few weeks ago.

Even on Monday she didn't seem to be large at all, but, now that she has birthed, yes, it is obvious that she is much smaller.

I had been worried about them all day...On Monday they were sniping and fighting much more aggressively than their usual occasional rough and tumble play, and yesterday it was much worse, and the noises were awful.

I had asked my husband if he would help me separate them when he comes to pick me up from work, because I was convinced that the fighting and the noises were the boy rats trying to mate with the girl, because she kept snapping at them. He peered into the housebox and said "Well, I know why she is being so arsey with the boys, there's babies in here".

I'm so glad that my husband spotted the babies last night, because cage cleaning days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and if I'd have noticed them on my own while cleaning the cage I'd have panicked.

I've just arrived at work, and mummyrat was already out of her house box, the bedding had been moved overnight so I hope that means she has found the babies and has been mothering them. I'm not going to do anything except fill up the food bowl and water, because yesterday's separation antics was probably very traumatic for all the rats, never mind one who has just given birth.

I'm going to listen out for squeaking etc, but I've not heard anything yet.

I'm not going to chance moving any of the bedding or looking to see if the babies are OK, I'm going to see how today goes and keep everything as calm as possible.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Today was a much calmer day, although all 4 rats are still skittish.
I tried to offer them an apology of yoghurt, two of the boys enjoyed it, one boy was completely wanting nothing to do with it.

Mummy rat enjoyed a few tentative licks, then went to savage the spoon quite aggressively.

I've been quite jumpy around them myself because one of them seemed to dive at my face last night when we were separating the boys from the girls.

There have been some lovely chirrupy, almost CheepCheep noises coming from the housebed in the mummyrats cage, I'm hoping that is a sign that all is going well. I am not going to disturb the babies at all for the moment because I think mummy has had enough stress already.

Do any of you know, please, if the mummyrat isn't taking to mothering, what would happen? Do baby rats make the chirruping noise when they are healthy, or is it something to be alarmed about?

If mummyrat isn't taking to mothering, would the babies make the chirruping noise in attempt to bring mummyrat to feed them, or would they just do the opposite, get weaker and die?
I don't want to disturb the babies or the mum, but I want to be reassured that she is caring for them.

What signs should I look for that mean she is caring for them, and also what signs would mean she isn't, please?

Thankyou
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Update...the boy rats are definitely not happy, they are more skittish than ever. I've been speaking to my ratty friend, and asking advice from as many different corners as possible, and the advice seems to be saying that maybe the stress of the separating process (which took about 4 hours) on top of the escape debacle has probably turned them off humans, and that we might have to seriously make plans for releasing them.

MummyRat cannot go anywhere at the moment, as she is feeding babies (I assume she is feeding them, there are the usual chirrups going on in the cage right beside me as I write this) but it looks like we might be better releasing her and her babies as soon as they are strong enough, which will be a few weeks yet.

I'm heartbroken, as I tried so hard. But, they came from a farm, and apparently rats are very adaptable.

I really do think that the escape was the start of all this, and that if it hadn't happened, I'd have either rehomed them to caring loving homes, or kept the 3 boys and rehomed the girl. The taming was going really well before the escape, then I tried to repair the trust, and that seemed to be improving, then the separating then a few days ago maybe was just too much for them?

In any case, I've learnt so much since April. I'm happy that I saved them from death, and I'm definitely in love with rats now.

It has been suggested to me by my husband, and RattyFriend, that maybe I keep two boy babies, if there are two boys in this litter, and try again, without all the worry of escapes, pregnancies,etc, and release the others together in a few weeks.

I'd love your thoughts and opinions on this.
 

Kye

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
345
Location
Maine
While it's true rats are adaptable, releasing them is almost a guaranteed death sentence for many reasons. You should really look into a wildlife rescue to take all of them and if you want pet rats get some from a domestic rat rescue or a breeder just try to avoid pet stores. Wild rats will always be more flighty and hand shy than domestic rats even though they're the same species(domestication and all that). I'm quite happy you did rescue them, but I don't think you should keep wild rats, especially as a first time owner(assuming). I'd try to get in touch with a different rescue since the first one flopped.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
There aren't many rescues where I am that take rats, I phoned every one of them within a 100 mile radius, and only 2 said they took wild rats. One said they would take them, and I've heard nothing further from them since April, even though I keep trying to get a response from them, and the other one raises to release in the countryside, which is what we would be doing, as we live in a rural area.
 
Last edited:

madinaholic

Active Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
36
Location
Sheffield, UK
There aren't many rescues where I am that take rats, I phoned every one of them within a 100 mile radius, and only 2 said they took wild rats. One said they would take them, and I've heard nothing further from them since April, even though I keep trying to get a response from them, and the other one raises to release in the countryside, which is what we would be doing, as we live in a rural area.
Hi TokenBlinkie, I've just read through this thread and had a few points I wanted to add.

I'm also based in Sheffield, UK and have an EXCELLENT vets who have been brilliant with my girls. They're called Ark and have branches in Killamarsh and Dronfield – have you tried them? I know spaying is a bit late now, but for future reference I'd be quite surprised if they refused because of the anaesthesia. It is risky in rats, but they've always seemed good at weighing up the pros and cons in my experience.

In terms of rescues for the older rats, have you tried Mayfield Alpaca Farm? They had a rat enclosure when I visited there and I think they do take in rescue animals. It may be a case they can't take yours as they're wild or they might not have space, but just a suggestion :)
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Hi!

it's so nice to have a local connection on here! Thankyou for getting in touch!

I discovered TheArk yesterday, one of my clients has a tortoise, and they highly recommended them, so I am going to put them on my ever growing list of things to do!

Mayfield Alpaca Farm? Wow. Flippin eck. I have heard of them, I think one of my children had a school trip there one time...I never knew they would be a possibility.
I will contact them and see what they say.

Thankyou hugely, I feel a bit sunshiney now, compared to feeling full of doom and gloom over the past few days over this.
 

madinaholic

Active Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
36
Location
Sheffield, UK
I really can't recommend Ark enough. Brian in particular was really great with my girls and he seems very knowledgeable about rats so I'd try to book in with him if you can!

I might be wrong about Mayfield Alpacas but I'm sure they re-home animals as they definitely have a rescue pig. Hopefully they can help or point you in the direction of somewhere that can!
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
A million thankyous. Some hope is better than the helpless feeling I've been having!

I'll let you know how I get on, Mayfield is closed now according to Google, but I will try again when they reopen.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. β˜ΊπŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Little update,
I cleaned out all rats cages yesterday and needed to check the babies over as there was a really unpleasant smell coming from the cage.

I wanted to disturb mum and babies as little as possible, and I was so nervous!
I managed to get the housebed out with no problem at all, changed the bedding in there while making sure to save some of the old bedding so that it still smells familiar, and took the plunge to check on the babies.

We still have 5 babies, mum seems to be doing a wonderful job, the sour smell was vegetables that I gave them had gotten wet (water bottle had leaked) and mum had squirreled them away in the bed.

The babies are definitely growing, very wriggly, and wow, just adorable. I took great care to handle them as little as possible, and was mindful of not taking too much time, then I spotted mum looking at me from inside the cage, so I took that as a sign to get them back in there, sharpish. I popped them back into the nice, clean housebed, and mum scurried straight in, to see what the nasty human had done, no doubt!

The boys have seemed to calm down, I again offered them some peace offering of yoghurt, and yet again two enjoyed it and the other wasn't interested.

I've made contact with someone called a "Wildlife hero", who are people recommended by wildlife centres who are not part of their organisation but do similar work on a smaller scale, and there is a chance that they may be able to take the rats, so that has put my mind a t rest.

In the meantime I'm going to carry on loving all the rats and trying to rebuild their trust.
 

Latest posts

Top