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The boys and I say hello!

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Kindness is free

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Frank and Pooper in my avatar are my old boys and I have two new 8 week olds which I rescued. It is the latter two who bring me to this forum! I have some questions which I would love opinions on thanks :))

Ok so I got my boys yesterday (pic below) and intro has been fine (neutral area then moving to cleaned cage; expected small scuffles for hierarchy establishment but now all grooming and happy.

Astonishingly despite being rescues these boys are confident - immediately exploring, not afraid of my presence or hand, and even wanting to come out the cage!

However when I try to pick them up they let out a load squeak, struggle with tail trashing. I wanted some advice on how best to accustom them to handling.

I had them this morning on my bed which they happily explored (they had access to their cage at all times). I would let them explore with occasionally picking them up and immediately putting them down. Is this the right method?

I tried to give them food other than pellets but they show no interest in anything at all. Wondered if anyone had ideas for something irresistible and preferably lickable?

Thanks so much!

Ps: they are in an extra large furplast furet cage; 80 x 75 x 70cm or something like that - it’s a great cage. Just wanted to promote it as it doesn’t seem as popular and I can’t understand why!
 

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Kindness is free

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Another question, sorry... how many times a day should I be trying this ? These rats are my life and I am happy to dedicate every waking moment to them! Lol. I’m out of work for 6 more months . I also have a little pouch. How often should I carry them in it and for how long? Sorry I know these are all difficult questions to answer specifically ... I know each rat is different
 

Big Schpog

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Well, I'm the rat lady of the Eastside who walks with her rats so I'll try and answer as best I can. I'm sure others will pitch in their knowledge too.

Exploring on the bed is usually the first step to getting to know your rats. Letting them climb on you is excellent, coming up to you etc. I'd keep doing that for now. When they come up you can pet them and try to hold them. The squonking sounds about normal. Just make sure they're not in pain. Make sure you scoop them up so their hind feet are stable and they don't do helicopter tail. Yes, holding them for a moment and putting them down is good so they know that you don't want to hurt them.

I'd try placing them on your shoulder and taking them to new areas to sniff and look at. This is the first step to good shoulder rides and pouch walks. You can put them in the pouch or on your shoulder. They should be accustomed to both. My girl has a backpack I wear on my front with the front flap tucked in with some fleece inside. She goes from the backpack, to hopping up on my shoulder or arms when we walk the city together. She is so well socialized because of all the experiences I gave to her when she was young. I started walking with her at about 7 months old in the backpack but prior to that was tons of shoulder exploration of new places and high places she couldn't reach. She learned that Momma brings her to nice new places to sniff.

I'd do short sessions on shoulders or in the pouch. 5 minutes give or take unless you just know they're having a great time. Having the squirms is pretty normal for young rats. My rat Simone loves short exploration sessions out in the hallway of my building and she climbs around my shoulders and arms while we walk. She's young, and squirmy, but she loves it. When she gets a bit older she'll settle into it and longer walks will be possible.

You want the best lickable treat? Homemade custard. Go mild on the sugar is all. It's super simple to make and they ADORE it. This is a good way to get them used to licking treats off your hands. I've never had a rat turn it down. You can also sit on the bed and put your hands up near your shoulder to get them to climb up. It's good egg protein for growing rats.

Also, don't interrupt their sleep schedules. I never wake my rats on purpose for any reason. They are allowed to sleep their full cycles, and each rat is different. You wouldn't want to be woken up, and it's important they feel secure to sleep.

My rats come to me when they wake and want to play or interact. When they're young I wait for them to be awake to play with them. Sometimes only one rat is awake and wants to come out, so I take that one out. I never break their sleep because I want them to feel respected. Rats are so much like humans. Waking them and you might get a really grumpy rat. I remember being a teenager who wanted to sleep, and I imagine it's much the same for them.

Squonking is that little airy chirp sound they make as in 'don't touch me.' It's probably due to unfamiliarity with being held. Don't push it but keep at it, if you know what I mean. THe more time you spend interacting with them, the better they'll know you and you'll know them.
 

Kindness is free

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Well, I'm the rat lady of the Eastside who walks with her rats so I'll try and answer as best I can. I'm sure others will pitch in their knowledge too.

Exploring on the bed is usually the first step to getting to know your rats. Letting them climb on you is excellent, coming up to you etc. I'd keep doing that for now. When they come up you can pet them and try to hold them. The squonking sounds about normal. Just make sure they're not in pain. Make sure you scoop them up so their hind feet are stable and they don't do helicopter tail. Yes, holding them for a moment and putting them down is good so they know that you don't want to hurt them.

I'd try placing them on your shoulder and taking them to new areas to sniff and look at. This is the first step to good shoulder rides and pouch walks. You can put them in the pouch or on your shoulder. They should be accustomed to both. My girl has a backpack I wear on my front with the front flap tucked in with some fleece inside. She goes from the backpack, to hopping up on my shoulder or arms when we walk the city together. She is so well socialized because of all the experiences I gave to her when she was young. I started walking with her at about 7 months old in the backpack but prior to that was tons of shoulder exploration of new places and high places she couldn't reach. She learned that Momma brings her to nice new places to sniff.

I'd do short sessions on shoulders or in the pouch. 5 minutes give or take unless you just know they're having a great time. Having the squirms is pretty normal for young rats. My rat Simone loves short exploration sessions out in the hallway of my building and she climbs around my shoulders and arms while we walk. She's young, and squirmy, but she loves it. When she gets a bit older she'll settle into it and longer walks will be possible.

You want the best lickable treat? Homemade custard. Go mild on the sugar is all. It's super simple to make and they ADORE it. This is a good way to get them used to licking treats off your hands. I've never had a rat turn it down. You can also sit on the bed and put your hands up near your shoulder to get them to climb up. It's good egg protein for growing rats.

Also, don't interrupt their sleep schedules. I never wake my rats on purpose for any reason. They are allowed to sleep their full cycles, and each rat is different. You wouldn't want to be woken up, and it's important they feel secure to sleep.

My rats come to me when they wake and want to play or interact. When they're young I wait for them to be awake to play with them. Sometimes only one rat is awake and wants to come out, so I take that one out. I never break their sleep because I want them to feel respected. Rats are so much like humans. Waking them and you might get a really grumpy rat. I remember being a teenager who wanted to sleep, and I imagine it's much the same for them.

Squonking is that little airy chirp sound they make as in 'don't touch me.' It's probably due to unfamiliarity with being held. Don't push it but keep at it, if you know what I mean. THe more time you spend interacting with them, the better they'll know you and you'll know them.
Thanks for your wonderfully detailed reply! Maurice comes up to the cage door to play and I let him out. I think he was even playing with me at one point running after my hand and doing little excited jumps - is that popcorning? He then flopped down beside me on the bed and snoozed a little.

They turned down custard :(( but got one of them to try some watermelon. How can you turn down custard!!!!???? *drool* I made some really nice stuff too. More for me now I guess..........

Ok so I’m really keen to do the whole should rides thing - when should I first start this? Only once happy being picked up? They are very happy clambering all over me and they aren’t spooked by my hand approaching them particularly or my movements. It’s only want I pick them up that they try to dart away, scramble and sometimes do a little squeak. The pic is maurice in a little bed I got him but he wanted to be stroked so popped his head out before fully coming out to lie beside me :))
 

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Big Schpog

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You're doing great so far. I can't believe they turned down custard! Your rats are the first rats to turn it down LOL. I'm making some for my girls today.

Well that's great that Maurice is coming up to you. That's awesome. Yes, that's popcorning. It means he's super joyful and enjoys chasing your hand and playing. Ruffle his back and keep playing with him.

Yes, they're babies and will squonk when you pick them up. This is why shoulder rides to new places is very important. Just pick em up and put em on your shoulder and walk to a new place and let them squirm around on you, come down to your arm and smell new things. Keep trying. Don't worry about the squonking. Yes, they'll squirm and squonk but the more time you spend with them, picking them up, putting them on your shoulder, travelling with them, the more they'll calm down. They're just young.

YOu could also kneel down next to your bed and see if they'll climb onto your shoulder. If not, pick them up using the scoop method and place them on your shoulder and go walking to a new place.

I'm very happy for you. What about the other rat?
 

Kindness is free

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You're doing great so far. I can't believe they turned down custard! Your rats are the first rats to turn it down LOL. I'm making some for my girls today.

Well that's great that Maurice is coming up to you. That's awesome. Yes, that's popcorning. It means he's super joyful and enjoys chasing your hand and playing. Ruffle his back and keep playing with him.

Yes, they're babies and will squonk when you pick them up. This is why shoulder rides to new places is very important. Just pick em up and put em on your shoulder and walk to a new place and let them squirm around on you, come down to your arm and smell new things. Keep trying. Don't worry about the squonking. Yes, they'll squirm and squonk but the more time you spend with them, picking them up, putting them on your shoulder, travelling with them, the more they'll calm down. They're just young.

YOu could also kneel down next to your bed and see if they'll climb onto your shoulder. If not, pick them up using the scoop method and place them on your shoulder and go walking to a new place.

I'm very happy for you. What about the other rat?
Got Maurice to lick some custard this morning yay! He came to greet me too. Little weasel is an interesting boy; he’s very confident negotiating new environments despite not having great eyesight (he’s red eyed and I can see him head swaying sometimes), he isn’t too bothered by my presence and will walk on me if I’m lying down but he hates being picked up even more and really makes a strong attempt to scuttle off. He hasn’t accepted any treats yet. He doesn’t seem to trust me enough yet to stroke him. I wouldn’t say his majorly scared just more associates my hand with bad things. Without him accepting treats I don’t know how to help him associate it with good things? I’m so worried about pushing it too far and making it worse. I’m getting a bit worried I’m trying too much. I suppose I try to pick him up and immediately place him down about ten times a day? Should I just get him used to clambering over me for now? I place them on my shoulder just now and both were terrified and pooped themselves :/ I tried offering a nugget but they dropped it as were too troubled at being on my shoulder. It’s only day 3 though and they are doing so well not being spooked by my presence in general. Just weasel gets nervous when my hand comes near. Maurice loves strokes so only gets annoyed if I actively pick him up otherwise he’s cool with my hand.
 

Big Schpog

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Well, since it's been only 3 days don't get discouraged. It's still quite early and you're doing such a good job with them on the bed. I have a red eyed girl too who sways a lot more than my other 2 black eyed girls. Keep up the bed time and keep offering lickable treats. I wouldn't pick them up and drop them down again so many times. I'd imagine that's kind of annoying for them. I would simply keep stroking them as they pass you on the bed and allow them to come to you, come up on you.

BLANKET for Security:

I'd also take a blanket and put it over them and you so they feel secure under it with you on the bed. . I did that a lot with my babies. They liked the security of the blanket over top of them with me under it too. It gets them very used to your scent and associate it with security. Also, talking gently to them is good, telling them they're good boys etc. I talk a LOT to my girls. Also, you can put on some soft piano Jazz on low volume. Anything to relax both you and your boys. Rats do like Music. My first two rats loved 50's music to play to but with babies, I'd go with soft piano jazz. There's a great channel on Youtube that does just that

I know rats like custard. Did he lick it from your hand? If so, you've come a long way in just 3 days! It sounds to me like they've never really been handled at all since they were born. Sounds like you've got two completely unsocialized rattos. Call it your challenge to socialize them. This time is quite important and it sounds like you're doing a great job. Don't be nervous. They'll come around. The more time you spend with them the better, even if it's just sitting on the bed under a blanket with them for the first few weeks.

Try different treats to offer them. Rats have personal tastes. My older girl LOVES cream cheese but my younger girl Queenie likes peas.

The most important thing is to have FUN with them. They are your family members now and you're just getting to know each other. RELAX. TAKE A BREATH. You're going to do just fine. Trust them, Trust yourself.
 

Kindness is free

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Well, since it's been only 3 days don't get discouraged. It's still quite early and you're doing such a good job with them on the bed. I have a red eyed girl too who sways a lot more than my other 2 black eyed girls. Keep up the bed time and keep offering lickable treats. I wouldn't pick them up and drop them down again so many times. I'd imagine that's kind of annoying for them. I would simply keep stroking them as they pass you on the bed and allow them to come to you, come up on you.

BLANKET for Security:

I'd also take a blanket and put it over them and you so they feel secure under it with you on the bed. . I did that a lot with my babies. They liked the security of the blanket over top of them with me under it too. It gets them very used to your scent and associate it with security. Also, talking gently to them is good, telling them they're good boys etc. I talk a LOT to my girls. Also, you can put on some soft piano Jazz on low volume. Anything to relax both you and your boys. Rats do like Music. My first two rats loved 50's music to play to but with babies, I'd go with soft piano jazz. There's a great channel on Youtube that does just that

I know rats like custard. Did he lick it from your hand? If so, you've come a long way in just 3 days! It sounds to me like they've never really been handled at all since they were born. Sounds like you've got two completely unsocialized rattos. Call it your challenge to socialize them. This time is quite important and it sounds like you're doing a great job. Don't be nervous. They'll come around. The more time you spend with them the better, even if it's just sitting on the bed under a blanket with them for the first few weeks.

Try different treats to offer them. Rats have personal tastes. My older girl LOVES cream cheese but my younger girl Queenie likes peas.

The most important thing is to have FUN with them. They are your family members now and you're just getting to know each other. RELAX. TAKE A BREATH. You're going to do just fine. Trust them, Trust yourself.
Thank you :)
I’m loving getting to know them :) I’m letting them crawl into my hoodie and got pillows and blankets around the bed. Got them to take sunflower seeds and a little piece of fresh fig. Both loving watermelon now. All the things which will make the little love gain weight!!!! Maurice is very clingy to me which is sweet. Weasel still hates my hand - no longer trying to pick him up just getting him used to clambering over me and I’m trying to show him that my hand doesn’t always try to touch him! He will get there won’t he? Wish he knew how much I love him! Thanks for all your help. How many rats do you have ?
 

Kindness is free

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Well, since it's been only 3 days don't get discouraged. It's still quite early and you're doing such a good job with them on the bed. I have a red eyed girl too who sways a lot more than my other 2 black eyed girls. Keep up the bed time and keep offering lickable treats. I wouldn't pick them up and drop them down again so many times. I'd imagine that's kind of annoying for them. I would simply keep stroking them as they pass you on the bed and allow them to come to you, come up on you.

BLANKET for Security:

I'd also take a blanket and put it over them and you so they feel secure under it with you on the bed. . I did that a lot with my babies. They liked the security of the blanket over top of them with me under it too. It gets them very used to your scent and associate it with security. Also, talking gently to them is good, telling them they're good boys etc. I talk a LOT to my girls. Also, you can put on some soft piano Jazz on low volume. Anything to relax both you and your boys. Rats do like Music. My first two rats loved 50's music to play to but with babies, I'd go with soft piano jazz. There's a great channel on Youtube that does just that

I know rats like custard. Did he lick it from your hand? If so, you've come a long way in just 3 days! It sounds to me like they've never really been handled at all since they were born. Sounds like you've got two completely unsocialized rattos. Call it your challenge to socialize them. This time is quite important and it sounds like you're doing a great job. Don't be nervous. They'll come around. The more time you spend with them the better, even if it's just sitting on the bed under a blanket with them for the first few weeks.

Try different treats to offer them. Rats have personal tastes. My older girl LOVES cream cheese but my younger girl Queenie likes peas.

The most important thing is to have FUN with them. They are your family members now and you're just getting to know each other. RELAX. TAKE A BREATH. You're going to do just fine. Trust them, Trust yourself.
We are all loving the jazz too!!!! Thank you
 

Kindness is free

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Got Maurice to lick some custard this morning yay! He came to greet me too. Little weasel is an interesting boy; he’s very confident negotiating new environments despite not having great eyesight (he’s red eyed and I can see him head swaying sometimes), he isn’t too bothered by my presence and will walk on me if I’m lying down but he hates being picked up even more and really makes a strong attempt to scuttle off. He hasn’t accepted any treats yet. He doesn’t seem to trust me enough yet to stroke him. I wouldn’t say his majorly scared just more associates my hand with bad things. Without him accepting treats I don’t know how to help him associate it with good things? I’m so worried about pushing it too far and making it worse. I’m getting a bit worried I’m trying too much. I suppose I try to pick him up and immediately place him down about ten times a day? Should I just get him used to clambering over me for now? I place them on my shoulder just now and both were terrified and pooped themselves :/ I tried offering a nugget but they dropped it as were too troubled at being on my shoulder. It’s only day 3 though and they are doing so well not being spooked by my presence in general. Just weasel gets nervous when my hand comes near. Maurice loves strokes so only gets annoyed if I actively pick him up otherwise he’s cool with my hand.
Oh and yes he licked custard from my fingers :) he’s been chasing my hand and licking me too <3 and curled up beside me to sleep. If I move to the other side of the bed he runs after me. I love knowing he finds my company enjoyable. Just need to prove my worth to little weasel! He’s such an adventurous boy! The ways he jumps around and his agility are so impressive !
 

Big Schpog

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See? I told you it would work out! They're just brand new and are learning the same as you! Congrats! I'm smiling here for you!

I had one confident rat and one skittish one. The confident one helps the skittish one because they learn from watching each other, so don't be too worried about the skittish one, as long as he's out with his brother he'll learn.

I'm sure they know you love them. Spending lots of time interacting with them is loving them. Providing for them is loving them.

I have 3 rats, all females. They range in age from a little over 1 yr old to 6 months old. If you look around in the photos forum you'll see some posts of videos from me. My girls are Big Schpog, Simone and Queenie. Each has her own personality and likes/dislikes.

Did you try the blanket over all of you? Smells are very important for rats and they do like to be under something.

They are super fast at this age and popcorny. Enjoy it because they grow out of popcorning as they get older. Provide them old boxes with a little cut out hole so they can enter them and explore. You can do this under the blanket if you want. Just shove a box under there and they'll love exploring it. I sometimes use an old beer case, cut off the ends and OUILA! an exploration begins. I also brought new items to them, anything, a spoon, a cup, stuff that's around the house.

WHen I went shopping I always let them explore the bags full of stuff if they were awake. THEY LOVE THAT.

Have you managed to get some fresh sweet corn for them? IT's the corn season, well almost at the end but you might still find some. They love sweet corn. I leave mine unshucked and in the bag and let them find it and chew on it. Rustling bags are music to a rat! They get so excited at that noise. Put a bag under the covers with stuff they can explore in it.

They like to explore with their mouths so don't worry if they start chewing on stuff, just make sure it's safe for them to chew. Little ones nibble everything.
 

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