Two Litters of Rat Babies!

Discussion in 'Health & General Care' started by Kay O., Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. Aug 16, 2019 #1

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    Hey all! This was an unexpected pregnancy on both accounts. I've spent so many hours researching and doing my due diligence but there are some things I am still unclear about, so here is what I've been doing and please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong or if you have any suggestions!

    The two litters are separated, each mom in a very sizeable cage, so they have plenty of room and can be comfortable. One litter is 4 days old, the other were born last night.

    First litter:
    Day one - 8 babies
    Day 2-3- 7 babies
    Day 4 - 6 babies

    Second litter:
    Day one - 7 babies

    Question 1: At what age does the mom stop eating them??
    I don't understand because they all look healthy as can be. The mom of this litter is still a little wary of me, I only had her for 3 days before she gave birth, so we haven't established complete trust yet. She is very sweet and lets me get her out and pet her and will occasionally take treats from me. I don't see any signs of stress. I've posted one of the babies in another thread, she's got a swollen foot but I've started a saline wash as recommended.

    Question 2: How often should I be cleaning the cages?

    Question 3: I've been told to handle the babies on day 2-forward two times a day for 10 mins at a time, with clean hands. A lot of other sites say to not touch them for 5-7 days. Am I doing the right thing?


    Thank you for all your help! I'm driving myself crazy! Lol
     
  2. Aug 16, 2019 #2

    Dena

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    Eeek! You definitely want to handle them early, and often! They get familiar with human scent and touch. Until they get fur (about 5-7 days) I'd keep them out only to check for milk stripes, and general handling. They get cold easily, and can stress and die. Mom should stop eating babies by day 2-3. I've never had one eat them past that time. She may be lacking in vitamins and protein, and that's a fast way to get it. Try the formula I suggested in the other thread. That should help. I'd say give her a small amount about 2-3 times a day, unless SQ or Lilspaz suggest something different. You can also give her other foods like canned pumpkin (not pie filling), cooked sweet potatoes, cooked quinoa, cooked oatmeal (old fashioned oats) and fresh leafy green veggies. Make sure she has plenty of water. I'd give a bottle, and I have a bird water cup that attaches to the side of the cage, and I put just a little bit of water in it. It'll be important to remove this once babies start moving about the cage. They can get trapped in the dish and drown. U mm....I think that's it for now. LOL
     
  3. Aug 16, 2019 #3

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    Thank you! I’m glad I followed my instinct and started handling them next day. Today is day 4, and she had to have eaten it after 10pm last night, so hopefully that’s the last time that will happen! I will definitely supplement with some formula starting today. I have a pretty large bottle of water in there that I freshen up every day, so that should be good!

    Are quick oats acceptable?
     
  4. Aug 16, 2019 #4

    Dena

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    Something to do with quick oats isn't good. I use old fashioned oats.
     
  5. Aug 16, 2019 #5

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    OMG!!!! I just found the lost baby from the first litter. She was laying in the floor next to the cage, cold but still alive. Her little tail has been cut or poked somehow, I have NO IDEA how she got out unless during the counting of the babies it wiggled out. The mom of that litter wasn't interested in feeding at the moment so I put her in with the other mom for a sec, to try and get some milk in her belly. In the last hour she's cleaned her and from what I can see she's nursing them all right now. Hopefully she's got access to a nip and is getting that belly full.

    I'm relieved to know she didn't eat her but I could just kill myself for this mistake. I hope it will be okay. Did I do the right thing or is there anything more I should be doing? =(((((
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  6. Aug 17, 2019 #6

    Dena

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    Only time will tell. Just watch them closely, and check often for a milk line. How did the moms like the formula?
     
  7. Aug 17, 2019 #7

    Dena

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    Accidents happen. Don't beat yourself up over it. :)
     
  8. Aug 17, 2019 #8

    Kay O.

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    They liked it! I am glad I started doing that. I'm sure it's a nice treat for them, too.

    It's been in there for an hour and I don't see a milk line yet but it's snuggled in with the rest of the pack. Am I checking too soon?
     
  9. Aug 17, 2019 #9

    Dena

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    No. Momma should feed it. If not, then it will die soon. Did you rub the litter on it before you put it back with them? That way it will smell like her baby and not a stranger.

    I figured the soy formula would be more vegan friendly than the eggs. ;)
     
  10. Aug 17, 2019 #10

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    The foster mama has cleaned her a few times and lined her up with all her others and it looks like she’s accepting of it so far. She’s laying on them now asleep so I hope she’s eating! I will leave them alone tonight, I feel like I’ve been harassing her to death, lol. I will check in the morning for that milk belly!
     
  11. Aug 17, 2019 #11

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    She's got a milk stripe! I'm so relieved <3 I knew I wasn't going to be able to sleep unless I knew she was going to be good tonight. My goodness how do people breed things for a living? I am so stressed! lol
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  12. Aug 19, 2019 #12

    Kay O.

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    A little update! Mostly good news. Still unsure about the little guy with the foot. I feel like an oral antibiotic is the only way to save it if there’s cellulitis around where the infection was. When is a safe time to run him/her to the vet, and can they even be administered these meds at such a young age?
     

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  13. Aug 22, 2019 #13

    Kay O.

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    UGH, my new mom that had her babies on Thursday night/Friday morning ate one of her babies today. I just don't understand. It was a gruesome sight, I'm so tired of crying and worrying you guys, I am going insane, lol. This morning I noticed 3 of her babies were skinnier than the rest and I did not see milk bands, so I took out the chubby full ones and let the others feed for a while. That seemed to work, and hopefully I didn't stress her out. She isn't as much of an attentive mom as my other rat is with her first litter. I can't even be sure if it was one of those babies that were eaten, I just don't know. I thought after the first 3 or so days they didn't eat them anymore!! =(

    I keep trying to peek in on her and hopefully I'm not stressing her out enough to eat them. She's rather comfortable with me compared to the other mom.
     
  14. Aug 22, 2019 #14

    Kay O.

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    BUT!!! I meant to ask, I've been spot cleaning their cages, but they're really starting to stink. Am I safe to change all bedding in both cages? One litter is over a week old, the second litter will be a week old on Thursday.
     
  15. Aug 22, 2019 #15

    Dena

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    As far as cleaning, I'd personally clean the gross, stinky litter, and maybe give her an empty cleanex box to move her babies into. Then, maybe clean her old house where her nest was. Remember to put in strips of paper towel, or cleanex that doesn't have lotions added to it, so she can make a new cozy nest. If you don't clean it thoroughly, the babies will have their eyes open, and be running around, and it will be fine to do a more thorough cleaning when they get to about 14 days. Now for the eaten baby. It's an instinct that many rats have to eat the sick, dying, or dead family members. Not all rats do it, but some will. They do this to keep predictors or scavengers from coming into their nest and eating or harming the other family members. Don't stress about it. There's not much you can do. Just make sure mom is getting plenty to eat, and lots of formula with cereal, and plenty of fresh veggies, so she won't be lacking vitamins. You're doing a good job. Trust me. Soon the babies will be eating solids, and relying less on mom's milk (around 2-4 weeks). It seems like a long way away, but trust me, it goes fast. Keep up the good work. You're a great rat mommy too. ;)
     
  16. Aug 22, 2019 #16

    ViciousCurse

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    I'd just like to say that I think baby eating is a hamster-only behavior as well, or at least that's what I've heard. If anything, I think momma rat was eating the baby to recycle nutrients and to keep her nest clean and predator free. I'm not entirely sure that hamsters eat their babies versus engage in the same behavior as momma rats. Unless I see a video that shows a hamster or rat CLEARLY eating their young versus cleaning up the body, I remain skeptical. But, I've also never seen a rat litter nor watched them grow up, so I don't know much lol. Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  17. Sep 7, 2019 #17

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    They're doing great! Since the moms were hairless, both litters are kinda hairless! lol. I have some 7 brownies and 5 pinkies, totaling 4 boys and 8 girls! Chewy messed up my order and my cage won't be here until Monday, which is EXACTLY 5 weeks, so I'm super nervous!! I was instructed to separate the males at 4 weeks and 6 days, eek!!! Any suggestions here, should I find a way to separate them or will I make it until Monday afternoon?

    I'll post some recent pics this evening when I get them out to play. I love them all, it's going to be hard to adopt them out! :(
     
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  18. Sep 7, 2019 #18

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    Also, I forgot to add this back when it happened, but the mom of the 2nd litter ended up eating one of her babies around the 12th day, it was only half eaten so that REALLY put me over the edge. I had a huge flip out and tried to find a breeder or someone who could help me because I didn't understand what I was doing wrong =( I still have no idea what caused it, but safe to say I will not voluntarily breed anything, I'm not cut out for it! o_O
     
  19. Sep 8, 2019 #19

    Crosscutter

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    I myself just got four new girls on the 20th of august. On the 31st and sept 4th two of my girls had litters. This is also new to me so i talked to the breeder and did research on baby rats. It is not uncommon for a mommy rat, or other animals, to eat their young. They will do this for a few reasons. I had this happen in both litters also. The reasons i found are more of a life expectancy thing for the most part. They may semse that the baby wont make it or has something wrong so they may eat the baby. They can actually gain nutrition from the baby. Fish do the same thing. If a baby wont make it, they eat it for the nutrition instead of another animal gain the nutrition. They may also eat the babies if they cannot care for them. So to this may not be something of real concern. It is sad but it is also part of the natural cycle of certain animals.
     
  20. Sep 8, 2019 #20

    Crosscutter

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    I forgot to mention that in both litters the two mommies have also eaten some of the babies. Unfortunately it is part of their nature taking care of the strong ones.
     

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