blueberry new litter

Quality over quantity! All of my breeding programs are small scale. I have cut back my rattery size and will be focusing on not only breeding for temperament, but also ensuring proper socialization. Both make for balanced rats ready for loving pet homes. Read below!

Rats:

I have recently changed my approach! Please read.

A week prior to estimated delivery day, mom is separated from other rats and placed in her own birthing enclosure. Usually, I have 2+ litters at the same time. The mom will deliver her babies in her birthing cage and she will spend about 14- 18 days with them there. It’s best that moms raise their litters by themselves; one of the reasons for this is so I know which babies came from which mother.
Next, they are usually placed in a critter nation cage section that has a cement mixing tub insert (see "My Cages" page for photos).
At 5 weeks old, males and females are separated. Mom is separated from her sons and stays with her daughters until they are 6 weeks old.
If the litter will be socialized, this will occur starting at 2 weeks old. Read the next section for details on how I socialize.
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Temperament & Socialization

I select for genetic temperament since temperament is highly hereditary. This is well documented and I have witnessed it heavily firsthand. Breeding for temperament is one of my main goals within  bloodlines who need work in that area. Socialization shouldn't be NECESSARY (to prevent biting), but it does help build early confidence and allows for rats to adjust faster in a new home. Socialized rats are overall more balanced than rats who are not handled in their young age. For this reason, in my rattery rats from established lines will be socialized. This can consist of moving the babies into my main living space, handling often, allowing them to experience the sounds of a home, hearing a vacuum, dogs barking, etc. For lines less established, I do not socialize. At the moment, my less established lines are the fawn rex line, the beige hooded line, and the marten line primarily. Depending on what I expect of a litter, I may or may not bring them in for socialization. The reason why I do not socialize less established bloodlines is because it allows me to better select for natural genetic temperament. Socialization can mask genetic temperament making it harder to improve a bloodline that needs work. When selecting for temperament, I look for curiousness, confidence, baby nibbles (a good thing!), being relaxed when handled, friendliness, good scruff with ideally a perfect or good tuck, willingness to eat from my hand, and even the tendency to like water. Rats from litters who are not socialized will likely take longer to settle in (about 2-3 weeks). Socialized babies should settle in with speed (1-8 days). If you only want socialized babies, please inquire about my current and upcoming liters.