This article is from the WSSF 2012 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Emma Lee, Facebook
QCan I burn an herbal candle with my rats in the room? Will it hurt them?
ARemember, rats have sensitive respiratory systems and soaps, perfumes, aftershave, hair spray, cleaning products, air deodorizers, carpet/furniture sanitizers, cigarettes, scented candles, etc., can cause sneezing, runny noses, wheezing, etc., so should not be used around them. If you try this, you’ll have to let us know what type of herbal candle you use and how the rats react. Karen Robbins
From Terren Brandt, Litterattery, CO
I have had rats since I was a kid. I started using holistic methods to try and stave off the diseases that came from getting rats from pet stores and animal shelters. In all that time, even myrats that didn’t come from breeders had decent life expectancies. Once I started getting my pets from breeders, the problems became even more rare. What I am hoping to see is successive generations benefitting from this regime. One of my lab classes got me thinking about micro-RNA and how environment can turn on both good and bad genes. It may not affect the parents as much but it had long lasting effects that trickle down to the children and grandchildren. My rattery has been running since 2009. So far I have increased my adult sizes by almost 100 gm on average. My original trio is still alive and kicking. No one seems to be acting old yet. Unfortunately, the lines I started with have some underlying issues that hadn’t been addressed. I am going to be fixing these problems with some specially selected lab strains of rats. I have a 50+ generation brother/sister pair from a line with amazing respiratory health and low cancer rates.
I am working on a couple things to improve my rattery using natural, holistic means. Of course I use the best diet that I can find. I actually use Debbie Ducommun’s homemade meal and Harlan lab blocks, along with frozen veggies and a puffed grain mix that I blend myself. I keep dried papaya, pineapple, and coconut as treats that provide digestive support and help flush toxins. The babies are provided with kefir at the 2–3 week age, usually when I notice them finally moving around on their own. It helps to boost their internal flora but also has been shown in many studies to increase the rate of growth. It also works wonders helping mom get back in shape. I use frozen veggies for two reasons. One, the act of freezing actually breaks the cell walls making it easier for the rats to digest the nutrients. Second, it makes the cinnamon, turmeric, and red pepper flakes stick to the veggies better. The cinnamon is wonderful for keeping their blood sugar better regulated and acting as an internal antibacterial agent. The red pepper flakes are to get them capsaicin. This has helped with their overall respiratory health. I have not had a respiratory problem since I began using the pepper flakes. I regularly listen to myrats’ chests to identify any breathing issues early and have nothing but healthy sounds. My adopters have also reported no such issues, so I am hoping that the good start might be a life-long effect. I am just starting the turmeric. It has been shown to have amazing cancer fighting abilities and I am hoping this will mean I never see a tumor in my rattery. I saw my fair share when I was just a pet owner and if I can spare one adopter that experience, I will feel everything is worth it.
Aimee King, Precious Little Sweeties Rattery, CO, e-mail
RE: Cage Warning, WSSF2011, pg. 49 An update to the Critter Trails cage made by Super Pet. I never got a reply from them [Super Pet] at all unfortunately. Luckily my zip-tie method has been successful so long as I replace them when they start getting chewed. It’s disappointing to have such poor customer service.
I am probably going to change to lab cages soon now that I have figured out a way to put a wheel in them. The only reason the lab cages didn’t appeal to me was that they weren’t tall enough for a wheel, but the saucer shaped wheels that www.drsfostersmith.com sells are perfect!
I saw my warning made it into the AFRMA issue, and that was exciting. I’m learning a lot from all of the articles in the issues and on the web page. Joining AFRMA has been a far greater value than a magazine subscription in my opinion. I only wish I was closer so that I could attend the shows regularly!
Ed. Note: One of our members sent a copy of the cage warning from the newsletter to Super Pet and they are modifying the cage.