American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the Spring 2002 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Breeding & Stuff

How Late To Breed

By Karen Robbins

Cindy Stratton, Ventura, CA, e-mail
Q I bred Elliot (my Satin SPS rat) to Smurfette (Satin Blue) and to Onyx (a Satin Black sister to Smurfette a friend owns). I saw Smurfette come into heat two times and despite breeding attempts both times, she didn’t take. I never saw Onyx come into heat, but she took and had a litter this afternoon.

Now, I’m reconsidering my future plans for Smurfette and have some questions for you.

I was thinking of showing her at the January Show and then attempting to breed her again. She will be 7 months old at that time. In your opinion, is that too old to breed her for the first time? (Nichole Royer told me you had more experience with older girls and I should ask you. She mentioned that the one time she did breed an older female she had lots of problems.) Thanks.

A If you wait until your rat is 7 months, she should be okay. Remember, a lot of breeders wait to breed their rats around 6 months for the first time (the normal time to breed a rat for the first time is 4–6 months). Just remember that the older they are, the more likely you are to have problems breeding them (not getting pregnant right away, smaller litters, problems with the delivery, more bleeding during delivery, etc.). I’ve bred some rats as late as 1 year old and over. Of course, some people have had accidental litters by rats well over 1½ years of age that they thought were too old to get pregnant and they did great. The experience I’ve had with the older ones is that they usually have smaller litters. I’ve also had some never get pregnant, bleed but never have babies, have a small litter of dead babies, die, or be fine and go on to have another litter. So I think you should be okay at 7 months. Just don’t wait too much after that. Since she didn’t take at two breeding attempts, you may have to leave her with the male until she gets pregnant. *

Updated February 17, 2014