This article is from the WSSF 2012 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Breeding & Stuff
By Karen Robbins
Judy Carrol King, Facebook
QI have rat babies!!! I hear little squeaks! I am so excited. There is one she is ignoring and it’s all alone. I know this can happen if it’s sick, so should I just leave it and wait? I haven’t tried to disturb them really to do any counting.
Update: I did take the little one which was almost out of the igloo and offered to the mother and she grabbed it and tucked it under neath her, so maybe it was just lost, and since she has so many, didn’t realize it was MIA. She is caring for all of them far as I can tell now, none are out in the open anyways. All nursing as well so I think a great sign now.
I have to start working on adoptions in 5 weeks. My two females in total had 36 babies. I am keeping about 12 for myself. I have very big custom cages I built myself. I have a friend saying she wants two already so that leaves . . . whewwww . . . I have a lot of work to do.
ASounds like your baby was just
as you said. When mom is nursing and leaves the nest, some will stay
attached trying to get more to eat and end up outside, especially
when there are more than 12 kids. Mom eventually gets the wayward
kids back into the nest.
With 36 kids between 2 moms, be prepared for some to not make it since each mom can only nurse 12 at a time. By expecting the two moms to raise that many, you are overburdening and stressing them, all the babies suffer by not getting their fill at each feeding (with that many, those that don’t die are essentially just getting enough to live till the next feeding, not to thrive and grow to their best potential), and the moms suffer from the overload. Finding foster moms for some would be best.
The moms will need additional calories (protein and fat) while raising their litters—Ensure, Boost, etc. (you can add some cooked oatmeal, Total cereal, etc., to the nutrition drink), dog/cat kibble, scrambled eggs, dog biscuits, avocado, nuts, etc., plus their lab blocks. See these articles for more info:
Large Litter of Rat Babies
Baby Rats Not Growing
Nutritional Requirements in Rats
Rat Breeding: Part 1 Biology
With that many to find homes for you have your work cut out for you! Since there are so many, they will be smaller than others at 6 weeks and should stay with you for an additional couple of weeks to get some size on them before going to their new homes. Hope you can get people lined up now that are looking for new pets, otherwise be prepared to keep more than you expected.