This article is from the Winter 2000 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Breeding & Stuff
By Nichole Royer
Laurel Summerfield, Burke, VA
QMy rat Charlotte was very protective of her two litters for the first few days, whereas her daughter, Belly, was happy to have us handle the babies from the very beginning. Do you think this is due to her young age (she was 10 weeks old when her babies were born) or because we handled her from birth? Also, I left Belly in with her two sisters after her babies were born. It seems to have gone fine, but is that generally a good or bad idea?
AIn general this isn’t a great idea. Sometimes the other rats do not do well with babies. You seem to have lucked out which is fortunate, but if possible, it’s always recommended that females be given their own cage. Sometimes when you leave a mom rat with other rats, the babies won’t get fed properly, they will be stolen by one of the non-nursing dominant rats and the mother will just give up trying to care for them, or they will be drug all over the cage by the different females each trying to be the “mom” and bring them to her nest.
Belly’s letting you handle her babies has everything to do with handling her from birth.