This article is from the WSSF 2016 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
Over the years, AFRMA has received complaints regarding some practices of breeders selling animals. As stated on our Breeders’ page, purchases are between the buyer and seller. AFRMA is a fancy/showing club and membership is required to be listed on our Breeders’ page; however, having a member listed on our Breeders’ page is not an endorsement for that individual, just that they are a member. We do not settle conflicts between buyers and sellers but will try and offer suggestions to the best of our ability. Now if a member has misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of the Association or the fancy, then another member may file charges to be brought before the Board. Following are guidelines to help minimize any problems you may have with potential sales.
Applications are a good way to get information on the potential new pet owners of your animals to see that a good home will be provided for them. These are not contracts guaranteeing the interested person will be able to get animals from you and a statement such as this should be with the application (some people may think filling out the application will automatically get them animals).
Many breeders will have a waiting list in general with a list of
what each person wants and then notify them when females/males or a
specific type is available, but this is not always effective
as many people on your list may have gone elsewhere by the
time you notify them of a litter ready to go. Some breeders will
wait list in general for each litter (not for specific animals
in the litter) if they don’t have people lined up ahead of time.
Giving a wait time is recommended with the request that if the
person goes elsewhere, to notify you so they can be taken off the
list. Too many times when a person is notified there are animals
ready, they either don’t reply back to the breeder, have gone elsewhere,
or dislike the fact they are being contacted when they are
no longer interested. Another method would be to have a wait list
and once a litter is ready, to give general notice (e-mail or on your
web site or Facebook page) and those still interested have to contact
you rather than you having to send multiple e-mail messages
trying to get in touch with them.
Breeders should not offer individual rats for pet reservations
when they are less then 6 weeks old (mice 5 weeks old), but rather
show the litter in general with the possibilities of some being sold
as pets, i.e.
litter born with 8 of which some may be sold for pets,
breeder gets first pick. Have a general wait list for the litter and
once you have more than enough people interested say,
full for this litter rather than listing people with a specific animal.
Once the breeder decides which ones they need to keep back
for further breeding and new pet owners have picked up their rats
at 6–12 weeks (mice 5–12 weeks) or older, then show them being
sold at that point (not have a specific rat reserved for a specific
person prior to this; too many people have had their hearts broken
when they sign up for specific rats at 2–3 weeks of age, only to
find out the breeder then needs to keep that one back for their
breedings or something happens to the baby before it is ready to
go at 6–12 weeks of age or older).
If a deposit is required, it is best not to put it towards specific rats (or mice), but rather towards a number of rats (or mice) in general, i.e. deposit for 2 rats will get them 2 rats in general that they will then choose which ones when they go to pick them up when they are ready to sell.
Choosing new pets in person is more important than choosing based on a photo. When people get rats/mice for pets, they need to handle them when they are ready to pick them up to see which ones like them (rats will choose their owners) to make sure they are a good fit for the individual/family rather than choosing them based on a particular color/marking/coat/ear type at a pre-weaning age only to find the rat/mouse is very nervous or doesn’t like them when they are ready for their new homes, as temperament is more important then looks when it comes to finding some fantastic pets. Also, rats and mice will change in looks from that cute ball of fluff at 2–3 weeks of age to the weaned ready-to-sell age.
Contracts (if used) should be filled out and signed when the people actually pick up the rats/mice, not before.
Following these guidelines should eliminate a lot of grief for the breeder and potential new owner.