Urgent advice needed.

For anything to do with rat care that doesn't fit into any of the sections above!
pb632
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Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:33 am

Hello,

I've never owned rats, but understand their needs, and how intelligent they are.

I picked up two rats yesterday from a girl that had taken them on from a man thats been evicted from his house.

One is male and one is female, and both are in seperate cages but the cages that they are in are hamster cages

I urgently need to get two rat cages for these guys, these cages are expensive and I am looking for two second hand ones if anybody knows of any or has any for sale near the newport gwent area in southwales, I am prepared to pickthem up.

Also, I beleive they have allowed the male to go in with the female and I think shes pregnant judging by her bulging tummy, which makes it even worse is that shes only 4 months old , when i picked these guys up they had no food in their cages just stale bread rolls, for now i've given them hamster mix until the shops open today to get somne real food for them, any recommendations as to whats best for them?

Also if she is pregnant, what is her chances of coping with a litter at this age? and am i best leaving her to her own devices in the hamster cage until she has them ???

Also, the male is one years old, whats my chances of introducing a buddy to him? Im unsure wether it's risky wether to get him castrated at this time in his life?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, also if anyone can tell me a good cheap place to get cages for these gorgeous little things would be great.

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Neotoma
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by Neotoma » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:53 am

It's not any more risky to get a 1 yr old castrated than a slightly younger rat normally (I get more wary towards 2 yrs, but I've done 1 yr olds pretty much automatically). That's not to say he needs castration - he might mix with babies, or laid back older boys fine (it's not something you can predict in advance with unknown rats), but if he does need it, it's at the normal risk, assuming he's healthy. What to do with him probably depends on who you are planning to keep, and who to rehome.

There's lots of info in the breeding section on birthing etc, so I'm going to point you there, as it's not something I know much about.

Cheap cages - your best bet may be ebay as there are often a few on there

Food - if you a buying a stop gap mix from a shop today, then a rat museli is probably the best starting point, especially if you feed it tandem with some decent fresh veg etc. In the longer term, there are various options - buying a good quality complete mix online, or mixing your own, either from scratch, or from a combination of straight grains and a base mix (although whatever you choose, they'll still need a decent amount of fresh veg, fruit, bones etc).

If pregnant the female will need extra, nutritious food - again there is advice on that in the info of the breeding and feeding forums (I keep neutered boys so it's really not my field :wink: )

Good luck!
Alison and the horde of squish :smileyrat:

pb632
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:22 am

Thanks very much, I was kind of hoping, IF she is pregnant (could she maybe just have a bad case of worms or something?-lol just checking), but if she is, i could either keep a female for her and keep a male for him, OR if i was to get him castrated then i could pair them up. Im prepared to just to what is best for them, hes very very tame the male is and very cuddly, whats the chances of him taking a young male into his company? He is so super cute! I seriously dont get why some people are freaked out by them!!! Do you know roughly how much it costs to castrate? Thanks

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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by KatieJ » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:43 am

Baby rats develop best with "same age" company, so if you were to keep company for each rat then you would need to keep two males and two females taking you to six rats total, which is a reasonable number. Adult baby intros often do go well. If you choose to castrate prices can range from £30 - £80 depending on the vet!

Best of luck :luck:
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pb632
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:04 am

wow! £80 if i decide to do that then ill definitely shop about! I think I may go ahead with that and just keep the two as there will be less likely to fight. Could Ikeep a trio 2 females and the castrated male? I'm concerned that hes a lot older than her and i'd hate for him to die and leave her alone! I can see me ending up with a zillion of them now! I'm naughty when it comes to animals, i promised no animals when we moved into this house, instead i got two border collies, 6 ducks, 2 fish tanks one hamster and two rats!.....and still expanding! w00ps! x

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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by MrsSetters » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:08 am

There's a lady on here who is in Cardiff and is selling a Furet XL, and another in Cardiff selling a Jenny. Have a look on the Marketplaceboard. If getting them to you is a problem I can help for a donation to diesel, I'm near Ystrad Mynach and could pick the cages up and bring it to you if you sort out paying for it.
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:27 am

Oh I will check out, i'm in newport, Cardiff is only about 20 mins up motortway thanks!! x

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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:36 am

The girl that i got them off *insists* theres no way that the female is pregnant. I have no experience with breeding or pregnant rats, but to me, for her age, i beleive she has a large tummy, i'm going to attempt to take some pics and attempt to put thenm um for some expert opinions! x

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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:02 am

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z32 ... -00065.jpg

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z32 ... -00064.jpg

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z32 ... -00063.jpg

Sorry pictures arent fab, but don't want to pull her about too much as shes not the tamest, and especially IF she is preggers. She is four months old 'apparently', what do you guys think? Thanks

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Anthony
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by Anthony » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:06 am

Personally speaking, I wouldn't get the male castrated. All operations carry a great deal of risk for small animals and to me, getting a male castrated purely so that you can introduce him to a female is irresponsible. Some evidence suggests that it does extend life (only by like 20days-1month). Personally, I think you should choose which you want to keep (if any) and find appropriate cage mates for him/her and rehome the other. I (and many others) have learned the 'hard' way when it comes to putting small animals under anaesthetics and to me, the risk isn't worth it.
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:09 am

I understand that there s that risk. I am also unhappy to leave either of these rats alone, and am concerned he doesnt take to another male, its a situation I need to think about seriously before making any decisions. Thanks

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Anthony
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by Anthony » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:12 am

pb632 wrote:I understand that there s that risk. I am also unhappy to leave either of these rats alone, and am concerned he doesnt take to another male, its a situation I need to think about seriously before making any decisions. Thanks

Pretty much any rat can be introduced to another rat. I recently (well, I guess back in Feb/March now) had a rat who was literally mentally tortured for the first 7 months of his life, kept in a tiny glass tank with no toys or bed (literally just a food bowl and water bottle), he was terrified of everything, you couldn't even move without him being terrified (even at the other end of the room). After about a month of hard graft with him (he had never seen another rat since he was about 4-5 weeks old and even then probably couldn't remember them) he was successfully introduced into my group, he is still skittish even now, but he is getting better and better on a weekly basis. Also, even after the castration you have to wait like 2 (? - maybe more? I can't remember) until you can introduce him to her anyway. To me, it's an operation he doesn't need and therefore a great risk. It would be better for him (and quicker as you are concerned about him being alone) to rehome him or find him suitable company.
Ollie :dumbo:, Oskar :dumbo:, Riley :smileyrat:, Joey :smileyrat:, Rupert :smileyrat: Eska :teen: , Erik :teen: and The baby :dumboteen:, Miles :baby:, Axel :baby:

RIP Louis, Minnie & Ginger <3

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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by Jird » Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:35 pm

To present a differing view, I don't think castrating the male is irresponsible at all :) With an excellent vet and a healthy rat the anaesthetic risk is minimal, and the benefits I feel are quite significant - IME neutered males are more active and much less stressy and concerned about hierarchy, so their quality of life is improved quite a lot. The risk of developing certain diseases is reduced, and overall lifespan is increased. And I've heard that mixed sex groups made possible by neutering are of benefit to the rats as it, um, changes the cage dynamics slightly in a positive way :lol:

That said, if the female is pregnant the male would have to remain alone for several weeks while she raised her litter, which wouldn't really be ideal.
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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by pb632 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:11 pm

I'm finding it difficult to make a decision. I have uncovered more about their history which I will post in a second. After hearing about the 'truth', i have clearly been lied to which I was quite aware of when i brought them, but that makes me uncertain of his age. He has lovely bright eyes, clean ears, his teeth dont look over grown, but he does sneeze a bit, I think I'll pay a visit to the vet for check-up and their opinion on age etc, and to discuss possible castration.


I know a girl that, knows the girl i got them off and we had an interesting conversation on the phone today, this is what i uncovered:

Basically, theyve been bred for snake food.
The guy that had them has been keeping them in his attic, and the girl i got them from took four rats from him to breed from for her snakes.

I was told that the guys been evicted and he had to get rid of his pets, the two I have are the ones that he wanted 'to keep'. From what ive just heard they have given the rats up and brought a pair of rabbits for snake food as they keep large snakes.

The the *pregnant* female escaped, and my friend was there and found her, and asked what cage shes supposed to be in, and the girl i got them from said 'oh she goes in that cage with the other' when she went to put it back in the cage, she discovered the 'other' was stiff as a board, dead, the other im presuming was the male. So now we're down to 3 rats. The other was given as snake food, and luckily for the two remaining, i came along. I have also been informed that they have been kept in an understairs cupboard since this girls had them. I am FURIOUS.

So I am presuming they have spent most of their lives in darkness :x

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Re: Urgent advice needed.

Post by Neotoma » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:30 pm

There isn't a right or wrong to castration. Some people castrate routinely, some only if it is absolutely essential. I'm in the former group, but I wouldn't criticise the latter.

Basically you've got two sets of considerations.

Cons:
- it's an operation, and that carries an anaesthetic risk. You can lower it with an experienced vet and the right anaesthetic (isofluorane gas), but you can't get rid of it.
- you can get post-op complications, mainly in the form of abcesses. These don't happen every time, are usually minor, burst, and heal with no problem, but you can occasionally get a serious internal one (I've not had a bad one in 12 years, but I do know of a couple).
- if you want to mix him with girls, you need to wait 4 weeks or so for him to be definitely infertile.

Pros:
- there are definite health effects, the most widely recognised of which is a reduction in the incidence, age of onset, and severity of kidney disease, which is a common and potentially progressive and fatal problem in male rats (hence the importance of kidney friendly diets etc)
- it increases lifespan, and according to the data I've seen it's by a lot more than 20 days to a month. The larger sets of lifespan data I've seen from other people have an average age for neutered males of around 27 months (overall average for unneutered males is usually 22-23 months - and 4 months is a long time for a rat). For my own rats, neutered males between 2006 and now have a median lifespan of 30 months.
- it tends to make boys more active, which can also have benefits in terms of health and engagement in old age.

My default setting is now neutering, as I think the benefits to the rat outweighs the risk. However, the risk does exist, and you have to live with the consequences if you are unlucky, so it's something each owner has to decide for themselves.
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