03
Dec

I got some new pictures of the litters today.

Here is Ariel’s litter. It looks like there are 2 russian blues, 3 blacks, and 7 siamese, which will be either black or russian blue point, it’s too soon to tell.
There are 4 boys – 2 standard coat dumbo boys, 1 standard eared rex, 1 standard ear/fur. The standard coat dumbo is black; the other 3 are siamese.
There are 8 girls – 2 standard ear/fur, 4 dumbo rex, 1 standard coat dumbo, 1 standard ear rex.

Here is Maybelle’s litter. My initial gender count was slightly off – there are 6 boys and 5 girls.
The boys are 3 standard ear/fur, 1 dumbo rex, 2 standard eared rex.
The girls are 2 standard coat dumbos, 1 standard ear/fur, 1 dumbo rex, 1 standard eared rex.

In Maybelle’s litter, so far it’s looking like all the dark babies are black, and the light ones will be either pink-eyed white, ivory, or himilayan with either black or red eyes.

I was after himilayans and/or ivories in these 2 litters, and each litter had a 50% chance to produce them. Unfortunately I didn’t get any in Ariel’s litter, so now I know that Hitch carries the siamese/himilayan gene. But I did get all “white” babies in Maybelle’s litter which means that she carries the albino gene. The only downside is that I won’t be able to tell the white rats from the himilayans until they are about 7-8 weeks old, because himilayans are pure white up until that point. So I will probably keep a few of the “white” babies from her litter in hopes of ending up with one or two who do not develop points.

This is an exciting generation for me – I took a chance when breeding Hitch and Maybelle’s parents, hoping that at least one of them would end up with the albino gene vs. the siamese/himilayan gene. It would help me achieve my goal of ivory rats if it worked out – and luckily Maybelle did!

I forgot to share in my last post…the AFRMA (American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association) had a calendar contest, and several of my pictures made it into the calendar – along with Maybelle who was on the cover!

Here is a link if anyone wants to order calendars or just check out the pictures!
http://www.afrma.org/sales/salescat2.htm

There are 3 different calendars; in the Kitten Calendar, Maybelle is the cover and inside are pictures of Ariel, Sweet Talk, Maybelle (again), Lovett, Frex, and Don Juan.
In the Rat calendar is Ruxpin, and in the Nature Rat calendar there are pictures of Maybelle, Junior Mint, Hershey, and Ophelia.

I also wanted to post that I had a pair of girls returned to me this week because their owner was no longer able to care for them. They are 5 month old girls from Iris and Wispa’s litters.

More info about the girls can be found on my Available Adults page.

01
Dec

It has been a long time since my last update! A lot has been going on here in the last few months, but I will start with the most recent stuff!

Ariel and Maybelle had their litters a few days ago. Both litters are doing great – Ariel had 12 (4 boys and 8 girls) and Maybelle had 11 (5 boys and 6 girls). Their litter pages have been posted along with pictures.

Rapunzel and Douma had their litters in October, the babies were beautiful, and Rapunzel gave me a great surprise – pink-eye dilute babies! She had one champagne and one silver fawn, and I will be keeping those two to establish a PED line here. I am very excited – as some of you know, the first rats I ever got from a breeder were a silver fawn and a champagne, so I have always had a soft spot for those colors!
I also got some absolutely gorgeous dove and russian cinnamons from Douma’s litter, along with a boy who I believe is a russian dove point siamese. His points are starting to come in and they are very pretty!

In September, we brought home a new JRT puppy, Cricket. She is gorgeous and very smart and has lots of attitude.

At the end of October we went to the JRTCA National Trial. Gizmo was entered in Rally-O, and Cricket in conformation. Gizmo got high scoring dog in Rally-O which I am very proud of, and Cricket got 6th place in her puppy conformation class.

The snowstorm started on the way back from the trial, and a 3 hour drive took us 9 hours…it was miserable, but we made it. Unfortunately, due to the storm, we lost power for over a week. We got 10″ of snow! It was a very cold and miserable week with no heat or power, but I am grateful that my sister lives close enough that I could go over there to shower and hop on the computer to check e-mails. Between that and the hurricane in August, we had no power for 16 out of 45 days!!!

In mid-October, Kessy was entered in an HGH herding trial. It is a German-style herding trial with 200 sheep. It took us 2 years to be ready, but she did awesome! She got High in Trial and is now one of only a handful of dogs in the country to be titled in both HGH and Schutzhund. Our judge was from Germany, and he’d won their national herding competition several times. He was very impressed with Kessy.

Throughout the summer and fall, both Kessy and Gizmo were also entered in lots of Rally Obedience trials. They both got their RL1, RL2, and RL3 titles, all with Awards of Merit for having all qualifying scores over 190, RL1X titles (which is 10 Q’s in Level 1), and their ARCH titles, so now they are Rally Champions.

In September, shortly after we got Cricket, Djenga had to have surgery for an obstruction in her intestines. It was major surgery, but she recovered very quickly, and she is doing great.

Beau, our cat, had to be put to sleep at the end of August. His kidneys were failing, and he did not improve after more than a week on IV fluids. It was time to let him go :( We took him home with us for a night, so he could spend one night at home with us instead of stuck in a cage at the vet. He slept right between me and my husband, and he curled up right against my chest and just purred like crazy. It was really hard to lose him, he was the sweetest and happiest cat I ever knew.

So there have been lots of ups and down, but for now things seem to have quieted down again which is a relief!

20
Jul

I just wanted to post a quick reminder to everyone – this week is going to be VERY HOT and the heat can be extremely dangerous to rats. If the temperature in your rats’ living area will be going above the mid-80′s, they will be in danger of overheating. For tips on keeping rats cool and signs of distress, read this page – http://paperheartrats.com/summersafety.html

It looks like I will have some females available from my current litters – it’s looking like 2 or 3 pairs at this point. If you’re looking for baby girls – e-mail me ASAP. There are currently 3 girls available from each litter.

I had a number of non-responses from those on my waiting list, and I am pretty disappointed. I’m going to have to figure out a better system. This time around, the timing of my reservations was thrown way off – luckily I am keeping the babies for an extra few weeks so it’s not affecting when they are going home. But I know it’s been tough on the adopters who are waiting for their turn to choose. So in the future I will be stricter about a 48 hour limit for responses and may have to start asking for deposits again. But thank you to everyone who gets back to me promptly – it makes life a lot easier!

I finally got to the vet yesterday to pick up Lovett’s x-rays. I’ve shrunk them down so I can fit them on the page, so not a lot of detail is visible, but I thought some might find them interesting.

18
Jul

I have anxiously been awaiting my serology results since I sent them in last week. I am happy to report that I just got the results, and they are what I’d been hoping for! Johanna was negative for the deadly viruses (SDA/Sendai) and the only positive of any relevance was Myco. Myco is something that *most* pet rats carry, and I believe that I brought home a different strain of myco than my rats were used to, which caused the respiratory symptoms in some. That was my theory before doing the bloodwork (based on symptoms and conversations with vets and the serologist at the testing facility), and now that I have the results, it does back up that theory.
So – it is good news! I will still keep Iris’s babies an extra few weeks as I’d planned, to finish up their quarantine. But then they can go home as planned.

14
Jul

I just wanted to make a quick post to let everyone know that new pictures are posted of Iris and Wispa’s litter. I have also finally chosen naming themes for them and have posted my keepers. I will be working on reservations next week, I am just waiting to hear back from several people.
The pictures are not the best – but the babies were not being too cooperative and I was short on time. I think I got a decent shot of each. Iris’s rex babies are going through the “uglies” right now – they are molting and are a little threadbare right now, but that is normal and their hair will grow back over the next couple of weeks.
I did have a surprise in Iris’s litter…two dwarf boys. I have not had any dwarf rats in 2 years, and I did not think I’d see any again. But it’s become very obvious in the last few days that they are dwarfs and not just a little small. I am going to keep one of the boys…I do miss having a dwarf around!

12
Jul

Yesterday was an especially hard day for me. I found Lovett at the bottom of her cage when I went in to feed the rats at around lunchtime. She was not moving and at first I thought she might have been sleeping, but when she didn’t get up, I knew something was very wrong. I picked her up and she was just completely limp. If I set her down, she’d just fall right over. I felt her all over to see if there was an injury, and she squeaked when I touched the top of her head, sort of between her ears.

Since she wasn’t moving, I knew that there was not much that could be done for her. I brought her to the vet to be PTS (or treated, if they thought that was an option), but unfortunately she did not make it that long and passed away just before we arrived. I did have a necropsy done and also an x-ray to see if there was anything we could see. But the necropsy was inconclusive – my vet was not able to find anything, but said that if it was a brain/spinal injury that it may have been too small for her to see. I will be picking up the x-ray today so I will post it here when I have it.

I wanted to be sure that her death wasn’t related to the illness the other rats have had, but everyone else is doing just fine and they’ve been off their meds for a while now. She was too young for a stroke and since it came on so suddenly, Lovett must have hurt herself somehow. I’m not sure how since there isn’t much to get her head caught on in the cage and there is not a big gap between levels for her to have fallen – but I guess anything is possible. I feel terrible, she was one of my favorite rats I’d ever bred, and to lose her so young is really painful :( At least I have some great pictures (and memories) of her, and a son and daughter, both of which are wonderful ratties.

These are some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken…both of Lovett…

I also brought Johanna into the vet yesterday to have blood drawn for her serology tesing. She is doing just fine although her head tilt is a little stronger than it was before, from the anesthesia. Hopefully it will go back to normal soon! The blood was mailed out today so hopefully I will have results within the next several days.

08
Jul

I just thought I would update everyone with how all my ratties are doing. They are all doing great and everyone seems to have recovered from the illness. No additional rats got sick so I think the problem has been contained. I have a vet appointment for next Monday (the 11th) to get some blood drawn from one of my rats. I will send the blood into Radil, which is a lab that tests for infectious diseases. Then I will know for sure what they had, and will adjust my quarantine procedures from there.

I spoke to one of the doctors there, and based on their symptoms, he suspects that the rats were affected by myco, which is something that most rats bred outside of sterile conditions in labs have. But it is likely that I brought home a different strain of myco which affected a few of the rats, but now everyone has adjusted and they should be fine. I will still keep Iris’s litter an extra few weeks just to be sure they don’t come down with anything. I don’t expect that they will, but I don’t want to take any chances.

The reason that I’m waiting so long to do the bloodwork is to ensure that the rats have had time to develop antibodies to whatever they were affected with, so they show up on the test. Originally I had an appointment this week, but the vet suggested waiting at least 6-8 weeks after exposure, so I pushed it back one more week just to be sure I don’t run the bloodwork too early. It is expensive and I don’t want to end up wasting money by doing it a little too soon!

My rat babies are all doing great and growing fast! Yesterday, I started contacting those on the waiting list to work out availability for those inquiring. Hopefully I will know within 2 weeks if there are any available. Right now, I do have more people who want rats than there are babies, but some people I have not spoken to in a while and they may have gotten rats elsewhere. This is no problem since I have so many people waiting for rats, but it will take some time to figure things out. So if you’re on the waiting list, keep an eye out for an e-mail from me in the near future if you haven’t gotten one already!

That’s all for tonight – I will post again when I have more news!

21
Jun

I have not had much time to get online this past week – sorry for the lack of updates! I have a lot to post today!

First of all – I seem to have brought something home to my rats. In the last couple of weeks some of my oldies have been having some respiratory trouble. But towards the end of the week (last week) some of my younger and middle aged rats were also making the typical “grunting” noises that rats make when they are congested.
So I brought some of the rats into the vet and we decided to start ALL of my rats on antibiotics. Only about 1/3 to 1/2 are affected, but I want to take care of it ASAP and not have it bouncing around from rat to rat. The symptoms have gone away after a few days in most of the rats – except for the 3 who are the oldest and had some respiratory troubles. I will probably be picking up some stronger meds for those 3 rats tomorrow to ensure that everyone recovers.

I do not think that this is a “deadly” illness like SDA or Sendai – if it was, I think I would have suffered losses by now and/or the symptoms would be much worse than some mild to moderate (in the oldest rats) congestion. I am planning to get some blood taken soon to have serology testing done to see if that will tell me anything.

So – at the moment, it looks like I will probably have to keep Iris’s litter for 3-4 weeks post weaning. Rats pass on antibodies to their babies through their milk, and I will need to wait until those antibodies wear off before I can be sure that everyone is healthy and safe to be adopted out. None of the babies appear sick and Iris is also fine. But I do want to be extra careful not to send any rats home with a potential problem!

So for now, reservations will be on hold – I will e-mail those on the waiting list individually once I know more!

And here is my handsome Frex taking his meds like a good boy…

Most of the rats don’t mind the meds, and some even grab onto the syringe and lick it right off, but a few do not seem to like the taste and they are not too thrilled with me right now. It’s a lot of work medicating 25+ rats twice a day, but oh well…it needs to be done!

In other news, Iris’s litter has me slightly stumped and for those of you not familiar with (or interested in) rat color genetics…you might want to skip down to the pictures posted below!

I was not 100% sure about Frex’s color before the breeding, but in my mind I had 2 scenarios. The first is that he is a “double mink” which is UK + US mink together, and I would have gotten black, mink, and maybe russian blue. The second was that he is a russian dove (either US or UK mink-based), and that his color was lightened a bit by some modifiers. In that case, I should have gotten a litter of russian blues, and either 25% or 50% dove.
Well – the litter is full of russian blue and russian blue agoutis. It is not what I was expecting! And it means that Frex is russian blue-based, and also agouti-based. But both parents *should* have carried mink, but it was not produced. If it was a small litter and no doveswere produced, I would just chalk it up to the odds not working in my favor. But in a litter of 12, that is extremely unlikely. So I have a 2 theories in mind…
The first is that there is a 3rd type of mink floating around in there. I have heard of other breeders who have multiple “browns” in their lines that are not compatible. It could also be chocolate from WAY back in the pedigree. I will probably end up keeping a female and breeding Frex back to her in the future to see what colors I get. I also have plans of breeding him to Douma, and that may also answer some questions.

I have also been trying to figure out exactly what color Frex is. He is russian blue agouti plus SOMETHING. But his color just doesn’t quite match any of the shades I can think of. So I was looking at his pedigree and his great-grandmother Mercedes was agouti – but she produced burmese when bred to a rat that did not have any burmese in his pedigree, so she must have been an unexpressed burmese (and thank you NARR for allowing us to do this type of research on the database!!). So – it *could* be that Frex is a russian blue wheaten burmese. I’ve never seen one in person, but have seen a few pictures and he seems very close in color.

Here he is…

And this was his great-great-great-grandfather who was a russian blue wheaten burmese…pretty close match!

So for now, until he is bred again, I will still be left wondering exactly what is going on with the mink, but I’ve found out with this litter that he is russian blue and agouti based!

And before I forget – here are some pictures of the litter – they are 13 days old today! They are doing great and a few have their eyes open already.
The boys…

Not in any particular order, but for the males, there is 1 russian blue self rex, 1 russian blue hooded rex, 1 russian blue dumbo rex, 1 dumbo russian blue self, and one russian blue agouti dumbo rex.

The girls…

Again – not in order, but there are: 2 russian blue agouti standard ear/fur, 1 russian blue dumbo, 1 russian blue dumbo rex, 1 russian blue agouti rex, 1 russian blue standard ear/fur, and 1 russian blue agouti dumbo rex.

And some random pictures!!
My boys eating some watermelon…they got as much as they could eat and then it was given to the girls to have their fill!

And last but not least…my second rose! LOL It is the Silver Shadows one – I must have mixed up which was planted where. It is a little more silvery and not as white in person…

And that’s all for today! I am way behind on my e-mails, but will try to get to them ASAP. I apologize if you are waiting for a response, but I have been spread pretty thin the last couple of weeks. My site also needs to be updated with the baby pictures and info, but that will have to wait for a little while too. After this weekend things should settle down though. I hope that no one minds too much that I post here vs. individual e-mails at the moment, but this way I know I can reach everyone at once!

08
Jun

Well – Iris had her babies in the wee hours of the morning…sometime between midnight and 3 AM. The final count is 12 – looks to be 5 boys and 7 girls, but I want to double check that. I didn’t want to stress Iris out too much so soon!

Edited to add:
The final count definitely looks to be 5 boys and 7 girls. One of the boys and 4 girls are standard coated; the rest are rex. I will be able to tell ear type (standard or dumbo) in about another 2-3 days.

Here are some pictures from this morning…they are all doing well so far!

I have to say, I am really excited to watch these guys’ markings come in. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the potential for marked/spotty/blazed rats in a litter. Of course I may end up with very little in the way of markings…but I’ll find out soon enough! I miss my marked rats a lot – I lost most of my markings when I had to end one of my lines about 2 years ago, and have been working to bring them back ever since. It is a very slow process, but if not in Iris’s litter, I think I will start seeing some markings in a couple of the fall litters.

In case anyone is wondering about my garden endeavors…my first rose has bloomed! Of course it’s the rose my husband picked out and not one of mine – but isn’t it pretty? I wish I could have gotten a picture of it yesterday before it opened all the way.

I found a bud on one of my 2 bushes today…so I am excited! The third is growing slowly but steadily, hopefully it will grow a bud soon too! The bushes are all only about a foot tall – I can’t wait til they are full sized, they will be so beautiful!

On a sad note, I had to put my old guy Hoover to sleep last week. He had some issues with bumblefoot a while back, and at one point it got pretty severe, but he recovered and was doing better. But then he started to have a lot of hind end degeneration. Some rats (like my Jelly Belly) can live happily for quite a while with HED, but unfortunately Hoover was not one of those rats. He just went downhill all at once, and on the 2nd I checked on him, and he was very lethargic and cold to the touch. I knew that it was time and I brought him to the vet. He will be greatly missed – he was my oldest resident rat and it is hard not seeing his fuzzy little face around :( RIP little man…

Baby Hoover

25
May

Although this is technically the “Rattery” blog, I like to think that most of us are animal lovers and not just rat lovers. So I hope no one minds if I share updates of some other animals!

Before I start with the other animals…there isn’t too much new with the ratties at the moment. Iris was bred about a week ago. It’s still a bit soon to know if she’s pregnant yet. I’ve made a few minor updates around the site…some new pictures are up, and a new page has been added about shipping rats.

Since I have been so busy I have fallen behind with my e-mails, so if anyone is waiting for a response to a new inquiry, I will try to get back to you tonight or tomorrow…sorry about that!

And now for the other news :)
I posted some of this on my Facebook – but this weekend was super busy with the dogs, but it was a lot of fun! Two of my dogs (Gizmo and Kessy) had their first Rally Obedience trials. I have been hoping to enter Rally trials with them for a long time, but it kept getting pushed to the backburner. But this summer I’ve entered a few. Our first was on Saturday. Both dogs did really well, each had one class in the morning and another in the afternoon. The max score for APDT rally is 210. Kessy got scores of 199 and 208. The 208 earned her first place in the class. Gizmo got scores of 203 and 200. He had to do a runoff both times since he’d tied someone else for placements…but he won both runoffs and got 4th and 5th places.

I also met with some ratty adopters – they were picking up their rats and the show site was closer for them to pick up their rats. They had gotten rats from me about 3 years ago…it was really great to see everyone again! The last of the babies went home from the April litters, plus two of the rats I’d held back from my February litters. It was hard to see them go since I liked them a lot – but I am trying to keep my numbers down and don’t want to keep too many from each litter!

On Sunday, the dog trial was in PA. It was a super long day…we left at 6 AM and didn’t get home til 8 PM. Their class was first in the morning and last in the afternoon/evening…so it was about 7 hours of waiting in between. But in the morning, both Kessy and Gizmo finished their RL1 titles. Kessy got a 195 and Gizmo got a 198…Gizmo got 2nd place and Kessy got 3rd place. In the afternoon they both moved up to B class which is for dogs that have already gotten their titles. Gizmo got a 202 and Kessy got a 198 which earned them both a lot of points towards their championship. And both get an Award of Merit for all of their A class scores being over 190.

Here are some pics of them with their ribbons!

Yesterday I took Kessy herding for the first time in a few weeks. We’ve had time off due to the lambing – brand new lambs need some time to grow up before they can be safely worked by the dogs. The lambs are adorable! My husband came along to get some pictures. These are NOT my sheep – we just take lessons on them :)
I love the expression here…

This one has the CUTEST marking!!

And Kessy working in the fog…