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…

17
May

Frexspar and Iris were paired last night. Frex wasn’t quite sure what to make of all her flirting…he was more interested in searching for any food laying around in the cage they were in for the night! But hopefully he noticed her at some point in the evening…babies should be due on June 9th!
Here is the happy couple…

The rats are doing well. Jelly Belly is doing great, he’s been getting some joint supplements, and I decided to put him in with a couple of my baby boys and it seems to have perked him up a bit. He still doesn’t have a whole lot of function in his back end, but I’ve noticed he’s spending more time on the top level of his current cage and isn’t just laying around on the bottom – so that’s a good sign! Otherwise everyone is doing well, my keeper babies from the last litters are looking gorgeous and I am falling in love with all of their personalities! The himi babies’ points are coming in and they are beautiful!

Here is my keeper Don Juan (I’ve been calling him DJ)…he’s got a little scratch over one eye, but oh well he’s adorable!!

Hoover was not feeling too well last week. His bumblefoot had gotten worse, and he also seems to have hind-end degeneration and some incontinence. Last week I was thinking I might have to put him to sleep soon, but he’s perked up a bit with some antibiotics for his feet and a few days of mild pain meds. So I am hopeful he’ll be feeling better soon!

Last week, I got to see two of the boys from Jinx’s December litter. It was a rare treat to see them since I don’t often get to see the rats again (except for in pictures) once they go to their new homes! The boys were gorgeous and so sweet!

I also had an exciting e-mail from an adopter who has 2 of the girls from Lovett’s litter. They were shown at their local 4H small animal show. The judge commented that one was the finest rat he’d ever seen. So I am really pleased to get such positive feedback!

We got some wild weather over the weekend…did anyone else get a lot of hail??
My poor roses!!! I had to scramble and find some buckets to cover them. They made it through the ordeal though!

02
May

Well, my shipment to Quebec was this Friday. It did not go as smoothly as I would have liked…but in the end the rats made it and they’re doing just fine.

I have a page in the works about shipping rats…but thought I’d post the highlights here :)
I called earlier in the week to schedule the shipment. The person I spoke to at the airline insisted that you had to be a company/lab to ship rats. I told her no…I’ve done this several times, it is most definitely possible. She tried to tell me that maybe it USED to be but that she’s pretty sure that now I can’t. Well I finally got her to talk to her supervisor who confirmed that I can ship the rats as long as I have the proper travel cages. And she reminded me to have their rabies certificates…which don’t even exist for rats. Oh well, the appointment was made.

On Friday I went to drop the rats off at Newark. The person I dealt with there insisted I needed health certificates and an “invoice” stating how many rats were in each box and their descriptions. I told her I’d be happy to write an invoice…but apparently she said that’s not good enough. I don’t think they understood that the rats weren’t coming from a lab or business…I had checked with the airline and with the Canadian government, both of which said that health certificates were not needed and no one ever mentioned an invoice. I tried to explain this, and I’d printed out the information because I knew I’d have a problem, but the lady insisted that they didn’t go by this paper. Well – why did Continental e-mail it to me with my shipment confirmation if it was useless?? Well after about an hour of going back and forth and talking to people, I guess someone got on the phone or looked up the regulations, and once again confirmed that health certificates were not needed and neither was an invoice. So they took the rats with no trouble after that and I breathed a big sigh of relief. Unfortunately there was more trouble ahead…

The flight was delayed an hour and a half. Fortunately we used 3 shipping containers for 10 rats so they had plenty of room. The containers do have ventilation, but I don’t think it’s the best, so I was glad that the rats had plenty of room in there. For shipping 0-9 lbs, the airline charges $150ish. For 10-50 lbs, it’s $199. The shipping containers alone are 3.5 lbs each and we knew all the rats wouldn’t fit into a single container since there were some adult males that had not been introduced, so we went ahead and used 3 boxes since it wouldn’t cost any extra. The weather was perfect…cool, a bit cloudy, not windy, it was a good day to ship. Rats can die easily if it gets too hot so we were very careful to be sure the weather was okay.

So I went home and waited to hear from Marily, who was receiving the rats. She was given an even harder time than I was. They would not clear the rats through customs without an importation number, a company number (for the rattery) and a commercial declaration. Since the rats were going as breeding rats, apparently that means it is a “commercial” shipment vs. a personal one. Since the shipment was so late, by the time the rats got there, the offices to get those papers were all closed. One would not be open until Monday. It took hours, but finally they released the rats, only because they didn’t want them to die in their boxes…originally they wanted to keep them until Monday when those offices opened again!

So…it was an experience, that’s for sure. I felt so terrible that Marily had to go through such problems on her end (and was frustrated with the issues on my end too), but now we know how the process works! And at least the rats are just fine and didn’t seem to stressed by the ordeal. And after doing several shipments, I always know that whoever I talk to at the airline *probably* won’t have a clue about how to handle a shipment of rats so I’m always prepared to explain how it works and to not take no for an answer when I know I’m right!

In other news…my roses are very happy! LOL One of them is definitely a lot more needy than the others, and I was worried about it for a few days, but I’ve got it under control now and it’s doing great.

I got some video of Kessy (one of my dogs) herding a last week. She is doing really nicely…the first lamb was born while I was having a lesson this week and it was adorable! The ram is the one with the black head, and the lamb is mostly black with this perfect white mohawk…so cute!
Anyway – here is some video. GSD’s herd differently than border collie types – GSD’s work the sides of the flock and along the front, border collies work around the rear. So it may look different than you might normally see…but it’s supposed to :)