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