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 :)

26
Apr

I finally have some time tonight to sit down and post! I apologize for the delay, it’s been a bit of a rough week for me.

Kessy’s (my dog’s) ultrasound was last week. I was hopeful that she was pregnant, but no luck :( I have been pretty crushed about it…she is getting older and I don’t know if I will be able to try again. We have a herding trial in the fall, and if her heat conflicts with that, I don’t know if Iwill breed her. This has been my dream for a long time (almost 10 years) and to see it fail just is not fun after I’ve worked so hard.

So, I have been trying to keep busy to keep my mind off things, I started some new projects around the house and finished some ones that had been started already. I have always wanted some rose bushes, but I’ve never had much of a green thumb so I was intimidated. But I decided to get a few, so I ordered 3 bushes and prepared a nice area for them. This is what they look like now…they are maybe 6″ to a foot tall so kinda sad…but they should grow quickly!

And hopefully this is what their flowers will look like soon!

The orange one was at the top my husband’s choice…his favorite color is orange and he agreed to help with them as long as I got him an orange rose. If these do well, I would like to get at least 2 more for next year…one red and one white.

I also built an A-Frame for training the dogs, and redid the floor of one of the dog kennels…it used to be pea gravel but that has been driving me crazy for years! So it now has a floor of paver blocks and it is really nice! I hope to do the other one next month.

I decided to give Johanna’s litter a rose theme in honor of my roses…I’ve named them after different rose varieties. Speaking of the babies – they are really doing well. Three of the little ones have conjunctivitis. They seem fine, other than the crusty eyes. They are being treated for it, so hopefully their eyes clear up soon. The other babies do not have any eye discharge whatsoever, so I don’t think it is contagious. But I am planning to keep them all an extra 2 weeks just to be positive. The babies with the bad eyes will stay here until their eyes are clear for several weeks, just to be sure they are fine. Then they may be offered for adoption or I may just keep them here. I will have to see how they do.

I’ve cleared a spot on my computer desk, and the babies are now in a cage sitting there. I don’t know why I haven’t done it before, but it is wonderful! I can lean over and talk to them and play with them any time I’m on the computer. The cage they’re in right now is a little small for them all but hopefully I can clear a bigger area soon. But these guys are absolutely gorgeous, and so sweet. Lyric’s little man is also doing great. He’s still a tiny bit smaller but you’d never know he had such a rough start in life.

In other news…well as many of you know, a lot of my boys are getting up there in age. Most of them are still doing great, but Jelly Belly has been showing signs of his age. He’s been losing weight for the last month or so. And a few weeks ago I saw he was starting to have some hind-end degeneration. He was put in a small cage with Hoover and a few babies, since I didn’t want to risk him getting beat up on in my main cage of males. But the HED has progressed fairly quickly. For about the last week, he’s been in a cage by himself. He has completely lost the use of his back legs. He still seems very bright-eyed and happy though. As soon as he hears my voice he gets up and will drag himself over with his front legs to say hello. It is a sad sight, but he still seems to be very happy. Once he starts to go downhill…either in mood or if he starts to have issues with his front end or with bladder/kidney infections then I will have him PTS. I don’t know when that will be but I am taking it day by day.

I am also gearing up to do a shipment of rats to Quebec on the 29th…it has been in the works for a long time, and it’s very exciting that it’s finally here! They will be going to la Ratterie des PlĂ©iades (http://www.ratteriedespleiades.com). Some of the spring babies will be going, along with Elphaba and Gulliver and 2 boys that I picked up yesterday from Katie of Rat Pack Rattery.

I took a few pictures of my little keeper boy and Maybelle outside today with a few daffodils. They didn’t come out quite as nice as last year’s pictures with Lovett and Johanna (those were some of my favorites) but they are still cute!


I will be doing a post or new page soon about the progress of my self line…where it started, how I got where I’m at, and where it’s going…so keep an eye out for that.

I guess that’s all for now. I hope everyone is enjoying the weather!!

24
Apr

Sorry for the delay in posting pictures…this past week has been really busy, and I have not had a chance to get pictures taken. I have just finished uploading baby pictures and a little about the litters to Lyric and Johanna’s litter pages.
I have a lot of updates I would like to post…but it will have to wait until tomorrow evening :) I am off to bed, but just wanted to get the litter pictures up for everyone to see.

15
Apr

The babies are now 13 days old. Everybody is doing well, and some eyes started opening today. I will post individual pictures once everyone’s eyes are open. But here are the boys…
From left to right: Lyric’s litter russian blue dumbo boy, himilayan dumbo, black-eyed himilayan dumbo, black-eyed siamese dumbo, and one black-eyed siamese and one siamese.

And the girls…a siamese, a himilayan dumbo, a himilayan, and a second himilayan dumbo.

Right now, I have my eye on the BEH boy and one of the himi dumbo girls are keepers. I will have to see how they develop over the next week or two. I am so happy to get a nice looking BEH dumbo, especially male. It is really exciting to see my goal of ivory one step closer. I’m sure a lot of people prefer the russian blues or minks or doves or other colors but I just find “plain” white rats so beautiful. This guy will get his points when he’s a bit older, but for now he is just all white and I love it! I do find himilayans stunning too but for me I don’t think it gets better than an ivory! Anyway here is the little man…

And a group shot of the babies….yes I put them in a big salad bowl LOL It is steep enough that they can’t easily crawl out of it and they can sit in my lap while I watch TV or on my computer desk while I work online.

And one of the siamese boys…one eye has opened but the other hasn’t quite yet!

That’s all for tonight :)

08
Apr

Here are some pictures of Johanna’s litter (and Lyric’s little boy), taken late last night…

The boys:

Tentatively, it looks like there is one black-eyed himilayan dumbo, one himilayan dumbo, one black-eyed siamese dumbo, two black-eyed siamese, and Lyric’s little guy is on the left, he should be a russian blue or russian blue agouti dumbo. He is still doing okay, he’s small but is holding on.

And the girls…


Again – tentatively, two himilayan dumbos, one himilayan, one black-eyed siamese. The last girl’s pigment is a little slow to come in so I’m not 100% sure quite yet, she could be a black-eyed himilayan.

06
Apr

As expected, Johanna had her litter on April 1st. She is a wonderful mother – there are 9 babies, and they are all doing very well.
Lyric also had her litter on April 2nd. There were only 5, but that was fine. She seemed to be taking good care of them, and they had bellies full of milk when I went to bed. When I checked on them the next morning, the babies were very cold and Lyric wanted nothing to do with them. They still had full bellies, but since they were so cold I decided to give them to Johanna to raise with her litter. I checked back about 2 hours later, and they had warmed up and I was very hopeful. Unfortunately, when I checked again a few hours later, all but one of Lyric’s babies had passed away. Now – I am not 100% positive that it was all Lyric’s babies that passed, since at this age they all look the same. I will know for sure in a few more days when their colors come in. But I am fairly sure they were Lyric’s since Johanna’s were doing fine. So I believe there is one little boy left from Lyric’s litter, and Johanna’s original 9. It is very disappointing and sad. I am thinking that since they were so cold, their digestion shut down and the milk in their bellies either went bad or solidified or…who knows. But they still had full milk bands when they passed.

So…that is tonight’s update. I will try to get pictures of the gang tomorrow…I’m off to bed!

28
Mar

Whew – I just finished posting the pictures of Lovett’s litter. They are doing really well and are gorgeous. It’s hard to believe they’re already a month old!
I forgot to mention yesterday – most of Iris and Calla’s babies went home over the weekend. It’s always a little sad to see them go but I love meeting their new families!

I will update again in about a week, once the next litters are born!

27
Mar

I just wanted to post that updated pictures of Lovett’s litter will be coming soon. I’d hoped to do them this weekend, but just have not had the time. I should be able to get them done tomorrow (Monday).

Johanna and Lyric are both definitely pregnant at this point. I could feel Johanna’s babies in there a few days ago, and Lyric was getting fatter, but I couldn’t feel her babies until today. Both girls should have their litters at the beginning of April. I am excited!

That’s all for tonight – check back tomorrow for pictures :)

22
Mar

I am finally feeling better, I think I may have had the flu and then gotten a cold??? It may sound weird but for the first several days I was miserable, had a high fever, aches and pains, headache, and cough. Then after 4 or 5 days I was really congested like with a typical cold, and my fever was gone. I thought that maybe it was just the normal progression of the flu…but my husband is sick now. The funny thing is that he didn’t get any of the flu symptoms – he just has a typical cold. So…I am wondering if I got both somehow and he only caught the cold.

Anyway – back to ratty stuff!!!!
Reservations are now complete for Lovett’s litter. Calla and Iris’s litters will be going home this week. I am still behind on new inquiries but will do my best to get back to everyone soon!
My next 2 litters have been bred – hopefully they’re due at the beginning of April!

I bred my GSD Kessy over the weekend and wanted to share pics of the male I chose for her. Isn’t he gorgeous???

He is V-rated in conformation, Schh3 and has an amazing pedigree and an awesome temperament. I am really happy with him, I was really picky about what male was “worthy” of Kessy but he fit the bill. In 4 weeks I will have the vet do an ultrasound and hopefully it will confirm pregnancy.
This has been my dream since I got my first GSD almost 10 years ago and sometimes it’s felt like I’m cursed. But hopefully it works out!