Rattery Information

Here at PHR the first priority is the rat's physical and mental well being. My rats get lots of time out of their cages, have very large cages for when they do spend time in there, and get lots of toys and treats to keep them busy. I feed a high quality diet, which is a mixture of Suebee's Rat Diet, Harlan lab blocks, and Senior dog food (the brand varies, but it's always all-natual and no more than 18% protein). The rats seem to love both and do very well on this diet!

I'm currently using Cell-sorb or Yesterday's News bedding. I use Aspen shavings on occasion, but the Cell-sorb seems to be slightly better for odors. Aspen also clogged up my vaccuum which was a pain because they liked to throw it everywhere :) I do use litter boxes in all of my cages, and start my rats off with them at a young age. Some are better than others about using it, but they do seem to use it at least 50% of the time, and that helps a lot with cleanup!

I always try to have toys in my cages - mental stimulation is great for rats! Wheels are used constantly by girls and young boys (not the adult boys though, they'd rather sleep in them!). Cages are constantly being upgraded and renovated!

General breeding practices
Although I used to retire my females at one year of age, studies have shown that does reproducing at an older age shows that the line as a whole is longer lived. So I have decided to push back the maximum breeding age. It will vary by rat, but I may use females for breeding until they are up to 18 months old. I generally will breed a female for the first time from the age of 8 months to a year of age. Females are generally only bred once; exceptional females may be bred twice.

All rats will receive the best possible care. Cages will be spacious, not overcrowded, and cleaned frequently. Food and water will be provided fresh each day. Sick or injured rats that require vet care will be seen immediately by a vet. There will be no compromises made on the quality of food or care the rats receive. I will never cull/euthanize a rat without a valid medical reason. Any rats I breed that are not adopted out will remain with me until adopted. Once rats are retired from breeding, they either live out the remainder of their lives here, or may be adopted out to exceptional homes.

My cages:

My boys have a Ferret Nation on the left, and the girls are on the right in their Critter Nation. These are great cages, very solid and easy to clean. In the future, I am planning to add an extra level or two to each cage to give the rats more floor space. These cages are now a few years old and are starting to show their age with some rust in spots. They will probably need to be replaced sometime this year or next. My boys are not as interested in playing and they don't run in wheels, so they have plenty of places to sleep. About half of my boys are over 2 years old, so they're not too active. I've put their food and water in opposite ends of the cage to encourage them to get some extra excercise. My girls on the other hand are very busy and their wheels are going 24/7. They love to play and explore. I use hammocks and various types of cardboard boxes for the rats to sleep in.

I also have several Martin's Cages.

These are not all in use at any given time - I will set certain cages up depending on how many rats, litters, etc I need to house. I have 3 R-670's, an R-695, an R-685, and an R-690.

This is one of my R-670's. This cage is great for 2 adult rats or it makes a good nursery cage for 2-4 week old babies and mom. It is very well put together! If only it were bigger! I also wish I'd gotten the powder coated one, but they were sold out at the time and I needed a cage immediately. After a couple of months the cage started to smell (regardless of how well I cleaned it) and become corroded. So I sprayed it with some vinyl spraypaint and it's holding up really nicely so far. The smell is gone and it looks so much nicer!

Here is my large Martin's Cage

Here is my R-695. I can't say enough good things about the Martin's cages, they really are great. I sometimes use this cage for young rats until they are big enough not to squeeze through the cage bars of the adults' cages.

The Nursery

The nursery consists of three 10 gallon aquariums on a bookshelf. Expectant mothers are placed in there 2-3 days before their expected due date. They have lots of fleece to make their nests with. I prefer smaller tanks, at least for the first week of the babies' life, because sometimes they'll get lost in a bigger tank! Once the babies are a week or so old, they'll be moved into either a bigger tank or a wire cage, sometimes with other litters of a similar age (as long as I can tell them all apart!). This way, the mothers will share the work!