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The basics:

Planning on breeding your rat? Well then I hope that I can answer your questions.

First of all if you are planning on breeding your rat for a few extra pets or a few frends and family want some. Expect more than what you want. Rat litters are between 6-24 babies, advrage being 8. Just when you think that you will be able to find homes for the advrage 8, out pops 16 and three of your friends back out. So make sure your local pet store will be able to help you out, or that you can put flyers up. But PLEASE don't sell your babies for the use as feeders.

If you have a rat that is sick or tempermental, I wouldn't suggest breeding that rat. The reason being that temper and desease can pass to the next generation of rats. You could also pass the desease to the mate, or if temper is the case the tempermental rat may hurt or even kill the other rat.

Female rats should not be breed under the age of 4 months. And for first time breedings they should be no older than 8 months.

Both male and femail rats should be healthy weight. Under weight means their sick and they need a visit to the vet. If the female is over weight she is going to have a hard time getting pregnet. So make sure you have nice, slender, well behaved rats.


Now you have selected your rats it time for them to meet. Make sure you plan on being home for the evening. Not always is the case, but sometimes rats just don't hit it off and they end up fighting. Rats are social animals, but sometimes they just don't get along. Put the female into the males cage, as he is better to preform in his cage. Best time for them to get together is evening and night time. Females go in heat aprox. every 4 days and it's usually in the evening time. Your best bet for success is to leave her in his cage for about a week and a half to make sure she has two heat cycles. After that time take her back to her cage and wait.


Gestation for rats is aprox. 21 days. If it is longer than 24 days you should take your rat to a vet as there may be problems. During pregnancy don't over feed your female. Yes you need to change her diet, but you don't need to over do it. Giving her her normal daily food mixed with veggies, fruits, pasta and bread will do her wonders.

About the last week of pregnancy you should be seeing the babies moving in her big belly. At this time you should have her in her own cage. Other females will steal her babies given the chance. This can turn into a tug of war and the babies will get hurt in the process. Idealy she should be in a glass tank for birthing. Any cages with wire is bad, the babies may wonder and get their heads stuck in between the wires.

The day before or the even the day of she will start pushing her litter all over the place, this is called nesting and it means she is ready to give birth. At this time you probably will see that your loving sweet rat is a littly crabby and might just bite. Try the best that you can and make sure that she has fresh clean litter and enouf bedding to keep the babies.


Birthing usualy takes place in the wee morning hours of 2-3am, but then again she could have them at 2pm. All rats are diffrent, but it's usually 2-3am around here. Birthing should only take about two hours if it has been longer than that and she hasn't had that many babies, you should take her to the vet, she might be having problems and needs a c-section.

If you are awake for the birthing process it is a great thing to watch. Remember to only watch, mom is very moody right now. The mother will eat the placentas and clean the babies. When she is done giving birth she should be giving them their first feeding with in an hour. If time passes and she is not giving them attention you may need to interveen and take care of the babies your self.

If the mother has more than 10 babies you may need to take half of them away and alternate the babies so she can feed them all. To do this you need to have a container to put the babies in. Put a clean towl in the container and put the babies in. Now you need to get a heating pad set on the lowest possable setting, put a folded towl on top of the heating pad and the put the container with the babies in on top of that.


3 days- You will be able to tell if there will be any black babies, and what the eye color will be.
4 days- You will be able to see peach fuz starting to grow.
9 days- Babies start to clean them selves, not very good at it yet.
12 days- Babies start to blindly explor their enviroment. By now their fur should be mostly in and you should be able to tell the girls.
14 days- babies should be opening their eyes by now.

After the babies have their eyes open all heck brakes loose. By this time they are all over the tank and chasing mommy every where. At three weeks of age they start fighting. At this time I take the babies away to their own cage for about an hour just to give mom a rest.

From the moment that the babies are boren you should be handeling them every day. If you don't do this your rat babies wont be social and thats no good to have unsocial rats.

When the babies are 4 to 5 weeks old you need to seprate them by gender. Rats don't notice brother, sister or mother. When the babies are 5-6 weeks old they are reedy to be adopted to a loving family.

I will be adding more to this site about hand raising babies, if the unexpected should happen and a mother is lost.