Saturday, August 4, 2012

This is the second installment on the "How to find a responsible breeder." Here are some questions to ask breeders that you are considering getting rats from.  More questions will follow in the next installment.

Many breeders will have answered some or all of these questions on their website.

1.      What are your breeding goals? The breeder should be able to tell you what their “mission” is with their rattery. They should have over-all goals for their rattery and specific goals for each line they work with.

2.      What are your specialties? Each rattery should have specific lines and specialties. That means they have particular colors/varieties that they work with. If they just put 2 rats together to produce babies, and there is no real reason behind it, steer away!

3.      Do you have any pet store or rescue rats in your pedigrees? They shouldn’t!  It is a very rare occasion that a breeder might do this, but they should have an excellent reason for doing so!  There are enough responsible breeders out there that have long lineages on their rats that a good breeder can turn to, even if it means traveling some distance or paying for shipping (only a few breeders ship though). Each breeder should have a lot of information they can share with another breeder about the line’s health and temperament, so any new addition to a rattery has a known history.  Pet store and rescues’ health history is an unknown.

4.      What was the goal for the litter I am interested in? Everyone can say, “I really liked their temperaments,” or, “they have really pretty colors,” or “I wanted to have another rat just like their mom/dad.” A good breeder will tell you something more specific about their goal for this breeding, for example, improving type: the body, head, ears, color, or tail length; or improvement of temperament.

     5. How is the health in the line, especially the parents and grandparents? The answer should be   
         easy if the breeder has been working with a line for many generations. The longer they have
         worked with a line, the more knowledge they have of any health issues in the line. They might
         still have the grandparents and possibly even the great grandparents if the line tends to live
         longer than the average. If the line is new they might not have the grandparents – if still alive. If
         this is the case, then they should give the other breeder credit if they state the line is really

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