Sunday, April 7, 2013

For those of you that have been waiting for my next article, the wait is finally over!

If you are exploring becoming a new rat owner, often the question comes to your mind, which sex should I get - male or female? Which is best?

Males or Females?

I frequently am asked which gender makes the better pets. That all comes down to your preference. Both genders make excellent pets! Each gender demonstrates a different set of biological behaviors and characteristics. However, there are exceptions found in both genders as well.

Rats continually mark their territory. They mark their cage, and any other place they hang out be it, their hammock or your bed, couch or even YOU. Rats don't discriminate! They don't have much control of their little bladders. This is why rat owners cover the furniture and even themselves when their rats come out to play or be held. Rats can to some degree have control over their bowels. Both genders can be trained to poop in a litter box.

Females, by nature are more active than males, always exploring, and may do so throughout their lifetime. I call them "busy." They are more adventurous than males and because of this are generally known to be easier to train to do tricks. They may stop for a moment to say hello and get a few "scritches"or brief petting from you, and then resume their playing and exploring. If you prefer a curious active pet, a female may be a great choice. Typically, they mark less than the males and some people claim they are cleaner overall (in their cage, etc), but I have not seen much difference between my males and females. Females usually don't have much of a problem accepting new cage mates, but they may be a little scuffling. Young rats are always easiest to introduce to adults.

What can be seen as a drawback with females is that they can be prone to tumors, especially as they get older. (I do try to breed away from it, but there are no guarantees.) Spaying might help prevent mammary tumors. Some breeders claim that certain diets can prevent tumors. I'm still researching this.

Male rats are usually much more laid back and likely to curl up on your lap and cuddle. They are typically much larger than females. Some males can reach up to 2 lbs or more! I have had males act so much like a lap dog that I've called them my "pocket dogs!" So if you are looking for rats to spend more time visiting you, then males are for you.

The main drawbacks to males are that they tend to urine mark more than females as they walk. It may be just a drop or two or may turn out to be more of a stream. If you are very sqeamish about your ratties peeing on you then males may not be for you afterall. The other drawback is that if you have to introduce adult males to each other there can be some severe fighting, and they may never get along. It is always best to bring young rats in as new companions, not other adults. Young males are not usually seen as threats to the adults so may be accepted easier. (ALWAYS introduce new rats under supervision!) Once they are 3-4 months old and their hormones start to kick in there can be problems with introductions. But males that are raised together will generally be friends for life. If a lot of fighting continues then neutering the most agressive or all them often puts an end to it. Neutering also helps reduce or totally eliminate the musky odor and "Buck grease" that can occur on some males. Buck grease is an orangish skin discharge associated with too much testosterone.

It may seem that males have more issues, but they more than make up for it when they are sitting with you, giving you kisses, grooming you and just being their overall loving selves!

Remember, there are exceptions to the rule about genders. There are some busy boy rats, and some calm girl rats that like to sit with you. I have found Both can make excellent "shoulder" rats!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sunday, March 10th, I picked up 4 beautiful little rat pups that were shipped in from Camarattery in Colorado. Two are gorgeous dark Russian Blue Irish Dumbos, one male, one female. I now will be able to work with and offer Russian Blues again! And these are a lovely dark shade, not the washed out type. The third pup is a Wheaten(Agouti) Burmese Rex Dumbo male and also his sister, a Siamese Double Rex Dumbo. I needed another Siamese female and love Wheaten Burmese. I'm a very happy camper!

Getting into Boston was easy, but I got lost leaving the cargo area. It all worked out in the end, because by the time I found my way out and made it to the toll booth, the person driving in front of me had performed a "random act of kindness" and had paid my toll! Thank you whoever you are!

Friday, March 1, 2013

One of my dogs is a dual purpose dog, and one of his working roles is to be my service dog. I won't go into the reasons for needing a service dog. I will leave it to your imagination.

One of the irritating questions I get when we are out, is what type of collar is that? Well he IS a service dog and I need to be sure he doesn't pull me for ANY reason, so I use a prong collar because it is easier for me. He doesn't pull, but this is for my insurance. The halti-collar/head harness is not as effective, plus how would you like to have something over your mouth when you rely on it all the time? My dog feels the same way about it. I can see the look on his face as he thinks to himself, "NO WAY are you making me wear that!" So, in the end, the prong collar works best for both of us.

Today I had a brilliant idea. Well, the brilliant part could be argued. I recall coming across somebody a long while back that had a prong color on her dog but it wasn't really obvious unless you got up very close or asked her about it. The collar was covered by a nylon collar! So, I happened to remember this meeting and decided to buy one for my own dog's prong collar. Who knew there were so many colors to choose from! Some companies only offered plain black, but I found a couple of companies that offered a dozen or more colors and not all made of nylon. Even though I almost went with a chocolate or camouflage color, I just ended up going with the simple black with "Working K9, Do Not Pet" engraving. Let's see how many people try to come up and pet him with that. ;-) I suppose his service dog vest will give him away though. Oh well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

As I make some updates to my site, which included archiving pages of deceased rats, my mind wanders to a few of my absolute favorite past rats. I came across a couple of "lost" pictures. One of them was of my Captain. He was a great buddy during the 2 + years I had him. Often he would fall asleep in my arms, as I too fell asleep in the arms of my recliner. When I went to get the mail, he would run to the window to watch me, and greet me like I had been lost for days! Miss you buddy

 Hence today's favorite quote.

"Humans are strangely sentimental creatures. Sometimes you just have to humor them." 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jewels pups leave for their homes this weekend. This litter produced my first home-bred Satin!  I will be Jewel again after she has a rest.

Hoshi has been bred to Shogun last week and if she is pregnant the pups are due right about Febraury 2nd. Also Shogun is being bred this week to Roisin. Arduinne will also be bred to either Liam or Shogun in a few weeks provided there are more people on the waiting list.

If you are interested in being on the list then you can either keep track of my litters page or subscribe to this blog for litter updates.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year! I hope 2013 will be a great year for everyone, and another great year for my rattery. Last year ended on a good note with a couple of successful litters after a dry spell of no females getting pregnant.

I have made breeding plans for the 2013, but like always they are tentative.Keep an eye for updates on my litters page.