Meet Pulla (himalayan, rex-coated, “the tiger”) and Deikku (silver black smooth coated), two adorable rat boys!
They are both bred by me but their life story is not very typical.
When I breed rats, I try and be very very careful which parents I choose to put together. All my rats have pedigrees that go over 10 generations back and I know my own lines’ temperament traits and possible genetic illnesses. Sometimes I have to borrow males from other breeders. And that’s what I did to get Pulla’s litter and Deikku’s litter out.
Unfotunately I had very bad luck and both sires brought aggression along. I tried to find out about that before using the males but I guess I was not told honestly about the aggression trait or then the owners of the sires did not consider their behaviour being a problem. Sometimes you will get very nice rats even though the other parent is not the nicest one, but this time it did not work at all.
So, at veaning age Deikku was sold to one home and Pulla stayed with me. They both started to show aggression towards other rats and after that towards people quite early. Pulla bit me and bit cagemates and so I had to separate him. Then I heard that Deikku and all 4 Deikku’s brothers ahd become very aggressive. It was a real chock. I was very much ashamed. But well, what can you do when the genes work their magic the wrong way?
I know almost anyone else whould have put Pulla to sleep after developing the fierce aggression. I thought to get him castrated to see if that would calm him down.
Around that time I got a call from Deikku’s owner that she was so scared of poor Deikku (now around one year old) biting that she had not taken Deikku out of his cage for a long time. She had no money to take him to the vet to be put to sleep but did not want to live with that beast either. I told her to bring the rat over to me.
Deikku was aggressive. Not to the same degree as Pulla, but still scary. I decided to get him castrated too. I had no intention of putting him to sleep now when he was with me.
Castration works quite slowly. It took 2 months for it to take full effect on the boys’ temperaments. They calmed significantly down and I was able to handle them. But I had a problem. Two single rats living in their own cages. Rats are very social and need rat company, so I decided to see if these 2 guys would go together. It was a bit tricky, but to my and the boys’ happiness it worked. They became the best of mates for the rest of their life!
On this photo I have just gotten their friendship to bloom and like a week or so after this the boys moved over to a good friend of mine’s house as the official houserats. :D There they both lived to be over 2 years old.
These rats really thaught me the lesson about the superior importance of the careful selection of the parents. I learned that lesson. Breeding rats is not easy nor cheap (the does may have complications at birth and so on, things that need medical attention). If you want to be responsible, you will never put just whatever rats together to have “ooh, so cute babies”. If you don’t know anything about the parents, inheritet illnesses or the family’s personality traits of the rat on your lap, then don’t breed it.