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Potential First Time Rat Owner

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by Ali1874, Mar 28, 2011.


  1. Ali1874

    Ali1874 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    My names Ali, I'm 19 and I'm from Edinburgh and obviously I'm new here! Don't have a rat (yet) but this is the main point in starting this thread.

    I've been interested in getting a couple of pet rats (probably females!) for a couple of months now. I have no real pet history (rabbit, gerbil, and a hamster when I was very young so my parents did the looking after!). I think I'm a suitable rat owner because as a student I have plenty of time to play with my new pets and give them the attention they need. I've made up a care sheet of things I've considered so far from various internet sources throughout the past month or so.

    Housing

    Obviously the first thing I thought about was what type of cage to house my pair of rats in. I am currently stuck between the Savic Freddy 2 and a Ferplast Furet Plus Ferret and Rat Cage. Pets at Home do a good starter deal with bedding etc for £90 along with the Ferplast cage and it's a bit bigger for my pets. The Freddy 2 would have to be ordered online. If anyone has any experience with either or these cages then any advice would be fantastic! Was thinking shredded paper with no dust for the bedding. A couple of extra climbing ropes, tunnels, hammocks etc for them to play and climb in.

    Food etc

    This is probably a major gap in my knowledge because I'm not sure where to actually go for food. I was under the impression that a rat food mix from Pets at Home would give the bulk of the rats' needs as long as fresh fruit/veg was given each day (about 20% of the rats' diet I read). As well as this some vitamins (anyone got any reccomendations?) and a chew stick as well as some treats! Obviously have a food bowl and a water bottle that I'll change daily.

    Can't think of anything else just now?! Obviously I'll be looking at cleaning them out at least once a week and at least an hour each day out of their cage for playtime with me! :D

    The major thing that worries me is that I have no choice but to buy my rats from a pet store. I have a friend who works there who would help me pick a couple out but obviously there's the whole issue of how they're bred etc. Surely if a pet shop is a last resort then it can't be all bad?

    If anyone has anything else I might have missed/things I need to reconsider then please feel free to let me know!
     
  2. Angie2011

    Angie2011 PetForums VIP

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    Hi and welcome! :) I'm sure there will be someone along to help soon.
     
  3. jamie1977

    jamie1977 Banned

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    Edinburgh based Small Animal rescue who currently have Rats :tongue_smilie:

    Paws Here

    Never had rats so can not advise you on your choice of cages and etc.
     
  4. Sergeant.Floyd.Pepper

    Sergeant.Floyd.Pepper PetForums Member

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    go for it! You sound like you are thinking the whole thing through well - its good you have a friend that knows about rats. :D

    btw - pictures are a must!:blink:
     
  5. Argent

    Argent PetForums VIP

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    You do have a choice as to where your rats come from. I'd suggest a rescue or breeder over P@H. Someone will probably pop up online at some point today with a list of local ones :p
     
  6. manic rose

    manic rose PetForums VIP

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    hi Ali

    defo think you should get rats :) have recently got my first set of rats (3 males) from a rescue home and they are brilliant pets. so friendly and so inquistive.
     
  7. owieprone

    owieprone PetForums VIP

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    there's a pet store erm.. ******** where is it... on gorgie road or near there, (up from a bernardos furniture store, down from a small busy junction, on the way to the cinema from HWU/sighthill) that sells rats and other assorted beasties, DON'T buy from there, they use a breeder but the ones i bought from there got benign tumours. they were old when they got them past 2, but not worth it. they also sell rats singly.. again no no no.

    if you're not worried about the genetic health of your rats and have money to put aside for any vets visits, get some rescues. If you aren't usually flush get some breeder rats.. form a list from folk on here that have dealt with them or know someone that has.

    also, girl rats.. maniacs with no intention of sitting still,
    boys, lazy fekkers lots of cuddles

    ;)
     
  8. floissie

    floissie PetForums Junior

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    Hi once you have rats you will be hooked. I resuced a group of 5 girls last july and last weekend rescued 2 boys and i also have four babies booked from a breeder. They are the best pets ever.
    For advice on food you cant go wrong by looking on Fancy Rats | Home the forum there is brilliant and their helpsheets are full of good advice.
    I feed a good brand rabbit food without alfalfa, human cereals (check the sugar and salt levels to make sure they are not too high), lots of fresh veggies, some meat products such as mealworm for protein. But they love pretty much anything you care to try. Mine especially love baby food like egg custard which they get as a treat.
     
  9. Magalie

    Magalie PetForums Newbie

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    When you get a rat, my advice is to get it from a rescue or a breeder, pet shop rats often have health and behavioral problems.

    housing; for each rat you need at least 2 square foot of space, I sent you a good link in PM for suitable and unsuitable cages.

    Bedding; shredded cardboard or pellet - Finacard is probably the best, all natural, no perfume (unlike Biocatolet which is quite violent on rat's lungs). If you plan on litter training you can use some cheap ikea throw (like 1pound each) or shredded cardboard (same company as for the pellets) as bedding and for litter - paper pellet

    food; the shunamite diet and high quality rat pellets so they can't pick out the bits they like and eat all their food groups.

    Buying from pet shop is not all bad, it is just encouraging them to sell animals as leisure/toys. Quite often the background of the pet is not known and the line has health problems but you give those little baby a better life than if they were taken in by a 9yr old boy...
     
  10. Ali1874

    Ali1874 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks a lot for all your advice guys.

    One major thing I take from here is that pet shops are a big no no. I realised they were 'frowned upon' before but after doing some reading I can understand why they aren't a good option.

    I've been compiling information from this site and a couple of others and as I said to Magalie, a few weeks ago I expected buying rats to be as simple as cage, rats, supplies and I'm glad I came on here to get more information!

    I'm putting plans together just now and going to finalise them before I get my rats (also still need to find an Edinburgh breeder!) but I'm reay excited. :D
     
  11. Tammy0407

    Tammy0407 PetForums Member

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    There are some great forums out there - including this one that you can find all this information from. If you PM me im happy to send you some links!
     
  12. princesslea

    princesslea PetForums Member

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    Hiya and welcome, be warned they are very addictive. I started out with two, that suddenly became 4 and this time next month that number will double LOL.

    the www.fancy-rat.co.uk is a great forum for rat lovers... also the following site are rat clubs who can give you a list of breeders.

    National fancy rat society (NFRS)
    North of England Rat Society (NERS)

    It is well worth getting your rats (especially 1st rats) from a reputable breeder. I've got two kittens on the way to me and have waited 3 month for these but they will be well worth the wait. I also have two rescue rats which are adorable so I would definetly advise you to look down that root.

    Diet wise, a basic rabbit food mix will be sufficient. You can add dried pasta, human cerals such as weetabix, shredded wheat and cornflakes to add variety for them and supplement it with fresh veg, such as curly Kale, carrot, parsnip e.t.c I concentrate heavily on their nutrition as I like to have them in the best condition and will hopefully be showing my rats at some point this year. What ever you do don't buy the nugget food as it's boring for your rats and are also high in protein.

    good luck
     
  13. Ali1874

    Ali1874 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks a lot princesslea, I've replied to your Private Message as well. :)

    On the subject of sourcing. Pet shop is a definite no no, I know that now.

    I suppose the ideal for a first time owner would be a breeder. Unfortunately I have transport issues and there are no breeders in Edinburgh that I know of. :(

    I would love to rescue a pair of rats but is a rehoming centre ideal for a first time owner? There are a couple in or around Edinburgh so this would be more convenient I suppose.

    Any thoughts?
     
  14. Magalie

    Magalie PetForums Newbie

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    I would be careful, animals that have been left a while in a rescue centre need a lot of time and patience before they trust human again. However, once you gain their trust they are as friendly as other. A good point with rescue animals is that generally they have been spayed or neutered which is definitely a bonus.
     
  15. Argent

    Argent PetForums VIP

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    Smaller 'private' rescues tend to spend a lot more time socializing their charges than the big main charities who don't often know much beyond cats and dogs. Some rats are born in rescue, therefore coming to their new owner perfectly socialized and healthy, there is just the genetic lottery that's the difference between that and a well bred rat. I wouldn't even think to check the bigger rescues for rats tbh lol
     
  16. manic rose

    manic rose PetForums VIP

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    my boys are my first set and got them from a rehoming centre. it was a fairly small one run from the womans home but she knew an awful lot about rats and helped answer most of my questions. she had also spent a lot of time handling them so were very socialable by the time they arrived home with me. wouldnt hesitate to get rescues again
     
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