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RE: So if I were to...

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Posted by: Bigtattoo at Sun Dec 26 04:01:58 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Bigtattoo ]  

I don't think that is what was posted.

>I think the best way to breed rats is to keep them in small groups, 1:3 works best <

>even just a day separate can cause the mothers to attack the intruder<

While she was specifically addressing removing mothers and returning them the same is true for how they will treat a male that is introduced/reintroduced to an existing colony of females.
It's been my experience that if the male is not removed the females will kill him.

When setting up new breeding groups it works best to start with younger animals that are not quite ready to breed yet. If using animals from a grow out tub that have been raised together from weaning then I would pick an unrelated male and 3 or more females that are of the same age, preferably ones that if not full siblings that are from the same colony. Then introduce these to their breeding tub at the same time. Since the females already know the male there usually is no problem. Then all can grow to maturity together and more often that not the females will cycle within 2 or 3 days of each other and the resulting clutches will be about the same age. As Sonya pointed out clutches born too long after other mothers have produced the new pinks may get pushed off the teat and not thrive or worse.

If starting a new colony from scratch I still try to obtain young animals not quite ready to breed. Then I will introduce the male to the breeding tub and give him a day to establish himself then introduce the females. I still try for females about the same age and preferably ones that have been at least living together to minimize conflict.

Removing and reintroducing animals to a colony causes disruption in the continuity of the colony and the animals just react to protect their territory. Even if it's male or female that they have been with before.

Males, especially rats males in my experience are good fathers and I have often seen them grooming and playing with their babies. Females that cycle closely together will raise their babies communally and there normally are few if any problems.

On the rare occaision that I have a male that is not a good father and either maims, kills and often will eat his babies he is removed from the breeding group and I select a new male. Again I let him have a day or two alone to establish himself then introduce the females to his tub. In this instance I will try to use an older male that is either just ready to breed or about to reach that age. The females should not be pregnant or have any young to introduce as the male will most likely kill them as they are not his and he knows it.

Hopefully I expressed this so that it makes sense, it did to me as I wrote it but that's me.

I have a good bit of experience with colony breeding but Sonya and PHLadyPayne have even more so hopefully they will come back and correct any of my errors.

Mice should be handled similarly to rats. I find mice can be a little more problematic than rats but they can be successfully established as breeding colonies.

As an aside I really enjoy watching the interaction in my rat colonies. They are a joy to watch and very caring, attentive parents.

Hope this helps.
There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. The ignorant can be taught, stupidity is beyond our control.
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