We had some fun with this litter. They were due right before Christmas. I reached out to someone on our waitlist to see if their daughters wanted to help me come up with a name for the litter. Here is the beautiful "2020 Winter Visions of Sugarplums Litter" Several litters this past year have been our 10th generation but this one is kind of fun as it is with a mama from a girl we got from PNZY (retired). I have 6 generations from her pedigree but know there is so much there. So many lovely ratteries have gone into this litter between both parents, many have retired some are still active. (OCRA, JWVR, Kobold, CRUS, RNBW, MLZ, PNZY, tBBR, SITH, ROUS, LASC & TMLS) It is so amazing to be able to track their lines. Many years and lots of work go into these lines. We always feel so special when a breeder allows us to work with them.
Happy 2nd Birthday to our 2018 Fall Painted Desert Litter & 2018 Fall Timeless Litter from your 3 siblings here at OCRA
For those of you that don't remember these are the litters born on October 16th, 2018. Around a week later, we lost one mama CRUS Princess Willow to a FREAK accident (We were in the middle of a remodel, too close to her cage a LOUD air compressor noise upset her and caused her to go into shock) That left 25, yes TWENTY-FIVE babies for one mama.
We were so lucky to find out ROUS Danger Baby had a litter at Panzy's Place Rattery up in Everett and was able to take 5 of the babies (That was a whirlwind 6 hour roundtrip drive). Back here at home, OCRA River Song did an amazing job, making 3 separate piles of babies going between the remaining 20. The first few days while she was getting extra milk to come in I spent many hours feeding the strongest a little extra soy formula from paintbrush so the smallest could get stronger suckling on her. Up north PNZY was doing the same with the fosters babies up there.
What is amazing to me thinking back, a lot of breeders would simply let nature take it's course. Several would cull a litter down to under 8 to have 'fat babies' I know we did the right thing. I know 20 was a lot but River Song NEVER lost weight AND you know what???? Because of those two amazing combined litters we now have more dwarf to work with - such a beautiful surprise!
One of those girls from the combined litters is OCRA Prickly Pear. She gave birth to OCRA Taffy who gave birth to babies for tBBR (The Breakfast Bunch Rattery) in Seattle. She even gave them a beautiful red eye marten! One lil girl went down to Salem with JWVR ( J & J's Willamette Valley Rattery) to continue those lines down south and we have two of her daughters here now. tBBR Wiki Berry and tBBR Persim Berry.
tBBR Wiki Berry just gave us a beautiful Harley dwarf girl OCRA Arietta and an adorable Dwarf Burmese OCRA Cadenza to continue the lines here. Her other offspring are going up to tBBR in Seattle and down to Salem with DIVA (Little DIVA's Rattery)
tBBR Persim Berry is due in a few weeks! The sire, LGR Marsanne is yet another sweet story to remember but that is for another day.
As for the other amazing thing that came out of that huge pile of babies two years ago today - OCRA Wyatt just became a father. OCRA Steamer and a SURPRISE Dwarf OCRA Lipton are the boys we kept! I can only hope they are half the sweet men their father is when they mature. One of the boys OCRA Jell-O from that litter looked just like Ian of OCRA our original male. Guess what? The retired breeder we got him from 6+ years ago Contacted me a long time ago wanting 'a look alike' and was waiting on my waitlist for a while. She ended up adopting him and a brother as pets because she missed ratties. (Calling him Baby Ian) I love how all of this is circling around
Many more have been born here because of the litters two years ago today. Basically, we now have 4 more generations here at OCRA and beyond because we had such an amazing mama in OCRA River Song & our fellow friend/breeder at PNZY! It really is such a small world out there. It is also a great privilege and experience to be able to work with so many different breeders I would recommend any of them if you are looking for ratties - all top notch!
Today I moved our DCN from the bedroom into the same area as our TCNs and turned it into a TCN. I loved having the new dwarf in our bedroom but it was too dark and those little pipsqueaks move FAST! I am so thankful for the most wonderful husband and kids that are supportive of Our Crazy Rat Adventure. Enjoying my wall of ratties!
**** As I was re-arranging things I decided to go through all the tubs. Then came the 1st aid tub. <insert a huge sigh> Looks like I need to go shopping soon as most all of my meds need to be replaced because they have long since expired. (Mixed fillings throwing away brand new bottles but the great news is I didn't need them!) I really should have been paying closer attention and hope that this post prompts someone to go through their 1st aid BEFORE you need it!
I have been busy with the ratties and keep forgetting to blog. Facebook is my main update location so make sure to follow the page on fb for the latest news in Our Crazy Rat Adventure.
A few highlights from the past few months:
Well, I better get back to cleaning the cages! Remember to follow Our Crazy Rat Adventure on Facebook for current updates!
I am looking at all my saved blog posts that never seemed to get finished and decided I really need to keep up on this. It is a great way for me to keep track of not only the mischief but to appreciate the great things that happen when I am in the middle of stressful moments that involve our most precious ratties.
Today is good day, yesterday not so much. Let me take you back to 3 months ago. I had bred OCRA Lacey with OCRA Cyberman in hopes to continue our pearls that are on the larger side in terms of length and size. We spoke with a few breeders that have often done pearl x pearl crosses with no issues other than smaller litters. We realized we may not get more than one or two babies, but they would be pearl and hopefully a good size. Unfortunately, Lacey reabsorbed that litter starting at day 17. Last month, we decided to pair her again but with one of our RED Mink dilutes, OCRA Barberry. The pregnancy didn’t seem to take as there was not much weight gain after 8 days. Yet, she never seemed to go back into heat. Then on day 15 she seemed to jump in weight and through the pregnancy gained 75 grams not a lot but a definite gain. Things were looking great for this line that was coming from the “Solving Mysteries Litter”
I moved OCRA Lacey and OCRA Tootie (The 80's Mix Tape Litter) to their own maternity cages on day 20 of Lacey’s pregnancy and day 17 of Tootie's.
The wait began for Lacey.
Day 21 nothing.
Day 22 nothing.
Day 23 nothing but I can feel 3 babies.
Day 24 spotting.
[ Miss OCRA Tootie gives birth (on her due date) to 10 little pipsqueaks. One is very runty and another is pretty bruised otherwise all look great!]
Day 25 OCRA Lacey is still holding out. I have called the vet and said we may need to come in tomorrow to get a shot of oxytocin and/or c-section/e-spay.
At this point I am getting concerned but she is eating. I am watching closely for piloerection (puffy fur) since that is the first sign something is taking a turn for worse. I also am concerned because she is still bleeding. Not a lot but more than she should be. She had not had any noticeable contraction while she wanted to be out and snuggle with me most of the morning. At about 11 a.m., I decided to give the ‘smallest’ baby a chance with OCRA Tootie so I pulled 3 babies with the largest milk bands -weighed them each 6 g (2 boys and one girl).
I asked OCRA Lacey if she would keep them warm for a few hours. She was more than thrilled and immediately tucked them under her huge girth and began to boggle. That left Tootie with 6 for a few hours to give the lil guy a chance. The other reason why I opted to see if Lacey wanted to snuggle the babies was oxytocin. You see that is what we were planning on getting her when we head to the vet tomorrow.
I figured that if the babies suckled – they may get a little more colostrum and it could help Lacey get some ‘natural oxytocin’ to help her start contractions.
Fast forward Day 25 – 3 hours after I gave Lacey babies to keep warm
I kept checking on both mamas and at hour 3 both were still content on their nests ‘nursing’. This went on pretty much all day with my alarm going off every hour to check on them. I know they got off of the nest to eat and drink but when ever I peek in they were very content nursing.
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 4
I coaxed Lacey off to weigh the babies and was pleased that they had not only kept their weight but their milk bands were MUCH larger. Lacey had more bloody discharge but still was very happy to eat some yogurt and egg.
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 5
I checked on Tootie’s litter and the little runt had passed away. ☹
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 6
The natural oxytocin was working! Lacey had covered up the babies and was at the other side of the cage having contractions. I opted to put the babies back with Tootie at this time. More for their protection since Lacey was a BIG girl and I didn’t want her to accidentally step on them while in active labor.
Fast forward Day 25 – Hour 10
I had fallen asleep (no surprise with only 3 hours the night before because of checking on Lacey) but was awoken by the crazy wall of humidity that seemed to fall over SW Washington last night.
Lacey however, was busy while I slept those few hours. She had a baby that she had delivered and cleaned up. It looked like it was stillborn due to the composition of it. I weighed her and she had lost 10 more grams. The baby was a good size, the scale kept hovering between 6 and 7 grams. She still had a little blood spotting and I could feel 2 babies one in each horn of the uterus. I offered her some more food, which she greedily ate. Since she still looked good I covered the cage and let her rest.
Checked on Lacey 1st thing this morning. No other signs of babies but a bit more blood in the nest. She looked wonderful and didn’t have any more blood coming out either. I weighed her and she lost another 15 grams overnight. I let the vet know I was not coming in today but to keep me on for tomorrow, just in case she has any other issues that come up today/tonight.
I have had her out for a while this morning. Quite often, I found my self manipulating her belly to make sure I didn't feel any more babies. I just offered her the chance to go back into the Girls Sorority and she jumped into the cage with her ‘sisters’ . Having all the space to roam around will help her too.
I will keep an eye on her for the next few days. Hopefully she will be the most amazing nanny when the babies hit 3 weeks old and join the Girls Sorority with their mama for lots of fun and space as they grow from teddy bear stage to mini ratties.
Sunday 10 pm 10/21/18
I am writing this as I am heading the 3 hours back to Woodland, WA from Everett, WA. This is a day I NEVER want to repeat.
Last night I tucked everyone in the mischief to bed before checking on the ratties in quarantine. I had let both Mamas of our current litters (Timeless Litter and Painted Desert Litter) visit the Girls Sorority so I could do a belly check on the babies to make sure everyone had good milk bands. Everyone was doing great!
This morning, I was woken up by the air compressor (we are remodeling the guest bathroom and only have 1.5 days a week to work on it so this project has been going on for several months) at first I didn't think anything about it but then jumped out of bed and rushed to the rat cages. The poor mamas were a frazzled mess. CRUS Princess Willow was running all over her cage trying to break out with a baby in her mouth. OCRA River Song was climbing the bars and running back and forth walking all over her babies as well. I immediately rushed to take the cages to our bedroom where it was quiet. I put blankets over them and checked to make sure they settled down when I gave them food. Both mamas were on their nests nursing so I figured everything was okay. I proceeded to do our morning routine of checking on everyone else.
I came back a couple hours later to check on them and CRUS Princess Willow was laying on her stomach off to the side of the cage away from her nest. I normally would think she was just taking a break but when I opened her cage, to take out the normally empty bowl, she had not touched her food ( yummy egg and other goodies). I called her name, Her ear twitched but nothing else. I then begin to slightly panic. I reached in to pet her, nothing. She was breathing but unresponsive. When I picked her up she was limp. She was breathing slower then normal and was not putting up any fight as I poked and prodded her abdomen. My first thought was she had a seizure or stroke. I then worried she was septic from a baby she should have delivered. Hence the prodding her belly. There was no smell coming from her opening and her babies were thriving so that was really not the issue. As I considered what could be wrong, I put all but 4 of her babies, and their nest box in with River. Hoping those four would at least keep her from developing mastitis along with making her feel a bit better with the release of oxytocin that occurs from nursing. If a rodent has a scare sometimes they take a little while to perk up after the adrenaline wears off. I was hoping this was the case.
After about another hour, I took the 4 babies out and cleaned their bums with a q-tip dipped in warm water ( neonates cannot eliminate on their own.) I began calling a few of our different vets to see if anyone was available for rats on a Sunday afternoon. There is a 24 hour clinic about an hour away and one of their two doctors that specialize in pocket pets and other exotics would be in that evening. Her tail and limbs felt cool to me so I decided it was prudent to check her temp before I put her on a heat pad. It was 93* (rats usually run 95.5-99.5) I held her on the warming pad and she would turn her head slightly to look at me but the rest of her body was completely flaccid. It seemed that she was beginning to improve just a bit from her shock because she actually moved her tail for the first time in hours. My hopes were up that we were turning a corner. Unfortunately, after about 10 minutes of slowly getting warm, Willow passed away in my arms. To say I cried is an understatement.
Fast forward to tonight along I-5 somewhere near Seattle, I don't expect anyone to understand why I needed to deliver 5 of the babies from the litters up north to Panzy's Place Rattery for their wonderful Roan mama, ROUS Danger Baby to help nurse. Hindsight I may have found a mama closer but knowing it was such a long drive, I believe the main purpose for this mama so far away to be available, was to keep me from hovering all evening with Mama OCRA River Song and her now 20 little babies. (Thank you my friend, Erin AKA my night time driving chauffeur, for helping spare my sanity just a bit)
It pains me more than I can even begin to explain, knowing there is the possibility she could have literally been scared to death. I am writing this all down as usual because I believe in being completely transparent and want others to know that breeding is not for the 'faint of heart'. We all take such a huge responsibility and I feel that I failed Princess Willow. I have never lost a mama before. I have had emergencies that required vet trips to save their life but their was nothing that could have been done for her in the short time. Of course, it is heartbreaking to know this may have been prevented. We do not know for sure what caused her stroke or heart attack. She was in obvious shock prior to passing away. (If she had a seizure she would have been warmer not colder) One great thing, is a majority of the rat breeding community can be supportive and helpful. Knowing another breeder was able to offer her mama, with even BFFR offering to take them, helped me not feel so lost in those first hours. Unfortunately the community can also be very harsh and opinionated. Posting this, I take the risk of some being upset that I did not take more babies away. As many of you know I am OCD with weight checks so I do feel confident that I will be able to track the weights of the babies and mom to make sure all stay healthy and receive anything they may need to help them flourish.
Monday 10:30 am 10/22/18
The current report is the 5 babies up north all had great milk bands last night and Danger Baby is nursing them along with litter of 12 ten day olds. GO DANGER BABY!!
As for River's brood, the babies here have been shuffled to one HUGE nest. At one point she had 3 different ones. Yes 20 is A LOT of babies. I was shocked knowing she had given birth to 17! The largest litter we have successfully raised was 18. We most likely will need to supplement a few. I am still tired and really, I mean really wanted to count babies last night to make sure all made it but I knew that River Song was doing a great job (the best she could) I have the supplemental formula, bottled water, paint brushes and the tiniest peripheral venous catheter and syringe all ready for any babies that might need it. I had weighed ALL the babies hours prior to the tragedy and they are all 11-14 as of yesterday. I am hoping they at least held their weight as Mama OCRA River Song starts to produce more milk.
Monday 1:30 pm 10/22/18
I was not planning on taking any babies out to check on them until tonight or tomorrow because I felt River Song needed to be able to settle down and get a groove. Today when I was placing food in her cage she hopped out so I took the chance to double check they are were okay. Happy to report, all 20 look great and have gained weight. They are 12-16 grams! (Just 4 of them being 12 g.) They will be a week old tomorrow afternoon and on average my one week old babies are 19 g with the range of 14-24 g for all size litters and different lines. She has elongated her nest and has carefully filled the mounds around the nest with food so she doesn't have to leave to eat. It looks like a little bunker. At this point we are going to make sure that 'bunker' stays stocked!
UPDATE DECEMBER 1ST, 2018
WOW, What a whirlwind the last month has been. I am so pleased that ALL 25 babies from both litters survived and were all adopted some by new rat owners, a few previous adopters. wonderful experienced families and a few breeders (well except 4 that I kept for future lines.) OCRA Prickly Pear and OCRA Haboob - CRUS Princess Willow's babies & OCRA Kiera and OCRA Wyatt- OCRA River Songs babies.
I will be taking a little break from breeding until spring, enjoying the ratties, teaching them a few tricks (for spring time at school presentations) and possibly getting ready for the show in the spring. Hope to get the website a bit more updated as well. I miss Princess Willow and her quiet stares demanding attention, in the past few weeks I have begun to believe her little girl Prickly Pear is up for the task of stare downs to make me open the cage for demanded snuggles.
I have been so busy the past few months and only able to update on our FB page. We have some beautiful new additions in the mischief AND are now expecting our last two litters for 2018. Make sure to go check it out!
Oh before I forget -
The last RatsPacNW show in 2018 is next month. This show is going to be for Pet Rats! I cannot wait to see all the costume creations and sweet pets that will be attending this Ratapalooza 2018 on November 3rd.
This post is simply to thank all of you that are on my wait list for being so patient and to those adopters that make Our Crazy Rat Adventure family so full of smiles, laughter and fond memories. It is amazing how the ratties seem to simply fit right into their human's heart like they were meant to be!
I hear the question often, "How long is your wait list?" I wish I had a set answer for each person asking. I know from experience that waiting for a new rattie is hard. Recently, I adopted off my wait list to someone that was waiting for two years for a specific type. Two years! You know what? Those two girls were MEANT to be hers! The instant bond was beautiful. One falling asleep nestled in the crux of her arm while the other played in her hair. Those moments of watching them bond makes the ups and downs of breeding ratties all worth it.
As someone waiting, please remember, each litter is carefully planned. Sometimes from the time the female is just 6 weeks old, I already have a male planned and waiting those next 5 months for her. Alternately, I may have the perfect male picked out at 8 weeks but need to wait until he is much older (7-15 months old) to pick his future mate. Unfortunately, the plans can change, the pairings may not take. Of course we all know that the number delivered varies with each litter. That being said, I have also gotten people on the list that have only had to wait a week because they didn't have specifics on wants, simply wanted a pair of our sweet tempered OCRA ratties. The right timing and the right babies are going to be available when it is the right fit. Do not get discouraged, that is what makes it a never ending crazy adventure! In just a few more weeks. I will be contacting a couple of you on the wait list that will be able to pick from the 2018 Summer Berry Beautiful Litter boys. Their eyes are opening and soon their sweet personalities will start to shine! We are pairing our next girl this week with lil pipsqueaks due the middle/end of August they will be our 2018 Summer Just Add Water Litter
I am looking forward to meeting each and every one of you on the wait list. I cannot wait to introduce you to your new babies. Meeting new rat lovers and adding to Our Crazy Rat Adventure Family is such a joy. I am amazed how often when I contact a future adopter to tell them who is available for them and they tell me, 'THAT IS THE ONE I WAS HOPING FOR!!!' Simply that perfect fit, meant to be. In the past four years, it has happened so far close to 70 times (I just counted totals and it is over 125 pet ratties, 31 rescues and several breeders). Many have come back over the years to add more to their mischief, sometimes I have yet another perfect fit. However, since I do not like to breed on a LARGE scale I have also referred them to other breeders or rescues that I know will have new babies for them. By doing this I am simply extending the reach of our 'family'.
After adoption, I am warning all of you on the wait list, I expect updates! WHY? Well, not only does it help me track the health of my lines once they leave here, but all the pictures and texts I have received from previous adopters to update me on their ratties' shenanigans has kept me from getting discouraged when I had an elder rat that was ready to cross the rainbow bridge, or even when I woke up to find that a female delivered her babies but was not doing well and had to be rushed to the vet. Those happy texts and messages I receive even help me process the loss I know my other adopter must feel when I get the message that they just lost their rattie 1.5 months shy of their 3rd birthday. It is so hard sometimes. For being such wee little critters they sure do fill up a huge spot in our heart with their love for us.
Thanks for letting me ramble on, and thank you for being so patient in waiting for the perfect fit...
Not to long ago I posted about the need to make sure you have a plan in case of emergencies for your pets. In these emergency situations no thought to proper quarantine is often given. The main plan is to make sure the animals have food, water and shelter. In the best world, proper quarantine is vital for the health and safety of our pets and the caregivers.
I recently had an adopter ask me if I knew of a person or place that could 'pet-sit' her ratties when they went on vacation. Several of my friends would be great options. However, those that love rats already have rodents and would need to quarantine the new guys for the short time they are in their home. I have done this for adopters but really hate the fact that I cannot luv on the ratties like the rest of my mischief since I need to shower/change clothes each time I visit them out in our quarantine or wait three hours to to come back into my house by running lots of errands 2x a day. Not realistic. When we do have rats in quarantine for 3 weeks, my dear husband usually checks on the ratties when he heads to work, making sure they have food, water and the temp is correct. I then go out before bed to let them run around on me giving luvs, check their food and water then head to bed after a shower - avoiding my own ratties nightly routine to keep everyone 'safe'. Not ideal but necessary when we come back from shows, or add new ratties to our mischief.
Since so many adopters have asked me if I know of anyone, I would love to be able to keep a list of people in my area that love ratties but do not have any rodents. If you are in Oregon or Washington and would like to be added to this list for a chance to love on ratties while others are on vacation please contact me either through the Facebook page or through the website. I can always remove your name if you get ratties or other rodents but it would be amazing if I had some names to share to help others in need of a vacation get away for their lil pipsqueaks.
[Disclaimer: You will have to fully vet any and all people that you will want to watch your ratties. I will simply provide you with names that are given to me. Please make sure you get references etc....]
Our Crazy Rat Adventure Blog is small glimpse into our little menagerie. We never intended to, but we ended helping others fall in love with the little vermin.