OK … now where to begin?
Serena’s little babies are doing quite well and having a grand ole time of it. The boys, Dash and Bruiser, are living with the other males with a very easy introduction. There is still the odd squabble and a few squeaks and cheeps from time to time, but for the most part Inky, the father, tends to take care of any issues with the other males.
We have become yet another Ferret Nation convert. We started with the common model 142 “double” unit. This size of habitat is generally good for 12 rats. This suits our eight boys just fine. The bar spacing ideally could be a little smaller as Dash and Bruiser can still fit through the bars at 9-1/2 weeks old. Fortunately it’s only Bruiser that likes to slip through the bars and he generally just sits on the shelf board we have standing behind the cage to block off the electrical outlet from curious noses and paws.
With the recent merger of Super Pet and Pet Smart (May 2007) we, and many others, have been quite fortunate in being able to take advantage of their stock rationalizations … or in other words we got a Ferret Nation model 143 add-on for half price! The approximate living space is: width 36″; depth 24″; and, height 72″. A “triple” Ferret Nation is HUGE!
Technically speaking we now have room for 18 rats in the male habitat … hmmm …
The girls … Serena, Sammy, and Sweet Pea. We separated Serena’s litter at an appropriate time (about 5-1/2 weeks old) and left Sweet Pea with her mother and aunt. With the purchase of the Ferret Nation we were able to recycle the boys old habitat into the new girls habitat. A few additional items, a couple of shelf adjustments and we now conservatively have room for about six females. This is fine with the three girls, they have made themselves at home and use more of the area than we had expected?! They’ve annexed the bedding storage shelf under the main cage as well.
Even with the new larger habitats we still stay with an “open door” theme for both habitats. The biggest benefit now is both habitats can easily be “closed door” without making the living areas too small.
Mrs. Rattitude and I had stopped into our nearby Super Pet to pick up another hanging dish for the Ferret Nation cage and found out about the merger sale pricing. It seems Super Pet is clearing most of the items that Pet Smart does not carry. As we were looking around the small animal section we struck up a conversation with one of the store associates. A very nice young lady who seemed quite knowledgeable about rats and their care. She was trying to place some rescue rats that she has been taking care of and we offered what assistance we can. We’ve made tentative plans to take in one of her rescued females. She also said they had a special needs female at the store.
Mrs. Rattitude was almost immediately agreeing to adopt this little girl from the store when the salesgirl told us this special rat only had three feet. Mrs. Rattitude immediately, without a moment’s hesitation, said we would take her! Then we actually got to see her. She is a beautiful beige dumbo female rat, we’re guessing about eight to ten weeks old.
Her name is Aly, in memory of Mrs. Rattitude’s mother who’s birthday was June 2, the same day we took Aly home. Aly is currently living in the old cage the girls used to use as we wait out our normal quarantine period. We suspect that we will have to make some additional adaptations to allow her to live in the regular female habitat. Our little Aly is missing her left hind paw at the ankle. I don’t really want to think on the details or circumstances, this is how the store said they received her in.
Aly is quite mobile, perhaps even quicker and more agile than Sweet Pea, but without a full foot in the back we are worried she might get “caught” in the grating of the metal main areas of the female habitat. We are looking at a more suitable solid floor/ramps/shelves model cage to put beside the current set up so she will be able to have a safe home and still be able to interact with the other females. It is not a common event for us to adopt only one rat at a time, but Aly is truly special and we consider her a suitable companion for Sweet Pea in age. Also, with the addition of Aly, our number of girls is four and that would have been about right for the current habitat.
With our proposed idea of a new home for Aly, there will be room for a few more females …