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Newborn ratties are called Pinkies because they are born hairless and pink. They are also born blind. They sort of resemble little gummy bears. Here is a litter that is 5 days old. You can begin to see their colors at this age. Their coats will gradually fill in over the next several days and their eyes will slowly open. Note the blazing on the faces is becoming more visible too.

Rat Moms are usually excellent mothers and there is very little you should do to interfere with this. It is important to gently handle new babies a little bit each day. Some mothers can be protective so use caution and try not to upset her during this time. We will not breed a female that has shown any agression and have had no issues when it comes to handling the babies. If your new mother seems agitated, wait a day or so and try again or allow her to free range while you inspect the babies. As shown below, Rat Moms are very attentive and she is shown here cleaning her offspring.

It is important to make sure that your new litter is being well fed. This is evident by checking their tummies for a whiteish band. (See photo below). This indicates that their tummies are full. If you notice in a larger litter that some of the babies are not getting enough to eat, you can use a foster mother if you are lucky enough to have one available or can hand feed them with a premixed formula. See here for instructions on hand raising newborns. Obviously it is better for them to nurse if at all possible so they receive the protective antibodies from their mothers to help fight off disease or illness.

Here is a photo of Mom having had enough of my pciture taking and relocating herself and her family back to their cage :)

Most pregnancies and births happen without any problems. It is good to be aware of the risks and be ready for them however. We have only had one problem over the years and it involved a blue female. Everything seemed to be going normal throughout the pregnancy, but she died giving birth, having hemorraged to death. I had heard about some blues having problems giving birth and I made a decision right then and there that I would never breed another blue female. Whether it was a fluke or what, I do not know, but it was a horrible thing and I still feel awful that I was away when it happened. So many "what ifs". Here is an article I later found that speaks of this occurance in more detail.

There are several things to consider before you decide to breed your rat.

1). Health of both parents.
2). Temperment of both parents.
3). Do I have suitable homes lined up before I breed?
4). Rats do not have one or two babies. They can have more than 20. Are you prepared for that many?
5). Do you have suitable time and space for that many if you do not place them?
6). Are you able to have enough time set aside daily for proper socialization?
7). What are my main goals for this breeding?

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