Ethical Rat Breeders, and Breeding Info
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007, 12:19 pm
khep: Do You Just Run Away?
I am not a rat breeder currently, but I am doing a load of research in the meantime! I'm also new to this community, and have a question for you...
One of the most BEAUTIFUL rats I have ever seen was for adoption in a pet store. It was a little Mom and Pop seeming pet store, and I walked in while waiting for a bus. The rat was an adult male dumbo, with a stunning orange coat. The closest I have come to finding a coat like it would be an Aussie Cinnamon or Fawn coat, but it was more of a light bright orange than either, and it stood out. I don't know how to descibe it exactly, but *gorgeous*. If you wanted to work with the color of that rat, would you have ever used it (a pet store/rescue adoptee) as a sire, or would you have just gnawed at your wrists a little bit and run away?
I fully understand wanting to breed pairs with known lineage, and good temperment, and good health, and absolutely support that- but I'm curious. What would you do? :)
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
My suggestion to you, as a new breeder, is to ONLY use pedigreed rats. Most breeders won't even look at you, if you breed petstore rats. Very few reputable breeders will ever breed unknown lines. Even established breeders will be questioned if they choose to use rats of unknown linage because those choices are frowned upon by the breeding community as a whole in all animals.
As a new breeder, your first impression is important in gaining respect in the rat community, and in working with other, and established breeders. there are already enough issues in rats (Suppressed immune systems, short lives, tumors, poor temperament etc), why add more unknowns when you should be seeking out lines with the least problems with get started with? IMO the best thing a newbie can do, is find a good mentor, and become active in the rat community. Learn the basics, and in the future, once you are established if you have a need to seek out unknown lines you can choose to make that decision.
Also, if the rat you saw was a fawn, 'everyone' has fawns. Breeders like RSCL, and ROUS have exceptional fawns, with wonderful pedigrees. There is no need to buy a generic, unknown rat for a usual color, when there are plenty of quality rats out there, with exceptional traits who show that color. Your description, doesn't make it seem like this rat is anything that isn't already out there, as by your description it was simply a quality fawn. If it was a fawn, it's a *very* common color in feeder bins, with breeders, and in petstores. Remember, a good breeder, breeds for more than just color.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
BTW, what color was this rats eyes?
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
I think it had black eyes :)
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
I would honestly suggest, attend a few shows, and do more research before jumping into breeding, esp since within reasonable driving you have a great, established local rat community. Also even if we Oregon breeders don't have what you want, many of the good WA breeders will deliver to Portland too!
If only you'd taken a picture! What petstore was this rat at?
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
I won't be jumping into breeding, no worries. I will probably be researching for the next few months, and if breeding occurs down the line, it will be after a lot of further thought, setting up, making sure, more research, possible pre-planned placement, etc.
I wish I had taken a picture too! Rawr! It was at a little pet store on a back road in Beaverton. It was a corner store, and I think the title may have included the name of the street it was on, but I'm not sure- (that sort of small pet store). I know where it is though, off upper Cornell Rd.
So how do you go go the rat shows without coming home with a billion new family members? The force is strong with you? ;)
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
Was the petstore by the thriftway in Cedar Hills? If so, I know that store. I bought Albeniy from there in '98, and my first dumbo, and rex (Lillei) there in '00 I believe? This was before I was online, and before most the breeders in the NW were breeding!
My friend used to work there, and is the main reason that store did such a great job. She's a dog person, and helped them clean up the place. I've not been there to visit in atleast 4 years, but used to work at the saturday market acrossed the street from them, and would visit there weekly.
Most breeders never have rats available for placement at shows, only deliver pre reserved rats. Reputable breeders rarely have rats available at shows, because the waitlist for their litters is so dense! It's really not common to see rats available for placement at RatsPac shows, but some breeders do have available kiddos because they breed FOR shows (Since they live in BFE with few adopters), but generally those aren't types of rats I breed for, want, or need.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
No, the petstore is closer to Cornell and Murray, I believe- a few blocks away from the Sunset high school?
As for the shows- goood, gooodd... it would be dangerous otherwise ;)
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
I don't know where that is... but I know the store I'm thinking is off Cornell. Acrossed the street from the Hi school pharmacy or whatever.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
Was it the *huge* PetSmart in Cedar Hills? :)
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
When I lived there, Cedar Hills didn't have a petsmart, or petco..... I haven't been that way in over 4 years though, and haven't lived there since '01!
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
It's amazing how much everything has changed! I left in '00, came back in '02? and the amount of building that has happened everywhere is amazing. Things are changing all over the place. I don't go to Beaverton too often, but when I do there's normally something new- just from in between trips!
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
Yea, I had to go to Forest Grove last year, and drove through Cornelius... OMG a totally differnt world!!
Nothing was the same, not even the Safeway in Forest Grove! LOL
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
And it was a little family owned shop too. Not a commercial store. In the same complex as the Thriftway grocery store, or whatever it's called!
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
Ooo address of the thriftway is: 12675 NW Cornell Road
The petstore I knew of, was attached to that :) It may not still be there, *BUT* last time I was there, in like '03 they had minks, and cinnamons. Likely out of Khatz Rats lines.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
OH! Called The Pet Barn! I love google ;0P Somewhere I have pics of Albeniy, and Lillei. Both born and raised there. Like I said, this was before there WAS a local rat club, and breeders locally so I had no choice and didn't know better ;0P
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
Do you think as far as pet stores go that you'd be more open to adopting from there again?
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I have no REASON to buy from stores.... I have access to quality lines, and can get rats from pretty much any US breeder I'd like to.
Unless they had something extra special (new gene).... but in my case, there is nothing more I want. I have all the rats I want/need, and for out crosses, why would I want, or need to fly blind with unknowns? Why 'ruin' years of hardwork, but adding unknown ingredients to the pot?
I'd rather breed rats from fellow breeders who have the same beliefs, and ethics as I do. At this point, I have no need, wish, or desire to breed unknown rats from local stores. There is nothing they can add to my rats at this point, compared to other breeders, pedigreed, known stock.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
As far as any US breeder goes, how do you feel about having rats shipped? Or do you find a way for others to help transport them from other states a different way?
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
I have no issue with shipping. I've shipped rats, am going to ship rats, and have plans to ship rats in the rather nearish future.
In the past, I've mostly done road trips, but that was prekid when I was young, active, and a 17+ hour drive was nothing for me ;0P
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I know I would have bitten my wrists and run away- though I might have adopted it as a pet-only rat, and compared it's coat later against others, I would have never used it as a sire personally. I am in full agreement with you there, and on the not breeding for color only issue.
As for the coat, I don't think it was a fawn. Like I said, it looked (and this was a couple years ago) like a much oranger coat than fawn, lighter than an Aussie Cinnamon, etc. That was the heartbreaking part, I've never seen a coat like it elsewhere. That's really where the heart of my question was- what would the people in this community do if they found something gorgeous they've never seen before?
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
Well personally, my roan rats foundation is from a petstore rat.. granted a petstore rat imported from France/Germany who lived to be over 2, but petstore none the less!
I'm not *against* breeding unknown lines, if there is a reason, and if it's being done by an otherwise knowledgeable, established breeder responsibly, but it will affect a breeders reputation, esp as a newbie breeder, and is not something to be taken lightly.
It's always good to work with established lines when you start, even if you need to look outside your local breeders in order to get what you want.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
I think if it happens again, I'll adopt the rat as a pet, take pics, and then put a poll out asking for advice once I have gotten to know more about it's personality and traits ;) That way I could either get advice on how to come upon that seemingly unique color with quality and temperment, or those in the know (and breeding community) could advise on whether or not the pro's outweigh the con's. Either way I would err' on the side of safe/beneficial.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
Yea, and my suggestion is *NEVER* buy an unknown girl to use for breeding (Though Staples of EAGL was one). As a whole you can easily "get away with" breeding a 2 year old unknown lined boy, but you can't really breed an unknown girl past 8 months, and at 8 months, there is still sooo many unknowns health, and temperament wise in rats!
That's my personal philosophy though :)
In the case of Staples, I kept her kids with myself, and friends. Her kids all lived over 2.5 (some living over 3), and she lived over 2.5 with no previous health issues before she contracted a strep infection.
Since her sons lived so old, I was able to breed them, and have had success with her line living long, with excellent health and temperament. At the time of Staples, I was the only breeder producing good merles, and currently am the only breeder breeding for quality merling I know of.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting point about the ages versus genders and pairing... it makes sense. Did you keep the kids with you and friends because she was unknown?
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, I kept them close to home, and only with people I knew well because I wanted to track every little thing about them. (I didn't want the risk of an adopter "disappearing" down the road!)
It was a small litter which was helpful, and I bred her once, to an excellent older stud (1.5 years), with a wonderful pedigree filled with long-lived rats.
I have only just recently, after years begun placing these rats with other breeders. Staples litter was born early '03.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
Since your in CO, I'm wondering if the "good" breeder who produced the MC baby, is one who has a DEPLORABLE reputation, and lies about where her rats are from, including putting false pedigrees on her rats.... the lady I'm thinking of breeds dominant HW lines, and is NOT a respected breeder at all. She's actually one of the few 'hated' breeders among the general rat fancy.
There are not many good breeders at all in CO sadly.
All your comments about breeders is based on speculation, and your own personal ethics. Ethical, responsible breeders keep in touch with adopters, track their lines, and don't dump off retired rats. Yes, good breeders are few and far between, but good, ethical breeders is what this community is promoting, and about. Ethical, reputable breeders don't cull out rats, and do track lines they are breeding for health, longevity, and temperament.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
You as a breeder, get to choose your ethics. That's your decision.
I generally keep 2 babies out of litters, and don't tend to breed more than 1 litter every 2 months. I've actually been breeding more than usual, preparing a few shipments to other breeders, plus am breeding co-litters with other local breeders which are not being raised in my home.
I do agree, more breeders need to have links to rats on pedigrees, and keep updates on their sites of past rats. I was good about this before my pregnancy, but have since updated my pages, to have updated info on past rats on my site, and am still working on that. After 10 years of breeding, it's a lot of work!
Most my communication with breeders is private though, not based on their websites. With the joys of unlimited cell mins, and IM services, it's much easier to ask questions, rather than having to wade through websites... most breeders don't ave web building skills, so do not keep indepth info online.
Some breeders do pet place their past rats, but again they keep in touch. I've had very little trouble keeping intouch with past adopters, and also if you as a breeder make the steps to contact past adopters every few months, I've learned it keeps you fresh on their mind, and they will send out updates. I've not found it hard to send out even a form "Hey how are the kids doing?" note to past adopters. I've been doing this for years with great success! Hell, I'll even keep in touch with people I know who have rats related to my rats, placed by other breeders! How hard is it to send out a quick friendly note??
As for the culling notes, it'd be best if you use the term "pet place". Yes "culling" is a loose term, but in the pet fancy implies putting down otherwise healthy animals. Yes I do "cull" pet quality animals.... by pet placing.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
I'm in Oregon, and am an active member (and judge) in RatsPacNW. The OP, is also located in Oregon, within an hour from me, and is moving to a town about 30 mins from me.
In our case, there is no REASON to breed unknowns, when it's easy to keep up with other respected breeders, and be active in the local community. In her case, breeding unknown rats right off the bat would be a detriment to her reputation in the local rat community.
And as I said with keeping up with past pet adopters, I have had *NO* issues at all, and have only lost contact with a very small number of them in 10 years of breeding. I send out e-mails every few months to adopters, and that keeps me fresh on their minds too incase they have health problems, questions, or need some help. I sadly have been behind on updated my website, but I'm working on updating my past litter pages. As I said before, I have a kid, and had to put the website on the back burner for a few years.
One owner had to make a few month trip to Australia, and I watched her rats for her... otherwise they would have been rehomed as her family was from Oz and she was in school with no local friends not in the dorms... things like that are important to me. I enjoy being a 'part' of the lives of babies I adopt out. Recieving pics, and updates. I bond close to my rats, and can't imagine how some breeders DO "place and forget".
As I said, in CO there really isn't good breeders... sadly. It's become a rather "dead spot" which is a shame. Good breeders *are* few, and far between, but it is each breeders choice what type of breeder they wish to be. Only you, can choose your own destiny, and ethics. That's my philosophy on life atleast.
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
Hmm... I have been reading on the ethics of breeding rats and I was under the impression that culling was by majority used only under drastic circumstances (I personally disagree with culling, so perhaps I read with bias), and that breeders did contact people down the line if unhealthy traits began showing. I know I would. Perhaps we should just move to make this sort of communication an expectation :)
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
You are very much correct, as you will learn when you get to know REPUTABLE breeders :) Have you joined ratspacnw yet as I suggested?
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
Not yet, but thank you for the link! I have been thinking about creating a new yahoo account, and wanted to sort out whether to keep my old one or create another before adding the community :)
Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, I hadn't heard the term culling amongst breeders as not equal to killing/euthanizing, thanks for the clarification.