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 08:23 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 08:21 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 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.