Contacting Breeders – An important thing to remember   Leave a comment

This is something I’ve seen come up a few times recently in posts elsewhere, from talking to various people, and from my own experiences.

Before you contact a breeder, whether you are another breeder, someone looking to adopt, or just someone with questions, please make sure you’ve read through their website FIRST. All to often people contact breeders without looking at their site at all. Some don’t even load the site, they just grab email addresses from a websearch or links elsewhere. In many cases, the answers to their questions or inquiries are already posted in policies, FAQs, etc. 

If you are an adopter – looking through a site can potentially tell you if the person breeds a variety you are even interested in adopting. If they only breed red eyed siamese, champagne and silver fawn, etc, and you only want rats with black eyes – contacting them asking for baby rats with black eyes isn’t likely going to do you much good. Its also a chance for you to look at how they operate, and make sure they are someone you are willing to support. Check out my post on Breeders & Rescues VS Pestores – – it goes over the idea that who you give money to matters, and that YOU as the adopters, are in a position of power to make sure that breeders and suppliers of animals are pushed to make improvements and do the best for the animals, by only giving money to the people whose practices and ethics are acceptable to you.

If you are a breeder or future breeder – contacting another breeder you don’t know without reading their site, and asking about things that are openly stated ON the site is a really good way to ensure they won’t want to work with you any time soon. If you email someone just asking for breeding stock, without reading what their policies are on adopting breeding stock, etc, its not likely you’ll be getting rats from them. Think about it from their perspective – they’ve taken the time to put that information out there to be easily found and read. They’ve put a LOT of time, effort, energy, resources, etc into their animals. If you aren’t even going to bother reading their site, how do they know if you’ll bother to do the things that require more effort, such as taking proper care of the animals, accurate reporting back to them with information about the animals, etc? Cutting corners on something as simple as reading the website is certainly not going to give them confidence in you or your ability to follow through with things appropriately elsewhere.

If you just have a question, whether adopter, breeder, or just curious person – before emailing, make sure its not already posted. It can get you your answer much sooner, and save you and the breeder time in emailing back and forth, waiting for emails to land, etc. This isn’t to say you  shouldn’t email to talk to a breeder! Conversation is great and very important! But emailing to ask when babies from a litter will be available, when its posted right on the litter page, isn’t a good way to start a conversation. While most breeders I know would love to spent time chatting with people who have questions, concerns, curiosities, etc, they also get frustrated when they get questions that they have already taken the time to publicly answer, sometimes in detail, on their website.

So again – while contacting and asking questions is certainly good and even to be encouraged, please make sure you read what is already available first. The breeder has taken the time to answer the question already, and will appreciate conversing with you much more if you’ve taken the time to read what they’ve written! 


Posted June 21, 2012 by betuana in Uncategorized

Breeders & Rescues VS Petstores   1 comment

This is another post I made on a forum, that I thought would be good to copy over here, since it summerizes some of my opinions on the whole debate of where to get our pets (not just rats either, but ANY type of pet, be it a rat, dog, cat, gecko, bird, etc). I think that it is very important for people to really consider who they are supporting, and WHAT they are willing to give their money to support.


Honestly…I can’t really believe there is a need for an explanation of this…but I’ve seen it repeated several times recently. Rather than hijacking several other threads, I wanted to post.

Supporting GOOD breeders and GOOD rescues IS better than buying from a petstore. Period. No exceptions.

There is NO SUCH THING as a good breeder who supplies a pet store. A GOOD breeder wants to screen every adopter personally, and that is impossible if they sell their babies to a petstore. They NEED to know all their adopters personally, and have that contact information, so that they can monitor their lines, the health of the animals, etc. Without that information, they can’t really breed to improve the species. Selling to a petstore demonstrates they are in it for profit ONLY.

YES, its true, there are no guarantees about living things in life. A rat from a breeder or rescue could get sick and die young, and a rat from a petstore could live a long time. Or not. There are never guarantees.

The DIFFERENCE is who you are supporting. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 8, 2011 by betuana in Uncategorized

The Importance of Accurate Genetic Records and Reporting   Leave a comment

I want to write a bit about something that is very much in the front of my mind – genetics. This is not so much another primer on the different types of rat genetics, how the different genes interact, what they are, etc. There are plenty of resources out there for that already. This is more a statement on the importance of ACCURATE recording of genetics.

This came up after I found an article someone wrote where she actually proposed ignoring genotype altogether in favor of just trying to make other genes look like what they wanted. In this case, she argued that its hard to get good points on a himalayan rat (ch/c) where its easier to get them on a siamese (ch/ch), and suggested that better ‘himalayan’ rats could be gotten by selecting for siamese with lighter coats and less shading. Her other argument was that himalayan is homozygous in rabbits, and therefore should be in rats as well.

There are several problems with this suggestion. While this MIGHT actually help improve the points, its not actually making himalayan rats, its just making siamese that ‘look like’ himalayans. Breeding, selection, and improving of the species is more than looks, its about selecting the proper type of animal to improve the traits. Rather than spending time selection for poor siamese, with a lack of shading, etc, the energy could be better used to select for better points on true himalayans. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted June 25, 2011 by betuana in Uncategorized

Starting a rattery: Learning and Finding a mentor   Leave a comment

So you’ve decided you want to breed? Hopefully you’ve spent quite a bit of time reading up on it, studying, learning, talking to other people already. Ideally, you’ve had some rats for their entire lifespan, from youth through old age and losing them, so that you know about the challenges you face in dealing with health problems and death. Not everyone can handle these things, and recognizing that is a strength, not a weakness. Better to realize it now than when you have a few dozen rats and you realize that losing them is too much to bear.

One of the main pieces of advice given to people looking to start out is to find a mentor. This is EXCELLENT advice, but it’s not as simple as asking the first breeder you encounter to just teach you everything and give you rats, or even accepting the first mentoring offer you get if you are looking. There is a lot more to finding the right mentor to help you excel.

Since I am in the process of getting started with a breeding program myself, I thought I might share some advice for what has helped me move forward in the process.

Learning is definitely the first step to doing anything correctly, so I ask questions, read, research and learn. This link is a really good source of some information for anyone considering getting into breeding, it offers a LOT to consider, and its worth reading – several times. I still go back and read through it on a regular basis.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted April 15, 2011 by betuana in Uncategorized

My thoughts as I start…   Leave a comment

Well, there isn’t much here yet, and I still am a ways off from making significant plans, but I hope that this will be a place where I can post some of my thoughts, plans, findings, etc related to my rattery, rats, breeding, and anything else that seems appropriate.

For now I can start with some information. I am a new rat breeder, but not new to the rat world. I’ve had pet rats for most of the past 18 years or so. I’ve seen the hobby grow and change quite a bit in this time and have seen our care standards for these wonderful animals improve during that time, as we learn more and find better ways to provide for them.  It’s exciting to see how things have changed and continue changing, and to be a part of new, improved care for these little guys who share our lives.

I am a certified veterinary technician, with experience with exotics and wildlife. I’ve been researching genetics, talking to and getting to know other breeders, attending shows, and learning as much as I can about proper selection, care, socialization, health, etc of rats for several years now, in preparation of starting my own rattery.

I believe breeding is a huge responsibility and something that shouldn’t be done just for fun, just to see what its like, etc. There are many homeless pets out there, rats included, and bringing more into the world haphazardly adds to the problem. There are many people out there already who are breeding for the wrong reasons, and no matter how much they believe they love their pets, these people are doing nothing to help rats, and are simply adding to the overpopulation problem. It is important to breed for the whole rat, not just for making more, or for a cute marking, color, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted March 31, 2011 by betuana in Uncategorized