November 14, 2007
My third tale of weekend woe is technically my first, as it all started last Sunday – however, it was only a potential tale of woe last weekend, it was confirmed as such this Sunday….
But first…. last Sunday I went out to the rat room to find two out of the six baby boys in their cage. I knew they could escape, so i’d put padlocks on the side doors, however, they’d managed to wriggle out of the gap created when the door opened but the padlock stopped it from completely opening. Mink roan boy was happily wandering round the table the cage is on, so I scooped him up and put him back in. I found silver fawn hoody and black hoody curled up in my spare hammocks then searched for mink hoody. It dawned on me as I searched the whole room that there may have been a disaster.
Charlotte, Tinkerbell and Mustard peered innocently out of their house at me, wondering what all the fuss was about, until I picked the house up and there, curled up at the back looking veeery happy was a little mink hooded boy! So there it was – potentially 9 pregnant does! In a panic I posted a thread on the NFRS forum and was advised that it’s actually quite rare for a 6.5 week old buck to ‘manage it’ with adult girlies, so I calmed down slightly and made some decisions.
There was no way I was having any more babies – to take in a rescue doe, then allow more babies to be born as a result was just ludicrous. I spoke to the vet who kindly agreed to allow me to pay for spaying in installments if neccessary, and he looked for some information about medication to get rid of unwanted babies instead of surgery. I wasn’t surprised when he found out that spaying was recomended over a medication route, as most of the injections used for aborting unwanted pregnancies need to be taken the day after. I’d never heard any mention of a medication mentioned on FR and there are enough ‘oh my god, my doe is pregnant topics’ on there for it to have come up!! The guys on the NFRS forum recomended that I weigh all the girls then weigh them in a weeks time and spay those that had put on weight, if any.
I am obviously going through a bad luck phase – both Tinkerbell and Sugar had put on over 40g each, so they are going to be spayed tommorrow. Spaying to get rid of unwanted babies is an issue that has been argued on FR. I know any operation on an animal so small is risky, and they would both cope fine with babies and motherhood. However – I don’t want any more babies at the moment- they take up an extraordinary amount of time, space and money. But more than that is the ethical implications – to take in a pregnant rescue doe to help out the rat rescue situation, then add to the situation by allowing her to go on and have yet another litter (fathered by her own son) is just wrong. There are enough unwanted rats in the country already and there is no need to add to that situation. Both girls are healthy, big girls and should have no problem going through surgery. In some ways it was a hard decision to make – but in this situation it’s the right one.