Yes another goodbye, this time to Jools the last of my Sugar babies. He had been off his food for a few days then on Thursday didn’t eat anything not even his yummy fresh food and even more worryingly was struggling to get about and his head was shaking when he was moving. I got him to the vet on Friday and found pus in his ear. The vet thinks he had a middle ear infection and he had a steroid injection and some baytril, but he went to sleep for the final time during the day 😦

He was a lovely boy, big and soft but with slightly more mischief about him than Rupert. He got a ‘cheeky rat award’ at the one and only rat show he ever went to. He loved to just sit on your lap and be cuddled, particularly recently while he was living on his own. He never got to meet the new boys, I think he would have taken to them fine. He was very good with other rats and he was the one that befriended Luke when they all moved in together.

Bye Bye Jools, go find your brothers Rupert and Charlie and cage mates Beau & Luke. The rat room is empty without your little black face peering out of your bed.

Advertisements

Rat Show

December 9, 2008

I went to a rat show yesterday. And took rats with me. It’s the first time i’ve taken rats and only the second show i’ve ever been to. The first was over a year ago and i’ve not been able to get to any since because of the car. So now I have a more reliable car I managed to make the trip to Glasgow with no hiccups.

I had a lovely day, which was both good fun and really interesting. I took Rupert & Jools with me and entered them both in the pet class. Rupert came 4th (out of 6), so not bad, and we still got a prize card and Jools got a special ‘cheekiest rat’ award, which i’m really chuffed about. I also ended up scribing for the varieties judge, which is writing down the comments for the critiques of each rat. This was because she ended up doing open judging, which meant she explained her critique of each rat, pointing out the faults and good points compared to the standards, and when she announced this I rushed over that fast I ended up sitting next to her, so ended up writing.

It was a really good day, everyone was really friendly and made me feel really welcome, the boys took it all in their strides and I found the judging so interesting, confirming once & for all that I really want to get involved with breeding and exhibiting.

I also won a raffle prize and bought the girlies an early christmas present in the form of a fabric hanging house thing. I have written a little article / story about my day, that i’m going to send to the SRC along with some photos, so if they decide they want to put it in the magazine, I won’t put it on the website ’till it’s gone in there.

The next show is the first Sunday in February. I would love to go, but Steve’s parents will still be here and it’ll only be about a fortnight after we move house, so i’m not sure. But if I don’t make that one, I will definitely be at the April one 🙂 .

Here are a few photos, they’re not great beacuse I had to use the flash on the camera.

The rats in their show tanks:

Src Fancy rat show

A Chinchilla rat. I love this variety.

Src Fancy rat show

A roan / husky kitten. (i’m not sure what the other one is, agouti, I think)

Src Fancy rat show

A lovely black hooded:

Src Fancy rat show

The boys

November 2, 2008

I got some lovely pics today of the boys all snuggled up together in their hammock today, so thought i’d share them on here.

I’m a bit worried about Luke at the moment. He seems to be so much skinnier than the other boys and he’s got a couple of scratches across his back and his tail, i’m worried he’s being picked on. I’ve been watching them closely around the food and he does seem quite wary if the others are around. He waits for them to finish before he gets something out of the bowl and a couple of times i’ve seen Charlie sitting across the bowl preventing Luke from getting at it. There are two bowls of food in the cage so he can still get to food and he’s definitely not terrified of the others or anything (he climbed into the hammock earlier, straight over Rupert), he just seems to be a bit of an underdog which is a shame. If it was just Beau causing trouble it wouldn’t be such a problem as his op on Wednesday will hopefully solve his problems but it’s the other three as well, particularly Rupert and Charlie. I’m going to wait and see what happens after Beau has been castrated and what that does to the group dynamics and if Luke still appears to be being picked on, I shall have to separate him and Beau. 

They are such a nightmare at times, they have little squabbles and I end up thinking they hate each other, then find all five led in a heap like the photos:

male pet rats asleep<br /> in a hammock

This second one shows Charlie’s head where he was squidged underneath Beau and Luke.

male pet rats asleep<br /> in a hammock

And this was later on this evening. Luke wrapped around Rupert.

male pet rats asleep<br /> in a hammock

I see them all together like that and wonder why I worry!

Food

October 6, 2008

I have been doing a bit of thinking and research into alternative rat food recently. This isn’t because my rats are not doing well on their current diet, I am just looking for a way of feeding them that works out a bit cheaper and I also liked the idea of a base mix I could use for rats, piggies, rabbits and the hamster with species specific bits added in.

I have recently changed the base of my ‘shunamite diet’ to pasture mix horse food as I was having trouble getting alpha herbal rabbit food. I tried the pasture mix after purchasing some for the piggies as that is what their breeder fed them on. After discussing the ingredients and analysis on the NFRS forum I decided to give it a go, and it seems to be a success. I have noticed a particular difference in Pepper, who’s fur around her eyes is now lovely and dark and her coat has darkened and started to shine. Rupert and Jools’ coats are shinier too and they’ve lost their paler eye circles too. The ingredients of the pasture mix are:

Oatfeed, barley, wheat, cereal straw (treated) cane molasses, maize, wheatfeed, peas, vegetable oil, dehulled soya bean meal, herbs, limestone, dicalcium phosphate, salt, carrots, linseed, full fat soya, minerals, fruit.

And the analysis is:

  • moisture – 14%
  • Protein – 9%
  • Oil – 4%
  • fibre – 14%
  • ash – 8%
  • calcium – 1%
  • phosphorus – 0.4%
  • sodium – 0.4%
  • vitamin A – 10,000 iu / kg
  • vitamin D3 – 1,500 iu / kg
  • vitamin E – 100 mg / kg
  • copper (as cupric sulphate & copper proteinate) – 30 mg / kg
  • selenium – 0.3 mg / kg

The high levels of copper and added selenium were the two things that encouraged me and several others to try it.

The other thing that I was reading about on the NFRS forum was the feeding of ‘straights’, which is basic ingredients, ie; purhasing your own barley, maize etc and making your own cereal mix. So I have orderd a 25kg bag of mixed flakes (barley, peas & maize) and a 20kg bag of rolled oats from greenmule, which should arrive in the next couple of days. The plan is to mix 40% pasture mix, 40% straights, 10% pasta and 10% dog kibble. That way, they get the cereals from the straights mix, which is pretty much what alpha herbal was made of so I know that’s a good combination, the added vitamins, minerals and copper and also some wheat from the pasture mix, plus the protein in the dog food and the carbs in the pasta. Some people recomend not adding pasta as it can make rats fat, however, I feel that during the winter at least, the extra carbs should help towards their energy levels and keeping themselves warm. Hopefully by buying in bulk it will work out a little bit cheaper than purchasing cereals from the supermarket as I do get through quite a bit and this mixture seems to have a good blend of ingredients for them.

Hopefully, the straights will arrive soon, so I will be able to report what they think of their new diet.

Todays sleepy rats pics

September 26, 2008

Had the camera in the rat room today and got these pics of the boys, snuggled in their hammock today. Thought it was nice that Beau was in these as well seeing as he was on his own when I took yesterday’s pics.

Beau, Luke and either Jools or Rupert.

Charlie on top, Luke and Beau on the bottom.

Happy Birthday to you

September 23, 2008

It was Sugar’s babies birthdays on 20th september. A year ago they looked like this:

Then they (very quickly) grew up to look like this:

Jools at 12 days old

Rupert at 12 days old

Nutmeg at 19 days old

And now they’re great big chunks who (*touch wood*) seem to be healthy as well as lovely and friendly. Nutmeg is particular has grown into a really pretty girl, very dainty, especially compared to Fudge who is competing with her mum for the ‘fattest rat’ title. And the boys are just lovely softies. I’m so glad we ended up keeping them!! They haven’t had their birthday treat yet, because I haven’t been shopping, but when I do, i’ll get some photos.