I had to have the lovely Pepper pts on Wednesday. I said that she was not right in herself and noticed Tuesday night that she seemed to be struggling breathing, breathing really deeply and stopping every so often to catch her breath. She was still trundling about and jumping in and out the cage. By Wednesday morning, she was looking worse, so I booked her into the vets for 4pm, then pulled the appointment forward when I found her gasping and having to drag herself about. By the time we got to the vets she was so far gone, she wasn’t even sedated before being given the injection 😦 . I held her in my arms as she left me after having sat in the vet’s waiting room with her snuggled in my fleece.

We buried her under the tree in the garden.

Pepper came home on 3rd July after being advertised free to a good home with Mustard on a local website. She settled in really quickly and was the easiest intro ever into the group of girls.

She was a hooligan rat, always full of mischief and the first to check out new things. She liked to barge around in my fleece but the thing I will always remember her for is her jewellery fetish.  She would chew and pull my earings and my necklace while I was wearing them! She would also give a rather hard head massage, chewing and grooming my hair. And she’d bite my lips and grab at my eyes with her hands! My OH loved her and would tease her when she was sat on his shoulder, blowing at her and then blocking her path with his hand when she tried to get at his mouth. She would push and pull and climb to get over his hand then pretend to give up, sneaking back a minute later and bite his ears! She was trouble but so much fun with it, my favourite sort of rat.

Here are some photos of her:

black hooded female fancy rat

With her head in a jar

black hooded female fancy rat

Talking to the boys (she would regularly escape out of the play pen by jumping from our laps to the barrier)

black hooded female fancy rat

Looking for yoggies

black hooded female fancy rat

Working out how to get out (with Doughnut)

black hooded female fancy rat

Eyeing up the barrier

black hooded female fancy rat

Heading out to play

black hooded female fancy rat

And looking for an escape route again!

Bye Bye my girl, play times are quiet without you. Go find Mustard and Treacle and cause some mischief!!

Rat Health updates

February 9, 2009

Just a little health update…

Luke’s eye seems to be changing. It’s still looking cloudy but is now looking stained round his eye. It hasn’t swollen up and he still isn’t bothering it at all, so he’s not going back to the vets just yet. I have also just found a lump on his side, in his armpit. It feels like a mammary lump and even though mammary lumps are rare in male rats, they do get them. It really does seem that if someone’s going to get something, it’s him! I will keep an eye on it, hopefully it will be an abcess that is easy to deal with.

Pepper is also not very well. I treated her for mites a little while back as her fur is getting thin on the back of her neck and she is generally a bit scabby and scraggy looking. I have also noticed since they’ve been out free-ranging again, she’s walking a bit stiff legged and slightly wobbly. She does have grip in her back feet and she sits up still to eat, she’s just a bit wobbly and has fallen off balance a couple of times. She’s also lost a bit of weight and is generally looking old. She’s not even two yet 😦

Doughnut’s lumps are growing, but she’s still getting about fine and being her useful lovely self. Still eating well!! And enjoying free-range. Her and Tinkerbell will be 2 on Saturday and Tinky is fine. It’s a shame spaying them is such an invasive operation, as judging from Tinks and Doughnut, spaying does seem to reduce the occurrence of mammary tumours.

To end on a happy note, Sugar has finally lost some weight and now weighs in at a healthier 440 ish grams. She is definitely looking more slimline and is full of mischief. Her and Doughnut have found the treat stash and are currently munching their way through a dried corn on the cob! Will put the photo up tomorrow.


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.