Zander and Giles, hanging out, enjoying their lovely new Christmas present- their hammock.
So, Jean over at My Life with the Critters asked why someone who is so involved in animal rescue would make the decision to breed rats. It's a good question, and I've put loads of thought into it.
There are several reasons, to be honest. I love the species, they are lovely pets and good breeders are very hard to find in this province. So, part of it is about ensuring I have a continued supply of ratties to live with that I know are healthy and well socialized. As well, there is only 1 other breeder in this province (my sister rattery) and it's not enough to keep up with the demand for quality pets. She doesn't want to expand her rattery to the point of keeping up, preferring quality over quantity. I feel the same. So, between the two of us, we might be able to keep the Saskatoon area supplied with healthy little squeakers (but NOT feeders!). As well, to perfect colour lines with great health. Like all pets, rats are susceptible to certain diseases, but with good breeding those isues can be eliminated. For those reasons, I've decided 1-2 litters a year are ok.
Unlike BC, we do not have tons in rescue, and it's difficult to find rats that are socialized enough for pet homes with children (at times). There is 1 store in Saskatoon that has a decent breeding program, but even he can't keep up with the demand for pets. The province does not need someone breeding hoards of rats all the time or we will have issues with rats needing rescue (and occasionally it happens), but certainly 3-4 litters a year would not be difficult to place in pet homes.
I think my reasons are similar to why I would consider breeding Labradors in the future- to better lines, to provide a quality animal who is healthy. I will certainly begin this journey and see where it takes me. No promises that my rattery won't be a closed one (meaning what I breed, I keep and the program is VERY small) or that I will continue to breed, but when the right pair comes along, I will likely decide those genetics are worth being passed along. Besides, we are starting "rat shows" in the Manitoba/Saskatchewan region and I dream of having a competitive Russian Blue Rex (curly) Dumbo Rat to show. Hehe, it's an interesting journey all right!
Anyway, here's to a great Wednesday.... hug your critters, everyone, even if your preference is a little ratty.