UPDATE: We have a litter of Russian blue agoutis and Russian topaz from Kiwi Kiko x Kiwi Cluck. They are nine days old as of this writing and I am DELIGHTED!
Well…I was all ready to breed Kronk to Saffy and Elsa when suddenly something changed!
Nothing bad. In fact, it’s kind of great. I was playing with the girls one night when I looked at them and realised that Elsa had started moulting. And she wasn’t looking the same, not at all. The new fur was softer, lighter, with guard hairs that were sticking up instead of laying down. I got in touch with her breeder (Keera Smith from Kiwi Stud) and asked what was going on. Was Elsa turning velvet?
Velvet rats are a bit of a mystery. We don’t fully understand the gene, which doesn’t act as a simple recessive like, say, dumbo ears. It shows up mostly in Russian rats or chins sometime around the 5-6 month mark. Your rat simply goes from looking “normal” to looking like someone switched it for a plush toy.
And that is Elsa.
I shouldn’t be that surprised because all my Kiwi rats have the same mother and she is definitely velvet but the father was a standard-coated cinnamon buck from Meraki Rattery so I never expected velvet from that mating. Now it appears that Elsa is definitely velvet.
I’ve decided to go with the velvet and try to breed for more. Instead of using Kronk as a stud I’ll be using one of Kiwi’s stud bucks (Kiwi Cluck) who is also a velvet. Here he is below:
I will have some (not many) rats available at 8 weeks if I get large litters. I will be retaining about 8 babies myself until they are 6 months old. That’s just so I can be sure to keep back some that “turn into” velvet at the time. The other 6-month olds will be available for adoption.
So….I should have a few babies available at the end of December and some young rats (5-6 months) available at the end of March/early April.
The older ones will be handled daily, as ALL my rats are. They will probably go to a few shows and be very well socialised, too!
I’ll be posting all their baby pictures on this site as well as on my facebook page, Blue Apple Rattery, so that prospective new owners can watch as their babies grow up.
If you are interested in adopting some babies, please read my page all about adopting rats from Blue Apple Rattery. I do have an application form. Just ask for it! 🙂
My rats spend a lot of time playing out of the cage and expect the same in their new homes! My rats go to the vet when they are ill and expect the same in their new homes. “Home remedies” are not enough.
Because I am a member of the National Fancy Rat Society here in Britain I am regularly in contact with people who breed rats. If I don’t have baby rats available, I am sure someone I know may soon. If I recommend a breeder it is because they breed ethically and, to my knowledge, have very nice rats. However, breeders like those at the NFRS often have waiting lists, so unless you are very lucky you may have to wait a month or two (or three). In my opinion, it’s worth the wait! And if you need a rat fix, you can always visit a rat show!