Culling Rat Litters

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Culling Rat Litters

Post by m137b on Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:15 am

To all the rat breeders, past, present or future, what are you thoughts, opinions on culling. Why to do it, why not to do it. I hear of so many rat breeders who do not cull at all and am curious.

To those who do cull how to you choose which to keep and which to cull? At what age do you decide?

To those who do not normally cull what do you do with all the babies? Are there any circumstances in which you would cull?

No graphics about the how to's please Big smile

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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by kawmice on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:03 am

Good questions.....

Hmm.......
I never did cull my rat litters in the past but ended up with WAY too many rats then what I wanted with not enough homes for them. I had rat cages all over the place! lol I am going to restart my breeding soon and do plan on culling my litters down. I would only cull a baby rat before their eyes open. It is easier. And the reason for my decision - so I do not end up with too many rats. I am going to be focusing on two, maybe three varities and the others I will be culling. As far as a guide line for who to cull - the AFRMA has a standard profile for rats as well as mice. Just like rats, one could cuull for type, size, ect. Know what I mean?

Lets see what the seasoned rat breeders have to say. You know who you are!! lol
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by thistlebrook on Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:07 am

I am also interested in this topic. I have yet to breed my first rat litter and am on the fence about culling. My main reason for not wanting to is at the moment I'm working with lines from an unknown background. By keeping all of the resulting babies I'd be able to keep an accurate record of temperament and health. However... Like you ladies have said it is easy to end up with too many rats and this is surely what would happen if I kept all of the bubs. I think what I may do is cull the smallest/weakest looking pups from the get go.

m137b, what is the latest age at which you cull? How do you make your decisions? I'm sure based on runtiness, but does color/type play a factor too?
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by Rhasputin on Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:08 pm

I bred rats once (as an adult, I did it a few times as a kid too) and for me it was space, and health. My rat litters were both 14 babies, and there was just no way that I could keep them all. I culled to a reasonable amount, I can't remember but it was probably around 7. I went for the runtier ones first, then for the ones I didn't want (standard coat) and then picked out the best 7 or so and culled the remaining.


My rats from these litters were extremely healthy. I don't continue to breed rats, so I don't know if the culling was the factor that made them turn out so good or not, but if I did decide to breed more rats, I would do it again for the same reasons I think.

It's hard though with rats, because to me, they are much more cute as babies than mice. Sad
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by candycorn on Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:03 pm

I tend to cull baby mice a bit late because I wait for nipples...so they are also getting darn cute. And I have never bred rats, but I would cull down just because it's so hard on a momma to raise 13+ babies...and by culling you give the 5, 6, or 7 babies you keep the best possible start in life. Plus you can spend more time with each baby so they are super tame!
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by Frizzle on Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:16 pm

On one forum, I posted about how a friend should have culled a runty rat from that litter of 13 as it was small from the start, and wasted away. Interestingly, the posts were not about how my friend was in the wrong, but how my opinion was for believing that culling was the way to go was in fact the wrong opinion. It was a compleate difference from the mouse breeding world, and these particular people informed me that even if a rat is malnourished (perhaps not to the degree of the pup in question) once it begins eating solids it will catch up.

Being the "rodent woman," a classmate has asked for me to make her some ratlings before she gets married this summer. This thread is interesting to me because I've wondered what others do, as the out-cry against culling rats was prettry... vocal? on this other area of the internet. I later realized it was very pet/adoption focused despite that some members do breed, and that the idea that everything has a right to exist was a prevalent theme.

Assuming that I follow like mice, I will probably cull the runts, least desireable coats, excess of either gender, and eventually tempermeant (as the pairing is to try to re-create the extremly chill personalities of both rats). I found that rats are waaaaay more easy to sex then mice, and I ID'd all 13 of the friend's litter correctly.
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by kawmice on Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:20 pm

I had a simular experience frizzle. I was told that you just do not cull rats and anyone who even suggested doing so was blacklisted. I never even culled mice until maybe 5 years ago or so and I have been breeding mice since 2001.

I personally know the majority of the members here and trust me- no one will be put down, critisized, or black listed. We are all here to learn and teach others. And that goes for mice or rats. Happy or anything else for that matter.

I am starting to squire my small rat colony that I will eventually bred. I think I will be keeping the litters to about 5 or so. I will cull the runts and so on, keeping rats with certain characteristics and colors, ect.
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by Jenni on Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:52 pm

I haven't done a lot of culling with my rats. Yes, the runty ones usually catch up, but unless they are something I need for possible breeding, I usually cull them. I have found one or two times the runts getting buried under the pile of a very large litter. I have also culled very large litters of haired and hairless, because the hairless sometimes lag behind a bit. Usually I do it at the start of fuzzy, before eyes open.

When working with new lines, if I question the health, I may cull verses place as a pet, because I want to produce the healthiest pets I can, and would not feel right about placing a rat as a pet I wasn't sure about.

I have checked out a couple of rat forums and not been impressed with them. Very unfriendly, and critical. I don't feel the need to associate with people like that!

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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by thistlebrook on Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:32 am

Jenni wrote:
I have checked out a couple of rat forums and not been impressed with them. Very unfriendly, and critical. I don't feel the need to associate with people like that!

Hear hear!
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by Rhasputin on Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:27 am

Well I hope that we create a new standard for rat breeders and owners. Happy

I don't know why the rat fancy seems to attract -so- many of the hardcore anti-breeding/anti-animal/extremist types. I know virtually every fancy has them (including MICE!), but the rat fancy seems to be absolutely plagued by it.
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by m137b on Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:00 pm

thistlebrook wrote:m137b, what is the latest age at which you cull? How do you make your decisions? I'm sure based on runtiness, but does color/type play a factor too?

Latest age? With litters I finish culling litters by 7 days.

I cull rat litters the same way I do mouse litters. Based on coat, color, sex, type ect. Rat litters are pretty consistant in birth weight. Runts are uncommon[at least in my experience], so size rarely plays a part in my culling choices.

I cull for the same reasons that have already been said. Health and numbers. I don't do pets anymore. I've been burned too many times by 'pet buyers' and screamed at by one too many activists/extremists. So I try to keep extra's to a bare minimum.

It would be nice if some of the rat breeders could decide if they're breeders or pet owners or rat activists. I won't even touch the forums, the few I've seen are just to crazy to even consider.
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Re: Culling Rat Litters

Post by seafolly on Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:30 am

Yep, steer clear of the forums. I joined a few because I was landed with a pregnant foster and needed guidance and homes. I lasted 5 years though it was NOT easy. In the end I had to leave not only due to the black and white opinions but the hypocrisy that went on. I could write an essay on that. Somehow I could deal with the extremists by just avoiding their line of fire but when they went against their own lectures I had to speak up. Unfortunately it really tainted the rat experience for me.

Back on topic though! I've fostered two litters. One had 10, the other had 14. I never even knew about culling back then but I do know there were no runts. All babies grew up nicely and lived pretty long lives according to the updates the new owner sent. However, I was lucky as each litter was varied and had fancy looks to them so finding homes was not a problem. Each rat had a home on the day they were okayed to leave Mum. Other people I know who fostered litters did have to keep a couple (PEW, black, hooded, and agouti are tricky to home!).

The only reason I don't breed rats, as I love them dearly, is because there's a huge surplus in my province of rats who need homes. There's always a rescue situation I want to get involved in but can't because I max out at four or five at a time.
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