Need help with wild baby rats

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by mustangrooster, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Hi all,


    Hoping to get a bid of advice. So around 5 hours ago, we found 4 baby orphan rats. I’m sure it was a nest of 6 but I think one of the dogs got two of them. Nearly positive that the mum was killed by the dog, (don’t know if it was the mum or the dad) but another one of the parents got eaten by a snake (We saw it.)


    I’m unsure on what to do. I have done lots of research but still can’t seem to find the answers that I need. This isn’t the first time I have raised rats before, I've taken care of a new born rat before...but that was years ago. Now that I have found a nest of 4, I feel like I don’t have the slightest idea on what to do. I have a lot of experience with orphan animal after raising joeys, baby birds etc but I haven’t raised a group of rats before. They look to be 2 weeks old, but are very bouncy which makes me think they could be 3 weeks old? Not sure. They are in a box all snuggled up together in the materials that I use for Joeys, so they are warm, but I can tell that they are stressed out by me being around.


    I have been trying to feed them, but they don’t want any warm milk or any solids, what can I do?


    I have some other questions; however, any information is greatly appreciated.


    - How often do they need to be fed? I read every 2 hours for new-borns, but what about 2/3 week olds?


    - When can they start having solids? They won’t touch any food.


    -How much milk (in ml) should they have per feed?


    -How warm do they need to be? They do have fur, but I did put a heat pack in there for them (I made sure it wasn't too hot) However they preferred to just snuggle up together in the blankets rather than be by the heat source; is that enough for them to keep warm?


    -Also, one of them has a small cut by the base of its tail, should I clean it or just leave it to heal by itself? I'm not sure what it got cut by, maybe the dog, but they're so small and squirmy so it would be hard to treat.


    -What milk can I use?


    I really need some advice asap, as I really want to ensure these guys have the best chance of survival. That’s all the questions I can think of currently, but if you guys have any advice or information, I would love to hear it. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  2. Chicken-lovebirdchihuahua

    Chicken-lovebirdchihuahua Crowing

    1,405
    1,101
    307
    Dec 17, 2017
    North Carolina
    Ok so just make sure they can’t get out of the box and in with the blankets or not you should shread up some paper and but in some straw and hamster bedding or not the blankets might be fine I wouldn’t treat the wound it will heal just like cuts heal in the wild also the reason they aren’t eating is probably because they are confused and stressed you might later want to take them somewhere to make sure they don’t have any diseases I don’t know exactly where rats nest but I would think they would nest in the dark and so you probably would want to feed the rats in the dark I have heard you can feed them sugar water but only when they are really young they also need iron so I don’t know much about the food sorry I hope I was some what of a help:hmm
     
    mustangrooster likes this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    13,137
    12,036
    716
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I wouldn't raise wild rats. Period. Depending on where you are, they carry a number of unpleasant diseases that can affect you, not a good thing.
    Contact any wildlife rehab group that you can find, and take their advice.
    Mary
     
  4. Tesumph

    Tesumph Crossing the Road

    3,010
    21,625
    937
    Jul 10, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    Agree on the wildlife rehabber advice (if they won’t take them they might give you pointers), disagree on the diseases. Wash your hands before and after touching them but the chances of getting anything from a baby non-sewer living rat is next to none imho. They’re more likely to catch something from you. I’m sure everyone will disagree because rats=disease but whatever.

    You might find some answers if you go to rat breeder forums or websites, but from what I know, hand rearing from such a young age is a huge challenge and often they just don’t thrive.
     
  5. Chickygirl63

    Chickygirl63 Chirping

    85
    109
    94
    Feb 11, 2018
    Rat fan club... raising orphaned rats... Look up on google Rat fan club. There should be some pointers there .... Hope it helps
     
    mustangrooster and Tesumph like this.
  6. h2oratt

    h2oratt Crossing the Road

    14,245
    24,488
    772
    May 3, 2015
    Morada, california
    Sorry, I would not raise wild rats or squirrels. They are bad thing around here. Carry fleas and other disease. The squirrelstore.com has various varmit raising items. Maybe they can help you.
     
  7. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Crowing

    1,050
    1,494
    257
    May 23, 2016
    I would make a hard choice, pets or euthanize. rats are amazing pets, perhaps my favorite, they have empathy, are very smart, can learn tricks and develop attachment to humans. so, they are amazing pets, on par with dogs in intelligence in certain ways, like being able to learn to play fetch and retrieve a specific toy by name for a reward. that said, they are potentially disastrous as farm pests. a small background population of wild rats is fine, mainly ones that can not get into an unlimited food source, like a chicken coop.

    as pets they are best kept in same sex pairs, they need some company as they are communal and give each other lots of needed attention, kept alone, they become neurotic. they become breeding age as early as 6 weeks and can not be kept insexed pairs or you will end up with litters of more babies every month, having as many as 20 babies at a time.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with keeping wild rats as pets, but treat the initial phase of care as a quarantine and treat for lice and worms if need be. I would not let small children handle them initially till quarentine is over and adults have handled them without issue of disease. (children are most susceptible) get them cleaned up inside with good food, and medication if need be. eventually you develop comfort and trust with handling. there is some slight risk of serious communicable disease initially.

    I make no bones about it, I keep rat traps galore outside around the coop and keep the pet rats behind bars inside, when they are not on our shoulders playing around.
     
  8. Chickygirl63

    Chickygirl63 Chirping

    85
    109
    94
    Feb 11, 2018
    When they reach a point where they are grown to be on their own perhaps relocating far away .From human population if youe able and they seem still wild enough...just a thought
     
  9. Chickygirl63

    Chickygirl63 Chirping

    85
    109
    94
    Feb 11, 2018
    I had rats hamsters mice ect as a kid and they all multiply at a seemingly early age....You dont want that disaster on your hands...
     
    mustangrooster likes this.
  10. Tesumph

    Tesumph Crossing the Road

    3,010
    21,625
    937
    Jul 10, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    Seriously, they’re asking for help for raising babies and you call them varmints?

    Rats do carry lots of diseases. Hantavirus, rat bite fever, LCMV, etc. Guess what else carries diseases? Literally everything. Your chickens, the wild birds in your yard, your dogs, cats, children.. If you follow basic biosecurity measures, quarantine as the above poster said, wash your hands, the chances of getting a disease is no more than it would be from a litter of barn cats. I think if the original poster has raised wild animals before then they know the risk; their question wasn’t about rodent diseases.
     
    Birdinhand likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: