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To ask the breeder to take the rats back?

(30 Posts)
LuluLovesFruitcakes Fri 20-Jan-17 09:43:42

Got pet rats from a local private breeder, only wanted two, got talked into taking 4. That was fine. I've had scores of rats before, no bother.

DS is 4 and being assessed for ASD. He loves furries and the rats have - in some way - been good for him. They were advertised as being "silly tame" and handled from birth and appeared very happy and docile when we viewed.

However, he will not listen when I say not to put his fingers through the bars. Which resulted in a very bad bite this morning. Blood everywhere.
I'm under no illusions here - it was absolutely DS fault he got bit!
The biter was one of two that keep fighting - both have bitten me a few times when I've put my hand in the door to feed them, clean them, move their poop, stand their litter box up, hang toys etc.

AIBU to consider contacting the breeder and asking her to take back (at least one of) the two that keep fighting & biting?
(I wouldn't ask for my money back at all, am not remotely bothered about that.)

876TaylorMade Fri 20-Jan-17 09:48:01

I'd get rid of the lot.

Not a rat fan.

Would look into a more gentle furry pet.

TheChippendenSpook Fri 20-Jan-17 09:54:58

Rats are so gentle and loving (usually). They are probably the best rodent for children. They are amusing and awake at times during the day. But I appreciate that lot of people don't like them!

How long have you had them for Lulu? It's a shame that your ds got bitten and that two fight. It sounds like they do need to be split up though.

PoisonousSmurf Fri 20-Jan-17 09:56:51

We have three male rats from a breeder and the first thing she told us was to never put our fingers near the bars! Rats are short sighted and things poked through bars are automatically food.

What are the rats like outside of the cage? If they are siblings they will 'play fight'. Unless they are squealing when fighting, then there's no problem.

Rats are much nicer than hamsters. Nasty no tail creatures.

dollydaydream114 Fri 20-Jan-17 10:08:28

Rats are usually extremely gentle and friendly and are much, much better pets for kids than other rodents - they're usually much happier to be handled and much less nervous, and enjoy interacting with people. They can form a proper bond with people, which hamsters and gerbils don't tend to do - plus, hamsters and gerbils are naturally meant to spend most of their time underground. I've had lots of rats over the years and I have never been bitten except one occasion when I was nipped through a cloth under which my rat was hiding, as he didn't realise it was my hand on the other side of the cloth.

If you have four of them and they are fighting and biting, it's possible their cage might be too small and they are getting a bit stressed from overcrowding - most cages sold are really meant for two rats, not four. And how much exercise do they get outside the cage? Are they let out to run around and play for a couple of hours a day?

How gentle and calm is your son when he handles them? Do you always supervise him when he's with them? If you have a biter it might be because he's been scared in the past by being grabbed, or picked up when he's sleeping. Even the loveliest four-year-old can be a bit shrill, grabby or accidentally over-forceful when handling small animals.

I also don't like the sound of the breeder very much. A responsible breeder does not push people to take on four animals when they had planned for two.

Would also be good to know how old they are - my mum had three rats until recently and they did have the odd scrap when they were at their 'teenage' phase and establishing who was going to be top rat. But they all mellowed after a few weeks.

sparechange Fri 20-Jan-17 10:10:39

Have you got a big enough cage for them?

IJustLostTheGame Fri 20-Jan-17 10:17:05

Hello, former rat keeper here.
Male ratties can get extremely hormonal and if they are fighting, not play scrapping, but drawing blood on each other and being aggressive to people it might he worth considering the neutering of the worst offender. Over hormonal bucks can get quite greasy.
If their cage is otherwise big enough (I'd recommend a size similar to a further xl for four rats), and they have hammocks, toys etc and an wide varied diet I would look at neutering.
And yes, never feed them or stick fingers through the bars. Their eyesight is so bad and they are so greedy they'll just grab with their teeth first. But it shouldn't be with aggression.

IJustLostTheGame Fri 20-Jan-17 10:18:36

That should have been Furet xl. Stupid autocorrect.

LuluLovesFruitcakes Fri 20-Jan-17 10:19:04

We've had them little over a week - the biggest two constantly fight. One of them got hurt the other day. So am conscious that it may be a power struggle between those two.
Breeder says they are all between 11-12weeks old (so about 12-13 now).

I did mention to the breeder that I didn't think the cage was big enough for 4 (esp boys) but she was very certain it was. I wish more than anything I'd stuck to my guns and only got 2 blush

I do think they are stressed. The more I watch them the more I think the breeder was not entirely responsible in how she bred, kept & sold them. But that's another thread. They are very very skittish and nervy when they shouldn't be.

I don't have the space (or funds) for a second cage to separate them. Am at a huge loss as to what to do, I can't sell the biters as that's not fair to the person who would take them on. Not entirely happy to give them back to the breeder but not sure I can keep both the biters. The other two - smaller two - are fine, mellow as fuck. It's just the big two.

LTBforGin Fri 20-Jan-17 10:21:39

Contact her and see what she says.

Don't think she'll be much help though

LuluLovesFruitcakes Fri 20-Jan-17 10:27:10

Any input as to how I should word this message to her? grin

PoisonousSmurf Fri 20-Jan-17 10:31:46

One thing that I liked about my breeder, is that she will take rats back at any age.

LTBforGin Fri 20-Jan-17 10:32:21

Two of the rats have settled in beautifully and are brilliant together, but two are not happy and seem unsettled, I think they need more space. Would I be able to return them to you without the refund? I can't keep them all together and I can't afford another cage

Efferlunt Fri 20-Jan-17 10:34:22

I've had at least ten pet rats as a child and not one ever bit anyone. They are usually too tame and smart. I'd send these back.

LuluLovesFruitcakes Fri 20-Jan-17 10:42:20

Thank you - have messaged her your suggestion LTBforGin (fab name btw!)

Hopefully she's understanding.

Efferlunt same - I've had rats loads in the past and have never ever been bitten, and they never bit anyone else.

Ratties have been put in the kitchen for the time being bcs DS isn't allowed in the kitchen - it's still a high-traffic area so they're not in exile, just that DS can't get near them right now.

MoonshineJungle Fri 20-Jan-17 12:19:01

I had a rat that would bite when I cleaned his cage, the other one was docile, I was advised to remove him before cleaning as it's territorial behaviour

KC225 Fri 20-Jan-17 13:15:07

I thought you were thinking of sending ex back to his mother.

Have read the full thread and I am now considering a rat instead of a Guinea pig idea. They sound quite sweet.

strawberrypenguin Fri 20-Jan-17 13:22:06

I agree you should send the aggressive 2 back to the breeder - sounds like you didn't want them in the first place anyway.
Rats are usually gentle and make brilliant pets so I'd be wondering about her breeding program too

strawberrypenguin Fri 20-Jan-17 13:23:26

Even my rescue big guy who had had very little handling and therefore was never comfortable with it never bit me.

My rats never bit either, they're normally very good natured. Ime the cages sold at pet shops are often way too small for rats, they need a lot of space. I think the recommendation is around 2 cubic feet per rat. They also tend to need a lot of climbing opportunities.

Efferlunt Fri 20-Jan-17 16:20:59

Are you saying you kept four to a cage? That seems like too much.

Sybis Fri 20-Jan-17 16:37:39

One of my rats bit me once.

Tbf, I shouldn't have sat on it.

Sounds like you've resolved to return 2 of them, but in case you're ever unsure about cage size in future, there's a 'cage calculator' tool here www.rattycorner.com/odds/calc.shtml

Sonders Fri 20-Jan-17 17:26:39

I think any responsible breeder of any animal would take them back. If you have no luck I'd speak to a local, small rat rescue. They'll be able to give you some advice and rehoming will be easier when they're still young and cute.

Pythonesque Fri 20-Jan-17 17:52:42

Reading this I find myself wondering if the bigger two had already been returned to the breeder once and are a little older than the chilled out pair? Good luck hope things go smoothly for you.

LadyDeadpool Fri 20-Jan-17 17:55:45

If the breeder won't take the boys back try placing an advert on Rat Rescue Network UK on Facebook lots of rescues and experienced owners on there willing to help. I agree with everyone else though that you unfortunately found an idiotic breeder none of mine have ever bitten and that includes rescues and pet shop stock.

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