Our adult bucks and does are housed in single level cages that measure roughly 1.2m long x 70cm wide. Our pregnant and nursing does (under 2 weeks) and pairings are housed in small flight cages measuring 60cm long x 41cm wide, whilst our nursing moms with babies over 2 weeks, and babies up to 8 weeks are housed in large flight cages measuring 76cm long x 46cm wide.
Inside our cages we provide bedding/substrate for comfort and odour control. We use Kiln Dried Pine Shavings. This has been shown to provide decent ammonia neutralisation and is perfectly safe for rodents.
We provide hay in all cages for nesting, warmth and enrichment.
For entertainment and comfort, we provide various wooden ledges, bridges and perches. We also provide various plastic baskets in place of hammocks.
We do not use any fleece or fabric in our cages due to the inability to control ammonia, as well as the environmental benefits of using less water due to the need to wash fleece minimum every 2 days.
Here at Calico Rattery, all our rats are fed diets suiting to their current role and needs. We base our feeding decisions on years of reading scientific papers, years of trying multiple diets and what works best for our rattery and our rats. Our preferred diets may not suit other rats or owners needs or requirements.
Our bucks are permanently on a Meadowfeeds pellet that is 15% protein and 2.5% fat. This is due to the fact that bucks are less active, and do not need extra protein and fat for breeding and lactation. While this is not a rat specific pellet, our knowledge on rats and available research indicates that the pellets available on the market in South Africa are simply not the best option.
Our does are on Monty and Me Essentials when they are not nursing. The pellet contains 18% protein and 5% fat. Does are more active and therefore burn more fats than bucks. During nursing, does continue to receive the Monty pellet, with an addition of a supplemental mix containing various natural ingredients that assist in milk production and general health. The mix contains: Omega 3, Corn, flax seed oil (Omega 6), Brewer’s yeast (B complex), Lysine (aids in calcium absorption, immune booster) , Wheat germ (Vit B, iron, vit E, copper, calcium, magnesium and manganese), and more
All rats are offered a Grain mix on an ad hoc/treat basis for extra enrichment
Our rats are treated for mites as a preventative measure on a regular basis. We treat using Ivermectin, as it is perfectly effective when used in the correct dosages, and at the correct intervals.
Any new rats coming into the rattery get treated with ivermectin. Any rats going out of the rattery are treated prior to departure with ivermectin.
All health issues are medicated as necessary.
We do not allow “play dates”, where others bring their rats into our rattery, as this could compromise the health and safety of our rats, and introduce unwanted pathogens.