Why Do Breeders Charge So Much?

As a breeder, I often get asked why I charge so much per rat. We often get told “but I can buy a rat from the pet shop for R15/R30/R50”
Well, this is why:

Most pet shops keep rats in crowded conditions, and females are bred back-to-back. A female in a pet shop can easily have 10 litters or more in her lifetime. They often have multiple breeding females “working” constantly. Pet shops feed their rats a low quality diet and do not treat if the rats fall ill. Pet shops do not spend money on enrichment. They have a high turnover of animals and therefore have none that do not have a purpose. Pet shops are known to sell babies as young as 3 weeks old. They do not worry about the temperament of the rats, meaning many people end up with lone rats due to rat aggression, or unhandleable rats due to human aggression. Many rats from a pet shop are bought pregnant due to being kept in mixed sex cages, or with a respiratory infection. The first vet visit is already R300+. Many rats from pet shops may even pass away within the first few weeks due to sickness or unknown causes.

A breeder keeps their rats in spacious cages. A breeder will not overbreed a doe, and most does will only ever have 1 litter. Breeders feed their rats the best diet they are capable of offering, often giving fresh foods ontop of the dry mix. Lactating does are often given extra foods to help with lactation and care of babies and babies are also offered extra supplements if needed. A breeder will treat for illnesses where necessary, or put to sleep where the ailment is untreatable. A breeder ensures their rats have plenty entertainment and enrichment. Breeders also keep their retired rats for their entire lives if they are of good temperament, meaning that for 2 years out of a rats 3 year lifespan, the rat is a pet only. We only adopt out our pups at youngest 6 weeks old, and many breeders only adopt out at 8 weeks old. Any rats that are not pet quality do not get adopted out. We treat all our rats for parasites on a regular basis, and before they go out to their new homes and can guarantee a rat will not be sick at the time of adoption. We seperate genders at 5 weeks old to ensure young does do not get pregnant.

Breeders put so much love and care into their litters. We select our breeding rats very carefully to ensure we provide only the best to our buyers. We do not breed rats that are skittish, aggressive or sick. We breed to better the domesticated rat, not simply to make more babies. Due to all these reasons, our costs far outweigh our adoption fees and many breeders lose money or barely break even. Breeders will also give ongoing support to their buyers (I personally even have an adopters WhatsApp group) and even take back rats should you not be able to keep them for any reason. We have information on the lines we breed, and possible issues. We know when a line is at its end, and where we can improve. We also take the input of our buyers very seriously, always trying to improve.

I hope this clears up any questions anyone may have.

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