A week into intros and we are getting there. The girls spent a day in the small hamster cage then moved up into the bigger single level cage, with just food, water and substrate. During the day they have been peaceful, starting to sleep in mixed groups, pottering about fairly happily, but in the evening they have been breaking into squabbles. Nothing major (and no injuries) – these kinds of fights usually sound worse than they are. It did get bad enough at about 2.15am on Tuesday that I got up and moved them back into the hamster cage, and they stayed there until Wednesday afternoon.
By last night I was starting to think that a lot of the problem was boredom, really, so this morning I cleaned the cage out and added in a litter tray, a hammock and several wood chews. Then I had to go out for an hour and a half. I came back to this:
Not the best photo in the world, but that’s two Moomins and three WingDings sharing the hammock.
Getting there. This evening will be the test, we’ll see how they are when they get to the usual “squabbling hour”, but I’m starting to feel hopeful.
This is the first of five Saturdays on which I am unsupervised and left to my own devices, as J is working Tuesday to Saturday for five weeks. I’ve tried to make Plans so my days are not entirely squandered but we all know what they say about the best-laid plans (and mine weren’t that well-laid if I’m honest).
One of my Plans is to do some proper rat portraits, and as I had the light box and tripod out to photograph some bits and pieces I want to sell on Ebay, I thought it was a good opportunity. Unfortunately, only Helvetica and Bodoni were up and about, so it was a rather short photo session, and I didn’t do a very good job of setting up the scenery, but I got some good pictures nonetheless.
To reward them for their hard work, I put the two of them and everyone else in a tiny hamster cage because another of my Plans was to start intros. During the week I was having doubts because of the hot weather – they were already grumpy enough without me adding to their misery! But we had some rain overnight and today has been a few degrees cooler so I decided to go for it.
They’ve been in there for about four hours, there’s been a few scuffles, and for quite a while the group of seven were squished into one end of the cage, as far from the WingDings as possible. They’ve spread out a bit now and are snoozing, but still keeping to their groups and not mingling.
This may take a while!
The WingDings came back yesterday. When I say “came back”, they didn’t wander the 40-odd miles by themselves with little packs on their backs – cute though that would be:
(It’s a Banksy, of course)
No, I went and fetched them, on a blazing hot day when the A14 was basically a car park, because I’m a genius.
Anyway, they seem to be settling in well and might even have grown out of some of their wild ways, time will tell. They could just be being a bit reserved because they’re not sure what’s happened. Next weekend we’ll start intros with the others and see how everyone gets on. I’d been worried about intros because I was still imagining the WingDings as the teeny little things they were when they first came here, but they’re 11 months old now and acting like grown-ups.
We had a play session last night, keeping the two groups separate for the moment, but both groups got prawn crackers in their digging boxes. The seven first:
The Snork Maiden
Snork Maiden and Snufkin
Daughter of Kong
Daughter of Kong
Failed to get any good pics of Penguin and Nygma, unfortunately, but they were happily tucking in with everyone else.
And the WingDings:
Helvetica and Bodoni
Verdana and Leelawadee
It’s lovely to have them back. Fingers crossed for smooth intros.
Remember the WingDings? Of course you do. Those cute, innocent-looking and utterly mad foster girls went back to the breeder a couple of months ago and we acquired the Biscuit Girls.
The breeder’s intention was to breed Helvetica and Verdana. But the best laid plans and all that – some further research into the long term effects of parvo exposure in utero has made it clear that breeding from these girls would be a bad idea. So she asked if we would like them back.
Well, YES! Of course! The plan is to get them next Saturday and start intros with our lot straight away. If all goes well, it’ll give us the big group of girls we wanted and we can open up the big cage so they have the run of the whole thing. If not, well, two groups in that cage is perfectly fine too.
In other news, the weather is still too hot, but the kids are mostly coping, with the addition of a cold air blower, frozen granite blocks, ice cubes and frozen fruit and veg. Mrs Spacey is still with us and still very keen on her soya pud. In the big group, there have been some squabbles which is probably due to fraying tempers in the heat. One resulted in a sore and swollen foot for Dolores and a small abscess on the face for Nygma. She was most unimpressed with the routine of warm compresses to bring it to a head but was a lot happier once it popped. (I hate dealing with abscesses!)
The last lot of photos of the WingDings before they went home:
I wonder if they’ll remember us?
Our show career could be kindly described as chequered. It seems that every other time we show rats, we come home with rosettes. Odd-numbered shows are best – like even-numbered Star Trek films…
Yesterday was the sixth time we’d shown rats and to be fair it was a bit of a last-minute thing. I entered two does in Pets, thinking I’d make a decision based on who was best behaved (or least scabby) yesterday morning. I’d pretty much decided to give Snufkin a chance as the other Moomins had done well last year, and was inclining towards Teacake as she’s a nosy, inquisitive and outgoing little soul. So we got Snufkin out of the cage, and I picked Teacake up and checked her over, and just as I thought she was going to be fine, I realised she had a huge scratch down the side of her face. It wasn’t bleeding and looked clean so it was a case of “not going to worry about that now, who’s next in line?” Nygma is getting to be quite a friendly girl so I took her, but really the best I was hoping for was that they wouldn’t disgrace me. At least I wasn’t disappointed! Snufkin came third in Adult Doe and that was it, but the main thing was that it was a nice day.
It was a busy show, lots of people I didn’t know but also lots I did – some I haven’t seen for a while – so much catching up was in order. There was also a charity auction on behalf of a breeder who has had to give up due to illness, so some of her cages, carriers etc were being sold to raise money for Myeloma UK, and I got a cat carrier of type I’ve been thinking of getting for a while – handy for transporting bigger groups.
I neglected to take many photos but I did get this one (not my rats, by the way!) which shows what a hard life it is being a show rat.
And when I got home I checked Teacake again, and she’s fine – the scratch has closed up and scabbed over and you’d hardly know it was there. It’ll be healed in no time. The next show I’m planning on going to is in August so I’ve already told her she’s doing that one.
At last this evening we managed to get some photos of the eight girls. They had some playtime – the first proper one since they started living together – and it all went well. In an ideal world about now I’d be opening up both levels of the cage so they could have the run of the whole thing but alas… Mrs Spacey is not very steady on her feet and the last thing I want is for her to have a fall in a tall cage and hurt herself further. They are fine in the top half, so things will stay as they are.
Next week is a show I’m hoping to attend and I might take a couple of girls to show in pets, just for a bit of fun. We’ll see. If I do, then it would probably be Teacake and Penguin. We have put a little blob of green food colouring on Nygma’s tail this evening so we can begin to tell her and Penguin apart – at least, that’s the idea.
Little My and the Snork Maiden
Penguin. Or Nygma. Probably Penguin.
Snork Maiden and Little My
Teacake. This girl is a proper poser!
Nygma. Or Penguin. No idea really.
Snufkin, Mrs Spacey and Dolores (Daughter of Kong)
This might be Dolores or it might be Snufkin.
Teacake again. Poser.
As you can see we are having a bit of trouble telling everyone apart at the moment! We’ll get there…
Posted in Pets
Tagged animals, pet rats
It’s been two weeks – a bit slow, for us, as we usually have a better idea from the outset. Intros have gone well, still a few slanging matches from time to time but no different from a normal established group.
I haven’t managed to get many photos yet but did get a couple of the two older new arrivals the other day. The photo session got a bit out of hand because There.Were.Rats.Everywhere. And I couldn’t keep track of who I’d photo’d and who I hadn’t. Ahem.
“You called?” A dumbo biscuit, a top-eared biscuit and a Snork Maiden all try to get out of the carrier at the same time.
So our oldest girl is the Russian Burmese, Mrs Spacey. The other thing that derailed the photo session was discovering that her back legs are starting to go – she’s a bit young for full on hind leg degeneration but it can be triggered by kidney issues so it’s possible that’s the cause. Anyway, we’ll look after her and keep her fed and happy.
The next oldest are our original three, then there’s Daughter of Kong (who I’ve taken to referring to as Dolores).
Daughter of Kong (aka Dolores)
So that leaves the chocolate biscuits. There’s been a lot of debate. We’d already thought of Tunnocks Teacake, so the top-eared girl is now Teacake. One of the dumbo girls is going to be Penguin. So because we’re both sci-fi geeks, and because this is how our minds work, the other dumbo girl will be Nygma (as in Edward, as in The Riddler).
Now we just have to figure out which is which.