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 Problem with rats

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ClarkeReptiles
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PostSubject: Problem with rats   Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:27 am

I started out with a trio of asfs and for a while they were doing fine. One female died unexpectedly but I didn't think too much of it. I have raised a few babies up from the first litter and put them in a new tank. I kept one female to replace her mother. Slowly but surely, I've been losing rats. I have the original pair (originally the trio) and the female just dropped a litter a few days ago. No signs of illness in the adults. The older offspring have either died on their own (two from a group I separated into another cage to become a breeding group) or have been cannibalized (two from the main group). I went in to check on them tonight and refresh their food and I noticed one of the hold backs was sitting in the food dish breathing rather rapidly (I know these rats' respiration is faster than ours but this was really fast) I opened up the tank and nudged her with my finger and she didn't try to run away, just slowly walked away and into a nearby paper tube.

Now some information on the rats. I keep them in glass tanks with glass water bottles. They are cleaned regularly and I use aspen shavings for bedding. They are fed a home-made mix that contains the following:

Thick Rolled Oats
Rolled Barley
Wheat Kernels
Brown/Wild Rice
Pumpkin Seeds - Raw
Millet
Golden Flax Seeds
Amaranth
Buckwheat
Cup Quinoa
Raw Cashews or Raw Almonds

They also get fresh veggies and fruits every other day. They gets apples, pears, small amounts of banana, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc. On occasion if I make pasta, I will give them small bits of cooked pasta to eat. Due to the cannibalizing of two of the hold backs I have also added in a teaspoon of grain free cat food from time to time to give them protein just in case it was something they lacked. I would prefer to keep them on a home-made mix so if there is anything on this list that needs to be taken out please let me know so I can change it. And let me know if there is anything I can add (other than pellet food).

Can anyone think of anything that might be causing these deaths? With the rapid breathing my first thought was an RI. The adult male was squinting his right eye the other day. An hour later it was back to normal so I'm not sure if that was anything. There are no other signs of illness. Eyes are clear. No mucus on the nose. They are not underweight or overweight. They all appear 100% healthy other than the one with rapid breathing.
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crazedone12
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:03 pm

what are you cleaning the cages with?
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Vergesseneins
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:31 am

well went out to clean my cages today and one mother went on a baby eating spree 8(
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crazedone12
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:36 am

have you tried putting adult breeder mice in with them to take care of the babies..sounds weird but does happen as mice are better suited mothers then asfs. do you have a picture of how every thing is set up?
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mamasmarco
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:13 am

build you some maternity racks where the moms can be alone with the litters. It brings up your production pretty well. My maternity rack is full and i have some in the breeder tubs right now with babies. They even eat their fuzzy babies, how sick is that..!
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Vergesseneins
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:04 am

sorry not tryin to hijack your thread...Personally say F U to asf because rats are universal feeder and easier to get if something happens to your stock and when i had them i fed them all off because they kept getting out when my rats would not. Wouldnt want to get them hooked on something not everyone uses. Unless its an awesome deal i wont buy a snake knowing it only eats ASF. Same for mice.

mamasmarco, this one ate like 5 that were being weaned. I have no idea what happened. I fed them in the morning and the next day when i went to clean cages there were little partial bodies laying in the nest. I think the remaining 3 knew what was happening because when i opened that cage one escaped and the others took a few min to catch. Running not stop!
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Focal
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:28 am

It's probably because the cage was dirty. I notice more babies are eaten before cleaning day. It does happen.

I have also heard of asf colonies just dying off. An associate lost two successful colonies last year out of the blue.
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Vergesseneins
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:29 am

hummm sometimes when my house is dirty i feel like eating my kids
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Don
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:50 pm

Do not separate the male from the female. ASFs are colony breeders and if you remove the male, then return him afterwards, he may be attacked and killed. That is one of the good things about ASFs, you do not have to separate them. I find that over crowding, nutrition or new mothers will sometimes eat their babies.

Also, I have heard about snakes being stuck on ASFs. I have not experienced that. My snakes eat a variety of food including live and f/t ASFs and rats. It is possible that a snake becomes hooked on ASFs, just like it is possible that one will be hooked on mice, however those are the exception rather than the rule.

Because of this persistent belief that ASFs are crack cocaine to Ball Pythons, I switch all of my babies for sale over to f/t rats.
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ClarkeReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:16 pm

I would like to clarify the adults have not cannibalized babies. The offspring they killed (I cannot be sure they killed them but the individuals looked perfectly healthy before this occurred) annthd consumed were over 2 months old. The offspring that passed away in the grow up tank were of the same age.

As for cleaning I use hot water and dawn dish soap to scrub the tanks once a month and use aspen for bedding. I clean out the aspen once every week.
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ClarkeReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:13 pm

Also the asfs are for my own collection, not snakes I intend to sell.
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mamasmarco
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:51 am

Vergesseneins wrote:
hummm sometimes when my house is dirty i feel like eating my kids

iagree cryingwithlaughter
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mamasmarco
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:58 am

maybe the eaten ones were males getting ready to have some balls.. (lol). Out of what i've seen, i had two males grow up in the same tub and they were just fine as long as there were 2 females in the tub. As soon as i took a pregnant girl out of that tub they started fighting. It could very well be a terretorial thing for the males..

Other than that i'll have to agree with Don on the first time mom thing. It did happen quiet often that first timers ate their babies. But then again, it doesn't justify why "about to be weaned ones" have been eaten..
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ClarkeReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: Problem with rats   Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:38 am

The two that were cannibalized were both confirmed females. The adult female in the group that ate them was already on another litter. The two that were cannibalized were about two.months old so they had been weaned for about a month already.
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