Standards of Care

We use and recommend Harlan Teklad Laboratory Grade Sani-Chips bedding. We also use Yesterday’s News Unscented and Cell-Sorb litters; they do a superb job. For cages with young pups, we use Harlan Teklad White TekFresh, or Ultra White Carefresh when the TekFresh is unavailable.

We feed Purina LabChow 5001, with an occasional bag of Harlan Tekland 2018.  Treats are given sparingly and include seed/nut mixes, fruits, vegetables and yogurt drops.

Housing is provided by many manufacturers.  Martin’s Cages and Fern are the brands we can especially like, however, if you’re in the market for new cages, you could also try SuperPet with wire overlay or Enchanted Forest. Each rat gets at least two cubic feet of space, along with the company of one to seven other rats. Litters are raised in 30-40 gallon tanks.

We observe a three week minimum quarantine after a rat show or after a new rat has been added to the rattery. Before any new rats enter the rattery, they undergo an additional off-site three week quarantine. Quarantines after any illness are based on the demands of that particular pathogen and may range from 10 days to 6 months.

Litter and bedding is changed every 5-8 days on average. Keeping the ammonia levels down significantly improves rat health. Cages are disinfected with a freshly made 10-20% bleach solution every two weeks. Dishes and water bottles are cleaned by dishwasher every few days. Ventilation is monitored within the room and each cage and kept at an appropriate amount.

Every rat is at least handled daily. Some are allowed free-range time in certain rooms of the house.

Health surveillance is done every week. Diagnostic methods to check for continued good health are applied at least three times a year. These include complete necropsies with histopathology and bacteriology, serology testing by MFI or ELISA, mass biopsies, regular respiratory cultures and more. Sick rats are seen by competent and professionally-respected veterinarians. A list of any health issues is made public online and made available to adopters before they take home their new rats.

We follow the RFL code of ethics, which can be found here.

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