Rat Breeding Articles

General Guidelines for Selling Rats

The following guidelines are to safeguard the repuation of the fancy rat as a pet and the NFRS as a source of health, tractable rats.

Rats Eligible for Sale

  • Health and tractability of rats for sale are of paramount importance.
  • No rats must be offered for sale as pets under the age of six weeks or over the age of 3 months.
  • Pregnant rats should not be sold, except by agreement between buyer and seller. In the event of a member unwittingly selling a pregnant rat the member should accept full responsibility for the litter or any expenses incurred.

Offering Rats for Sale

  • Rats for sale must be accompanised by details of the date of birth and the seller's name, address and telephone number in case of enquiries or complaint.
  • The use of pedigree form is not appropriate as fancy rats are not registered. 'Family Tree' is the recommended description of a form giving genealogical details.
  • It is against the Sales of Goods Act 1979 to make unfounded claims about rats. For example, a rat should not be described as show winning unless the particular rat being sold has won a show.
  • It is a criminal offence under the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973 to display exlusions or disclaimers. Members selling rats under the auspicies of the NFRS should be prepared to accept rats returned in the event of complaint for a period of up to fourteen days after the sale, or twenty three days in the case of pregancy. A member of the Executive Committee can be approached to arbitrate in the event of a disagreement or dissatisfaction. The welfare of the rats should be a primary consideration.
  • Rats should not be sold to a child under sixteen years of age unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Additional Guidelines for Breeders

  • It is advisable to separate doe kittens from buck kittens between 4-5 weeks to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
  • Rats are social animals and it is therefore kindest to keep them in small groups of two or more of the same sex. It is recommended to sell kittens in a minimum of pairs, unless they were due to be introduced to other similar aged rats at their new home.
  • Always give the new owner your contact details so that they can reach you if they have any questions or problems. Also provide them with the date of birth of the rat. Some members provide a family tree as this can be particularly useful if the rats are to be used for showing or breeding.
  • When breeding rats, it is important to select healthy and fit parents. Avoid using wheezing or snuffly rats and rats with obvious defects. If the rat is temporarily unwell, give the animal plenty of time to recover before choosing to breed with it.
  • Temperament is a very important factor in breeding and selling rats as pets. If bad tempered or biting rats are used to breed from, then this is likely to produce bad tempered offspring as temperament problems can be hereditary, so choose a pair of friendly, pet-able animals.
  • Age is necessary to consider. It is suggested for a first litter to choose a doe between 5 and 7 months of age. The older the doe is, the more problems she may encounter with pregnancy or birth. We would advise never mating a doe that is over a year old. If you intend to have two litters from the one doe make sure to give her some resting time in between the litters.
  • If you are a younger rat owner, you will need to ask permission from your parents before starting any rat breeding programs.
  • The average cost of kittens is usually between £10 to £30, but is at the discretion of the breeder.
  • When selling privately some people will wish to come round and see the rats in advance, this will give you a chance to 'vet' the new owner and for them to 'vet' your rats. Don't be afraid of saying no if you do not feel that the person will be a suitable new owner.
  • Some breeders choose to use 'application forms' to assist in vetting potential rat owners. These are quite an efficient way of handling the basic questions on rat care and knowledge but should not replace good communication and questioning via other communication methods instead of or as well as.
  • If anybody wants to buy the whole litter or a large number of kittens in one go, beware! They may want them for reptile food rather than as pets.
  • You cannot sell rats at the NFRS shows but there will be an advertising board available at shows where breeders can advertise availability of kittens, speak to the show secretary.
  • When selling to any juvenile make sure that they have permission from their parents and that you speak to them. Sometimes children will try to buy a rat with no conception of housing or feeding the poor thing, and you will end up with an angry parent on your doorstep!!
  • Always make sure your new owner knows how to house, handle and feed the new rats, you can advise that they give the new babies extra supplemental food to begin with. It will take time for the new owner and baby rats to get used to each other as generally they are a little nervous of each other to begin with!

Like all animals, rats can occasionally carry infections transmissible to humans. Therefore we recommend that all people thinking about getting rats as pets read the following guidance: Reducing the risk of human infection from pet rodents - PDF or Reducing the risk of human infection from pet rodents - HTML

Please note:
The NFRS Committee cannot accept any responsibility for the breeders and buyers who use the Breeders' List as in many cases they do not know the individuals concerned. Please ensure you have asked plenty of questions of the breeder if you have specific requirements in any area.