Hello everyone! I apologize for the delay in updates as well as the lack of litters. We've experienced a few set-backs in the breeding schedule this last month and a half.
The first set-back we had, all the females I had planned to breed starting 4 weeks ago, decided to chew their cage pan for the first time ever and got down to the males below. Due to me not knowing what males they came in contact with, I had to administer the rat equivalent to "plan B." This was the decision I made due to some gene combinations being lethal to the offspring. Without knowing what gene combinations happened while the females were in with the males, ensuring the litters would not be viable was the choice I had to make for the safety of my critters. I then had to wait for the medication to be out of their system before pairing them to their intended partners.
However, when the time came to pair them, it was brought to my attention that SDAV, a virus that attacks the rats' immune system, may have been spread to my animals. I wasn't made aware of this until 2.5 weeks past the possible exposure, in which none of my animals have been experiencing symptoms. This last week and a half, I have been calling every clinic within driving distance to get my rats in for bloodwork to see if it was spread. None of the clinics I called were willing to test, told me it was a waste of time and money, or flat out told me to euthanize my rats and start new. You can imagine how defeated I have been feeling with those responses. I was finally able to directly contact a lab for testing and am now waiting for the test kit to be shipped to me. Once I have my results back, which I feel will be negative, but want to be 100% sure, then I will be able to have a definite plan to start breeding again.
Even if the test results do come back positive, I only have to shut down for 4 more weeks. This will put a bit of a damper on my breeding schedule, but I would rather that than put my animals at risk. If the results come back negative, then I'll be able to place my next planned parents together sooner than the 4 week timeframe.
I have never experienced anything like either of these events in the 4 years of breeding experience I have, so this is all a learning curve and for sure something I am being as cautious as possible with. With that being said, I will not be going anywhere. I will still continue breeding these incredible animals for years to come. This may be a set-back now, but we will come through on the other side with more knowledge and experience.
Thank you all for your patience and understanding!