Hello and welcome to my rattery website! As you have noticed my entire rattery website is in Dutch, as I am a Dutch breeder and most of my pet homes are Dutch. I used to run an English version of the website, but it was perpetually outdated so not really useful to non-Dutch visitors.

Instead I have created this page with the basics about my rattery, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me through Facebook or by emailing me at contact@ratterycastor.nl

About me

My name is Elian and I am a 27-year-old rat lover from the Netherlands. I was born and raised in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, the most south-west region of the Netherland (we often call ourselves back-up Belgians!)

During my studies I lived in Breda and later Venlo, where I graduated as certified Animal Tech and in the meantime also started my rattery and later my business (a webshop in homemade rodent food).

Nowadays I am back in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, living close to the town called Terneuzen with my various pets. My hobbies are gaming, drawing, and most of all animals!

About the rattery

Breeding goals

In my opinion it is very important to have a clear goal in mind when breeding, as your aim is to improve rather than just multiply.

My main goal in breeding is breeding well tempered rats, they need to be tame and fun to keep as pets -both for the owner and the rats themselves-! Personally I love rats which are very human-oriented and love attention and cuddles, with a bit of a cheeky side to them. Of course they also must be well tempered towards each other, I do not breed with rats which do not get along with other rats.

Besides that my most important goal is to improve health and longevity. Rats as a species are sadly short-lived and aren’t the healthiest of animals, so I do my best to improve and maintain good health. For this reason I do my best to keep good records of all my breeding stock -and- the litters I have bred. I put in extra effort to receive updates about pet homed animals so I get a complete view of my lines.

A part of breeding for good health is breeding for type and build. A badly built animal or an animal with extreme features can get severe health problems and I want to avoid this at all cost. Learning to recognise well built rats is something that takes time and sadly we do not a have a lot of rat shows in the Netherlands, but whenever we do I usually enter a fair few of my rats to receive critique.

Lastly I do aim to breed for select few varieties. Mostly to avoid breeding all kinds of varieties in one line which can be detrimental to the health of the rats, but of course I did choose varieties which I love to see.

Currently I breed for Russian blue and related varieties in hooded, berkshire and downunder, and for British blue and related varieties in self. All smooth coated and top eared, I do not breed for other coat types nor dumbo.

Breeding ethics

I could write a whole separate website about breeding ethics and my views, but I’ll try to keep it short.

Most important thing you should know is that my rats are my pets first and foremost. They get the best care I can give them during their stay with me, which is life-long as I do not re-home any of my pets. Retired breeders or rats that turn out unsuitable for breeding stay here as pets until they die. All rats I’ve bred are welcome back to the rattery for whatever reason and elderly returnees usually stay here for the rest of their life.

All rats get medical care whenever they need it and are only euthanized when there is a medical reason to do so. I do not hard-cull any rats, ever.

I do my best to select the best breeding animals I can, only breeding with animals with sound temperament, good health and good ancestry. I use both line-breeding and out-crossing to improve my lines, using line-breeding to strengthen the qualities of a line while out-crossing to bring in better attributes.

I use pedigrees to keep track of my breeding rats’ lineage and generally only breed with rats with a known background. All baby rats, both pet homed rats and breeding rats, come with a printed pedigree and the pedigree can also be viewed on the website and in the Dutch rat database.

I do not breed with rats from pet shops, backyard breeders or rescues. I do not breed with or for tailless/manx, fuzz/hairless, harley/longhair, nor with brand new varieties.

The only exception to the above was recently made to start up a new line of a rare variety. I needed to breed a rat with limited background to bring the downunder gene into the line. I am taking extra care in breeding this line to ensure the line’s health and temperament will be up to standard.

Housing

My rats are homed in big cages conforming the standards held in the Dutch rat fancy. My females live in a custom-built aluminium cage (180x100x50cm) which can be split into three parts to house separate groups. At the time of writing my bucks live in a Savic Royal Suite Double.

I use shredded cardboard as a substrate, as it is dust-free and absorbs reasonably well. My rats also have litter trays which they use most of the time, there are filled with Back-2-Nature paper pellets which are also dust-free and very absorbent.

Of course the cages are decorated to suit the rats’ needs, including but not limited to plenty of hides, hammocks, wood and chewing toys, climbing ropes, cardboard boxes, etc. Most groups also get a suitable running wheel, with a diameter of at least 28cm and a solid or fine mesh surface. These wheels are deemed suitable in the Dutch rat fancy and me and other rattery’s have been using them for years without an issue.

Feeding

Since a couple of years I have been mixing my own rat food using the Scuttling Gourmet and my knowledge as an animal tech as a guideline. I believe food plays a very big role in the health of any animal, so I make sure my pets get the best food possible.

I scatter feed my rats my homemade dry mix, which contains a small amount of animal protein as most my rats are either young and growing or will be bred at some point. I’ve found in my situation giving them this mix instead of a vegetarian mix works better for the rats.

Besides their dry mix they also regularly get fresh food, mostly consisting of vegetables such as chicory, kale, bell pepper, etc. Occasionally I give them some treats, usually as part of an enrichment activity.

Mums and their litters are fed a special homemade mix very high in protein, vitamins and minerals to support the rapid growth of the babies. They also get fresh vegetables and fresh protein regularly.

Maternity care

Verzorging: KraamkooiAll litters are born in a suitable maternity cage, which is lower than a permanent rat cage and has small bar spacing to avoid dangerous situations for the babies. They have a floorspace of 80 by 50cm and are about 40cm in height.

The expecting mother is moved into this cage at least a few days before the due date so she can settle in and build a nest. She is supplied with ample bedding and nesting material as well as a partly transparent hide, this way I can easily keep an eye on her while she still feels safe. Often I also give her a litter tray, a climbing rope and some chewing toys, all of which safe to use in a maternity cage.

I handle the babies daily from the first or second day after birth for the first two weeks, making sure they are feeding and growing well. Once their eyes are open and they start walking and climbing I add a hammock to the cage.

Soon enough they will be ready for more space and they will be moved into a bigger cage fully decorated with platforms, hammocks, hides, climbing robes, chewing toys, etc etc. Before long they’ll be learning to use the litter tray and run in the running wheel with their mum.

By this time I will be handling them and playing with them regularly to get them used to being picked up. Usually they are already social and human oriented by nature, so I really have hardly any work in ‘taming’ them! As they grow up in my living room they will be used to regular household noises.

The girls and mum are split from the boys and moved into another cage when the litter is 4,5 weeks old, as the babies can be fertile from 5 weeks of age. Once split up I can give each baby a bit more individual attention and soon I will be deciding which baby will be homed where.

Litters

Planned litters

For a most up-to-date overview of my planned litters you’re best off viewing the Dutch “Nestplanning” page or simply contacting me through Facebook or email. I do not have litters continuously, but about 6 litters a year. Some litters are born externally, as my friend Marijke helps me with the rattery (she lives in Waalwijk, Noord-Brabant).

Past litters

For a (possibly outdated) overview of my past litters, click here.

Applying for kittens

If you are interested in getting baby rats from me, please email me for more information. Please let me know where you are from and if you would like pet rats or are interested in getting breeding stock from me.