MLWR Moonlit Waters Rattery

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The policies cover our ethics as a rattery, our adoption policies and the adoption process. Each one links to the expanded explanation of the policy further down the page.

General Policies

We are a very small scale pet rat breeder, there may be a long wait for rats.

We raise rats for the joy of having loving pets, and working to produce healthy, friendly animals. Because this is a hobby we do in addition to other responsibilities, and they are our pets first and foremost, we have very few litters a year. As such babies are only occassionally available.

While we recognize the need for feeders, our rats are not bred to be feeders,.

We have pet snakes, work with raptors and wildlife, and will not deny someone for having pets that eat rodents! We do have a small scale ASF colony for feeding our snakes, STO, and donation to a wildlife rehabilitation. However we have invested thousands of dollars, years of work, and lots of effort and emotion into raising our rats to be wonderful pets. We will happily help people locate a source of feeder rats if needed for their pets, but our rats are intended and priced as pets, not food. We appreciate your understanding here and will try to help you find what you need if you are looking for food.

We support the humane euthanasia when needed to prevent suffering.

Because our rats are much loved pets, we recognize that there are times where we need to make the difficult choice to end their lives to spare them suffering, whether for chronic, untreatable health issues, major injuries, failing quality of life, temperament problems that can cause a life of stress and fear, etc. We do get vet care as appropriate for our rats and will do what we can to treat issues if there seems to be a good chance of them recovering and having a high quality of life afterwards, but when that cannot happen our rats are humanely euthanized using AVMA approved methods of euthanasia for their sake, despite the pain it causes us to lose them.

We do not ship.

Rats must be shipped by airline in approved containers, and this is a very extensive and costly process which can also be very stressful to the rats. Our varieties are not so unique as to require shipping into an area in most cases, and putting our rats through that stress seems less than ideal for them. We'd need to obtain the containers, have veterinary checks on each one, get papers for them, drive hours to an airport, monitor weather for the right shipping day, and make sure the adopter could meet them at their airport when they arrive, no delay or exception. That cost would need to be forwarded to the adopter and would add several hundred dollars to the price of the rats. (The vet visits and papers would be $50-100 per rat alone). Overall we think it would be better for our adopters, ourselves, and our rats if we ask around and find a breeder closer to the area that can be adopted from instead of shipping there. There are MANY breeders all over the world!

On a related note, adopters will need to ensure they can get rats from us. We will drive halfway or up to a maximum of an hour one way to meet adopters. We do not deliver to private homes. Please be sure you can meet us within an hour of Champaign, IL. Requests to travel further MAY be considered under special circumstances but will likely include travel and gas fees. Some exceptions may apply if we will be travelling to a closer location and can safely bring rats with us on our trips, but that is soley under the discretion of MLWR.

We operate a closed rattery (for the safety of all in involved; us, you, and our rats!)

Rats don't have vaccines to protect them like dogs and cats. There are many diseases that can be unknowingly carried on clothing, hands, shoes, even in nasal passages. There are diseases that are tracked by the CDC and can cause every rodent to be forcibly euthanized for testing if it is suspected, such as the Seoul outbreak that occurred. In addition, my rattery is in my home. For the safety of my rats, myself and my adopters to not walk into a stranger's house, we will meet in a public place to do adoptions or take returns, but do not allow people to come to our house.

Adoption Policies

We do not adopt out single rats, we only adopt rats in pairs (or more). We do not adopt out any resident rats, whether breeders, retired breeders or pets only.

Rats NEED companionship. There is absolutely no situation in which it is humane for a rat to be kept alone longterm. (Short term for surgery recovery, medical treatment, while ACTIVELY seeking companions, etc is sometimes alright, though ideally even in those cases there is a companion.). Even if the adopter has resident rats, because of quarantine needs, its best if new rats are adopted as at least a pair. We will NOT adopt out single rats or condone the keeping of rats without rat companions longterm under any circumstances. Our resident rats (breeders, retired, and pets only) are our personal pets, and are not available to adopters. Any available rats will be listed as such on litter pages when we have them, and that is kept up to date with what we have available. If there is nothing listed there, we don't have any rats available. We promise, there aren't hidden, unlisted rats available if requested. Available rats will be posted!

We only adopt breeding rats to breeders we feel comfortable working with.

We are not against working with other breeders, but we are still working on developing our own lines, so we need to talk to other breeders about their plans to be sure our rats are appropriate for it. In addition, as there are a wide range of ethics and practices out there, we want to ensure that we share similar ethics and views with the breeders we work with for the well being of our rats and any offspring they produce.

All rats leaving MLWR will be no younger than 6 weeks of age, and in most cases will be at least 8 weeks of age. Rats will not be adopted out older than 20 weeks of age except in special, pre-arranged circumstances.

Rats need time with adult rats and littermates to learn social skills. As with puppies and kittens, they are still learning for a while after weaning. While we separate boys from girls at 5 weeks, we put them with adults so that they can continue to learn proper social skills and behaviors for a few weeks before going to their new homes. We will NOT wean or send them early or adopt out unweaned rats to hand raise, as that is NOT in the best interest of the rats. We also generally do not adopt out over 5 months of age, because at that point they are generally established in their groups here, and while our rats do fine being moved around, we feel it is better for them to not have such a changes after spending such a while settling in in one place. This gives a 3 month window to arrange adoption and pick up, which should be plenty for everyone to find a time to get together!

In general, we only adopt to persons 18 years of age and older. Persons under 18 must have a parent or guardian who is willing and eager to adopt, sign the contracts, and be legally responsible for the proper care of the rat.

We recognize and know many people under 18 who are amazing pet owners and we are more than happy to work with such! However the LEGAL responsibility for any animals will lie with their parent or guardian and as such we need to have contact with them to ensure that they are also willing to take the legal responsibility for the rats receiving the care they need, and that they are willing to welcome the pet rats into their home as well.

MLWR reserves the right to deny any adoption, for any reason, at any point in the adoption process. We retain ownership of the rats until contracts are signed.

Every baby born here has a home for life here before its born. We adopt out because we want to share these wonderful animals with others, but we are under no obligation, need, or requirement to adopt out rats to anyone or at any time. As such, is there is a problem, either with the rat, with the adoption process, that we perceive with the adoptor, the communication, etc we may decide to deny the adoption.

Adoption Process

All adopters are required to fill out an adoption application. Adoptions are $35 per pair, $50 per trio, regardless of color, gender, or variety. A $20 deposit is required to reserve rats, and the rest at pickup.

The application helps us know if our rats and your home are a good fit. Adoption fees are not per rat, or by type of rat, as we value all of our rats the same, and only adopt out in pairs or more. Because of people who have reserved rats and then stopped responding we do require a deposit to reserve the rats, so that our rats looking for homes have the best chance of finding those homes, rather than being held for someone who isn't actually interseted.>

We will maintain a general waiting list for our rats. Approved adopters on our waiting list are responsible for keeping track of when litters are available for reservation. Reservations will open at midnight the day listed, with a first come - first serve basis in most cases, for all adopters on a waiting list.

Approved adopters can check our site for available rats (posted on litters page), or upcoming litters, which will be posted on the planned litters page. When those rats become available anyone in the general pool of approved adopters, regardless of how recently or long ago they sent in their application, can contact us to ask to reserve babies, on a first come - first serve basis. Some adopters prefer to wait for specific varieties, while others just want any available babies as soon as possible, so maintaining a general pool allows the list to accomodate both. We will not send out reminders about available litters and ask that adopters who are interested in adopting still check the website regularly to watch for availability.

Once a valid reservation request is received for an available rat, they will be listed as 'voice for NAME' under that rat for 7 days. Once a deposit is received that will be changed to 'reserved for NAME. Deposits will generally not be refunded if an adopter backs out, however, if MLWR must back out of the adoption the deposit will be refunded.

This gives time for people to consider the adoption more and to get the deposit sent, which can be sent by paypal (preferred) or by snail mail (we can give you a PO Box to send to). If, after sending the deposit, the adopter needs to back out, please contact MLWR. In general, deposits are considered non-refundable, but under some circumstances we are willing to issue a refund and we do need to know if you will not be adopting the babies so that they can have a chance to find a home elsewhere. If MLWR backs out of the adoption for any reason we will refund the deposit.

We generally will assign names to baby rats based on a theme for the litter. These will be their registered names, though adopters are certainly allowed to give them nick names at home!

We register all our rats with North American Rat Registry, and they are given a name from a theme we pick for the litter. However we know adopters want to give them their own names, and are more than welcome to do so! Their registered names will remain the same, but as with many animals nicknames are common and not a problem.

We request that adopters with rats at home already do a proper quarantine for a minimum of 3 weeks when they take our rats home, for the safety of all the rats involved.

While we will not send any rats we suspect may be sick to new homes, it can take a while for symptoms to develop and its possibly to pick up infections in transit to the new home (where we meet for the exchange, etc.) As such, for the protection of your current rats and the protection of the new rats, a proper quarantine (a separate airspace, not just another cage in the same room), is recommended for all new rats.

MLWR requests regular updates for all rats adopted. This is IMPORTANT! If at any time an adopter can no longer keep rats from MLWR, they are required to be returned to us.

It is important for us to know how our rats are doing! We love every rat born here and enjoy any updates, photos, or anything you want to tell us, and love hearing how they are doing, especially if they are well. However, its even MORE important for us to hear updates if there are problems, health or behavioral, as many of these can have genetic components and the information may help us to make important decisions about our lines to work on improving the rats overall. Additionally, every rat born here has a home for life here. If there is ever any reason you cannot keep your rats, please contact us. We will take them back! If you have a home already lined up for them we still want to know and find out more about them, and be in contact to get updates as needed from them. We NEVER want the rats born here to be a burden on the shelter and rescue system. There are already too many animals taking resources there, and there is no good reason for our animals to add to their load. We will take them back so that rescue and shelter resources can be used for animals that don't have any other options!

3 boys

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