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Pet Rats/Baby Rat Pup Not Feeding!


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My female rat just had a litter, two to be exact. The day they were born they were feeding and they looked great. Each day they seemed to be growing healthier and stronger, pushing each other and squeaking. Now, six days since their birth, something is not right. I noticed that one of the babies does not have the tell tale white milk band on his stomach. I thought to myself that their mother hasn't fed them yet, but the little girl has a full belly. I have tried leaving the baby by himself with the mother, but he doesn't seem to want to nurse. Could it possibly be something wrong with the baby, or is it the mom? I don't know how long these little guys last without milk, and I don't know what I can do for him. Thanks

Hi Lindsay,
Since the mother is feeding the other baby, there is most likely something wrong with the little boy. It is best to leave his sister in with them so she can stimulate the mother to nurse them, and hopefully the boy will nurse too. Have you noticed if the boy might be making a clicking sound when he breathes?  That would indicate pneumonia and require treatment with amoxicillin.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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