Breeding rats is very personal and dear to me. When I made the decision to start breeding rats it was clear in my mind that it would be first and foremost for myself and not anyone else. To me, my rats are more than rats, they are my little furry family. They are always happy to see me and to me that means the world!
I focus on good temperament and general health. Some of my breeding methods may not please everyone, but they are in my opinion by far the best methods to produce happy, healthy, quality animals. I openly admit to inbreeding and line breeding as well as culling.
When selecting my holdbacks in newer lines, I first observe the temperament of all the babies produced in the litters and make sure I am satisfied with the babies I select. It being similar or better than it's parents' temperaments but never will I hold back a rat that is not an ''upgrade'' of their parents or of the general line.
Health is my second biggest concern, from birth I make sure the babies are healthy and show no malformations or weaknesses. Babies that fall behind as they age will be culled from my breeding program. Healthy and good tempered pups can and will sometimes be available for adoption to anyone who has submitted an adoption form and has been approved for adoption following their inquiry. Filling in the adoption form does not guarantee you will be approved to adopt ratties.
At this point you must be wondering why I prioritize temperament over health. Truth is, I don't prioritize one or the other, they need each other to go forward in my process of selection. For example, I will not be holding back a baby who has a perfect temperament, but got the sniffles at six weeks of age. The baby very well could be the best tempered baby ever with the best color and coat, but he obviously has a weaker immune system, he will not pass. What point is there to producing a beautiful and healthy rat with a horrible personality and aggressivity issues or even an extremely sweet ratty that will be sick all his life to finally pass away at 11 months of age from a chronic illness? I personally believe both health and temperament are important and should always come hand in hand. I will never sacrifice health or temperament when taking these decisions. I don't work this hard to go back three steps in health or temperament just to go up one step on conformation, color or any other physical trait.
Rats that I judge do not fit into my ideal for great pets will not be leaving the rattery as pets nor breeders.