Maternity boxes vs colony breeding

I’m curious to hear what people’s experiences are using maternity boxes vs colony breeding for feeders rodents. Maternity box system being where the female is pulled and set up in her own cage to have a litter and the colony system being where you have a small group that lives together 100℅ of the time.

I’ve done both and my data shows the maternity box method produces more rodents more consistently.

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I keep mine in colonies, my female rats consistently have 18-22 per litter and only have about 1-2 losses per month with over 60 breeding female rats. I have tried to put a few in the maternity boxes and found that it takes too much time and then after I return the female to the colony, she fights with the other females. It my opinion, it was way to much work to separate each female.


I’ve tried it both ways and found that either style works well as long as the females get along with each other. If they don’t get along you’re going to have problems whether you are keeping them together to raise babies or putting them back together after they give birth. I like to holdback 2-3 females at a time, raise them up together, and keep them together for breeding.

If you want to add another female into an established group (because sometimes fertility and health issues happen) it’s best to do it with a freshly cleaned cage and a male rat. The male should keep all the females in check long enough for the girls to get to know each other. Don’t ever put a new female in with females who are pregnant or nursing, as they will attack any rat that smells different to protect their litter, or soon-to-be litter.

As long as the girls get along, I don’t notice any major differences in loss of babies, whether they are separated into birthing tubs or not. But if they are fighting separation may be necessary to save the babies and prevent injury/further injury to the mother. For that reason, I’m currently using maternity tubs for all my rats. Some of them have done well in communal birthing tubs in the past, but some don’t and I don’t want to chance higher losses while I have BP eggs in the incubator. Gonna need all those pinkies and fuzzies.

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I came to this same conclusion

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Separate mothers. Too often I’ve seen that if I’ve had one litter one week, and another in the same tub a few days or weeks later, not very many of the new pinks survive because they’re all in one nest and the bigger babies are pushing them down to the bottom.

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Great topic. I just got two racks and im figuring things out. In gonna try maternity boxes first and go from there. Whats are your ratio male to female?

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For rats all my females go in a individual maternity tub when pregnant than it’s communal nursing when the pup are 5 days or older. (I rotate females not males for breeding)

I allows me to track production per each specific female knowing that females are retired when production drop below 10. It also prevent females from fighting over babies which can injure them severely leading to death.

Also not a fan of back to back breeding.

Ultimately I produce what I need each year with minimum loss and that’s all that matter to me, like everything else you have to find what works for you and your animals.

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