This article is from the WSSF 2008 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
From our files
Hallmark or bank calendar cards are marvelous for record keeping for instant reviewing. I attach the cards with tape to the cages in the front or on top out of reach of nibbling teeth.
Felt pens or wax pencils make great markers and are easily erased for any necessary changes. The female’s name goes on the top left hand corner with the day she was born and her parents’ names just underneath her name. Her mate’s name goes on the right top side which can either be erased if she is mated with a different male next time or several males can be listed if you want to keep this record here besides the long term paper records.
With a black circle, I mark the day the female is introduced to the male and mark in red the twenty first day—the last day to separate. As I have an over abundance of males, I leave the couple together for as long as possible with a notion they like the company. Another black circle indicates when the female was separated from the male and a black dot to show the date of birth. When I’ve counted the babies, I write it on the bottom right-hand corner which will be erased when the next litter comes along. The number is also written beside the black dot which stays on the card to show at a glance whether the litter size is decreasing during the year. The green dot shows when the litter should be separated from the mother.
All this information goes into my record book so I have the long term and more detailed information such as baby, color, sex, and any health problems. Besides this, I keep information on which ones I sell and which ones I keep for breeding. It was interesting with a litter I have right now because the litter turned up with more blazes than I have ever had before. Usually I’ve had an odd blaze here and there. This time there were seven in the litter of twelve. The father was of unknown ancestry but did have a blaze. The mother I was able to trace back nine generations where a female had a blaze and that female’s mother before had one as well. How much the female line had helped with such a large proportion of blazes I don’t know, but the record keeping made it such a thrill to be able to trace back so far to find a possible link.
What is also interesting is that the current mother is a Himalayan and the previous generations have been the same, back to the ninth generation where the female was a black blaze. In turn, her parents were two black blazes. Now in the current litter there are no whites or Himalayans, only Blacks, Agoutis, Black Hoods, and Agouti Hoods, remembering that of these twelve babies, seven are blazes. What a fascinating life it is!