Well, Mother Nature never ceases to confound everyone’s expectations. The Zephyr saga continues: a couple of Mum no. 2’s kittens have turned out to be buff and topaz, or in layman’s terms beige with dark red eyes and ginger with dark red eyes. These are doubtless going to be two stunning rats, but they’re also unexpected colour varieties; that they’ve popped up at all means Mary has a rogue gene hiding in the depths of her line that doesn’t fit her breeding strategy. Mum no 3, bless her valiant heart, swelled up like a balloon a week and a half in and has produced a mighty twelve brand new little sausages today; four of those are boys, so there are now 12 boys in total. Theoretically that’s enough for everyone with a couple over, but the unexpected genetic quirk means Mary will likely be keeping more rats than she thought so she can make some test matings and find rats in her line that don’t carry the rogue gene she’s trying to drop. So the Zephyr stalker contingent is on
tenterhooks: the Great Elder is reshuffling her future breeding plans, deciding who to keep and working out who’s getting babies from these litters and who’s not. I’ve been told over and over again that Mary’s waiting list isn’t strictly linear because some people want specific colours to show or breed from, and I know I’m not fussy about colour – I’m after certain personality traits to help balance Salt and Pepper out. But there are also people on there who’ve been waiting inordinate amounts of time, and as a relative neophyte I also don’t want to tread on toes!
So for now I’m contenting myself with stalking the adorable progress pics of the two older litters (a couple of which I’ve included here because they are far too cute) and reading up on rat genetics in the hope of having more of a clue what’s generally going on.