Updated: Mar 6
Have you ever noticed how many breeders, especially rat breeders, close up after a few years or less? Have you noticed the number of breeder websites that have no activity on it?
This blog is meant to highlight the common struggles breeders, particularly rat breeders, deal with.
As I personally struggle through these hard times and as I struggle with the direction of my bloodlines, I feel myself stressing more and more about the little things. I worry more, I get more easily overwhelmed, I'm more sensitive than usual, and I'm tired. Yes, even after the break from COVID 19 when I was closed, I'm still tired.
Here are most of the reasons why so many breeders (especially rat breeders) quit:
1) It's a ton of work. Seriously...even tiny ratteries/hamsteries/rabbitries can spend hours each week maintaining their animals and their communications.
2) It's emotionally draining.
3) People demand/expect the breeder will sell to them and if someone's declined, the breeder is sometimes sassed, harassed, and/or attacked.
4) People are impatient and can get frustrated with waiting for availability.
5) If something doesn't go well with an animal that is pet placed, sometimes the person will not be understanding about conditions out of the breeder's control. They are animals, not products.
6) It's hard not to take trolls to heart. Comments from people who have never owned rodents or have done 5 minutes of google research act like they know more than a long term breeder and life long owner. For example, I apparently hold my rats incorrectly. *Insert eye roll.*
7) Some people try to scam breeders by complaining when there's no issue present.
8) There will always be someone against the breeder's methods no matter how perfect they are.
9) There will always be anti-breeder folks who would rather see domestic animals go extinct than see them being produced, no matter how ethical the breeding operation is.
10) Animals have a mind of their own. Rats and hamsters who act fine here can act stressed in a new pet home and not every person is patient with an animal's adjustment period.
11) Bad review stress. It's real. Getting a negative review despite the breeder's best efforts to make everything perfect - it's gut-wrenching. Once a breeder has had a few bad apples, they get a bad taste in their mouth.
12) Breeders make little for the amount of work we do. Bills pile high. Medications, new toys, new water bottles, bedding, commercial food, fresh food, new cages, new building materials, vet bills, etc - it can add up to thousands very quickly. This is a full-time job that pays very little. Just in the last two days, I've spent $400+ on only new toys and two types of medications for my medicine box.
13) Breeders almost never get a single day off. It's a 365 day a year responsibility.
14) Breeders rarely can travel.
15) Some people will not read the breeder's website. One of the most frustrating things is that some folks would rather email a breeder with silly questions - silly because the answers are easily found on the breeder's website - instead of just reading the website. It's honestly maddening. Questions are fine, but please read the breeder's website before asking them.
16) People want animals for nothing or for cheap. They expect breeders to do excessive work, put in money and time, communicate back & forth, and then charge very little or nothing for the animals. So many do not value the time/money/work breeders put in to be able to offer their animals to pet homes.