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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I'm hopefully getting my first rats in the next few weeks, I'm on the waiting list for two doe babies from a breeder. Lately I've been worrying that if one of them dies well before the other, the one left will be lonely, so I was thinking it might be better to have 3 or even 4 rats (which is the maximum my cage could take according to the calculator) and it's probably easier to introduce them all now as babies rather than later. The breeder I'm on the waiting list for might not even have 2 rats for me, let alone 3 or 4, so if I did get others they'd probably be from another breeder. What do you guys think? As I can see, these are the pros and cons

2 rats- Pro: easier to handle, cheaper. Con: One of them will be left behind alone when the other dies
3 rats- Pro: Should always be companionship around Con: if two come in a pair from the same litter, the third might be left out/harder to introduce
4 rats- Pro: two pairs, nobody gets left out or left behind and easier to put them all in together at this early stage. Con: More expensive, possibly a bit much to handle for a first time owner, boyfriend might think I'm turning into a crazy rat lady.

What do you all reckon?
 

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I'd get two at first and see how you feel about them. Find out what it takes to socialize them, feed them, clean for them, etc. If you jump into four at once you may find yourself overwhelmed with trying to socialize them all and frustration isn't going to be good for anyone involved. Once you've got a good routine down and you feel confident that you can handle more then you can go for two more. I say two because you'll want them to have a friend during their quarantine time and there's always the possibility that the new pair won't introduce well to your older pair (introductions can take a long time or just fail completely). I started with two rats and once I got a better understanding of what they need and how much time I had for them I built up the numbers from there. Hope this helps!
 

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It's not necessarily always a good idea to fit the maximum number of rats into a cage. The more space the better and girls tend to be a bit more energetic and need the extra space all the more. Price wise, four rats vs two rats wouldn't be a huge difference, I have eight rats and the only price difference is that they get through food faster (although extra vet bills need to be taken into account).

So, as for having three rats, at a very young age (8 weeks being the usual selling age for breeders) there shouldn't be a lot of problems. It's generally introducing adults to babies when difficulties can arise. Of course you'd need an extra cage for the third baby while the introductions are taking place so that's an extra cost to take into account. But with three babies, there is still a nice amount of space for each rat when they do all live together.

Remember that there will generally always be one rat left behind. Unless you constantly replace passed rats with new ones (something i've been doing constantly for seven years!) then you'll inevitably end up with a single rat at some point.

Sorry if this wasn't a lot of help, good luck with your new ratties! :)
 

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I saw in another thread once that someone suggested keeping a sort of "rolling total" basically at about 6 months or a year get another one then 6 months or a year later get another one and then (the morbid but practical part of this idea) they will pass away (theoretically) about 6 months apart and nobody's ever left alone
 

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Also I've never had a huge issue with introducing adults to babies (with females, I've heard males are less friendly to newcomers...maybe it's a mothering instinct) I currently have a nice little pack of 8 girls, the oldest somewhere around 2 years, the youngest (youngest 3 actually) 8 weeks 1 day
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update- Gonna pick up my gorgeous pair of girlies on Tuesday, and will maybe think about adding a third in 6-12 months :) Thank you for the advice everyone!
 

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It's what I did!
I got my pair of boys, and after about a year I added a third little one! My reasoning: they boys are now 1, so even though they have calmed down they can still put up with the crazy baby without getting too annoyed. By the time they reach 2yrs, Sture will have mellowed out, and the fatsos will be able to live their old age in peace. :p
 
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