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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm picking up a new rat tonight, a friend of a friend rescued him from a lab and needed a home for him - BUT he's only a month old! I have never had a rat this young, my last two were 3 or 4 months when I first got them.

I asked about his diet, she says he uses his water bottle fine and is eating "rat food". I have no idea what she's classified as rat food or if this person has any idea how to take care of rats (she told me he likes fruit loops... this is what makes me think this person should not have rats at all, fruit loops are not even good for humans).

Right now I have oxbow rat blocks (the adult mix). I also have a seed mix and a small package of carrot-based baby food for treats. Is there anything specific you guys would suggest that I should be feeding him?

I'd also like to know if it's a good idea to get a cagemate for him? I know people have more problems with males sharing a cage and i'm not going to be able to get them neutered, but I'm worried about him becoming depressed, especially since she's been keeping him with a female while he's been under her care.

He also is apparently very, very shy (can't blame him, he's young and was never socialized with people), does anybody have any fun trust-building exercises I should try out?
 

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Is the rat being rescued from a lab or is the lab adopting him out as they do in universities?

Your rat is at the age where males are normally weaned from their moms and separated so they don't try to mate with their mom. The rat should be put on Oxbow Baby Rat & Mouse Food because he needs a higher percentage of protein than what Oxbow Essential for adults has. A seed mix is not preferred because rats will pick out what they fancy and leave the other stuff behind which means they are not getting adequate nutrition and the goal is to see you boy grow to his full potential.

Getting him a cage mate is a good idea. They can be housed together side by side and introduced to each other on neutral ground. There is lots of info on introductions on the forum.

The way I socialize my rats is by handling them for a few hours each day. They get offered treats and usually won't accept them until they feel comfortable. I am socializing two baby rats currently so know what you're going through. It's best to give them names, offer treats in their cage, get them used to the presence of your hand in their cage, and get used to doing whatever you do. Rats usually will relax over time. Some are skittish always and others are not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
well i brought him home about an hour ago, and he's definitely not as shy as i was lead to believe! he took food from me (i gave him a yogurt drop) with no issues, and he seemed happy enough to explore me and my bed. right now he's asleep in his carrier which was left on the bed for him, and he let me pet him till he fell asleep which was nice (even my previous rats wouldn't let me do that).

the girl gave me a bag of the lab blocks she's been feeding him, so i'm going to keep him on those until i can get to the store in the next few days and get him the oxbow!

thanks for your advice! here's a picture of the little guy, his name is clyde:
Marsupial Whiskers Degu Rodent Fawn
 

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a friend is really important at his age so the dinner you can find a young male to go in with him the better. i have 4 intact males living together and havekept similargroups for years and they mostly get on fine. I've only ever had 2 boys needing to be neutered to live together though these are well breed breeder rats. I've come across a fair few more rescues and Pet Shop rats that have hormonal issues.

In terms of feeding him up i would offer him regular egg fish and chicken to help add protien to his diet. bones are also brill for youngsters and you could tty him on some infant soy baby formula or puppy/kitten milk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you for the awesome tips!

i have found another boy currently living in my local SPCA who's only five days older than clyde. the issue is now convincing my mom clyde needs a friend, for whatever reason she's convinced that they won't get on.
clyde is a rescue from a lab, and i'm not sure about the origins of the rat in the SPCA, so if those types are more likely to have hormonal issues i'm not sure i'd be able to have them both, as i don't have the space for two cages long-term because my rats always stay in my bedroom.
 

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When i say more likley most will still be fine. You tend to only hear of the bad cases so it makes it seen more likley to happen than not however in reality most rats regardless of origins get on well if they have grown up together. They do often have a sorry grumpy period at around 4 to 9 months for a few weeks when thete hormones come through and they have to sort out who's boss but that's normally the extent of it. You Hey far more problems introducing a rat whose been alone for a long time to other rats as they don't learn how to speak rat. These are also more likley to get pushy with their humans as they become very humanised and can struggle to see there human as boss as easily.

ultimately rats are social animals, on there own they tend to be very bored and spend most of thete time sleeping. In groups they play together, sometimes play fighting, groom each other, sleep together and so on. As a human you just can't meet a rats needs for company and entertainment on your own. The ratty friend you've mentioned sounds an ideal age to intro (as kittens is as simple as put them in the cage together and hey presto instant best friends).

Here's a pic for evidence of how well boys can get on. You've got dad at 2 years old, his son at 1 year old and an unrelated (or very distantly related) baby boy at 3 months
 

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