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Discussion Starter #1
So quarantine is up finally and the two have had their cages next to eachother for 2 days now. My oldest boy seemed really interested, but the baby could care less (go figure). Anyways, they did a meet and greet in the bathtub and they basically avoided eachother for about 5 minutes, sniffed eachother and went on about their merry little ways. So, I let them roam around and play and they still basically ignored eachother other than the 5 minutes they spent crawling all over eachother to see who could get through the ferret tunnel to the yogi's quicker. Anyways, I cleaned out the cage really good and re-arrainged everything. I cleaned out the litter, tossed their litter dishes in the dishwasher and changed out their food even just in case. I scrubbed every surface of that cage and scrubbed all the toys and replaced the hammocks with clean freshly laundered ones. I put vanilla on both of them and let them go. Well they spent about 10 minutes ignoring eachother and then bam.... fighting. My oldest flips over the baby (go figure) but my problem is that the actually pins him to the ground by his chubby little side fat and then chomps down on him. The first time I let it go, the second time when the baby started really screaching and not just a little bit I squirted the bigger one with some water. He seemed throughly mad at me and decided to just go to his bed. I left them in there for another 2 hours together and he did it again before I put the baby back in his cage for the night. Now here is my problem, at what point is the fighting not ok? And my baby doesn't seem adventurous anymore! He doesn't crawl around and explore the new cage, he basically just freezes there and does nothing. Wherever I put him is where he stays. Even if the bigger rat flips him over and they fight for a second and the bigger rat walks away, he will stay on his back for a bit.

Anyone have an answer? I'm sooo confused! BTW: If it helps my oldest rat is 6 months and the baby is about 8 weeks.
 

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Sometimes rats (boys especially) take a while to get used to each other. Some will fall in love with each other instantly and you can pop them together no problem; others require a thought out intro process (check out the intro sticky for further info)

I think what you've got is a dominant older guy - this 'fighting' is just him asserting his dominance. Imagine human speak 'Listen punk, this is my gaff, you do what I say, gottit?'. Squeaking during this 'testing' period is normal; but after one neutral intro you may be pushing it getting them to live together right away

Your boy freezing now is because he's had a fright. He's been picked on - and doesn't like it.

I would continue with your neutral intros in the tub or wherever you generally free range. If this goes well for a few days; build up time with each other in the smaller boys cage (the older rat will have no territory to protect). Start during daytime hours, when they are naturally sleepy, then build up to evenings etc. When you are happy they are getting on, try them for a night.

You need to remember; patience. Sometimes it just takes a little time

The general rule about fighting etc is 'no blood; no foul'. If they are scuffling and squeaking - but not actually attacking each other and making each other bleed - they are just asserting their pecking order
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I guess I just feel like this is above and beyond normal pecking order types of things. I'm not so sure I want to put them both in the other cage because it's a tank. It's sooo much smaller than the big cage. How quickly can amonia build up in a tank because when they get together my older one scent marks alot and there is no way I'm sticking my hand in there when they are both in there together to try to clean his urine up. I generally clean the tank about 4 times per day with the baby in there.

I've read the sticky, but it doesn't offer much about how long to do these steps. How long should I leave the baby in the cage? Is it starting because I put the baby in the cage and then take him back out again for the night? Should I be leaving him in there? I have only let them be together when I'm around and let me tell you my oldest one knows when I'm around because they don't get into any fights when I'm there, they wait until I walk into another room and then it's on.
 

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You need to take it at your rats pace.

The fact that you are putting them in a tank is fine - it's not perminant, it will be for a couple of hours max. Once you can be assured that there will be no argments, you can then try them in the elder boys cage.

It sounds like your problems occurred because you were moving too quickly. Putting your little boy straight back in the bigger boys cage may be like feeding him to the wolves. Get them used to each other first through neutral intros (away from their cages) and THEN move on to cages.

It won't happen overnight, some successful intros can take weeks/months.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I put them both in the younger ones cage and they just did the ignore eachother thing again. I let them both out to play and they did perfectly fine again. I put the baby back in his cage for the night and the older one is his cage. I will try again tomorrow letting them free roam, then in the smaller one's cage, then if they are still doing fine cleaning out the larger one's cage and then letting them both in there again. If it doesn't work I'm just going to have to keep at it I guess. His agression stems from that cage, nothing else. They are fine everywhere else they are even both of them sitting on my lap. They curl up into a big ole ratty ball and go to sleep together fine.
 
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