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Hello all,

I'm seeking some advice on how to proceed with a tricky introduction situation. I am a first time rat owner. My older male (Monterey Jack) is about 1 year and four months old. He seemed to be feeling down so we got him a male friend, Pepper Jack, who we believe is about four months old.

They lived cage-to-cage for a week. We then introduced them in the bathtub following advice from various websites. The older male attacked the younger boy a few times, but did not draw blood. We tried to introduce them again a few hours later after he had settled down. He was very puffed up and we tried to move him from where he was getting backed up into a corner and comfort him. He then tried to attack the boy and sliced my hand, requiring stitches. So, no blood no foul for Pepper Jack, but serious blood and serious foul for me.

It's been a week and we have swapped some bedding between their two cages a little bit at a time for the past several days. We tried to introduce them again in the bath and it quickly led to another attack. Again, no blood no foul for Pepper Jack, but given the Frankenstein condition of my hand we were reasonably nervous and quickly separated them.

Do you have any advice on how we should proceed? I know from other posts that repeat introductions are not usually recommended. We are thinking of trying to get the older male neutered but are unsure about whether this is in our price range at the moment as we have had very pricey estimates from the vets we have contacted. At what point should we give up on introducing them and try to find a home for the younger, very social Pepper Jack?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I believe "repeat" intros are worth it. Sometimes the first or second intro doesn't take. Swapping bedding is a great idea. Controversially, I have used non-alcoholic vanilla extract rubbed on their rumps to help them "smell" the same. Some people do not ascribe to this but I do.
 
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