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Do I need to think about neutering?

846 Views 18 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Verucasdad
Hi all,

I have 3 x 15 week old boys who are from the same litter and a reputable breeder and are starting to squabble a bit too hard for my liking...

I have seen 2/3 puffing up and 2/3 wagging tails, they've all been on their hind legs boxing each other, sidling, peeping and squeaking. I've experienced a few minor rat balls that I've been able to break up quickly, no blood or injuries. One of the boys is quite nippy with me still but the other two are well mannered. This mostly happens on free roam with some squabbling in the cage.

I can't pin down an aggressor or a common denominator, everyone seems to be getting involved. I know they have to go through a certain amount to establish a hierarchy, no blood no foul? 馃 It seems early to remove the trouble puffs!

Thoughts and experiences please? (I have videos for further info should that help)
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Hi there.
The only advice I would give is that I have always been told that hormonal rat aggression in males - the sort that can be treated by neutering - usually starts at about 6 months old. So the behaviour that your troublemakers are showing may not respond to neutering. We have had a few boys neutered at different ages, but it was more to allow us to house them with females, not for hormonal agression. So I can't really speak on the effectiveness of having it done for that reason.

By the way, just out of interest, neutering makes a huge difference to buck grease. We found it pretty much went away completely after neutering.
Don't neuter them. You will destroy their spirit and personality. They will be damaged forever.
Hi there.
The only advice I would give is that I have always been told that hormonal rat aggression in males - the sort that can be treated by neutering - usually starts at about 6 months old. So the behaviour that your troublemakers are showing may not respond to neutering. We have had a few boys neutered at different ages, but it was more to allow us to house them with females, not for hormonal agression. So I can't really speak on the effectiveness of having it done for that reason.

By the way, just out of interest, neutering makes a huge difference to buck grease. We found it pretty much went away completely after neutering.
Hi! Thank you so much for replying :)
I also thought that 15 weeks (~3 months) is too soon/they are too young to really be suffering from hormonal aggression - I know they're sort of in the equivalent of their preteens/early teens now.
I'd like to avoid any sort of operation really as we only have one slightly rat-savvy vet who works part-time! 馃槵
This is my first time with male rats - do you find buck grease is a problem?
Hopefully, as long as there are no injuries and I keep an eye out they will establish a pecking order and settle down a bit!
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This is very normal, and it's possible to have groups of males who get along just fine. They are jockeying for position, asserting themselves, establishing hierarchy within their clan. Give them time to figure it out. It's not like the principal is going to call you to the office for rough behavior on the playground lol. And if by 6 months they are actually hurting each other, then you might want to neuter.
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Hi! Thank you so much for replying :)
I also thought that 15 weeks (~3 months) is too soon/they are too young to really be suffering from hormonal aggression - I know they're sort of in the equivalent of their preteens/early teens now.
I'd like to avoid any sort of operation really as we only have one slightly rat-savvy vet who works part-time! 馃槵
This is my first time with male rats - do you find buck grease is a problem?
Hopefully, as long as there are no injuries and I keep an eye out they will establish a pecking order and settle down a bit!

One of our older boys was a bit stinky and greasy with buck grease, but after neutering these things cleared up. The younger boys didn't really get so stinky or greasy but we got them neutered for other reasons.
I'm not sure I would get a rat neutered just because of the buck grease, but it was an added bonus for sure.
Don't neuter them. You will destroy their spirit and personality. They will be damaged forever.
Neutering can be the only option for hormonal aggression.
What you're saying is not true and damaging, how many rats have you had neutered that have lost their personality?

As general rule OP, no blood no foul, let them work it out and establish hierarchy.
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Hi! Thank you so much for replying :)
I also thought that 15 weeks (~3 months) is too soon/they are too young to really be suffering from hormonal aggression - I know they're sort of in the equivalent of their preteens/early teens now.
I'd like to avoid any sort of operation really as we only have one slightly rat-savvy vet who works part-time! 馃槵
This is my first time with male rats - do you find buck grease is a problem?
Hopefully, as long as there are no injuries and I keep an eye out they will establish a pecking order and settle down a bit!
Yep, I'd say they're too young to consider such a drastic step, and really don't like the idea on- ahem -general principles. I think rats are aware and resentful of their loss, and you will have big flabby eunuch rats who sleep all day to boot!
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Neutering can be the only option for hormonal aggression.
What you're saying is not true and damaging, how many rats have you had neutered that have lost their personality?

As general rule OP, no blood no foul, let them work it out and establish hierarchy.
The purpose of neutering is to change the natural personality of a creature. What other purpose does it have? Spirited animals are changed into docile puppets with no character. Humans have messed up this planet every where they go for their own gain and that certainly includes the animal kingdom. If you don't think neutering changes ones personality have it done to yourself and if your position is still the same I will admit my error and apologize.
Thank you for your replies, everyone!
I'd certainly never neuter just because of buck grease, neutering would be the last resort for me, personally as it is so risky putting a small animal under anaesthetic, especially with a non-specialist vet...
I am hoping that it is just establishing a hierarchy and that they work through it with no more injuries (just a couple of cut ears) and that all this humping settles down a bit :ROFLMAO: I had assumed they were too young for hormonal aggression, but at the same time, the last thing I want is a serious injury when I could/should have done something to stop it.

For those of you who connect neutering a rat with having your own removed - stop it, this is not the post for this argument. Personally, I have already had my tubes tied as I never want offspring and have found this a massive improvement on hormonal birth control which has improved my quality of life. In most circumstances it is actually highly beneficial for most domesticated animals, also improving their quality of life and health, but at the end of the day, it is your choice to make as a responsible owner. End of. Thanks!

Thanks all! :)
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Im new here and dont have any clout, but I have strong feelings about unwanted litters and animals relenquished and destroyed because of hormonal aggression, or other behaviors like marking (I volunteer at L.A. county animal shelter).
The personality and character got changed when animals became our pets. Not when they are neutered. And if you think they are all docile puppets after being neutered , you need to meet my dog (the most un-docile, not-a-puppet creature I have ever met).
To argue that neutering is interfering with the animal kingdom is pointless when you are talking about pets, that I believe you have too, who have already been interfered with for thousands of years.
Putting a collar on my dog and letting him sleep in the bed is interfering if you use that logic.
To say neutering is wrong because all animals should be wild and free from human involvement is wishing for something that wont happen.
Neutering is a tool that can help make the lives better of animals that are already way beyond the point of returning to a world with no humans.
I have seen a lot of pets killed because they were part of unwanted litters and because of behavior 'problems' that could have been prevented. Hoping they could have a human-free Utopia is not going to make it happen, and I don't think it should happen at this point.
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Im new here and dont have any clout, but I have strong feelings about unwanted litters and animals relenquished and destroyed because of hormonal aggression, or other behaviors like marking (I volunteer at L.A. county animal shelter).
The personality and character got changed when animals became our pets. Not when they are neutered. And if you think they are all docile puppets after being neutered , you need to meet my dog (the most un-docile, not-a-puppet creature I have ever met).
To argue that neutering is interfering with the animal kingdom is pointless when you are talking about pets, that I believe you have too, who have already been interfered with for thousands of years.
Putting a collar on my dog and letting him sleep in the bed is interfering if you use that logic.
To say neutering is wrong because all animals should be wild and free from human involvement is wishing for something that wont happen.
Neutering is a tool that can help make the lives better of animals that are already way beyond the point of returning to a world with no humans.
I have seen a lot of pets killed because they were part of unwanted litters and because of behavior 'problems' that could have been prevented. Hoping they could have a human-free Utopia is not going to make it happen, and I don't think it should happen at this point.
Amen! I have a PhD in genetics and evolutionary biology and am a huge advocate of responsible animal ownership. Adopt, don't shop and always get the snip snap! :) A bit different for rats as these fellas won't ever meet a lady (poor things)! :)
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And I'm not picking on the boys! 'Neuter' is gender neutral. The 'gendered' words are spay and castrate. All of my girl pups had it done, too.....:)
I am not a big fan of spaying and neutering, but it is common practice and helps prevent tumors and other ailments in rats. My rescue requires that we get our 'twilight' rats fixed, that way we aren't faced with male aggression and mammary and other tumors. Those surgeries can be quite expensive.
Im new here and dont have any clout, but I have strong feelings about unwanted litters and animals relenquished and destroyed because of hormonal aggression, or other behaviors like marking (I volunteer at L.A. county animal shelter).
The personality and character got changed when animals became our pets. Not when they are neutered. And if you think they are all docile puppets after being neutered , you need to meet my dog (the most un-docile, not-a-puppet creature I have ever met).
To argue that neutering is interfering with the animal kingdom is pointless when you are talking about pets, that I believe you have too, who have already been interfered with for thousands of years.
Putting a collar on my dog and letting him sleep in the bed is interfering if you use that logic.
To say neutering is wrong because all animals should be wild and free from human involvement is wishing for something that wont happen.
Neutering is a tool that can help make the lives better of animals that are already way beyond the point of returning to a world with no humans.
I have seen a lot of pets killed because they were part of unwanted litters and because of behavior 'problems' that could have been prevented. Hoping they could have a human-free Utopia is not going to make it happen, and I don't think it should happen at this point.
males serves very little
Im new here and dont have any clout, but I have strong feelings about unwanted litters and animals relenquished and destroyed because of hormonal aggression, or other behaviors like marking (I volunteer at L.A. county animal shelter).
The personality and character got changed when animals became our pets. Not when they are neutered. And if you think they are all docile puppets after being neutered , you need to meet my dog (the most un-docile, not-a-puppet creature I have ever met).
To argue that neutering is interfering with the animal kingdom is pointless when you are talking about pets, that I believe you have too, who have already been interfered with for thousands of years.
Putting a collar on my dog and letting him sleep in the bed is interfering if you use that logic.
To say neutering is wrong because all animals should be wild and free from human involvement is wishing for something that wont happen.
Neutering is a tool that can help make the lives better of animals that are already way beyond the point of returning to a world with no humans.
I have seen a lot of pets killed because they were part of unwanted litters and because of behavior 'problems' that could have been prevented. Hoping they could have a human-free Utopia is not going to make it happen, and I don't think it should happen at this point.
Neutering males for litter control has very little purpose. If you have 10 males and 9 have been neutered and 1 has not and 10 unspayed females your going to have 10 litters. If you have 10 females and 9 have been spayed and 1 has not and 10 unneutered males your going to have 1 litter. A spayed female is the is the controlling factor in litter control. Concerning hormonal aggression not really sure if male hormones causes aggression. However if neutering does decrease aggression, I haven't read any studies on it, what other proof is needed that neutering causes a pet to become more docile which is an unnatural change of character. If the option is euthanasia or neutering of course neutering should be used but neutering males as a standard procedure weighing the pros and cons is a way overused procedure. Just an opinion. Agree or disagree. That's your right.
I never said neutering should be standard procedure for rats. And neutering males for litter control absolutely has purpose. It has the purpose of preventing litters if your males and females live together. It goes without saying that if you have 1 un-neutered male with 10 unspayed females there will be litters. I don't understand the point of this statement. Obviously you would neuter all males in the group or all females.
I also did not say there is not a change in behavior. I said to argue against it because it is human interference is pointless, given that the very nature of pets is that they are animals that have been 'interfered with' by humans for thousands of years.
The negative 'personality change' that is brought up so many times as being a result of neutering is not true.
And if you don't think that male hormones have a link to aggression you have not seen basic behavior of rats, dogs, horses, cattle, cats, people... pretty much everything.
In my experience, neutering is hit or miss. I have had some boys "calm down" after the procedure and I have had others stay the same. My first neuters were due to housing boys and girls together. I have only neutered recently for aggression because of one boy lashing out at his brothers. Since his surgery, his demeanor has been calmer, but his basic personality has remained the same. Just my take. My vet is an exotics and small animal doctor. They won't neuter unless the male is 6 weeks or older.
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