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Hi,
I've had Beauregard and Marcellus since April '15. They got overweight, so I put them on a diet, but Beau got very food aggressive and gave Marcellus some bad bites. I took them off the diet, but I still regulate their food--I don't leave food in their dish. They clean up their dinner, and they get a morning treat and a nighttime treat, and that's it. I haven't seen serious food aggression anymore. Once in a while I'll hear a major hissy fit when food is not at issue, but not much. And I'm at home a lot.

Tonight I checked Marcellus over and found two pretty serious-looking wounds. I checked Beauregard and found one not very nice wound. I do very often hear one or the other of them squinking (little peeps) while they play-fight, or when one pursues the other to groom him. I'm worried that they're hurting each other too much. Should I get them neutered?

When Beau developed his food aggression, and Marcellus got an infected toe, I separated them for a week. Am I going to have to separate them forever? I can close off the opening to the upper cage so that each rattie has half. But they hate being apart. When I reopened the top level they stuck together a lot for the next couple weeks.
 

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Well, they might be fighting over food. My rats hide food away when they get it as a snack for later. Also getting them nuetered might help and would probably be a good decision incase you ever get any females (if you don't have any already.) Having them seperated for a week isn't something that should be a problem though, I've seperated my rats before and they were rather overjoyed when I put them back together, and it seems to be the same with everyone I know who's had to pull rats apart for a little while. You should just take them to a vet and see if they can do anything about Baeu's food aggression.
 

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If I had to take a guess I'd say the food aggression may be because you aren't feeding them enough?
 

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Try giving them more food,,( they really won't over eat)the old fat , dumb, happy,,but try this,,,fill the bowl, watch,,are they eating or hiding, food aggression is common,,try and distract them,,
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! My ratties will overeat. The first time I had Beau weighed, he was 1.5 lbs.! Marcellus was also slightly overweight. Every day I give them 30-40 Oxbow chips, plus about 1/4-1/3 cup of a mix of millet, steel-cut oats, and pumpkin seed (I keep the seed to a minimum because of its fat). In addition, they get a breakfast treat and a nighttime treat--a bit of vegetable or fruit, or a doggie "toothbrush" (chewy veggie treat). I also give them a nut in its shell 2-3x a week--almond, hazelnut, brazil nut, pistachio, or walnut. And they get about 1.5 tsp of olive oil once a week.

Beau seems to be more food-obsessed than Marcellus. Could it have to do with him being a pet-store rat?

I'll try feeding them a little more, and I'll consult with a vet.
 

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Rats can definitely over eat lol, its one of those myths that they self regulate. Some rats can self regulate but most are very food motivated and fat rats can have a lot of health issues associated.

In terms of these issues, how old are they?

My first approach to sorting out in cage disputes between bucks is to go back to basics. So take the smallest cage you've got (ideally single level, the type you wouldn't ever let them live long term in) and empty it of any shelves, toys etc. Add 2 water bottles and some substrate for the floor then put them in. Rather than offering a food bowl scatter there food around the full floor area. This takes away terratorys and distractions as well as things to fight over and helps them sort out there heirachy in a much less fraight and dangerous way. Your issues with bucks is that when one fights and the other attempts to leg it, injuries occur, that larger the space the more likely this is to happen. Also the larger the space the harder it is for the dominant rat to control it, so the more bolshy and often aggressive he is in his responses to bad behaviour. Give them a few days to a week in here to help sort out and settle there heirachy. When they are very relaxed around each other (not just lseeping together but also no tension on eating and interacting) then add in a hammock. If the good behaviour continues you can add in a couple more things.

Once this stage is going well then move them into a bigger cage (or there normal cage if you've no other options - note you can partition a multi levelled cage). Again start with nothing, but this time move the substrate / floor covering from the little cage into the big cage (this makes it territory they've already decided) and add some new to top it up. Then repeat slowly adding stuff until they are settled. You can upgrade until you are happy that they are back in the large cage and settled. If things get tense, you move backwards.

During this time keep free range to a small area that's heavily supervised, more issues can happen on free range as its an even larger area for the dominant rat to control.

If this really doesn't help then the next step is to think about a castrate for one of them, though you need to spend a bit of time working out who is starting the trouble, this is often not the dominant rat, most of mine has been a lower ranking rat pushing his luck but without the size or confidence to follow through, so doing lots of bum or rump biting. Saying that a rubbish alpha who over reacts to the slightest provocation often also benefits from castrating as it visibly relaxes them.
 
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