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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
So here we are on day three of intros (two eight week old sisters with two ten month old sisters). It's been a bit of a challenge because it's my first time doing intros, but from what I've read it could have been much worse.
The four are great together when in neutral territory like the tub or the bed, and this has been the case since day one. I have a double critter nation unit and have had them separated but after neutral ground time went well, I thought I'd open up the two units so they could roam together. Here is where the trouble started. There was forced grooming, pinning, boxing, and definitely some sqeaks. I would clap my hands and separate if it got too violent. We spent more time on the bed which again went great but back in the cage and we're having a little bit of forced grooming with some noises,( but not as much as day one and day two.). It seems almost as if they've paired off in twos: the less dominant ten month old with the less dominant newbie, and the two others fighting for leader.
Anyways, so I'm sitting here watching the cage, and the four are in together. It's strange because they'll go from all eating and drinking together out of the same dish to squeaks and squeals and pinning - then back to peace and quiet. I'm not at all sure if this is what is to be expected but would love to hear some advice.
Is this something that I need to let 'play out'? How do I know when I can leave them together unsupervised? At this point I'm thinking if I'm in the room they can stay together but anywhere else and I'll separate them again..
Thanks all, I just want the best for the ratties!
 

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I think you went too fast. I would never recommend putting rats into an uncleaned cage that had only met face to face three times and only on neutral ground. You're pretty lucky no one was seriously hurt.
My opinion is that when you do move them in together, it is full time, not they are moved in when you are in the room, but separated when you are not.

Do you have a familiar territory?
The steps should be more like Neutral (bed/tub) > Familiar (where they normally play and have out-time) > Then moving into a cleaned and re-organized cage, while watching carefully for the first 24 hours.

If you don't have a familiar ground, you can put familiar items (toys, hammocks, etc) into the neutral zone.

You can try to skip to the cage sharing if things have calmed. I only say that since it's already started. I would scrub the cage of any and all scents are rearrange all of the "furniture" first before trying them all in the cage again though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should clarify - I did follow the steps you suggested. We started in the tub which neither group of rats had been to, then went to the bed which is where the residents rats have their out time, then in their separated parts of the critter nation (top half and bottom half), then some more time on the bed before allowing down the ramp for the cage to be open to everyone. When they're in the cage together (I've been watching), they're sleeping and eating and drinking together with a few second-long pinning about once an hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh, and before the cage ramp was let down to combine the two areas, I changed the fleece and wiped EVERYTHING down and rearranged toys.
So I guess I'm asking, are they on the right track? Is a few occasional pinnings normal?
 

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Pinning and scuffles are normal and expected, especially on move in day and a few weeks after. They are just figuring out the pecking order. Pinning can also be play, especially if there is a general relaxed feel.
 
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