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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think I jumped the gun with my success thread. The intros between my four older boys and my two new little ones seems to be falling apart. To reitterate what happened... yesterday I put them all into a large plastic bin all day. They scuffled a little but there were no injuries and eventually they all fell asleep. They where in there at least 8 hours. Then after I had throughly cleaned te small cage the little guys had been living in I moved all of them in to it. Again there were some minor scuffles, but nothing major so I thought all was OK. Today the big ones were picking on Ollie a bit, but Diggles seemed to have fallen in with the crowd and spent most of the day sleeping with all of them. So at the very least I thought he was in the clear. But then this evening Zeeky started picking on both of them and Diggles ended up with a scrape on his tail. (little bit of blood) I can't tell if it's from someone's nails or teeth, or if maybe he caught a sharp edge somewhere in the cage. It finally got bad enough that I decided to intervene and I stuck them all back into the plastic bin. I figure maybe the closer quarters and baren accomidations might force them to work it out with less chance of further injury.

My question is this... When Zeeky and Nibbler pick on the little ones they get all puffed up and will sort of huff or snort. Is that a really bad sign? Other then the scrape on Diggles tail there have been no injuries, so even though it seems agressive they haven't really done any damage. But I don't want the little guys to be traumatized either. Should I separate them and try again later? Or should I power through and hope they figure out thier issues?
 

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I think your idea of going back a step is the right one, sometimes you need to. This time try giving them a couple more days at each step, probably a week or two in the small cage, I also find moving the substrate into the next step up cage can help too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The plastic bin isn't really suitable for long term. There is no place to hang a watter bottle and the "lid" is a piece of metal mesh I had in the garage with a couple if books weighing it down. If I really need to go with a smaller cage for a week, or more, then I'm gonna have to go buy one. The only other cage I have is a small travel cage which is barely big enough for two of them let alone six.
 

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The point of the small cage is that its too small for the number of rats long term, if they can all lie down and there's a bit of floor space for them to move around free then its fine (a good balance is that if they rat pile there's at least the same amount of floor space uncovered). If your worried if you can post dimensions of get a photo of them in it I can let you know if its an issue. It seems cruel leaving them in such a small space for that long but it helps them settle faster so tends to be better in the long term than lots of long drawn out and stressful introductions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's tiny. The floor is only 15"x9". I'm not sure they would even all fit in there if I tried.

One thing me and my wife were discussing is taking the shelf out of the bottom of the DCN, closing off the top, and just leaving it bare. My only concern with that is the big guys have lived in the DCN for over a year, so they might still be territorial about it even with it stripped down. Also even bare that's quite a bit of space.
 

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I have one like that I use as my first stage intro cage. They will be fine in it for a few days, though after that time I'd give the DCN a really good clean and use just the top. If you can hang something in it to restrict the vertical space that would be great. I managed to hang a bit of mesh about half way up my SRS once to create a false roof which worked well when I didn't have my intermediate cage available.

For info I class an intermediate cage as about 32" x 18" floor space (about 8-10" high), and I would leave 6-10 lads in for a week or two if needed at that size. Its worth looking out for a cheap second hand cage like this, they come up a fair bit in the UK at least and are great hospital / intro / overnight cages.
 
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