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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK so day 2 and I'm starting to lose my nerve with introductions and although my new girls are adorable I'm worried I bit off more than I can chew with adopting 2 more rats.

I have a Savic Royal Cage. Which I thoroughly cleaned and anti bacced. I have split the cage in 2 and the older girls are in the upper cage and the young girls are in a large hamster cage inside the lower part of the Savic.

I am letting the older girls come down to the lower level for supervised visits a few times a day. They first few times there was lots of sniffing round the cage and they all seemed very interested in each other which is good. But now my older girls are still very curious. Seem a little more jumpy but are starting to hit the young girls through the bars and bite I think. The young ones have squealed a couple of times. But then they just go back to following the older ones or grooming or watching.

I took one young and one old one out to the sofa and they seemed uninterested In each other.

Is this going ok?
 

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To be honest, I have quickly found that putting a group of strange new rats within reach of your old mischief is a recipe for trouble since they see these rats as intruders invading their space. You want to start introductions with no residual negativity towards each other.

Introductions should be on neutral ground territory - we use the bathtub since nobody has claim to the bathroom. I would advise against 1 on 1 introductions (thought I have done this in the past with success) since you want the group dynamic to carry through in the introductions. The best sign an introduction or play session is going well is mutual grooming, mutual exploring and mutual eating. Signs to watch out for would be poofy fur, side kicks, biting and lunging. I know from personal experience how heart wrenching it can be to watch introductions but everyone on the forums agrees that letting them duke it out (as long as blood is not being shed) is usually for the best.

I tend to do short introductions at first and end on a nice happy note rather than wait too long and end the session negatively. If things are going well, they are out for about 15-30 minutes together and I add in free range toys/treats. After about 4/5 successful play dates, I give their whole cage a very thorough clean, replace all hammocks with new ones and clean all their toys. I also re-arrange their cage furniture to make it seem like a brand new cage. Then everybody goes into the new cage. I expect some rough handling at first whilst everyone figures out the new group structure but things calm down eventually (typically within a couple of weeks).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you think I should take the young girls out of the bottom of the Savic and be somewhere else in the room.
 

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I introduced a new rat to my 12 week boys yesterday. I think the neutral ground part is key. I put the new boy in his little carrier and then put them all together in a big cardboard box. The boys could sniff him but not hurt him. They sniffed him but were very u phased and just wanted to play with me, so I got him out the carrier and held him in my hands and let the boys sniff him. This also went really well so I put him in the box with them. They sniffed and groomed him and followed him around for a bit and then acted as if he had been there the whole time and wasn't a bit interesting!

Because there had been absolutely no aggression, I put them all together in the cage. But, it was a brand new cage that none of them had ever been in, and everything in it was also brand new. Nothing in the cage had any rat scent at all.

Obviously, it's not realistic to buy new cages each time, it just worked out that way with the timing for me. But I do think that the neutrality is what made it so easy, so perhaps it would work better for you if you took them all away from the girls' territory, and tried them somewhere new :)
 

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I cleaned out my cage entirely, new stuff everywhere, rearranged everything. Then I threw everyone in a carrier and my boyfriend took us all for a nice long drive... like all day. 2 hours to get to where we were headed, a few hours of us hanging out, and 2 hours to get back home. Then everyone went into a mostly empty cage and things were added as I observed them getting along.
 
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