Rat Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

After the passing of Snorlax and Goku, Ernie (neutered) was on his own. We have adopted 3 rescue girls (2 older adults and 1 8 month old) and had a stab at introducing them last night, would really appreciate if anyone has any advice.

Background: Ernie has always been quite timid, but was dominant in the pair after Snorlax went. He is big and lazy, the kind of rat that deliberately falls down the top of his cage to avoid the effort of climbing down. He had only been alone for 4 days. The three girls (Cocoa, Daisy and Snow) include the dominant rat of 10 from the rescue centre. They are all very friendly and slightly hyper. They had been kept in a big group of does.

We put the cages side by side, Ernie was very curious, there was some poofing and foofing but he went back to normal after a short while. After two days we introduced them in the bath with treats etc around. Ernie took a few steps in either direction, he cautiously ate a treat. The girls descended on him, grooming and walking all over him. He tried to ignore it and walked off trying to find more treats. They followed... He stood still and I saw him slowly poof up. When alpha rat Cocoa went to groom he nipped her, there was a kerfuffle but no blood. I took him out and could feel he was very tense and stressed.

The next day we tried again with just Cocoa, he again poofed a little and I took him out when he began sidling... Am I being too cautious? Am I right in thinking I should take him out when I see true signs of aggression (not just arguments)?

I am sure he is scared and that's why he is getting defensive. I think he is overwhelmed by the activity, his previous cagemates were nowhere near as active as these ladies. Also I am scarred for life from previous male-male intros and resulting injuries to rats, and they can probably sense that in me which doesn't help. Shall I just keep going like this? What do you think?

Thanks for your help!

Beth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
The general rule of thumb is no blood, no foul. Intros in general are stressful... I usually like to stress everyone out together so that they bond over it... Like a really long car ride in the carrier. Then they all go into a clean neutral cage with lots of yummy treats. Sometimes, I'll dab something on them to encourage grooming, like yogurt or something. That's what's worked for me with intros. I don't like the elongated intro process of 2 cages next to each other for weeks since I don't have the space for 2 cages next to each other, so I use this method.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
I once went from 1 to 1 introductions between 2 females to 13 rats in groups of 1 to 3 at a time. I only had 1 intro go at all difficult when 1 resident girl tried to evict 2 new girls. I may have been overprotective. I didn't wait for blood. I took the angry resident out of the mix for a week. Then, when everyone else was getting along well, reintroduced her to the group and she was so happy to be back with her friends, she gave no further trouble. I feel you should work at your pace and do what makes you comfortable with the situation. I might try to introduce Ernie to Daisy and Snow first, then try to add Cocoa to the mix and see if that works out, but you are there and know the rats better than I. I also find that often when we have problems, solutions come to us. It may be partly intuition and partly just recognizing all we know of the situation, but sometimes we just know what to do to make it work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your replies! He ripped a chunk of Snow's fur out yesterday... No blood but the poor thing was terrified, peeping when I picked her up! :( I am definitely overprotective but when I see poofed up sidling I know what comes next... should I let it continue and let the newbies get hurt? Isamurat thanks I will try the carrier method tonight!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,287 Posts
Given he's wound up I would take a break for a week during which time their cages a good way apart (ideally different room, failing that different side of the room or with something solid inbetween them). Once they have had chance to unwind then I would start the carrier method in a completely neutral space, somewhere that smells scary such as an empty bath, a room they've not been into or even an understanding friends house (I've been used as a place to intro rats by a few friends lol and I do a few of mine at rat shows or the place I pick my rats up from).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well, long story short this evening they are snuggled up asleep all together! After a day (read your post a bit late sorry) I put them together on my lap and there were no signs of aggression. So I used the carrier method, with the cat's carrier that probably smelled of her and was scary! I started with Snow who is small and (I thought) unthreatening, welp turns out she really went for it, mounting and dominating him like there was no tomorrow. Ernie submitted to everything of course. After they had settled I introduced the other two, lots of power grooming, Ernie was still pretty tense but I trusted him not to attack. There was one more scuffle but I couldn't see any damage on inspection. We cleaned out the big cage thoroughly and rearranged, then put them all in! It was pretty hectic in there, Snow in particular was doing a lot of humping and knocking over, not just Ernie but her original cagemates as well! They slept separately last night but today when I got in they were a big bundle of fluff.

THANKYOU
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,287 Posts
That's brilliant news, cat smell actually probably would help, a lot of rats have an instinctive fear reaction to it, not always good but in this case it can help bonding :)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top