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Hello there, long time no post!

Since last posting here we had one very awful experience: our little runt Hef passed away :( We spent the whole day at the vet with him, who found something in Hef's digestive track, and then Hef died. It was awful. He was only 5 months old, not nearly old enough.

Since Hef was buddies with Toku, being our two busiest most outgoing rats, we decided to get Toku a buddy. Through the humane society we adopted a 4-5 week old male we named Pilot. We wanted an older boy, but they wouldn't let us have any. The idea was that since Toku was so active, perhaps a little pup would give him a run for his money.

I have two big questions for the crowd:

1) We are taking the introductions slowly. Pilot is 4-5 weeks old, the others are between 5 to 6 months. I don't want them to hurt him, accidentally or otherwise. They have been introduced to each other, and things are getting better. At first the older boys would swarm the baby. No aggression, but they were trying to pin him down and force groom him. Some pushing and shoving, but no aggression as far as I could see. The baby follows the older guys around and tries to climb all over them. Our boys are all pretty chill, though one is a little weird. He wasn't socialized with other rats before we got him around the age of 6 weeks or so. He is who I worry about.

How long do you think it could take to successfully introduce them? I know with females you need to take an extra long time, what of males?

2) I'm worried that our new baby is going to go from having 7 brothers and sisters to play with all the time to having just himself in a cage (except for closely supervised playtime with the big boys) until he is moved up to the big cage. It wasn't my plan to get a 5th rats, trying to have 'too' many, but I'm worried that without a buddy Pilot will get lonely in his cage by himself. Should I start looking for a buddy now, or wait for a certain amount of time first, hoping for the best with introductions?
 

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Sounds like introductions are going well! I would get a small travel cage and pile them all in. Scatter some food around the cage, plunk yourself down in front of it, and just observe. If after a while there is eeping and power grooming, that's fine.

Usually introducing a juvenile male to older males is a very easy intro, and it sounds like it's going smoothly so far. Remember, no blood, no foul.

I read the carrier intro method sticky in this thread and it has worked like a charm each time I have added a new rat (I have 6, boys and girls, neutered and spayed. But the boys were introduced while intact.)

Anyhow, relax, I think things are going well. I'd hurry those intros along before baby gets too old and the intro gets trickier, honestly. Plus the poor mite is probably bored!


I'm interested to hear what others have to say.
 
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