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Discussion Starter #1
Oooookey dokey. So I’m looking for a way to correct a case of epic stupidity. Here’s what happened.

I wanted to get a couple of companions for my two year old rat Anna since her cage mate Abby passed away. After meeting dozens and dozens of rats at a local shelter I ended up taking home three. ‘Quinzel’ is about 10 weeks old and the same size as Anna, though Anna is heavier. She is quite outgoing and curious but looks like she has a few battle scars. (Apparently there were about 68 rats crammed into a dog crate that was dropped off at the shelter. Many of them had missing tails and scars. Poor babies.) ‘Whisper’ is a tiny six week old VERY skittish little thing who spends most of her time hiding behind Quinzel. ‘Serenity’ is about as big as Whisper, maybe slightly bigger. She fits somewhere in between personality-wise. Nervous at first but will approach me for pets and treats.

When I first got Abby, I had her for about 6 months before I got Anna as I didn’t know how important it was to have more than one. I did some research on introductions and after the quarantine stage it only took about a week for them to go from strangers to BFFs.
Despite me wanting to implement a similar system for these ladies, my boyfriend decided to go right ahead a put them all in the bathtub then into the same cage about an hour later. (I know, I know, totally stupid.) He figured that since they all got along well in the bathtub; eating treats side by side, sniffing each other and exploring; that they could just go straight into the same cage. Well, obviously Anna is quite the territorial little thing and was less than impressed. The two little ones were forced into submission but no damage was done. Quin on the other hand apparently didn’t want to give up so easily. Since she was the biggest one at the shelter, I’m sure she’s used to being the alpha but her overconfidence left her with a nasty bite on her tail. I almost lost it when I saw she was bleeding.

So now I’m worried that they will hate each other forever and this whole process is messed up. Currently they are all in the Critter Nation cage with Anna confined to the bottom half, and the other three on the top. Since I figure quarantining them is probably now futile, my plan is for them to switch sections every day or so, so they can get used to each other’s scent and only let them have brief interactions on neutral grounds. (And hope none of them have some contagious debilitating disease.)

Do you guys think I should move the new girls back into the separate cage or will this be fine?
Has anyone else had anything similar happen and if so, how did it turn out?
Any tips on how I can make this go as smoothly as possible will be greatly appreciated!
 

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They should be fine. I'd give them a few days to cool off, before trying again with just the biggger two in the bathtub. Then the little ones. Then all four. If that goes okay, do shared playdates for all four for about a week, then have Anna start living with them in their half. With lots of hiding places. Nothing to be territorial about, as nothing is hers. Quin might be a bit huffy, but she's not the one who inflicted the bite so you should be okay..
 

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I always introduce with the carrier method. There's a sticky on it in this forum, and it has worked for me four times flawlessly. Maybe it could help?

I dunno, Smilebud's advice seems good, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks both of you for responding!
Mojojuju, I just noticed your comment and have been following Smilebud's advice up until now. I am happy to say that so far it seems to be working! All of their play dates since that day have been successful and Anna even had some time in Quin's half of the cage yesterday. They all groomed Anna and there was no sign of aggression from any of them.
The carrier method does seem pretty interesting though and if this fails I will definitely give it a try! It seems like it would be a good place to start for next time!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok so I spoke a bit too soon as there is a new issue that has just come up. Don't know if I should make a new thread for this but oh well. I was at work all day today and when I got home, Quin was acting like she was extremely afraid of me. Was almost running into things trying to get away from me. My boyfriend said that he did a play date with her and Anna in a new play area and as soon as Quin started to 'crab-walk' and puff up he put them back in their cages. So while I was talking to Quin and giving her treats to try and calm her down, she just went after her two sisters and bit Whisper's leg deep enough for it to bleed a bit. Whisper and Serenity have no fight in them what so ever and were just trying to get away from her and hide. What the heck? They came into the shelter together, were in the same cage and have been living together since I adopted them. What would cause her to suddenly become aggressive with them? All the information I've been finding so far has pertained to hormones in male rats. But do females experience anything similar?
I have the three of them on my desk right now and they seem fine. (Not gonna bring Anna out as I fear that may cause some unwanted stress at this time.) But now I'm afraid to put them all back in together. I did a thorough clean of the cage but I'm almost wondering if I should put Quin in the spare for tonight? I should be able to take Quin to the vet in a day or two to make sure it's nothing health related but this definitely complicates things a bit....
 

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The only thing I can think of is that the new territory they entered triggered new dominance assertion behaviors from your alpha. How have they been since then?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I took Quin to the vet and she seems to be fine. The vet agreed that it may be the new territory or possibly food aggression since she is used to living with 70+ rats. He also suggested that I could spay her to see if that would help. I might give it a try even if it doesn't solve the problem. I came home a few days ago to find an inch long gash on Serenity's shoulder that she is now on antibiotics for. So unfortunately Quin now lives in a separate cage and just has supervised play time with them in a different area. The good news though is that Whisper and Serenity are now happily living with Anna!
 
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