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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never had so much trouble attempting to introduce rats. I've been at the beginning stage of the carrier method (which is what I usually use, give or take some steps) for three days now. I put Albus on my bed with a clean blanket over it and then regardless of which rat I add first the first thing they do is run him down and attack him. I'm not talking about pinning or boxing either, there is biting and fur flying >.< Poor Albus has no clue what to do and just tries desperately to get away.

A couple of things about my rats that might be what's making this difficult. 1. My three boys, Loki, Odin and Smeagol, have all been together since they were about 6-8 weeks old. 2. Albus came from a feeder bin with no other rats and I'm not sure how long he was housed alone. He is probably 8-10 weeks old.

This is really disheartening because I've never seen my boys do anything more than ambush each other out of play. They're all such sweethearts with each other and I just don't understand why this new boy throws them all into a rage. I'm open to suggestions and will likely keep trying this for a few more days, but if things don't improve I'm not going to keep stressing Albus out. I have the cage space and can get him a young friend if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One thing I forgot to mention. I was rat sitting for an acquaintance who had just bought a young male but then had to go out of town unexpectedly. Her little guy was about the same age as Albus (8-10 weeks) and after being in my care for a bit, I decided I might as well introduce him to my boys. It went so well that I literally skipped most of the normal steps and they were happily living together in the DFN by the time she picked him up.

This may be a silly thought, but I've read a few research articles about how rats will discriminate based on coat color. All three of my boys had black hooded or capped siblings and the little boy I was sitting was black hooded (even smeagol is black hooded though he's hairless). Albus is albino...

Just seems odd that there would be such a huge difference between trying to introduce boys that are about the same age.
 

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Maybe try stress bonding? It's used with rabbits. You put the carrier somewhere slightly scary like on top a washing machine. Another form is the slightly filled bath tub. If you create an environment of distress it can promote working together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I might attempt that tomorrow when I do some laundry. Albus has been hiding all day so I think yesterday's experience traumatized him a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Ok, I officially give up. The boys have drawn blood twice while trying to introduce them to Albus and it's causing the boys to be aggressive amongst themselves as well. I even tried doing just one on one with Odin and Albus since Odin is the most laid back and no luck. I can't keep torturing my boys this way and Albus gets scared just hearing their cage door open. I have a few options at this point and I'm not sure which I'll take. I can either keep a male from Phoebe's litter, get Albus neutered and put him with one of my girls or get him neutered and put him with all of the girls. I really think he might be my only male heart rat. He won't come out of his cage unless he does it by crawling into my hand and up my shoulder so that he can lick my ears before hopping down to go play. I just can't keep putting him through the torment of introductions. Why do my boys have to be such meanybutts? :/
 

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I've not had to intro boys yet but I can relate; all my girl intros have been a long and ugly nightmare. I personally think putting him with the girls is a great idea, it's what I'd do if I were in your shoes.

You could combine carrier and tub methods and make one ultimate stress method, i've thought about it before with June's intro. I do carrier intros with a small wire birdcage, its all I've got but works well. I've juggled the idea of running a few inches of warm water in the tub and setting the cage down in it, just enough for their feet and underside to get wet. I haven't tried this method yet so I don't know if it'll work; just tossing the idea out there. If you do happen to try it post the results!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Honestly, I don't think introducing him to my girls will even be an issue. I've already let them meet Phoebe (briefly so that I don't distress her any) and they did great. I don't think I've ever had to actually go through a long intro with my girls. I'm kind of wanting to split my girls up though since by the time Phoebe is ready to join them I'll have 5 and a neutered Albus would make 6, that just seems like a lot for one cage considering how absolutely messy my girls tend to be. Idk. By that point I'll have the hendryx put together for the boys and the rest of the DFN hardware clothed for the girls so maybe it won't be so bad when they have the whole DFN to romp around in.
 

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It is obvious that Albus and the other males have a very negative association with each other.
Rats are not as logical as us humans, if thats how they feel, thats how they will act.
You have to gradually try to replace the negative association, with a positive association.
It may take several weeks or months of swapping cages, feeding them treats when their close to each other (perhaps in a separate cage), and other steps.
Heres a good link: http://ratfanclub.org/newrat.html.
Good luck!
 
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