When I did my research before getting my ratties, I read in several places it is best not to have 2 boys together. But on the board there seems to be many people who have boys and don't have a problem.
Do boys get aggressive with each other as cage mates?
Depends on the rat. My two boys (who are brothers) are perfectly fine other than the occasional squabble over food/toys. If you get 2 boys that have been housed together for a while already there isn't usually an issue.
It might become a problem if one grows to be aggressive but my 2 males (brothers) have been completely fine. Some squabbles but no real fights, they're about 1.9 months old now
Seems like if someone does end up having an aggressive male, neutering sorts it out most of the time
My 2 boys are fine together. Getting them neutered did help cut down on the amount of dominance squabbles they had but that's not why I did it. Squabbles are normal til dominance is established with any rat so I don't think my boys did it any more than any group would. Also if u bring a new rat in that's not previously housed together it's actually easier to intro males than females. I believe easiest is male to female, then neutered males, then intact males, and hardest is females. This was what I read and also accurate in my experience.
Boys are generally fine together and benefit just as much as does being in a proper group, however hierarchy is all important to buck groups (a lot more than in doe groups) so you need a good understanding in order to make sure things work well. Group size also matters, bucks tend to do better in groups of 4 or 6 in mixed ages, this forms a much more stable group as rats can fall into natural positions a lot better and theres opportunities for "promotion" as such.
Probably the most important thing in keeping a buck group stable and happy is a good Alpha though, this cant be underestimated. If you've got a good strong alpha rat he will not have to do much, things will be fairly settled and you may not even know who your alpha is, have a rubbish one though and you will have a group with people regularly challenging each other and its very unsettled. IN the past I have actually neutered a couple of boys who were bad alphas in order to promote a more stable rat to take there place.
Being a good human alpha is also important, by this I don't mean that you take a perminant role in the group (after all you don't live with them all the time) but handling them confidently and giving the alpha time to relax is very useful and helps keep things more stable.
I've had buck groups for a number of years (though currently back with my does) and its a very interesting experience. You get the odd squabble and if the alpha falls ill it can be hard work to get things settled down again but tis very rewarding. Also contrary to popular belief once you get to know them and if you follow a decent process (carrier / small space as opposed to repeated intros or worse cage swapping) buck intros are fairly easy and predictable.
It does help a lot getting bucks from a good source, so a breeder with stable lines who have few temperament issues. For instance lads from my lines can get a little bolshy at around 9-12 months if there the dominant sort but don't actively attack or rampage (at worse they turn into kind of awkward teenagers trying to sneak up on the alpha and cheakily get a bite to the bum or similar then leg it) and wont touch a human.
I've always had 2 or 3 boys together since my daughter was around 4 and is now like 27. Never had issues with them getting along. This is the first time I've had girls. This is also the first time I've had a lot. I have 8 boys, all brothers. 2 groups of 2, i group of 3 and a single. The single is very aggressive to his brothers. One of the groups of 2 are both very timid boys who cling to each other and their humans, but the rougher boys tend to frighten them. The other group of 2 I called the grouches. They don't like being woken up, they don't like things changed in their cage..they are just grumps that do well and respect each other but their brothers irritate them moving blankets and other bothersome things..like sleeping in their spaces ect. The group of 3 are my rough boys. Sweet, but play hard, tend to have a few displays of dominance from time to time..but get along great with each other most of the time.
Other than my single boy, the rest used to all be in one big group, but between 9 and 12 months the more dominant attitudes arose. I just spent a lot of time watching behavior and then split them accordingly, which seems to of done the trick.