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I've noticed a lot of you keep two cages, one for males and one for females. I'm wondering which you find to be more work..ie. cleaning, smelly. Which sex do you prefer? Also, if you keep them in a DCN..do the males get nutty when females are in heat?I guess I'd just like to hear some experiences of keeping both sexes.
 

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When I first acquired females (having only males at the time) I had the males neutered so that probably is a factor there. And when I later acquired more males the females were quite old. The second time they were separate but didn't seem to go any more nutty than normal. But again, the females were quite old. I also kept them in completely separate cages, not different levels of the same cage.

I think if planning to acquire both genders, it makes sense to have the females spayed so that you don't have to worry about separate cages and all that. Plus, health benefits from spaying (less tumors!) Those who wish to breed obviously don't and we don't talk about breeding here. And of course people can get into a situation where they didn't anticipate having both genders and can't afford fixing one gender. For example if they buy a pair of rats from a pet store and then find out one isn't what they thought, or the rat they bought ended up being pregnant. Even with separate cages there seem to be a lot of "oops" litters when people have both. Things that they don't think about, significant others or parents that put rats away in the wrong cage, cages that are less secure than they thought, letting them play together "just for a moment", and so on.
 

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In general I prefer most boys to most girls, but a truly exceptional girl can knock the boys out of the park. I spay/neuter so I have mixed groups and they seem happier that way. Cages of intact boys are smellier in my experience, but between neutered males and spayed females there is no difference that I've noticed. I do not care for how intact males smell or for buck grease, plus I'm super allergic to intact males, so neutering is a must for me.

Intact males can fight more among themselves when caged near females, especially if they aren't used to being able to smell the opposite sex (for example, if you have boys for months then bring a cage of girls into their room). It's best to have at least one sex fixed, as "oops" litters happen very easily and frequently. Spaying has much greater health benefits so if only able to do one sex, it's best to spay the girls as long as you have a competent, experienced vet.
 
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