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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had Alfie around a month now, and in that time he's developed a minor URI. He's on medication for it now and has improved greatly in the last couple of days (I finally found a treat to mix his meds with that he devours). I've been in discussion with two different breeders about babies to get Alfie a couple cagemates.

Here are the facts:
Alfie is male, about 10 or 11 months old
For the last 6-ish months he has been on his own. Possibly even longer, as he was a petstore rat. I can't recall if his previous owner mentioned if he was the only rat in the cage at the petstore.
Alfie is recovering from a URI. I expect him to be on his meds for at least another week.
Alfie is still somewhat skittish, I don't know if he'll ever really outgrow this, regardless of how much time I spend with him, he seems to always want back in his cage. When he's out with me, he tends to hide on my shoulder under my hair.

One breeder will have babies ready in about 2 weeks, and the other breeder 2-3 weeks. I'm undecided about the second breeder as I've not yet seen the babies, although she has assured me babies are getting handled daily and are sweeties.

Babies will be in quarantine for 3-4 weeks, possibly longer depending on whether they'll be able to escape from the main cage (a feisty ferret, with wider bar spacing).

I plan on introducing alfie to the babies during free-range if I can manage it... I've been working with him a little bit more and more to try and get him exploring away from me during our play times. Otherwise it'll be the cat carrier method.

What is a good age to introduce an 11month old male to younger males?

I'm juggling the quarantine vs size vs behavioral health concerns. I'm worried Alfie's been alone as long as he has, and wonder if he'll "grasp" rattie behavior when he meets the youngsters. I don't want to introduce the youngsters when they're too small for obvious concerns, plus they won't be able to go into the big cage until they're a bit bigger anyway.

Any insight or thoughts on signs to watch for in Alfie's behavior during play time with the youngsters, and methods to try introductions would be much appreciated.
 

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I wouldn't introduce during free range, as that is not neutral territory. I would also consider covering the FF with hardware cloth as it could take until they're 6-8mo to no escape, depending on their size. The easiest introductions for two males would be when the newbies are around 10-12weeks. Behavior to watch for would be puffing up, hissing, sidling, and lunging.
 

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Id look at the carrier method intro as it tends to work better particularly with bucks. You won't need to quarantine the babies for longer than 3 weeks, the extra week won't add anything as the things you are checking for are viruses which the main ones have an incubation period of 2 weeks.

Are you quarantining in a seperate airspace or the sane room/house?

id try and get the babies introd between 7 and 11 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for answering my questions!

I may be using a totally different house if my Aunt is open to it, but depending on the level of chaos at her house and what she has going on, they may just be in a different room at my house.

I'll plan on doing the carrier method then and see. My biggest concern is how Alfie will react with other rats after having been alone for so long, and being in the midst of his hormonal teenage years. He's definitely got a bit of an attitude, and will push me away when he's had enough.
 

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My boy Science came to me "4" months old (more like 8) and a lone rat. The girl I got him from said he had been alone at the pet store and he was "2" months when she got him, and she had him for 2 more months. But he is completely full grown which is why vets guess is closer to 8 months. So, best case scenario he had been alone for 4 months, worst case, 8 or more months. I was worried I wouldn't be able to introduce him to my girls as they are all older.

He was neutered and lived at my work for 2 weeks and then I brought him home for intros. At first I set his cage next to the big cage and 2 of my girls would huff and puff and try and reach him through the bars. So I set him on top of the cage so no one could see each other but they could still smell. I was nervous because my old girl Marci was a bit of a brat. But after 2 days I finally did it all in one shot-- gave everyone a bath (there were some sniffs, few scuffles, but I dont think they really noticed the new addition), shoved everyone in a cat carrier for a few hours while I DEEP cleaned the cage/rearranged/etc (there was some squeaking but no screaming so I left them alone), then everyone got let back into the cage. After the ran around examining the place there were a few grooming sessions that made me nervous but no blood so I let everyone stay together.

Not sure if leaving them together after meeting once was good or bad, I'm sure everyone has their own opinions on what works best for them but I would rather do it in one supervised shot than intros and separate and intros and separate, etc.
 
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