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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

I have about five months of ratly experience. Over a month ago, one of my girls passed away, leaving Mrs. Brisby alone. She'd always been kind of a loner and didn't seem depressed about it. Boredom was a problem however.
Last week I was able to get two baby rat girls. They're both only one month old, and Mrs. Brisby is now seven months old.

Day 1:
I put a bunch of stuff in the bathtub and had them meet there (neutral ground). They seem to have really kicked it off. They were nuzzling/smelling each other, and even at one point grooming. I thoroughly cleaned Brisby's cage (and I mean THOROUGHLY), put all new bedding in there, moved everything around (including the room the cage was in), then put them all in (with the baby rats having the safety of the carrier still). Brisby attacked one of them. Understandable, my bad.

Day 2:
I waited for the middle of the day, when everyone is sleepy, and put Brisby in the bathtub with them again. Brisby REALLY goes after one of them now. No blood, but I had trouble pulling her off. This I can also understand, as the bathtub had started to smell like the baby rats, which may have made Brisby anxious.

Day 3-8:
I put Brisby and one of the baby rats on the table (again neutral ground), sometimes putting lotion or perfume on both of them. 1/3rd of the time, they get along well like the first time. 1/3rd of the time, Brisby looks anxious and tries to escape. The remaining 1/3rd of the time, she attacks. Still no blood, and she may just be asserting dominance, but it looks awfully aggressive to me and I'm worried she'll go too far with these new young 'ins.
I have been putting some of the new rats' bedding in Brisby's cage to familiarize her with the scent. There didn't seem to be much of any change when I started doing that.

I'm not sure what to do now. Do I keep having these half minute sessions, 2 to 4 times a day? I haven't seen any progress. I'd rather not wait another month until the rats are large enough to take what Brisby dishes out, but I will if that's the only option. From what I read, I shouldn't be having this much trouble given that Brisby isn't male nor old. I have heard that some rats simply do not accept new ones. I've heard smearing them with pudding or apple sauce and having them clean it off one another might help, but I'm afraid Brisby will still be too aggressive.

Thanks for reading, and you have any advice I'm all ears.
 

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Hi Mello Man,
We recently did an introduction of a rescue rat (Annie) to our lone girl Shadow whose sister had died. What worked (and there is a great sticky on the introductions thread): set up a yummy bowl of treats. Put the food and the rats into a small enclosed space. Your carrier is the best option if you have one. Turn on loud music, or the vacuum cleaner nearby. Or take them for a ride in your car with loud music playing. Or go visit a friend for an hour or two. Do not separate the rats unless they draw blood. What you are doing is encouraging them to bond (yummy food and gentle stress, plus no place to hide). We put fleece in our carrier so they do have some bedding. This worked really well the two times we have done it (we also did the "smear the ratties with vanilla yogurt before putting them in the carrier").
Hope this helps!
--Lisa
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The best picture I could get of them (babies don't stop moving for ANYONE):


I read the article (http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?193945-Introducing-Rats-using-the-Carrier-Method). Very good stuff, most of which wasn't in the half dozen other articles I read about rat introductions. Having read over the behavior section, I didn't notice Brisby sidling at all, and the new rats were definitely showing submission, so I was probably the one screwing everything up by being there and routinely separating them. I now have a plan based on your advice.

Step 1:
I'm going to wait another week or two for my new rats to get bigger/strong (putting them at the 7-8 week minimum age you mentioned). Right now I have Brisby's cage next to the bathtub. They can't touch and have trouble seeing each other, but they can smell each other.

Step 2:
When the time comes, I will wash out the carrier, then rub all the rats in yogurt and place them inside. I'll also have treats scattered around inside, and I'll try to rig up some water (my normal bottle won't fit). I'll place the carrier outside on the grass and play some music. Then I'll watch from a distance, where I think they can't see me. I'll do this for an hour or two. If I see blood, I'll separate them and try again in a week or two. Otherwise, I let them be.

Step 3:
I'll clean Brisby's cage, or spray it with perfume or something that I also put on all three rats. Then I'll close off the top level with duct tape or something, and have nothing else on that level besides food and water. I'll put the carrier in there (with all three rats still inside), and leave them in there with the carrier door open. I'll watch them from my webcam. I'm not sure if I should go back to Step 1 or 2 if this fails (in that they draw blood or begin screaming).

Step 4:
Over the next few days I'll gradually reintroduce stuff like the hammock and toys. If that goes well, I'll open up the rest of the cage.

I'll let you know via this thread how it goes. Thanks a lot!
 

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When I intro'd my 6 girls and one boy, I took them for a loooong car ride... and left them in the carrier while I hung out with some friends... then took them on the long car ride back home. Threw them into a neutral cage and they were fine (except for my one grumpy girl who I separated for a couple nights).
 
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