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Hi! I joined the forum in hopes of getting some advice about introducing a 7-wk-old girl (Niner) to a pair of 1.5-yr-olds (Roxie and Mattie). I'll put my time in in the say hello forum, but if anyone has any input I'd love to hear it.

Initial exposure has gone horribly--the usually sweet older rats puff, twitch, hiss, and try to get to the baby. They appear incredibly stressed out when they become aware of her presence. I'm curious whether others have started with this scenario and ultimately had success, or if it's likely that the older rats just won't ever come around. If they won't ever accept her, it would save all parties a lot of grief to stop trying now...

Cheers! Niner 10-15-14 v2.jpg
 

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What a cutie pie. Welcome to the forums. :) What sort of initial exposure have you done? Have you looked into or attempted bathtub or neutral territory introductions? I have had introductions that looked fairly bad at first but gradually got better. It is often difficult to know when you should just let them work it out on their own since you are so on edge about somebody getting hurt. On the other hand I am also currently in the position of not being able to successfully introduce a 2+ year old boy due to his severe aggression so it can really go both ways. To me, based on what you have told us, it sounds like there is a lot of potential for success. You can try to post videos of your introductions to get pointers on the rats and their body language and whether you should be doing anything differently.
 

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Welcome to the board!

You might wait to your new girl is a little older before introducing. Many people suggest around 10-12 weeks to introduce young girls to older girls. You might also consider if you can another girl Niners age so she's not alone while you wait, plus two is sometimes easier to introduce. Your older girls are also at the age that they may not be nearly as playful so Niner won't be annoying if she has someone in her own age bracket to play with.
 

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Thanks, P&C! We started with the bathtub--instant bloody wound to nape. We later tried letting one of the adults approach the baby's cage--bloody wound to foot within seconds. Since then we have put some dirtied (baby's) bedding in the adult cage, let the adults spend time in the baby's empty cage, and put the two cages an inch away from each other at night. I just made a 2-compartment tub, split by window screen material--we've tried putting the mellower adult on one side and the baby on the other. We've only done 2 sessions, but the adult immediately gets worked up and starts clawing at the screen.

Mimsy, thanks--we have been debating getting another young'un.
 

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Sounds difficult. I would second getting a baby friend for the newbie in the meantime. Then the focus does not need to be so much on making the introductions work straight away since the baby has a cagemate already. The energy levels may be more balanced this way too if you ever manage to get them integrated. Are both older girls the aggressors or is it just the one rat who does not tolerate the baby?
 

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The adults respond similarly, but the one that is slightly more high-strung/skittish definitely reacts a little more intensely. We've switched our focus to the slightly mellower one for now!
 

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...also, point well taken about a 2nd baby taking the time pressure out of the equation!
 

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So, we got another baby last night from the same breeder, 2 weeks younger. The two seem to get along well, although Niner, the older one, seems unusually motivated to spend time outside the cage. Not sure how to interpret that.
 

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what a sweet face! I would like to kiss her little nose. She'll make things a lot easier for you I'm sure. You won't feel like you need to rush introductions and everyone has a friend.
 
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