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Discussion Starter #1
So one of my girls, Buffy, who is the alpha, and also a strange little character, has severe hoarding issues. She empties the food bowl immediately and hides all the food. She also takes whatever else she can carry and stuffs in on top of the food to make sure it's hidden well. I've just laughed at her silly behavior until last night when I saw her running around snatching food out of her sister's hands so that she could return it to her stash. That kinda worried me. I hope she's allowing her sisters to eat! I hope her compulsion to keep the food hidden isn't so strong that it's causing her to not allow her sisters to eat. I'm gonna have to keep an eye on this and see how bad it is. Last night, I just kept taking food back out of her stash and handing it to her sisters so they could finish eating. Then she'd try to run over to grab it again and I'd block her so her sisters could eat in peace.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i would move to scatter feeding. It will help prevent hoarding like this. Work out how much they need in a day and scatter/hide around the cage
That's usually what I end up doing when Buffy hides all the food. I'll take some out and scatter it around upstairs so the girls can eat. Even with that though, Buffy runs around and gathers up all the food and runs it back down to her stash. It's like she can't seeing food anywhere else in the cage but in HER spot.
 

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LittleBird, scatter feeding did not help with Finn's hoarding issue either. He would steal from others who had pieces and place them in his pigloo pile whilst simultaneously finding as many scattered pieces as he could and putting them on the pile too. We would open up the pigloo and find this:



What helped us was feeding them individually - one block at a time. We have a DCN so for feeding, we close off the top layer with just Finn (the hoarder) and the other 3 boys stay in the bottom. We then give them enough in their individual sections until they are done eating, remove excess uneaten block and then open the layers back up. Now we do not even have to do the layers, we just feed them one block at a time and it seems to stop Finn from stealing from everyone else as he is so focused on eating his own piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
PawsandClaws- What an adorable picture! Yep! That's pretty much what I've got going on in my cage.

I've got a DCN too so I could do that-close Buffy up in one half while her sisters eat in the other half. The only problem is that I may have to rearrange some items so that the ramp will go up. I think I've got stuff in the way right now. (I'm at work so I can't see it at the moment)

So Finn stopped stealing the food after you did this for awhile?

Buffy is bad about doing it with any type of food I give them, not just the blocks. She'll hide and steal pasta, veggies, fruits, you name it! Whenever I give them fresh food, I've got to go thru the cage afterwards and find all the stuff she's hidden so it doesn't spoil.
 

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We do not give him any opportunities to hoard or steal anymore. We give them one block each and don't close of the levels now. Everyone usually just concentrates on their piece. Once they are done, we give them another. With this strategy he does not steal. We had lava ledges in the way of where the ladder closed, but we moved them whenever we did the separation for feedings. Finn (just like your Buffy) will also hoard anything food related - nothing is out of bounds. Someone suggested on another thread that nervous rats exhibit this behavior and that taking them out more and socializing them helps but this has not been the case for me. The separating thing works best IMO as my other 3 do not have an issue with food sharing or hoarding so they get to eat in peace and Finn does not over-eat.
 

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OMG, I know you're discussing a serious issue, but I can't stop giggling at the cuteness of Finn and his End-of-the-World Survival Stash.
 

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My boy (also the alpha besides me, ironically) has an awful hoarding issue. I'm dealing with it right now by removing his hiding place. He was getting to be dangerous about it because he'd take ALL of the food while I was gone and would attack the other two if they tried to get into his hoard. So I took away the log he was hiding his hoard in. Now he doesn't have a place to hide it, so he eats what he takes, instead. ((There are still plenty of hammocks and other hides, but for some reason he had a thing about his plastic tree stump, so that was all I removed)). It seems to be working so far, he's stopped hoarding for now. Hopefully he stays out of dragon mode, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
PawsandClaws- I don't think socialization is the issue in Buffy's case either. She's actually very sweet and the most outgoing of the four.

Her hoarding has been going on ever since I got them but it just seems to be getting worse the older she gets. She'll put ALL the food into this cube I made for the girls and then she'll drag in anything else she can carry and stuff it in there too- blankets, toys, chew sticks, pillows I've made for them to sleep on, and she has even started dragging litter in there and adding it to her hoard!! She would make for a great episode of "Hoarding: Buried Alive- Rat Edition!" LOL

The other three girls don't have this problem at all but I think it could be getting dangerous for us as well if I allow things to continue. Buffy already chases her sisters away from her hoard and is stealing food out of their hands. I certainly don't want any fights to break out because the other girls are hungry and Buffy isn't letting them eat.

I'm going to try your suggestions and see if I can nip this in the bud before anybody gets hurt. If I stop leaving food in the cage then she won't have any to hoard and hopefully everybody can eat in peace.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got home from work and did a short YouTube video of Buffy's hoard so you all could see it. There's actually more food in there than I realized! Stupid me just kept filling up their bowl and she kept hiding it all. Since it's dark in there, I couldn't see how much she'd collected. You can also see how she's taken a bunch of litter out of the litter box, which is located sorta behind the cube in the corner. She added some litter to her hoard too.

Anyway, here's the video. http://youtu.be/n4wtqMjwTKU She came running as soon as she heard me messing with her hoard. You can also see that she's a very sweet girl.
 

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I got home from work and did a short YouTube video of Buffy's hoard so you all could see it. There's actually more food in there than I realized! Stupid me just kept filling up their bowl and she kept hiding it all. Since it's dark in there, I couldn't see how much she'd collected. You can also see how she's taken a bunch of litter out of the litter box, which is located sorta behind the cube in the corner. She added some litter to her hoard too.

Anyway, here's the video. http://youtu.be/n4wtqMjwTKU She came running as soon as she heard me messing with her hoard. You can also see that she's a very sweet girl.
She's more than ready to survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

(And gosh, she is superduper cute.)
 

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Scatterfeeding makes hoarding behavior significantly worse in our rats. If there is consistently plenty of food in the bowl they don't bother to stash it, but whenever there doesn't appear to be a consistent supply they madly stash everything they can find.

If I woke up every morning and there was a bowl of money next to my bed, I'd probably only take what I needed, but the first time I woke up and that money wasn't there I'd make **** sure I jammed it all in my pockets the next time I saw it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
She is adorable!! Her stash rivals any I have experienced haha.
Thanks! She's a sweetie! But her hoarding is really driving me nuts. Plus the kicking litter out of the box. She's only started doing that since her hoarding has escalated. I have to clean it up every night when I get home. I'm thinking of getting one of those litter boxes with the metal grate on top so she can't kick out the litter.

You saw how she came running when she heard me messing with her hoard and she was upset that I had disturbed things. I took the cube out of the cage last night, so we'll see how she does today without her hidey place.
 
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