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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so I have a 2 year old male rat, and six almost 3 month old male rats. I haven't had the young boys very long, so I haven't done very many introductions with my old boy as I was focused on bonding them with me, before trying intros.
Anyways, here is my problem. My old boy, Gus, only ever lived with one rat for his whole life, that was his brother, Shawn. Shawn passed away about a month ago, and Gus has been without a rat friend since then. Gus isn't a shoulder rat, so I can't take him with my everywhere, but I do spend at least 4 hours free ranging with him, and at least another 6 just hanging out.
I started doing intros with him and the 6 boys (I did two at a time, then all 6.) and he was not happy. He was behaving pretty aggressively, super poofed up, sidling up to them, boxing, chasing and just plain fighting. The babies were acting super submissively, and eventually just sat in the corner of the bath tub. Gus would ignore them for a bit, then sidle up to them again. He has ripped out little tufts of their fur, but so far no blood. (The babies run away after he attacks them, or else I think they would be getting hurt) I have done about 5 intros, and he has acted the same every time.
I tried the carrier method, which worked fine the first time (it ended with the babies in one corner and Gus in the other) but the second time he just started with his aggression again. He is too old to neuter, as the risk of surgery would be too much for him. So I'm wondering if I should just let him live by himself until he crosses the rainbow bridge.
I know I am no substitute for a rattie friend, but like I said before, I spend about 10 hours with him per day. (It is more like 8 during the school year) So I was hoping to get some other opinions whether I should press onward with the intros, or just have a solitary rat. (I've never had a solitary rat for this long before)

Thanks for reading!
 

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You might try giving them free range time together once a week/2 weeks/month and see if things get better. Eventually, if things get better, they can go together, but if not, not. Having just one play session during a period that feels comfortable for you gives the little boys a chance to grow and the older boy a chance to change his attitude, with (in my opinion) less overall stress for everyone. If it eventually works out, great. If not, you know you did your best for everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have tried free ranging them together, but don't feel like putting them into what my old boy considers his territory would really help the situation. I guess they way I wrote it made it seem like all the days were one after the other, but they have been spaced out over about 2 weeks.
Another thing that I didn't mention, is that my old boy never stops acting aggressive. Even when he isn't openly attacking them, he is still super puffed up and keeps his spine a bit arched.
 

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Gus knows his home is being invaded and he's on high alarm, which won't change until he bonds with the new boys. Rats don't take comfort by having foreign rat neighbors, it drives them nuts. The enemies are everywhere and they have to be ready to defend their turf. This is a hard way to live.

So, here's what I did with my old anti-social girl... I set her and our new rat free in the house to work it out... it turned into a 3 week free for all chase, and lots of things got broken and knocked over and it was a bit crazy, but after a particularly vicious final battle the two girls finally moved into the metal cabinet together and became the very best of friends. This was about the worst possible way to do intros, but it worked out well. So I'm telling the story for informational purposes, not necessarily recommending the method... But lots of running room helped the young rat to not get killed until the old one gave up and gave in and decided to accept the stranger.

As far as keeping an older rat by himself, I'd try and keep him as far away from the young ones so he can relax. And as he's getting older and probably sleeps a lot you might be able to give him enough personal attention... that depends on your schedule and personality. You can keep an only rat happy and well adjusted, it just isn't easy.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He is separated from the new boys, so he doesn't grow increasingly frustrated with being able to smell them. I don't really trust the new boys to not poop and pee all over the house (litter training is a work in progress) , so they would be confined to hash it out in the bathroom. I would really love to put Gus in with the new boys, because despite my best intentions I know he'd be happier with friends. I guess I will try putting them in a bigger space and let them work it out.
Thanks for the suggestions/stories. Also, I think a possibility is Gus is a bit nervous. I sat with him during one of the intros and he did seem a bit less aggressive with me in there. Would it be better to introduce a few rats to him at a time, or just put all 7 together to figure things out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update 7/6/15:
Gus is still being a giant jerk. If anything he seems to have gotten worse than before. What was once a slow sidling up has turned into a spine arched,fur puffed body slam. I've been doing intros for about an hour a day since I posted this. I don't have a huge space to let them do intros, so they're confined to the bathroom. Every day Gus behaves the same or worse than the day before. He just never stops being aggressive. While no blood has been drawn, I think this is mostly due to the fact that he gets distracted with a new rat before things get too bad with his current victim. I will keep trying, but I honestly don't know if he is ever going to be friends with them.
 

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When he starts puffing up get his attention and tell him NO! and back him down physically if necessary...(don't be afraid to wear thick gloves). As the leader of the pack you get to decide who joins, not him.
 
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