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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys.

I currently have 3m / 3f rats housed in separate cages. I am getting a DCN (hopefully this week) and was planning on splitting the cage and giving the females the top half and males the bottom half.

I've been in contact with a breeder and am possibly getting some new ratties from her in about 2-3 months. I am hoping to get 2-3 f and 1-2m. At the time I get them, I'm assuming that they will be close to 4-7 weeks old and i will do the usual month long quarantine with them away from the others.

All that said... I'm considering my housing options. I know that sometimes older / new rats don't mix well, so please let me know which option you think will be best.

1. House my current groups in the separated DCN and add the new groups to them (they would all be in the two sections of the DCN..totaling possibly 5-6f / 4-5m per section).
2. House both groups of females separately in the DCN sections, keep the boys in their current cage.
3. House both groups of females together in the DCN having it not split so they commingle. Old and new boys will be in their current cage.
4. Same setup as #1, except new boys will be in my current boys old cage.

If you can think of any better options, let me know. Btw, the current ratties are close to 1 year old and the males have a clearly dominant buck, with the other two being very laid back. The females don't seem to have a super dominant doe, but it's hard to tell with them.

Thanks!
 

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Well if you end up with 6 females who get along I would want them in the whole dcn. I know I lot of folks feel the males need a larger space than girls, but I kinda feel the opposite. Girls, at least in my experience, tend to explore the entire cage, play, climb and just be generally more active. 5 boys who get along well and have their time outside the cage would do fine in a scn sized cage. They can be active as well, but it seems unlikely to have 5 boys even close to as active as 5 girls. I also find that my girls are just as likely to sleep alone as with another rat, but rarely in one big group. My boys have always slept together (in the past I only ever had 2 or 3 at a time). My current 8 baby boys are always in one big pile, with maybe 1 who will decide to sleep somewhere else.

Until you know how your groups will work out though you won't really be able to form a plan. Initially you'll need 4 separate spaces until the groups can be combined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I was considering waiting to move the females / males into the DCN until the new ones were out of quarantine anyway... That way it would be "new space" to all of them. My boys don't use all the space in their cage.. But the weird thing is that the girls don't either. I currently have my 3 females in a rat manor, which isn't that big, but they hardly ever go to the bottom level.. Which was why I was thinking the whole DCN would be sort of wasted if not split. I'm assuming that their behavior would remain the same and they would only use the top half. Maybe I'm wrong though.

I will do intros of the groups in a larger space (bathroom) and see how things go from there (after quarantine).
 

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I agree that females use more cage space than males, so keep that in mind. Mine definitely do anyways. I have basically a knockoff brand of the DCN and I originally just had 2 boys and they absolutely never use the bottom half of the cage except for using the potty and getting food. Then I got a girl and she explores way more and uses all the beds and both levels of cage cuz she's more energetic. My one boy is even hyper but still has no interest really in exploring the cage. They've always been the type to pick one spot to sleep and stick to it. I believe it is said that generally 7 rats are housed comfortably in the DCN. I would say 8 or maybe 9 even pretty easily, no big deal. So I agree that maybe the DCN could be for the girls and the old cage for the boys. What I would do is attempt to intro the old group with the new. You might have an issue of them not getting along that well but if it does go well I would think it is preferable for everybody to get along and be able to play during freetime and live together. so i would say intro all the females and hope that goes well and then house them all in the DCN, letting them comingle between top and bottom. And intro all the males and if it goes well then you can house them in the old cage since there will be less of them anyways and probably will need a little less space. If intros don't go well what I would do is put the divider in the DCN and house separately in top and bottom and incorporate the old cage as well doing what you have to do to house them separately. I hope your intros go well though, or at least just the boys or just the boys so you don't have to split everyone up. It will make playtime and other things much easier.
 

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Boys might not use as much space but you have to keep in mind they are larger then girls and can be more territorial then girls so you usually see more girls then boys in a similar size cage. We have 6 girls in a DCN, and then 4 more in another DCN and both groups prefer to hang out at the top but I would never confine them just to the top or bottom. I've tried in the past and ended up with very unhappy girlies! It might look like a waste but trust me it's not. Same with our boys in their offbrand cage, they hang out on the top levels mostly but when they get movin they get movin! From what I've seen suggested, and personal experience, you can fit up to 5 girls in a SCN, but preferably no more then 4. For boys I've seen most discourage more then 3 in a single, 4 if they really like each other. My boy cage, according to a calculator, says 6 boys, but I wouldn't put more then 4 in it, so that they have enough space if they need it. We're combining our two DCN into a quad once the babies are old enough that the older girls won't beat them up, though I've been told you can fit 9 or 10 girls in a DCN. Personally, and especially because of the personality of our girls, I figured it would be to tight of a squeeze so a quad it is, lol. If your group is really close and like each other a lot you can squeeze them a little more usually. And with boys I belive you want to introduce babies to adults before 12 wks if possible, while girls you want to try and wait till after 12 wks. Girls can be a bit harsher with babies, especially hyper babies, while boys apparently feel less threatened by a smaller newbie. I know we're waiting with our girls to decrease the risk of an issue between the babies and the older girls. We have a couple girls who can be a bit rough with smaller rats, so it's more of a personality thing but doesn't hurt to be cautious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice guys!
Lita- I had heard that from an experienced breeder too. Introduce the male pups as young as possible (my last intro was with a male that was 6 weeks old to 3-4 month olds) and to wait until the females were no longer pups. According to this breeder, it can be instinct for females to kill another female's pups, so they see any young pup as "not theirs" and can kill them.

I will do some more pondering on the cage setup. I may confine my girls to the top of the DCN at first and see how things go, then maybe give them the whole cage when I introduce the new girls. The cage my three are in now (rat manor) is probably a little less floor / vertical space than a SCN, so I'm thinking if it was just the three of them, it would be plenty of room.

Things may depend on how many pups I get from the breeder. I'd like to get at least 2 of each gender, that way if intros go poorly, they will have a friend to live with, but she hasn't even done the pairing yet, so I don't know how many of each gender will be available.
 

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It can be, girls can also be less tolerent of a hyper pup. Our pups live with their mom and the youngest of our resident girls , Cricket, and she loves them to death, acts like their sister. (Their mom even treats her like she was their sister which is funny cause she's not much younger then their mom!) We've done mini intros with two of our other residents, the oldest and the fourth oldest and they seemed to get a little tired of the babies, poor Grizabella looked like a hassled grandma! But the second and third oldest can be rather harsh, when they met cricket we waited till she was 12wks and even still she got her butt kicked a few times by them. If your girls are super sweet/motherly or childlike (our Cricket has always acted like a pup!) then you can introduce sooner, just depends on the individual.
 

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Five is the top number I would do of females in half a CN.

I would get the females, keep them separate until they're 12 weeks then do intros and keep them together so long as it doesn't exceed five.

As to the males I would do the opposite. Add them before twelve weeks.
 
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