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Discussion Starter #1
So I posted last week about Buffy's severe hoarding behavior and got a lot of great advice. Below is the original thread-

http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?t=230002#/forumsite/20603/topics/230002

I've been trying to not leave food in their bowl and just feed them individually so that Buffy doesn't have the chance to hoard and steal food from her sisters. The problem I'm running into now is that it looks like I'm creating 4 hoarders! They really seem to get nervous about not having food in their bowl so when I do feed them, all 4 of them have started running to hide the piece I give them and then coming back for another piece. They weren't doing this before.

I almost think I'm better off going back to putting food in their bowl so they don't feel like there's no food in the cage and getting anxious about it. If Buffy hides it, I'll just have to keep checking her hiding spot before I add anymore food. At least the other girls will know where it is if they get hungry.
 

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As I said in the previous thread, our rats hoard when we don't keep a steady supply of food in their bowl, that might not be a universal problem but it's true in our case.

I doubt she guards the food 24/7. Watch them for a few hours and see if the other rats help themselves to her food when she's not looking. Nibbles tends to be the stasher but Jesse gets plenty to eat, he just steals when Nibbles is elsewhere
 

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Cyrix- Yes, the other girls do help themselves to the food in her stash and she doesn't seem to mind. (at least I've not seen any problems)

As for Buffy's hoarding behavior, I don't think it's due to lack of steady food in the bowl in her case. She's been doing this since I got her when she was 4 weeks old. I fill the bowl and she immediately sets to work taking each piece and adding it to her hidden stash. I'd fill the bowl again and it would start all over. Before you know it, she'd have a huge pile of food hidden in her secret spot. Then I'd start taking food from her stash to refill the bowl, but she'd just hide it again. She will NOT allow food to stay in the bowl. I don't know why. I've even tried different types of food dishes, it doesn't matter to her.

I just don't want to create 3 more hoarders because the other sisters begin to get nervous about not having food in the bowl or in Buffy's stash. I feel like by trying to curb her hoarding, I've made things worse for her sisters. 😔
 

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I guess I mentioned this is a different hoarding thread, but I give my rats a way to hide their food bowl. Adding some extra fleece that they can move around works perfectly for me and when I forget to throw the extra scraps of fleece in the hoarding comes back, so I know for a fact it's a matter of them not trusting that their food is just out in the open (for whatever reason). If you want to try this, initiate it by filling the food bowl and half covering it with fleece scraps, that way they know where it is, but they also get the hint that they can use the fleece for hiding it. I don't know if this will work for your girl, but it's better than turning all of them into hoarders >.<

Not sure if this has any relationship to the hoarding at all, but my girl that hoards also has really strong nesting tendencies and will literally tear the fleece off the pans to make a nest. Her cage is a mess of loose fleece scraps, but she no longer hoards and no longer tears up my pan liners, so I'd say it's a win.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Kksrats- That's a good idea! Buffy does like to cover her food with fleece or whatever else is available that she can carry. Maybe if I start putting some food in the bowl and putting a piece of fleece over it, it will make her feel more secure that nobody is gonna steal it. I'll try that tonight!
 

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Goose likes to cover her food. I keep their food in a bowl that attaches to the cage up off the ground. I always make sure I've made a long toy that hooks to the cage-with like rope, beads, wood blocks, ect. It needs to hang to the side above the food bowl and falls just below it. Goose just moves it into the bowl. Tada, food is successfully hidden. :)
 

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I read your other thread. My Chai seems to be opposite. She hoards food so that she can feed everyone else throughout the day. She is like a Grandma who says, "Eat! You're skin and bones!" while handing you a plate of cookies the moment you walk in the door.
 

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How about trying a deep tub or cat litter tray, filling it with some loose bedding, ripped up paper and tissue and scatter feeding? Might slow down the hoarding a bit and will also provide some enrichment. I've just started feeding this way and my boys absolutely love it - plus no one can dominate the bowl!
 

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Kitterpuss- I actually have tried something similar. They've got a box filled with fleece strips for digging and playing. I've tried hiding some food in there along with various other places around the cage. Buffy sniffs out the food and goes on a mission to round up each and every piece and putting them with her stash.

Below is a video I just took tonight. Buffy was free ranging and I decided to put a few pieces of food in their small cage to see what she'd do. She didn't see me put it there but she sniffed it out immediately and set about moving each piece into her stash in the big cage. LOL

http://youtu.be/ImMDL2L0RoM
 

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Dougal, the alpha of our three recently adopted boys started extreme hoarding recently but it was only after a major change around of stuff in the cage, hammocks etc. Because their cage is my first rat cage (dragged out from storage as the adoption wasn't a planned one), it isn't very big and there isn't much room for change so ordinarily things stay in the same position. The one occasion when I did manage to make the interior look different was when he started hoarding (and stealing the other rats' food from their hands to hoard). Once I returned the interior back to what he was used to, he stopped hoarding.......(though he does cover the food bowl over with paper/fleece etc.)
 

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Omg, so I read this and your other fourm. I don't have much help being nothing seems to have had worked. I'm actually about to break this habit with my oldest, Kari. v.v

Today's her last day of free-ranging [100%] before I start her back into cage life because he hoarding has gotten so bad. She even started stealing the new baby's food when we have her out of the cage (we just got her Friday), even going as far as to PICK UP the pup to move her so that Kari could get to her food bowl... .__.

So while they aren't anywhere near ready to share a cage yet, I need to break this habit in fear that Kari will hurt her over food. (I even dreamed Kari almost killed her this morning. Dx Ugh.)

As for Dot, she's a smart little butt already. Having learned Kari's scent and even trying to sneak into her current nest spot! (My dresser.) Which scares me to death because not only would Kari not like being woken up to the little pouncer, she would probably feel the need to protect her hoard and attack her! ):

(Kari's a horrible hoarder! Taking EVERYTHING she can get her paws on! Bells, rubber toys (lizard shaped lol), food, paper, zip-lock bags, bowls, I even found her one day chewing on one of our "adult toys"!, and even more candle... Oh and the fresh (and dead) flowers. Etc. So this will be a VERY long road for us as well..)
 
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