Boys' and girls' cages during free range

Ratty Man

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Apr 19, 2021
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Canada
I have three separate "colonies" of rats: Six six-week-old baby girls living with two moms, seven six-week-old baby boys, and three "man" ranging in age from about 8-18 months (not sure of their ages). Each group has their own Double Critter Nation cage. Up until now, free-range time for the men has been the three men out on their own, leaving the other cages in the room (it's a room pretty much dedicated as a rat room). The men walk/run around but haven't tried to climb the cages. For the babies, so far they're just up on a table and climbing around on people near the table. When the babies come out, I wheel the boys' cage out into the hallway. During the baby boy time it's just then. During the baby girl time, the two moms roam free in the room. The moms (about 8 months old I was told) are very curious, constantly climbing up and down the cages, jumping onto us, climbing up our legs, etc.

My question is, can I keep all the cages in the room during free-range time? I haven't been wheeling the baby boy cage out, but when they get older I'll be more worried about them interacting (through the bars) with the girls. The floors are carpeted and it's very difficult to wheel one cage out, let alone two; they block the hall, stairs, bathroom, etc. I was watching an Isamu Rat Care video and she mentioned putting something on the side of the cages so that the outside rats couldn't climb up during free range. I was thinking of zip-tying corrugated plastic around the bottom part of the cages. I have the big cement mixing bins in them all, so the rats wouldn't be able to chew the corrugated plastic from the inside, and it's slippery enough that I don't think they could climb it on the outside. I'd be in the room anyway to supervise.

Does anyone else own both males and females? How do you deal with free range? Do they free range around the cage of the opposite sex?
 

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