Butterball is excessively grooming.

Bloop

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Oct 16, 2021
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Canada, Ontario
Hello all! So I have four boys:

Butterball (The lad in question)
Dumpling(Brother purchased from breeder at the same time)
Moose + Chip (Brothers added a month later for reasons I will explain below)

When I first got Butterball and Dumpling, Butterball always seemed very timid compared to Dumpling. He would (still does but not as intensely now, been working on trust and giving him lots of affection) freeze up when I would pet him, sometimes just flip himself on his back in a submissive way (when he does this now he grabs my fingers in his paws and gives kisses)

However I noticed that Butterball a d Dumpling were squabbling a lot, mostly with Butterball being the instagator and ending up on top. This seemed to be a problem, that have a very spacious cage so I figured perhaps there's a hierarchy issue, and another rat could be the answer.

Enter Moose and Chip.

Introductions went well after a few weeks all was good and all four now live in the same enclosure. Now here's the problem.

Butterball has been grooming his front arms, base of his tail and even one of his back legs to the point where in some places there are just patches of fur missing.

I've also noticed there are scabs in a few places on him, he is still doing the bullying towards not just Dumpling but also Moose and Chio, however not as intensely as he had before.

I have taken a precaution and have given all four boys a mite treatment as they had all been scratching more than I like to see, so I wanted to cover that base just in case that was the cause of the scabs.

I've also changed and removed a few items from the cage, most significantly I've given them more floor space to move around in case its a case of "Hey move your peanuts are in my face grr". I can happily say there have been more rat piles as a result of this as Butterball was often left alone while two to three of the others would sleep in a hammock, and Butterball is oddly not much of a climber as the others are, though he does like his perches.

These changes have all been made in the last three days, so I'm not entirely sure if they have helped yet or not. If any of you lovlie ratty peeps have any advice, wisdom, tips or questions/concerns I should be aware of, I will gratefully listen.

Thanks!!

-Bloop
 

lilspaz68

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He may be self- barbering, which is a behavioral issue/compulsion. Watch and see if he seems to excessively groom those areas or chew at them. Barbering can start and stop on its own you just have to watch and make sure no one is being bothered too much.
 

Bloop

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Oct 16, 2021
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Canada, Ontario
Is it stress related? He is pretty much bald on his front arms, but I do think it's getting better now that the others are sleeping on the main floor of the cage with him so I'll definitely observe for now. Thank you very much for the response!
 

lilspaz68

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No one is quite sure why some rats all of a sudden start barbering and others don't. Where they can reach to barber is the forearms, sometimes the shoulders or belly.

Here is Lark who was a self-barberer. She stopped on her own months later.
 

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