Do you think rats do better in larger colonies?

Discussion in 'General Rat Chat & Photos' started by trihkal, Nov 3, 2014.

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  1. Nov 3, 2014 #1

    trihkal

    trihkal

    trihkal

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    I have been thinking a lot about things. As we know in the wild rats live in big colonies for the most part. It's an important aspect of their survival. I know that when I bring rats in and already have rats in the house they feel more comfortable than when I am ratless.

    I have been wondering would rats feel more safe in larger groups. I haven't had more than 4 rats in a group at a time and for the past several years I have only had 4-5 rats in our house at a time.

    I'm strongly considering adding to my colony assuming my application is approved. I would love to hear your opinion on this.
     
  2. Nov 3, 2014 #2

    minnieflower

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    I would say yes. I started with four adult girls, now they are in a group of 11 and they seem so much happier. I also have a group of 19. Three of them were alone and a little shy but once they were put in the group they were so brave and social. I think it gives some rats the opportunity to learn good behaviour from others and I also like that in big groups nobody is ever lonely. Also I've noticed less ratty arguments, I use to have the issue where one rat is super hyper and the other one does not want to play at all and it leads to a few arguments. In my larger groups the sleepers always have cuddle partners and the crazies will find other crazies to play with. I personally like big groups and my goal is to get all 30 in a huge double wide tripleCN before I leave Canada. I will post and let you know how it works :)
     
  3. Nov 3, 2014 #3

    jorats

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    Absolutely. I've been caring for rats since 2002 and I've seen it time and time again, when the colony gets bigger, they rats become more of a family, more comfortable, happier even.
    But there is a downside. Illness is harder to treat, or more rampant, controlling stressors and even feed is a challenge with large colonies.
    So it's kind of a trade off. Your rats feel more familiar, more secure and comfort but you have to be ready to deal with the cost of illnesses or the effects of stresses.
     
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  4. Nov 3, 2014 #4

    hopefloats

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    I have had probably the biggest groups here. Our biggest was 33 at one point. It was the best to have them in a large group and amazing to watch. It is harder to watch them closely with so many running around and it takes more effort but I never had one get sick and spread it to the others. One got a flare up it always stayed with just them. Out side of the one virus we had here nothing else has spread from one to the other. The sick ones were the only ones to get it.
     
  5. Nov 4, 2014 #5

    Petunia

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    you also have to keep in mind how much you are able to do, the cages will need to be cleaned more often, etc.

    I had a very happy group of 7 rats, I think that's the largest group I've ever had. It was awesome but a lot of work. There are times when just two rats is enough for me.
    You have to take into consideration what you're up to.

    I have health conditions that worsen and then get better, so I try to be pretty conservative in my numbers. Only you know what your challenges or limits might involve, beyond the expense of more rats, of course.
     
  6. Nov 4, 2014 #6

    temblabamomo

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    My experience is that rats are happier rat's rats in colonies. They bond strongly to each other, but not as strongly to humans. My duos and trips seem happy enough but have a stronger connection with me.
     
  7. Nov 4, 2014 #7

    trihkal

    trihkal

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    Minnie I would be interested in hearing how that goes.

    Jorats and Hopefloats I really enjoyed hearing your responses as I know you guys have a lot of wisdom and experience in this area (as well as many others lol).

    Thanks everyone. I liked to hear everyone's different experiences. As well as the pros and cons.

    I have been notified my application was approved so soon(ish) my foursome will become 6. My biggest group ever. I'm really looking forward to it because I have noticed a huge change in my scaredy rat Nisa since we added Coco and Penelope. She is so much more brave and I couldn't be more proud of her.

    After reading everyone's opinion I think it's important to slowly increase my numbers so I know when we're at our max before we pass it. After these new girls I will be at my maximum but we are saving up for a DCN so in the future I may choose to increase our colony even more.
     
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  8. Nov 5, 2014 #8

    Godmother

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    My biggest group was 14, but I had to get my numbers down for reasons of time and expense. When several were ill at the same time, it was very hard to be up at night with the sick or dying ones and then be at work in the morning. I'm getting too old!

    Now I have five, and I think they'd be better off with a few more on the colony. With small numbers, the age differences and personality differences are more problematic.

    They are much happier than when they were adopted (several had been alone), but I wish I had the energy to have 8 or 10 again.
     
  9. Nov 6, 2014 #9

    KatTheHippie

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    My personally largest group was 9. I had 2 males, then adopted a female from a family who had a daughter who developed allergies, adopted another female to be her cage mate, and that one ended up being pregnant and having 5 babies (phew!) so I ended up keeping them all. I spayed my females, and frankensteined together a huge cage out of other recycled ones, and everyone was so happy :)

    Recently, I lived in a house with 5 other girls while going to college, and I had 5, Renee had 2, Chelsea had 2, Sam had 2, and Megan had 2. Our boys were all so used to each other, that, even though they slept in cages in their owners rooms, they all had out time together on a futon in the living room set up specifically for them. I've never seen happier rats. They were so loving, and playful, there was never any issues with intros of new rats, and everyone's little personality blossomed so nicely.

    Now I have a group of 6, and they're still happy, but I would like to have a larger group again in the future, when I'm more settled.
     
  10. Jan 2, 2015 #10

    trihkal

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    I started this thread with a colony of 4. I wanted to know f it would give my babies more confidence. You guys seemed to think it might so we adopted Eva and China. 6 might not be a lot for some of you but it's our biggest colony.

    I am thrilled to say as a group of 6 they are so much more confident. Nisa (Atlantis) is even coming around with Aaron which is something I never thought would happen. I couldn't be happier about the way things are now. Plus it's so much more fun!
     
  11. Jan 2, 2015 #11

    Petunia

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    glad to hear things are going well! yes it's almost always more fun with more. I have two boys and just added two girls, and they are all so much more confident, active and playful together. Tons of fun to watch, as well.

    My biggest single colony was 7 and yes it can be a lot! I want to stay to 5 or less now, but I'm glad I had the experience with 7. It was a blast!

    Enjoy your group and photos would be most welcomed :nod:
     
  12. Jan 2, 2015 #12

    Joanne

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    I'm glad it is working out so well for you!
    I have had up to 15 at one time, they seemed to do well. The big disadvantage in my eyes is that once I get above five or six, it is very hard to give everyone individual attention, so the more interactive rats get more attention and the quiet ones don't.
     
  13. Jan 3, 2015 #13

    trihkal

    trihkal

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  14. Jan 3, 2015 #14

    trihkal

    trihkal

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    That's a very good point. I find I pay attention to those guys the most but if I think about expanding the colony I will have to think about that.
     
  15. Jan 4, 2015 #15

    SterlingRats0408

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    The largest group I had was 11 girls. It was a handful during free play at first. ..wrangling rats at all times. They seemed to go with divide and drive momma crazy! Haha
    Also found as the ages changed with the arrival of a few older ladies and a few wee ones there were more fights that got very noisy. I ended up cutting that group to 8. I like odd numbers usually for my groups I have mostly groups of 3 as I find thats manageable during free play as well as feeding portions and cleaning and potty training etc.
     

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