Help with females fighting?

Nyn

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We have 5 rats, all females. One of the oldest ones is clearly the alpha. About 4 months ago we introduced a new rat. She is absolutely lovely but we do not know her age as she is a rescue. She is somewhere between 6 months and 1.5 years old. Unfortunately, we could not get her spayed straight away because she was also fighting off an inner ear infection. All our other females are spayed. During the introductions, Tofu (our oldest and the alpha of 1 year and 3 months) kept being a bit annoyed with her, but eventually they seemed to get along just fine and we could go steps up until we could put them all in their normal cage. The whole process took about 2 weeks. In their normal cage there were a couple squabbles but nothing too serious. Sloetje (the newest addition) was bitten a little by Tofu but again no real serious fights broke out. They even slept together in their space pods for times on end.

Now since 2 weeks, the fighting has started again. Tofu seems very much on edge and is even wagging her tail sometimes. It could be that she is more agitated because we are remodeling our kitchen and we had to move them to a different room to get them away from the noise and dust. But in the end she is taking it out mostly Sloetje (and also the other rats). Our vet has given us some food supplements which have some calming effect but she mentioned that if the behaviour is mostly focused on Sloetje, we might have to try reintroducing her. The fighting is especially happening during outside playtime and both rats have puffed up fur and Tofu tries to nip at Sloetjes legs before a full blown scuffle happens and tufts of fur fly about (obviously we separate them immediately).

I have absolutely no experience with reintroduction and I am not sure it is absolutely necessary. We don't really have separate cages except for a small hamster cage (for transport to the vet and back) and a slightly larger rabbit cage which would not fit anywhere now due to the remodeling of the kitchen. Our vet said that spaying her (which we are planning to do when she has finished her antibiotics) might help but there is no guarantee. I don't want both rats to be stressed and living together or even the very worst could happen that Tofu seriously injures Sloetje. Is this a large chance of happening? Do you guys have any tips??

And if we do do reintroduction, do I take the aggressive rat out (Tofu) or do I take the newest addition out? And if I take Sloetje out, should I take another rat out that is more calm, to keep her company? Tofu is also still fighting off middle ear infection so I don't want her too stressed either.
 

Kye

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Feb 1, 2019
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148
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Maine
We have 5 rats, all females. One of the oldest ones is clearly the alpha. About 4 months ago we introduced a new rat. She is absolutely lovely but we do not know her age as she is a rescue. She is somewhere between 6 months and 1.5 years old. Unfortunately, we could not get her spayed straight away because she was also fighting off an inner ear infection. All our other females are spayed. During the introductions, Tofu (our oldest and the alpha of 1 year and 3 months) kept being a bit annoyed with her, but eventually they seemed to get along just fine and we could go steps up until we could put them all in their normal cage. The whole process took about 2 weeks. In their normal cage there were a couple squabbles but nothing too serious. Sloetje (the newest addition) was bitten a little by Tofu but again no real serious fights broke out. They even slept together in their space pods for times on end.

Now since 2 weeks, the fighting has started again. Tofu seems very much on edge and is even wagging her tail sometimes. It could be that she is more agitated because we are remodeling our kitchen and we had to move them to a different room to get them away from the noise and dust. But in the end she is taking it out mostly Sloetje (and also the other rats). Our vet has given us some food supplements which have some calming effect but she mentioned that if the behaviour is mostly focused on Sloetje, we might have to try reintroducing her. The fighting is especially happening during outside playtime and both rats have puffed up fur and Tofu tries to nip at Sloetjes legs before a full blown scuffle happens and tufts of fur fly about (obviously we separate them immediately).

I have absolutely no experience with reintroduction and I am not sure it is absolutely necessary. We don't really have separate cages except for a small hamster cage (for transport to the vet and back) and a slightly larger rabbit cage which would not fit anywhere now due to the remodeling of the kitchen. Our vet said that spaying her (which we are planning to do when she has finished her antibiotics) might help but there is no guarantee. I don't want both rats to be stressed and living together or even the very worst could happen that Tofu seriously injures Sloetje. Is this a large chance of happening? Do you guys have any tips??

And if we do do reintroduction, do I take the aggressive rat out (Tofu) or do I take the newest addition out? And if I take Sloetje out, should I take another rat out that is more calm, to keep her company? Tofu is also still fighting off middle ear infection so I don't want her too stressed either.
I had something like this happen to me pretty recently minus the ear infection, I tried every technique that I could find and decided to just go with my gut. I removed the aggressive rat from the cage directly after the fight started and left her in a cage alone for one night. I put them back together in the late morning/early afternoon and they were perfect, she realized she would be alone if she kept it up, there's no guarantee that it will work for you of course and there's the chance of getting bit while breaking up the fight to separate the aggressive one- but I thought I'd share my experience in case it would help you too.
 
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Nyn

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I've made this video so you can see the behaviour. This is obviously not as bad as it can be, but the problem is that it is constant. Whenever Tofu (the grey one) sees Sloetje (black) she behaves like this. And then once a day it turns into a full blown fight

 

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