Intro, odd behaviour

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Ttt, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Jan 17, 2018 #1

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    In 7 years of owning rats I haven't encountered this particular behaviour during intros. On Sunday I picked up a 5 week old hairless male rat to introduce to my group of 5 males. I've introduced 5 week olds no problem my whole time owning rats (in my country 5-6 weeks is the recommended age) and this group of boys have taken in new 5 week olds before without issues. 3 of the boys behave ok around the little new one, but they do continue to sniff him when they come across him, even though it's been 3 days of meetings now and I normally see them stop this behaviour way faster. One of the boys is overly eager to sniff the new boy's bum and will chase him around to do so, nonstop. There's been no grooming of the little one at all, just sniffing at him and there's been no bonding between any of them. My alpha has been eager to sniff him as well and he's been huffing at him several times so I've had to separate. Today he hasn't been huffing at him (yet) but he's been sniffing him and he's been nipping at the little one's face, what does this mean? Shortly after that he laid down close to the little one without problems. All of them will tolerate the little one sleeping next to them or even on top of them but then when they're wake they go back to this odd behaviour. I'm not sure how to interpret it. I've tried having both the overly eager boy and the alpha alone in a carrier with the little one and they'll behave well in there but then go back to the odd behaviour when they're out again. I don't see any difference in behaviour when they're on neutral territory or their usual play area.

    Is there any difference to introducing a hairless rat to a group of furry rats? Do they still smell the same? I feel like my boys are acting like they think this new boy is very strange and can't figure him out.

    I'm wondering if it's better to wait till the little one is maybe 6 weeks old and then try again? Should I continue introductions daily or take a break till the little one is a bit older?

    I feel bad that he's not accepted into the group yet and has to sleep alone. He's such a sweet boy and he has been trying to play with the other boys and he's been grooming the other boys but the favour just hasn't been returned.
     
  2. Jan 17, 2018 #2

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16,796
    Likes Received:
    546
    Location:
    New Brunswick Canada
    I have never heard of any difference re introing a hairless rat
    but baby rats do not smell like rats and so may be mistaken for prey - not sure at what age that changes

    Here, it is recommended that babies are not physically introed until at least 8 weeks old and 10 weeks is safer, so I would advise waiting until the baby is older. You have been very fortunate, I know of several babies 8 weeks or younger that were unexpectedly killed by adult rats when the person thought intros were going well as there were no warning signs
    http://www.ratshackforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32368

    You might check on joinrats.com
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  3. Jan 18, 2018 #3

    Sheldon

    Sheldon

    Sheldon

    Rataholic

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    579
    Location:
    North Texas
    I had sort of the opposite problem once upon a time. I used to call her a “ratty racist.” I had a hairless female that would only want to spend time with other hairless rats for the most part. None of them were ever mean to each other, though.
     
  4. Jan 18, 2018 #4

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    Should I completely stop intros now or should I still let them see eachother daily and then only progress when the baby is older?

    I'm considering picking up one of the baby's brothers so he won't have to be alone until he can be introduced to the other but can it make it worse having to introduce 2 babies instead of one?
     
  5. Jan 18, 2018 #5

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16,796
    Likes Received:
    546
    Location:
    New Brunswick Canada
    I would wait until the baby was 9 or 10 weeks old and then do slow gradual intros.
    I would get one of his brothers because babies need another baby to play with.

    Introing 2 babies is easier then one because the babies will not be as frightened etc by having a sibling/friend with them
    joinrats.com may have some useful info
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  6. Jan 18, 2018 #6

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,078
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    Your boys are showing a dominance reaction to the new one. It really has nothing to do with being hairless.
    I would wait until the little guy is about 7 to 8 weeks old before moving him into the cage but I would do playdates since you don't see any issues during those.
     
  7. Jan 19, 2018 #7

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    So you don't think it would be harder to introduce two if my alpha is already a little frustrated with one? I'm afraid I could possibly ruin the hairless baby's chances of getting along with the boys if my alpha gets extra mad for now having to deal with two.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Jan 20, 2018 #8

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    Jorats - they are acting much different from what they've done during other introductions and they're not really being dominant towards the little one at all other than the sniffing. They sniff him a lot like they still haven't figured him out. The little one will play around like crazy and groom the others and they won't return the favour they'll just stand stiff and let him do it while looking like question marks. And this is a group that is normally acting very dominantly, they constantly groom eachother and wrestle. They still do just not to the little one. The meeting today has gone a lot better, my alpha isn't being grumpy. They're still sniffing him more than I've usually seen after so many days of being together but they're losing interest quicker. They're not bonding with him at all though.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Jan 20, 2018 #9

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,078
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    I would definitely get a baby for the new guy so they can be young together and do all the fun young rats do together and that means they will leave the older rats alone. The alpha or "dad" of the group will want to make sure the young rats behave. I don't think I would call it frustration, maybe more like determined and forceful. The dad of the group will want a smooth household and will make sure all new rats follow the rules.
     

    Attached Files:

    • ice.jpg
      ice.jpg
      File size:
      94.9 KB
      Views:
      0
    SQ likes this.
  10. Jan 24, 2018 #10

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    So, I got the other little baby. And so far the others seem to have accepted the first one I got, the hairless one. They still don't groom him and they still look like question marks if he grooms them or plays with them but they seem a lot more relaxed around him. Still the occasional sniffing of him. But now the new one is causing the trouble. Everyone is acting okay but my alpha will bite him. He doesn't puff up but he'll bite and huff at him and he looks like he means it. He hasn't broken skin but I've been quick to separate. So far it's been when they first meet at the play area. They can snuggle together for a whole day and then the next day he'll go back to biting. He's also been grooming the newest one many times so I don't really understand the biting. Why is he doing it?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  11. Jan 25, 2018 #11

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,078
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    When he bites, is he like yanking him or dragging him? Any chance you can get a video of it?
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Jan 26, 2018 #12

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    No he isn't but I've been pretty quick to stop it since I don't want him to hurt the baby. He just bites him kind of like "you're annoying don't come close to me". I'll see if I can get a video later today.
     

    Attached Files:

    SQ likes this.
  13. Jan 26, 2018 #13

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16,796
    Likes Received:
    546
    Location:
    New Brunswick Canada
    it might be good to start intros in a neutral area, not the play area, since you added another baby
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Jan 27, 2018 #14

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    We did start out in a neutral area and moved on to the play area when things seemed to go okay. Should I go back to neutral area meetings?

    I managed to get this video of the alpha biting the little one and you can hear him huffing. Usually the little one isn't doing anything that could possibly provoke him at all. The alpha is the big grey one and the little one is the black one. This has happened everyday initially an then seems to calm down after a while and he'll let the little one run around close to him and even sleep right next to him without there being issues. Only some sniffing here and there. https://streamable.com/xeco8

    Later this same evening this happened, so I'm kind of confused as to what to make of the initial huffing and biting. https://streamable.com/seo4s
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  15. Jan 29, 2018 #15

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,078
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    So your big boy (gorgeous btw) is being forceful in his rules. He really wants baby to know that he's boss. But I am concerned that he keeps going towards the genitals of the baby. This can be dangerous. How you stopped it was perfect. Next time, I would use a firm NO when go and stop him. Have some treats around and if he stops himself, give him a treat right away. I'm sure soon enough he will get it.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Feb 8, 2018 #16

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    When he bites he doesn't bite at the genitals but he does still sniff him a lot in the genital area. And the biting continues as well. He'll tolerate everything all day and then at night when he has the most energy he sometimes gets mad at the little black one. No problems with the naked boy anymore. I've tried giving treats when he behaves and saying no when he does wrong but it doesn't seem to make a difference.
     
  17. Feb 8, 2018 #17

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,078
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    When you see him bite, does he draw blood or cut up the little one? We have this saying: no blood no foul.
     
  18. Feb 8, 2018 #18

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    Not so far but I've stopped him as soon as it's happened because it looks very rough and it has caused the little one to be afraid of him too. They're fine together all day and snuggle together as long as big guy is tired but the little one knows he has to be careful whenever he's awake.
     
  19. Feb 8, 2018 #19

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    45,078
    Likes Received:
    1,610
    Location:
    Northeastern Ontario
    If they are fine all day long, I'd think they just need to get through these quirks. Like siblings, they can have scuffles.
     
  20. Feb 8, 2018 #20

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Ttt

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    Would you continue to only let them meet in the play area or should I try something new as well. I was thinking maybe having them in the cage during the day and then just removing them or taking them all out on the bed when the big boy wakes up. Or would it be a good idea to maybe have the big boy live in the little ones' cage with them for a few days so they're together all the time during those days. If he behaves well in there of course.
     

Share This Page