Introducing intact bucks

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Freya

New Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2019
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Location
Salisbury, Wiltshire
Hi,

We recently lost one of our boys, leaving our nearly 2 year old boy on his own. We knew of a pair of similarly aged intact boys in need of a home and we're picking them up tomorrow.

I've read about different methods of introduction, but having never done it before and knowing they're intact I'd be really grateful for advice. Due to their age I'd like to avoid neutering if at all possible.

Thanks so much x
 

Wolfgirl

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Arizona
First I highly suggest a quarantine period. If you are not in the USA you may not need the full 4 weeks, but I would suggest at least 7 days to make sure all are healthy.
Then have them get used to each other with cages near each other at a sweet spot where they don't get too worked up about the other rat, but can investigate, an also make sure they can not reach each other through the cages.
Get them used to each other's scents by swapping cages
Neutral territory is important.
Putting vanilla extract on them to smell the same may help.
I would introduce one at a time, make sure you have a glove/blanket to separate and perhaps spray bottle to stop a fight.
One neat trick I have heard is to cover there fur in baby food (you might have to wash them off after) but it keeps them distracted trying to clean and MAY stimulate mutual grooming.
There is a link on here somewhere with all kinds of guides for info you can look into. I can't find it for some reason haha
I'm sure SQ will hop on and share the link
 

ViciousCurse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
70
Location
Minnesota, USA
I've introduced multiple intact males before with very little issues. This is a LONG process to successfully introduce rats together.

The perfect quarantine is not possible in most rat homes. While you want to prevent any physical contact and you want to wash your hands in between handling of each groups, household air is often circulated, so airborne illnesses may not be prevented. However, still be careful from letting rats meet physically or touching one right after the other.

Whenever I bring new rats home, I'm not in a rush to introduce them to one another. I like to bond with the new rats while still loving my current rats. I find that if you and the new rats have a good relationship, introductions are easier as every single rat trusts you and can seek out your comfort if your current rats are scary to them. If you try to do introductions when the new rats don't even trust you, they will be extra terrified and be less likely to take to introductions.

The reference thread covers things pretty well, but please don't put your current rats and new rats in a carrier or other small space and expect them to figure it out. I personally think it's a little cruel as that's such a tight space and I wouldn't want to meet my brand new roommates that way. Neutral space (with enough hides and toys for everyone) is the best method, as there is less stress involved.

Again, depending on your relationship with the rats, wiping vanilla or baby food may be way too stressful. Bath time (either with an actual bath or an unscented baby wipe) is very stressful to a rat and often needs to be saved as a last step. Rats often don't like being wiped by baby wipes and hate bath time lol.
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,080
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
A blanket to throw over rats to break up any fights is a good idea
For other good ideas please see joinrats.com - they have lots of pics & videos
The info in the Reference Thread is also good

As mentioned above, unfamiliar rats should never be put into a small space ie forced intros. I see many people on facebook recommending this practice and they are mistaken. Doing that is the opposite of how rats get used to new rats, it is extremely stressful and dangerous.

In reference to previously mentioned information, rats do not need to have a bath as they are like cats and will groom themselves. Bathing will disrupt the oil balance in their hair and skin and is not good for them. Some people will bath intact males every month or two if they have boys with a lot of buck grease. Elderly rats and those with health issues often require help with grooming and people will wipe them with a warm damp cloth ……. for most rats bathing is a frightening stressful experience and stress causes illness
 

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