Introduction

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by SvL, Jul 8, 2019.

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  1. Jul 8, 2019 #1

    SvL

    SvL

    SvL

    New Member

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    hi guys!
    I’m not a native English speaker, but since this is one of the only forums with a lot of activity, I thought I should join!

    So I had to put down my old rat a week ago. My other rat, Pepper, is 1,5 years old. I didn’t want to get a rat which is around the same age, because I know that rats sometimes just don’t get so old. I got 4 young rats this week, they’re around 8 weeks and they weigh 200 gr. (They’re all females btw, including Pepper). The neutral introduction in the bathtub went well, but after I’ve put them in a smaller cage, things started to get a bit more tense. The young rats like to play together and Pepper is having non of it. They all lay together when they’re lazy, so it’s not that they’re avoiding eachother, but Pepper is acting weird. When one of the younger ones is playing and jumping around, Pepper starts to act defensive whenever they’re coming too nearby. She sometimes stands on her hind legs and just kind of pushes the other rat away, but sometimes she also makes her back really round, her back hair stands up, and she starts pushing the other rat with her side, or jumps directly on them. Whenever she jumps on one, the younger rat will immediately obey and lay still. Pepper usually just walks of after a minute or so. She doesn’t bite (thank god) but I don’t want her to get more agressive, since the small ones are more vulnerable.

    Is this normal behaviour? Should I start over again? Is Pepper just grumpy? Are they figuring out who the alpha is?
    This is my first introduction ever and I just don’t want to mess this up and have someone wounded because of it. I really would like to see them all in the big cage, but I’m too scared that something goes wrong in there.
     
  2. Jul 9, 2019 #2

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

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    Welcome to the forum !! :)

    Please read https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/introducing-new-rats.34842/#post-491257 and check out joinrats.com
    They need gradual intros and putting rats into a small cage will cause stress
    It is good that you have several babies so they can play with one another …… adult rats will love babies but the babies can et on their nerves so once they are properly introed, it is good for them to be in a large cage with lots of things to do
     
  3. Jul 9, 2019 #3

    Dena

    Dena

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    As long as no serious bites, or blood drawn, they should be fine together. But they need more room. And make sure pepper has plenty of places to escape the madness and hide from the babies.
     
  4. Jul 9, 2019 #4

    SvL

    SvL

    SvL

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    They told me in the dutch rat forum that if I put them in the big cage now, Pepper will probably still hate them... it’s normal overhere to first put them in some sort of hamstercage, before moving one to the bigger cage. Because they’re forced to live together (I actually never thought about that with my first two rats... I just put them immediately in the cage together and they were friends from the very beginning).

    But my parents said that Pepper could indeed be stressed because of the small cage. She has a waaaay bigger cage herself. I got her out of the smaller cage for the night because I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. So, I should just do some neutral introductions again? And if that goes well, put them all in the big cage with lots of toys, platforms and hammocks?
     
  5. Jul 9, 2019 #5

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

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    1. Yes, do a few more neutral area intros and if everything goes well then move to the next step,
    BUT you need to do familiar area intros before putting them into the cage they will live in

    2. Do several familiar area intros - Put all the rats in a familiar area, such as the rat safe play area where your rats get out to play, run, climb, explore and interact with you each day.
    Intros are at least 20 to 30 minutes in length.

    3. After doing several familiar area intros that go well,
    clean out the huge cage that they will live in and rearrange things so that it is neutral territory
    - then add all the rats and watch them for an entire day to make sure everything is ok.
    The cage needs to be large enough and to have many places to go and things to do so that Pepper is able to spend time with the babies but she is also able to get away from them and have a break

    You do not use a small cage - that just causes stress and forces rats into a frightening situation.
    Stress causes illness, and fear can make them withdraw or feel like they need to fight to protect themselves

    Please read https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/introducing-new-rats.34842/#post-491257 and check out joinrats.com
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019

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