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Need introduction advice: better to keep separate or try intros again?

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Dahlix

New Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2020
Messages
2
Location
Australia
My original two girls:
Dahlia and Trixie (feeder rats)

2nd lot of girls:
Sylvia and Auri (breeder rats)

When Dahlia and Trixie were around a year old I got Sylvia and Auri from a breeder, along with a third rat, Celeste.
Long story short, Celeste was very aggressive and during the original introductions, she scratched and blinded part of Dahlia's eye. On top of this, Celeste was tormenting Syliva so the breeder took Celeste back and we tried introductions again with just the 4 girls. This still did not go well, Dahlia and Trixie don't understand they need to or maybe just refuse to groom and submit. (Sylvia and Auri are both considerably bigger than the original 2 and Sylvia was undoubtedly the alpha.) Sylvia and Auri were taken in by my partner who did an amazing job at lessening the aggression Sylvia had learned from Celeste (biting, scratching) and the pair are two happy and healthy girls now. He and I moved in together and we tried one more time at introductions and they started well but at the 3rd or 4th session when they were not groomed and submitted to Sylvia and Auri got very rough with the original girls and I canceled the intros. Trixie and Dahlia both had/have chronic respiratory issues, Dahlia has chronic UTIs, and Trixie was getting to a bad stage, with the respiratory issue reaching her lungs. I wasn't going to put them through the stress of the intros if they still were refusing to groom. We have a cage similar to a double critter nation so we blocked the two off and kept them separate and they all seemed happy with just living near each other but not sharing a space.

So now Trixie has passed away and Dahlia is on her own. This happened only yesterday so we are doing all we can to help her with her grieving; she's been out with us all morning and getting lots of attention and love. But I'm not sure what to do now. I fear that Dahlia still won't groom even if we tried to introduce them all together again. Sylvia is a very independent rat, often blocking Auri out of the main igloo so she is often left alone and pining for attention from us. It makes logical sense that it would benefit them all if they got along, Dahli would have company and Auri would have someone to hang out with when Sylvia gets in a mood. But I'm just worried Dahlia won't groom, and like what happened both times before, both Sylvia and Auri will get rough with her. Dahlia is 250g weight at full and healthy size, she is a tiny little girl. Sylvia is around the 500g mark and Auri slightly smaller, they're big chonky girls, and when they take Dahlia for a tumble it's a much bigger weight and size difference than normal.

Any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated. Our specialist vet said that if Dahlia doesn't want to be with the others than that's ok so long as we make the effort to have her with us as much as possible, which as we are both students and love her to pieces it is an easy thing for us to do.
 

Karenin

Active Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Northeast
I don’t have a lot of experience in this area but I would try a few more intros and if they still won’t bond with one another consider getting Dahlia a new friend.
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
388
Location
British Columbia
My original two girls:
Dahlia and Trixie (feeder rats)

2nd lot of girls:
Sylvia and Auri (breeder rats)

When Dahlia and Trixie were around a year old I got Sylvia and Auri from a breeder, along with a third rat, Celeste.
Long story short, Celeste was very aggressive and during the original introductions, she scratched and blinded part of Dahlia's eye. On top of this, Celeste was tormenting Syliva so the breeder took Celeste back and we tried introductions again with just the 4 girls. This still did not go well, Dahlia and Trixie don't understand they need to or maybe just refuse to groom and submit. (Sylvia and Auri are both considerably bigger than the original 2 and Sylvia was undoubtedly the alpha.) Sylvia and Auri were taken in by my partner who did an amazing job at lessening the aggression Sylvia had learned from Celeste (biting, scratching) and the pair are two happy and healthy girls now. He and I moved in together and we tried one more time at introductions and they started well but at the 3rd or 4th session when they were not groomed and submitted to Sylvia and Auri got very rough with the original girls and I canceled the intros. Trixie and Dahlia both had/have chronic respiratory issues, Dahlia has chronic UTIs, and Trixie was getting to a bad stage, with the respiratory issue reaching her lungs. I wasn't going to put them through the stress of the intros if they still were refusing to groom. We have a cage similar to a double critter nation so we blocked the two off and kept them separate and they all seemed happy with just living near each other but not sharing a space.

So now Trixie has passed away and Dahlia is on her own. This happened only yesterday so we are doing all we can to help her with her grieving; she's been out with us all morning and getting lots of attention and love. But I'm not sure what to do now. I fear that Dahlia still won't groom even if we tried to introduce them all together again. Sylvia is a very independent rat, often blocking Auri out of the main igloo so she is often left alone and pining for attention from us. It makes logical sense that it would benefit them all if they got along, Dahli would have company and Auri would have someone to hang out with when Sylvia gets in a mood. But I'm just worried Dahlia won't groom, and like what happened both times before, both Sylvia and Auri will get rough with her. Dahlia is 250g weight at full and healthy size, she is a tiny little girl. Sylvia is around the 500g mark and Auri slightly smaller, they're big chonky girls, and when they take Dahlia for a tumble it's a much bigger weight and size difference than normal.

Any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated. Our specialist vet said that if Dahlia doesn't want to be with the others than that's ok so long as we make the effort to have her with us as much as possible, which as we are both students and love her to pieces it is an easy thing for us to do.
Neutral territory didn't work? I mean a place where NONE of them have been. Also, they will fight for your affection so intros have to be silent and without any verbal or body cues of affection.
 

Dahlix

New Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2020
Messages
2
Location
Australia
Neutral territory didn't work? I mean a place where NONE of them have been. Also, they will fight for your affection so intros have to be silent and without any verbal or body cues of affection.
Nope, ive tried before in a bathtub and on tables none of them have ever been. It is almost like Dahlia doesn't get what they want her to do. When Sylvia or Auri presented their butts for grooming Dahlia just stood there looking at them. Trixie would try to scramble away from them.
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
388
Location
British Columbia
Nope, ive tried before in a bathtub and on tables none of them have ever been. It is almost like Dahlia doesn't get what they want her to do. When Sylvia or Auri presented their butts for grooming Dahlia just stood there looking at them. Trixie would try to scramble away from them.
Tables in a strange room with no rat scent in there? They've never been in the bathroom before that intro right?
 

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