Sudden Food Aggression

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by TorachiKatashi, May 2, 2012.

  1. May 2, 2012 #1

    TorachiKatashi

    TorachiKatashi

    TorachiKatashi

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    I haven't been here in a long time, but I'm having an issue I don't quite know how to deal with.

    I have two brothers, fifteen months old. When they were younger, Oskar was the big, tough, brave one whereas Vinzent was small, timid, and afraid of most things, always hiding behind Oskar to protect himself. I always figured if I had any type of aggression issue, it would be with Oskar, but lately Vinzent has become very greedy and aggressive around food.

    It started a couple of months ago. He began becoming very grabby (he would scratch up my hands trying to grab whatever I was holding,) and he would try to steal food right out of Oskar's mouth if Oskar didn't move somewhere else (which he now does.) Vinzent has hoarded food his whole life, but he was never aggressive about it in any way. Then last night, he bit me. I was putting their supper blocks into the cage. I gave Vin his blocks, then while I was giving Oskar his own blocks, Vin ran across the cage, bit me hard on the back of my hand, then ran away. I grabbed him and pinned him; I didn't really know what else to do, that's the first time I've ever gotten more than a play-bite from any of my rats.

    Just now, a big fight broke out between the two. I never saw it start, but there was still half eaten food in the area they were fighting, so I suspect that Oskar must have wandered too close to Vin while he was eating. Vin seems to forget though that his brother is still bigger and stronger than him, and he lost (another) rear toenail in the process.

    Right now they're separated while Vin's toe stops bleeding, but I'm not sure what to do. The aggression isn't all the time, it's ONLY around food, and I was under the impression that the period for them to suddenly become aggressive and require neutering was at a younger age.

    They eat fine, they each get six blocks of food (Extrusion) a day as well as two servings of vegetables, and potentially other fruits or veggies or healthy yummies the family may happen to cook during the day. I weigh them once a week and although they both lost weight this winter (which was on purpose, they were both overweight,) Vin has peeked out at 475g and stayed there for a few months now (he's always been a small rat.)

    I'd like to think maybe Vin will learn from this experience and stop being a brat, but I don't think rats really think that way.

    The only (and obvious) excuse is that Vin isn't reacting well to being fed certain amounts of food at certain times of the day (as opposed to before when they were free-fed and their bowl was just always full.) If that is the case, and the only way I can fix this is by going back to free-feeding, is it worth letting them both potentially become overweight again to stop the fighting?
     
  2. May 2, 2012 #2

    hopefloats

    hopefloats

    hopefloats

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    The problem could be the lack of food. There was a just an interesting old video posted on here. It showed that rats wont fight over a plentiful amount of food when food was dwindling, they would fight. I have seen my rats fight over the smaller amounts of food as well. You could try to put a bowl of food in there and see if it stops the fighting. A majority of their day is food. It is pretty much their whole life. So they may not be getting enough.
     
  3. May 2, 2012 #3

    hopefloats

    hopefloats

    hopefloats

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    It does not mean they will be over weight. if the rat is going to be over weight they will be Regardless of how you manage their food. I have a bunch of rats they are all free fed and not all of them are over weight. They will have weight gain in old age but that is normal.

    Sorry forgot this LOL
     
  4. May 2, 2012 #4

    TorachiKatashi

    TorachiKatashi

    TorachiKatashi

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    Yeah, I was having the same thought.

    I definitely don't think it's a matter of them not getting enough, I've been keeping careful track of their weights, and what they eat now is actually only a little less than what they were eating before, just with veggies swapped out for some of the blocks.

    I do, however, definitely think that they might think they're not getting enough. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can vouch for the fact that when you're trying to lose weight and eat smaller meals, even if you're still eating a healthy amount, it feels like you're starving yourself.

    It's not ideal, but I'd rather have them gain the weight back than have to be separated because they're fighting all the time.

    They are eating a lot more veggies than they were before, so hopefully that will help keep some of the weight off as well.
     

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