Food bullying

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AnnieD
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Food bullying

Post by AnnieD » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:43 pm

Is food bullying normal? Lately my 2 boys seem to be having issues at feeding times. Teeko seems to be bullying Tag and chasing him round the cage over the food with Teeko winning as Tag goes and hides somewhere to keep out of the way.
I've provided a dish each on different levels of the cage to see if it helps. Sometimes it does.
Teeko seems slightly obsessed with hoarding at the mo too.
Anne
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:rainbow: Teeko now playing at the bridge xxx

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Amanda Shay
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Re: Food bullying

Post by Amanda Shay » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:46 pm

My boys are doing the same thing, Scabbers wont let Krum eat, he pins him down on the cage of the floor, i have a total of 3 bowls in the cage
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Jemma
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Re: Food bullying

Post by Jemma » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:10 pm

I would suggest scatter feeding, over several different levels and in a deep layer of substrate, if you then also only feed as much as they can eat in 20 hours (or less if this level makes them chubby) most rats will be so preoccupied with finding and eating their food they don't have time to get funny with it. It also discourages stashing i've found, the rats are so chuffed to ahve found that bit of food they eat it quickly before they loose it, or it gets stolen lol.
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charlie4591
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Re: Food bullying

Post by charlie4591 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:32 pm

I agree with Jemma. Scatter feeding has really improved meal times for my brood. The stashing stopped and i found my older overweight girl lost weight as she wasn't hoarding and had to work to find it. It gives everyone an equal chance to find tasty bits. Definitely worth a try :).
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Lloy-D2788
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Re: Food bullying

Post by Lloy-D2788 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:39 pm

I've seen food bullying before, where a perfectly reasonable rat will defend the hanging veg kabob like her life depends on it and got really nasty. Now I scatter feed everything I possibly can, basically everything bar smelly fish which will make the bedding go rank! :lol:
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AnnieD
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Re: Food bullying

Post by AnnieD » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:02 pm

Thanks. I thought that may the way forward.
Do I literally just pour it all over the substrate and let them see me do it???
Anne
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:rainbow: Teeko now playing at the bridge xxx

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Jemma
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Re: Food bullying

Post by Jemma » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:48 pm

Get a nice deep layer of substrate, ideally on more than one level (i use a couple deep cat litter trays higher up in the cage too), then sprinkle it over the substrate. Some will fall into the gaps, some will stay on top. Then add rats.

One thing that's important is you need to only feed them as much as they'll eat in 20 hours (or less), that way they keep on searching until they find it all, feed them too much and they'll ignore the hard to find bits.
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AnnieD
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Re: Food bullying

Post by AnnieD » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:44 pm

Hi all
I've been scatter feeding their dry mix for a couple of days now and I think it's worked. I do feel a bit cruel on Tag though. Whilst Teeko (the food bully!!) likes to forage I'm not sure Tags that into it yet. Guess I should weigh them for a while weekly. What do you think?
Anne
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:rainbow: Teeko now playing at the bridge xxx

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Jemma
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Re: Food bullying

Post by Jemma » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:12 pm

I actually routinely weigh all my lads weekly anyway. Honestly I can tell more from feel in terms of are they ‘right’ or too fat/too thin, but by weighing them I get an idea of what there trend is. It can sometimes take a few weeks before you can feel a significant difference in weight but you can see fairly easily the weight trend what direction it’s heading in. Admittedly the fact I have a small number of rats makes this practical, weighing 4-6 every Monday morning isn’t much hassle. Weighing 20 + would be.

Some tips if you do want to weigh regularly, do it at the same time of day relative to when you feed, so I do it first thing Monday morning and there last feed would be the night before. Also if you do a fast day (or a day where you feed less food or wet food) make sure you weigh the same distance from that. I got some odd results for a few weeks until I noticed I’d moved my ‘half ration’ day to the Friday. You tend to look for around 10g change as significant, less than that can be down to general fluctuations, more than 20g loss for 2 weeks in a already slim/good weight rat is the point where I consider a vets visit is needed. If you see several 10g losses in your skinny lad then you can up the amount a little, or put him in with the food for the first 15 minutes to get a head start.

One thing that is worth mentioning though is some rats are just not food motivated, and regardless of your attempts will always be slightly underweight. I have one in my cage at the moment, I can keep him at the bottom end of acceptable some weeks but others he gets a little skinny, I tend to use nutrical or nurishums to help with this as this just gives him a boost daily.
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