Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Discuss rat companionship, introductions and behavioural problems such as biting or shyness or tell us about your rat's unusual habits.
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snufflebear
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Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by snufflebear » Mon May 23, 2011 9:36 pm

Hi guys,
This is definitely my hardest introduction yet. Edward (18 months) :smileyrat: used to live with 3 other beautiful boys, but after an unfortunate run he has been left on his own :cry: !
He doesn't particularly seem that bothered but obviously i want him to have company. Since then I have got 3 new babies :love: (currently about 3-4 months old, not all the same litter)for Edward to play with, but after numerous attempts and about a month of trying it seems that Edward doesn't want to play! :-?
I have tried neutral territory e.g. bath , bed. In this environment they are ok, not friendly but not fighting either! They have been in the carrier for long periods of time a few squeaks but other than this again they have been fine! But as soon as they free range or go into the cage together all hell breaks loose! The babies scream and run for their lives and Edward pursues relentlessly chasing them and nipping them if he gets the chance. In the cage its the same but even worse. Ive tried taking it back a few stages but it just doesn't seem to work!
Has anyone got any ideas what I could do next?
He was never aggressive with his old cage mates, is neutering an option or is 18 months too old?
If he was neutered he could always go in with the girlies :dumbogirly: , does anyone how hard that intro would be generally?
Sorry for the essay just don't know what to do next!
Thanks for any help!
Proud mummy of Edward, Raoul, Theo and Reuben :smileyrat:, Poppy, Daisy :girly:, Lilly, Sky :dumbogirly:, Blossom and Clover :girly:
R.I.P Oscar, Elmo, Charlie, Rupert, Jasper and Rosie sleep tight babies, have fun at the bridge xxx
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secretpennell
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Re: Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by secretpennell » Mon May 23, 2011 9:57 pm

How long have you left them in the carrier for?
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Re: Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by HannahJ82 » Mon May 23, 2011 9:59 pm

Hmm, I think I would leave them to it and follow the "no blood no foul" rule. It sounds like he is trying to put them in their places.

Maybe he's just not very good at "playing" :)
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snufflebear
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Re: Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by snufflebear » Mon May 23, 2011 10:16 pm

Definately no good at playing :D , a couple of hours in the carrier! No real blood other than on his nose where the babies bit him when he got too close! He's currently patrolling the bottom of the cage so when the babies climb down he can jump them tut tut! Oh well another noisy night next door!
Proud mummy of Edward, Raoul, Theo and Reuben :smileyrat:, Poppy, Daisy :girly:, Lilly, Sky :dumbogirly:, Blossom and Clover :girly:
R.I.P Oscar, Elmo, Charlie, Rupert, Jasper and Rosie sleep tight babies, have fun at the bridge xxx
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Re: Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by sati18 » Tue May 24, 2011 7:47 pm

you should leave them longer in the carrier- i've had boys of mine in a carrier for up to a week to introduce them properly. carrier methd intros are a slow process. for me the minimum is 48 hrs in a carrier or hamster cage, then if they have donetheir fighting, pinning and i am satisfied that theyhave been interacting and not ignoring each other, then settled down... i move them up to something the size of a mary for at least the rest of the wek-usually about 5-7 days. then they get something the size of a jenny for a week and if all good from that, the full size cage after 2+ weeks. It souns to me like maybe you could be moving up the stages too fast?

also, you need to be wathcing their interactions-you said one of the babies bit himwhen he got too close- that is not them sorting differences out, that is them defending their corner of whichever area you have them in. to me it doesn#'t sound like he is a serious threat to the babies, however i have had incidences where adult bucks have been a very real threat to babies. usually they don't see them as a threat so they don't try to hurt them, but for the current set i have, they really did try to hurt them.., the fact that the babies rolled on their backs and submitted meant nothing- just more bites to their feet and noses while they tried to placate the big boys. the anser in that instance was to wait until the babies were big enough to beat the big boys, since they couldn't accept being the bos gracefully- i had to wa\it till the babies would be the boss.

every situation is different and reading their behaviour is very curcial- have a read of this link to help you with interpreting it:
http://www.ratbehavior.org/Aggression.htm

to answer your final question- neutering may well help the introductions but at the moment i don't think it's warranted- try keeping them in the carrier for a few days and closey monitoring their behaviour. it's very easy as a human to mistake normal rat dominance stryggle for life threatening aggression. if you are really not sure then the best thing you can do is ask someone to come and help you for the first day or so. just havign a second opinion makes a huge difference and people on here are very helpful like that.

where abouts are you?

edit; sorry for the spelling mistakes- very very tired atm
Proudly owned by the big boys (Jeff, George & Toby) and the babbies (Sid & Ozzy)
RIP Monty, Emile, Leo, Angus, Otto, Remy and Rafe... mummy misses you every day.

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Re: Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by snufflebear » Tue May 24, 2011 10:07 pm

Thanks for all the advice, fingers crossed things are actually going better tonight, they are in a hamster cage n there is no room to chase so everyone is much calmer! Think the cage was probably to big to start in! I have done quite a few intros before and never had any real problems , so tried to to run before they could walk! Will leave them in until I'm confident they are ready :) ! Fingers crossed for a happy ending!
Proud mummy of Edward, Raoul, Theo and Reuben :smileyrat:, Poppy, Daisy :girly:, Lilly, Sky :dumbogirly:, Blossom and Clover :girly:
R.I.P Oscar, Elmo, Charlie, Rupert, Jasper and Rosie sleep tight babies, have fun at the bridge xxx
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Re: Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by Athena » Tue May 24, 2011 10:16 pm

Was the cage totally scrubbed disaffected with neutral furniture too? You have to really try and get their scent off! X
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Re: Horrible intros , neutering an option?!

Post by little_rat_lover » Tue May 24, 2011 11:07 pm

Not much help on the intros - the only intros of this kind I had failed, but that boy had been alone his whole life and while he didn't mind freeranging, he was just too old I think to learn to share a space with other rats! But if your boy has been alone only a short time, intros I'm sure will be possible :)


However, I did have a harder intro with an older girl who was very errm.. resistant! I eventually had to use a cage so small they couldn't get away from each other (for.. 12-13 rats it was a small hamster cage, about 18 x 10 x 8 inches), I will note I knew 100% none of mine were actually aggressive, but my newcomer would run and they'd be curious and chase. They ended up in that eventually for about 24 hours straight, before moving into a very plain cage (1/2 an explorer with no shelf) - before that I'd done a couple of hours and then felt mean, but they do need a while to accept each other. Sometimes as mean as you feel, a really small space is the best way forward! It's far better than repeatedly failed intros. I don't know if it's typical, but I had a calm bout beforehand, and then had a fair bit of disagreeing for a few hours (about 4-5 I think)

One thing that did help me was I made a bowl of stickyish foods available at all times outside the cage, yummys like EMP, if things got a bit too heated they got a spoonful to distract them - given the choice of argue or eat yummy things, mine chose yummy things. Only needed to do this for the few argumentative hours. But as they were in a small space there wasn't a choice to sulk and things, so after a bit of pinning they ended up curled up together.




The neutering side... I've had 2 boys done at 16 months, and 2 rescues done at unknown ages, one presumably about 12 months, one I'd guess 12-18. There's no 2 ways that there is a higher risk than at a bit younger age, but for a healthy rat it's not that much worse as far as my vets are concerned. My vets generally consider anything under 2 years as suitable for routine (ie not for health reasons) neuterings, they sometimes do over that age if needed too, particularly if it's the only choice other than living alone - but this is just my vets opinion, always worth getting your own vets opinion. My boys at 16 months had both had chest problems since 4 months old and it was actually partly the hope that bringing down hormone levels (they were both always borderline of needing neutering for it) may actually reduce stress and help them, which it did in their case. *Personally* I'd be happy to neuter a healthy 18 month old, but some people aren't comfortable with the risk at any age if not necessary. The vets I use find less post-neuter problems in older boys too, maybe as they don't race around and catch their cuts before they're healed! But as I said there is a risk and you do have to decide if you think it's worth it.

Intros with girls post neutering is generally as I've seen similar to girl-girl intros, I do it the same method (none of mine having severe attitude problems beforehand, so like your boy) - I chuck them in the cage and keep an eye. If anything I'd say the intros have been easier with my neutered boys than my girl to girl intros, of all ages it's been a bit of "oh you're new... ok then" and that's it :lol: Assuming none of your girls have attitude problems I'd guess very straight forward, of course there's always the unpredictable!



How active is your boy? Is he old-man like or still quite active? If the former and you have some older girls I can't help thinking that may be a nice thing for him, maybe the young boys bouncing around is just a bit much for him? Worth a thought.


Hope you get him in with some friends soon :love:
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RIP: Rambo, Rue, Dill, Coconut, Faith Mischief and Bonnie.

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