help! can i keep female & male rats together?

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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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by LondonBells » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:48 pm

It's amazing how opposing seemingly average experiences can be sometimes. Half expected that variety of replies somehow though. All rats are so evidently unique 8)
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by redrach » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:00 pm

I have intact boys and girls in the same room in two separate furet plus cages. The boys cage is on the floor and the girls is on a shelf above them, so there is wood between them. We freerange in a different room so they don't often come into contact with the others unless someone is naughty and climbs down/up the cage when mummy is getting them out to freerange (other cage is always closed and double checked before opening- if you do keep two cages of intacts, you need to be 100% no one has gotten out before opening the other genders cage).
I am sure with a rats nose that they can prob smell each other, but they don't seem bothered until someone naughty climbs down/up. And then, they just sniff like mad and do kisses through the bars. I'm not entirely sure how to tell if the girls are in heat? But I don't think they are everyday. They seem to get quite hyper and won't settle for a day or two, once a week or so, is this them in heat?
Anyway, personally, I wouldn't castrate unless you have to. I haven't had any of mine done (luckily no one has been aggressive, touch wood) and I wouldn't want to risk surgery unless I 100% had to.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Jemma » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:57 pm

Tammyrat wrote:You cant neuter then until a certain age, and they cant go back together for a few weeks, There could be fights as with all introductions but if there is no advantage to doing it unless the boys are aggressive. I cannot see the point in doing a procedure on an animal, putting it through the risk of surgery just for personal gain. If you want to get some boys i would invest in another cage and keep them as separate groups. The risks of surgery are not worth it just so you can have boys and girls living together.
The OP’s males are 10 months, this is a pretty good age for neutering if they are healthy and fit. And there are distinct advantages to neutering, there have been a lot of studies showing that neutered boys live longer lives. It also prevents several illnesses such as testicular cancer and lowers there overall hormone levels. They do tend to more easily put on weight post neutering but overall it’s pretty clear that neutering is beneficial to rats.

As mentioned before surgery does carry risks but you can minimise this, and whilst I don’t think every rat should be neutered it’s good enough for them that there are compelling reasons why people could choose too just from the health aspects alone. Surgery risks are small as long as you find an experienced skilled vet for rat specific neuters.

On the subject of rats reacting differently to males or females being around. I think the key factor here is if a rat is used to the company of the opposite sex. If a rat unused to company smells the opposite sex for the fisrt time there going to have a stronger reaction than one brought up in a house with both sexes around all the time. Rat shows and similar also get rats slowly used to smelling the opposite sex. Most of the time though girls will react more strongly than boys, especially if they are on heat poor things.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Tammyrat » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:24 pm

Jemma wrote:
Tammyrat wrote:You cant neuter then until a certain age, and they cant go back together for a few weeks, There could be fights as with all introductions but if there is no advantage to doing it unless the boys are aggressive. I cannot see the point in doing a procedure on an animal, putting it through the risk of surgery just for personal gain. If you want to get some boys i would invest in another cage and keep them as separate groups. The risks of surgery are not worth it just so you can have boys and girls living together.
The OP’s males are 10 months, this is a pretty good age for neutering if they are healthy and fit. And there are distinct advantages to neutering, there have been a lot of studies showing that neutered boys live longer lives. It also prevents several illnesses such as testicular cancer and lowers there overall hormone levels. They do tend to more easily put on weight post neutering but overall it’s pretty clear that neutering is beneficial to rats.

As mentioned before surgery does carry risks but you can minimise this, and whilst I don’t think every rat should be neutered it’s good enough for them that there are compelling reasons why people could choose too just from the health aspects alone. Surgery risks are small as long as you find an experienced skilled vet for rat specific neuters.

On the subject of rats reacting differently to males or females being around. I think the key factor here is if a rat is used to the company of the opposite sex. If a rat unused to company smells the opposite sex for the fisrt time there going to have a stronger reaction than one brought up in a house with both sexes around all the time. Rat shows and similar also get rats slowly used to smelling the opposite sex. Most of the time though girls will react more strongly than boys, especially if they are on heat poor things.
The surgery risks can be as small as you like but things still go wrong. They would be babies when the OP got them so why wait to put them in the cage it just didnt add up is all. The OP said they would bbe put int he cage at 10 months old. I know there are advantages to the neutering just like there are advantages to spaying girls, but the OP doesnt seem to be concerned with theses advantages more to do with the fact they want them all in one cage. So to me that sounded like it was for personal gain and i think that is not right, as too have other people expressed EXACTLY the same opinion. Thanks.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Helzie » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:34 pm

Jemma wrote: On the subject of rats reacting differently to males or females being around. I think the key factor here is if a rat is used to the company of the opposite sex. If a rat unused to company smells the opposite sex for the fisrt time there going to have a stronger reaction than one brought up in a house with both sexes around all the time. Rat shows and similar also get rats slowly used to smelling the opposite sex. Most of the time though girls will react more strongly than boys, especially if they are on heat poor things.
I reckon this is probably the truth of it.
Tammyrat wrote:As soon as boys come into my house they are all on heat! With in like half an hour!!!
although this is, of course, also true - because the boy rats you mention were my handsome hunky lads - guaranteed to set any lady rat's heart and ears a-flutter! :P
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by philosophyfox » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:46 pm

Tammyrat wrote:
The surgery risks can be as small as you like but things still go wrong. They would be babies when the OP got them so why wait to put them in the cage it just didnt add up is all. The OP said they would bbe put int he cage at 10 months old. I know there are advantages to the neutering just like there are advantages to spaying girls, but the OP doesnt seem to be concerned with theses advantages more to do with the fact they want them all in one cage. So to me that sounded like it was for personal gain and i think that is not right, as too have other people expressed EXACTLY the same opinion. Thanks.
Of course there are risks, and routine castrations/spays are a contentious subject, but I feel it is a personal one. The OP keeping them in one cage isn't just for personal benefit, there are numerous benefits to the rats other than the health and mood benefits:
-In one cage they can have double the amount of free range time
-bigger groups have more rats to interact with
-mixed sex groups replicate a little more how rats would live in the wild

Of course I have no problem people keeping two groups of intact rats separate, however when it's two pairs I feel they would be better off as a foursome.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Cyber Ratty » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:22 pm

Jemma wrote:The OP’s males are 10 months, this is a pretty good age for neutering if they are healthy and fit.
No, they are currently babies. :wink:
JordanLouise92 wrote:...and ive offerd to give two baby male rats a home
when they are older around 10month i would like to put them in the same large cage as my girls
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Golgotha_tramp » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:23 pm

I suppose another thing to take into account is where they are coming from? If they are from a breeder or rescue they may not be happy with you neutering them solely to add to a female group (they may also be perfectly fine with it).

It may be something worth discussing with whoever is offering them how they feel about it.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Tammyrat » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:18 pm

philosophyfox wrote:
Tammyrat wrote:
The surgery risks can be as small as you like but things still go wrong. They would be babies when the OP got them so why wait to put them in the cage it just didnt add up is all. The OP said they would bbe put int he cage at 10 months old. I know there are advantages to the neutering just like there are advantages to spaying girls, but the OP doesnt seem to be concerned with theses advantages more to do with the fact they want them all in one cage. So to me that sounded like it was for personal gain and i think that is not right, as too have other people expressed EXACTLY the same opinion. Thanks.
Of course there are risks, and routine castrations/spays are a contentious subject, but I feel it is a personal one. The OP keeping them in one cage isn't just for personal benefit, there are numerous benefits to the rats other than the health and mood benefits:
-In one cage they can have double the amount of free range time
-bigger groups have more rats to interact with
-mixed sex groups replicate a little more how rats would live in the wild

Of course I have no problem people keeping two groups of intact rats separate, however when it's two pairs I feel they would be better off as a foursome.
Again i see what you are saying and i agree, but my point was that this isnt how it came across to me from the original post, it sounded like they wanted all rats in one cage for convienience...maybe i misunderstood and didnt make my point clears - sorry :(
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Cyber Ratty » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:10 pm

JordanLouise92, it would seem from your other post that you haven't yet found the males...
JordanLouise92 wrote:does anyone know any rat breeders in the north east (UK)
or near the north east

im looking for two baby males
and i cant find anyone whos selling them :(
... in which case, if you want males as well as your females, I would recommend looking for adult bucks in rescue who are either already neutered or in need of being neutered.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by philosophyfox » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:54 pm

Tammyrat wrote:
Again i see what you are saying and i agree, but my point was that this isnt how it came across to me from the original post, it sounded like they wanted all rats in one cage for convienience...maybe i misunderstood and didnt make my point clears - sorry :(
Please don't be sorry! Your opinion is equally valid! And important for people to hear,so they can make their own balanced judgement. I have had to deal with abscesses and hernias post castration, and came close to losing one rat, so your concerns do need airing. I was a bit cranky when I typed my reply earlier, and it shouldn't have interfered with how I come over on the forum, so I apologise for that too.

I didn't realise the OP hadn't found the rats yet, I assumed they had been offered them as a 10 month old rescue. I don't know if I'd deliberately seek out opposite sex rats to live in an opposite sex group myself.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by kammi_sparky123 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:09 pm

If you haven't found boys yet but are dead set on getting some as well as the girls, and as babies, then I would just have two cages and keep them separate from the girls.
If you want a mixed group then already neutered older ones is the way to go like Cyber Ratty suggested :)
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by acapae_wolf » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:20 am

I'm very confused as to which rats are current, and which are planned :oops:
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by Jimi+Milo » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:24 am

(Correct me if I'm wrong) She just has 2 females currently - Elvis and Frank :) , no males.
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Re: help! can i keep female & male rats together?

Post by princesslea » Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:47 pm

I would be very wary about keeping males and females in close proximity. I know a lot of you have said you have no problems but you have to be prepared in case you do have problems. I have 4 boys who have all got along great until the girls came along, the girls were kept next to the boys and have now tAken up residency in the top half of an explorer while the boys live in the bottom half. Ive had to get 1 of my boys neutered as he was being aggresive, then my other boy started being aggresive, and my other boy is at the vets as we speak having hits bits removed. The girls have drove the boys crazy, one of my boys has attaked the other boy leaving him with a massive gash which has just cost me £40 at the vets. And has terrorised the rest of the gang. Im plan to get the last two neutered next week as the boys are stressed and Ive been worried sick about them. Im hoping once all neutered they can all live happily together.

Im lucky in the fact that i have spare cages, and money for vet fees but if i were to do this again i would stick to one sex...its less stressfull!
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