Alpha female viciously attacking

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Spev
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Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by Spev » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:10 am

Hi all. After finally being able to post again after problems logging in for some weeks now, I need to ask advice if you'd be so kind. Sorry it's so long.
Some of you may remember that I had Ruby last year, a lone female from rescue. In March of this year, I got 2 more rescues from someone on here, Daisy & Tizzy, introduced them to Ruby & after only minor hissy fits, they all got on & lived together nicely. Sadly I lost Tizzy in May so just had Ruby & Daisy.
I felt I had room for more in my big cage (& even bigger heart) so when I was asked to take on three rescues a few weeks ago, I agreed.
I took the intro's of the new girls (approx 5 months) very slowly, & after a couple of days, I put them all into a neutral space - the bath- where they were absolutely fine!
Taking it slowly, I let them free range in the lounge where the cages are - just opened all the doors & let them out. Again, they seemed to get on well mostly but with the odd punch up this time - Ruby seemed to dislike 2 of the new girls, Charlie & Coco, but she was fine with the third, Lottie.
Over the next couple of days, they started to go in & out of each others cages, while I sat & watched carefully but they always went back to their own cages with their own cage mates as I felt they weren't quite ready for the whole moving in together experience just yet as Ruby still had issues with Charlie & Coco.
Next day while they were all out, I heard a major fight. On rounding them all up, I found that Charlie had multiple puncture wounds & coco had a nasty tear in her shoulder. I'm guessing the perpetrator was Ruby, as she's always been 'Boss' & she's the one with the issues with Charlie & Coco, Daisy seemed fine with all the new girls & none of the new girls fight amongst themselves. They've been treated with Baytril & hibiscrub & are healing nicely.
That was last week & the vet told me to keep them away from Ruby & Daisy until they've completely healed. My plan was to try introducing again once they've healed, but last night, even after being away from the new girls for over a week, Ruby attacked her own cage mate Daisy, ripping her anus open. I rushed her to the vet, blood everywhere, & she's now on medication & being kept apart from Ruby til she heals.
The vet said that Ruby may never take to the new girls & the fact that she's now attacked Daisy suggests that she's not happy at all.
The new girls are tame, but timid & young. They don't start the fights, they just want to be friends with the older girls :(
I don't know what to do. I don't have the space to keep them all separate, or the time for three lots of free ranging. Sense tells me that Ruby needs to return to just 2 rats, but I don't want to let the new girls down. It's distressing (& very expensive for a single parent on a low income) to keep running to the vets with injuries, & then having to keep them all separate once again til they've healed. I feel like I'm getting nowhere & am now too scared to even put Ruby anywhere near any of them.
I know that sometimes, rats just don't take to others & may even kill them & I just don't want to risk the little girls getting even more seriously injured.
What do you think? Anyone had anything like this and made a success of it? Or should I just let the new girls go to someone who can treat them as they deserve? I only took them on in the first place, because I was sure they could all live together in one large cage, I just don't have room in my tiny house for three separate cages :(
Thanks for reading.
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Spev
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by Spev » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:30 pm

Ok, well, I've got Daisy & Ruby back in together as Daisy has healed really well, & they seem fine together. The new girls are still separate & I've asked a few people I trust if they'd like to take them, but nothing doing so far.
I'm very worried about trying to intro them all again but I don't see any option if I can't rehome the little ones :(
~Animals are my friends & I don't eat my friends~

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secretpennell
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by secretpennell » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:52 pm

Aww, I'm sorry you've had all that stress. :(
I'd try again! But don't let them go in and out of each others cages as I think that causes territory arguements. I let most of my groups of rescues freerange with each other and my own girls, but I close the cages while they're out so nobody can go in them. And I wouldn't position Ruby's cage next to the new girls cage either, so she can foof through the bars and work herself up into hating them even more! Try a small neutral space and/or a carrier.
Good luck.
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Ratty_Rhian
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by Ratty_Rhian » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:58 pm

Whereabouts do you live? Maybe someone from here who lives close could pop round and give you a hand and a bit of moral support. It's always nice to have some support from someone who has seen this sort of behaviour before and knows how far is too far.

secretpennell is giving some really good advice there about having cages closed. I take things a little further by bonding in a completely different room in a small cage (after the initial free range somewhere neutral). Only ater they have slept together overnight do I attempt putting them into their (bare) permanent cage. I'm probably a bit OTT in my method but it hasn't failed me yet.
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by beetroot » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:01 pm

I basically agree with the aboves. I wouldn't let them in each other's cages nor would I let them free-range anywhere Ruby may have decided is her territory, which is anywhere she's normally allowed to go. I always do intros on the bathroom floor. It's a room where rats don't normally go. If necessary, clean and add new scents to areas that might 'belong' to Ruby.
If you do get to trying them in a cage together, I would do everything to make it seem like an entirely new cage to all parties.
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by braver_ducky » Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:26 am

I have a crazy alpha rat. Her and her sister were our first rats, and as we accumulated (we are at 6 total) more rats she became more and more angry and viscious. They were all introduced to a brand new ferret nation together at the same time (3 females, 3 neutered males) and she would pick a target. She would chase them mercilessly to the point where they would cower in fear from her. She pestered and abused everyone except her sister who had learned how to stay out of the way. We had held up hope for her because she would sleep curled up in the hammock with the others, share space most of the time but it got so bad for the other rats being randomly bullied that we had to seperate her. We have tried re introducing her to her sister but she gives her too hard of a time. She seems a bit less happy but everyone else seems far far better off. We try to spoil her a bit extra to make up for it but this was our only choice.

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sati18
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by sati18 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:25 am

you could try her with agnus castus- it's a herbal remedy which according to what i've read on the forum can help balance out hormones in girls and calm them down.

I think i've also seen a few posts on spaying to reduce aggression in females :
http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/community/v ... n#p1323319
http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/community/v ... aggression
http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/community/v ... aggression

I don't know whether that's an option youmight consider but definitely worth you having a read.
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Spev
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by Spev » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:18 am

Thanks for all the advice, lots of things I didn't think of there.
Will start again & let you know how I get on.
Thanks again :)
~Animals are my friends & I don't eat my friends~

Spev
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Re: Alpha female viciously attacking

Post by Spev » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:19 am

Hi again.
Just to update...after following the advice on here with what seemed like some improvement, I was hopeful that it'd work out. But at the end of last week, Ruby attacked Daisy & Charlie again & actually had all three youngsters cowering in a corner while she 'stood guard' & wouldn't let them move anywhere! Coco had become more nervous than she was when she arrived here & Ruby herself was stressed & miserable all the time :(
After carefully consideration, I decided that enough was enough & I found them another home where I took them last night. It's not far from me, I can go & see them whenever I want to, & I know they'll be much happier there without being terrorised.
I tried & tried, it didn't work out & I'll miss the little girls as I'd grown very fond of them...all I need to do now is buy some new curtains!!!!! (mine got mangled in a 'the kids left the cage too close to the curtains at bedtime' incident :lol: )

Many thanks for your advice, it's much appreciated :)
~Animals are my friends & I don't eat my friends~

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