this may put me off rats altogether....

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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Ormrod91
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this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Ormrod91 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:28 pm

sorry about the title, but its true.
As some of you know, i have been asking peoples opinion on getting a friend for my one rat Cocoa. well many people said to get another one, around the same age, and obviously the same sex.

So as planned, i went to go and get the new rat. and now three days have passed since i got the new one. well i put the cages next to each other, not too close though, so they could see each other and smell them a bit. well i noticed Cocoa was making a puffing noise at the new rat through the bars and her fur went on end as well, i know this is a sign of aggression, so i moved the cages away from each other for a night, I've tried intros on my bed, my lap to be exact, with both girls and cocoa couldnt have been anymore aggressive if she had tried. she puffed up, started walking along side the other, and kept sinking her teeth into this poor baby rat, whom wouldnt bite back and did not provoke her what so ever. So they both went to their own cages. I then put their cages next to each other again today and although there was a bit of puffing there wasnt much. and cocoa actually slept nearest to the other cage. so i thought hmm this is promising, and after an incredibly hard start to the year, i need them to get along, for their sake. so i sat with them on my lap about an hour ago and cocoa went crazy on the other rat, again who didnt retaliate or provoke. within seconds i pulled them apart and went to place cocoa away from the other rat, on the bed, and cocoa stopped trying to get to the other rat, and what seemed like purposely, took three chunks out of my hand, it drew alot of blood, and the only reason she stopped biting my hand was because i pulled it away, and as soon as i did she caught the scent of the other one and tried to go for her again.
so with a bad, sore bleeding hand, a terrified baby rat in one hand, and cocoa, still trying to maul me in the other,i put them in their own cages.

cocoa was lovely before this, before i brought another one in, and although she was a bit hyper with daise when free ranging on my bed, she wasnt anything like this.

i think its actually been nearly two hours ago that this happened, not an hour, and ive been balling my eyes out ever since, my hand throbs so much and still hasnt stopped bleeding, i cant believe she has done this. but im glad it was my hand and not the baby..

i dont know what to do, i cant give the baby up, its not fair on her, and i cant give cocoa up as its not fair on her... im obviously not ever going to let them have contact again but what on earth do i do now??? im still in utter shock and very tearful, and cant help but think that maybe some rats DO like to be alone, my other two are happy alone, and maybe cocoa is the same, but i just dont understand, she got so clingy and i thought, and got told on here that that was a sign that she needed rat company.

this has actually put me off wanting more, im now so scared that it will happen again, its already happened with marley, where she got violent out of the blue.. i dont know what to do for the best...

sorry for the moaning, i just need to hear something positive right now, and i guess i need a little bit of help.
thank you for reading this.
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by pineappletastic » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:49 pm

I'm sorry your intro didn't go well. There are some good threads on doing more difficult intros. I've had good results with the carrier method, if find intros go best if they can't see and smell each other beforehand, I think this just agitates them, some people use vanilla essence on the backs of their necks to disguise their smell as well. I know it's a bit too late but it's a good idea to have a spray bottles of water and towels on hand to break up fights, rat skin is much tougher than ours, I'm sorry you got hurt.
When you say she was biting the new rat, was blood drawn?
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Jimi+Milo » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:42 am

I'm sorry you've had such a bad intro, and hope your ok!

My lads made my intro very easy for me so I cant give advise from personal experience, just what I think I'd probably do if it was me.

I would probably move the cages away from each other (preferably in separate room) for about a week and not let them have any contact with each other. Then after the week had passed try again but in a really controlled manor, I'd probably hold Cocoa (fairly tight so she cant wriggle free) and let her smell the baby, see how that went and then do it a few more times before I'd be happy to let them have even very well supervised free range. I would put something smelly on them (like vanilla essence as mentioned) to distract them a bit when they do get their next free range.

I know a lot of people use the carrier method but personally I wouldnt be comfortable with it, because I think if it doesnt go well they're in a confined space so baby cant escape, and if I was to put my hand in I might loose it lol, but thats just me.

Please dont get disheartened, there is still hope. Our pets are like our babies so its only natural to be upset when things go wrong, especially when we're trying to help them. :luck: :luck: :luck:
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by HannahJ82 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:24 am

Sorry to read that this intro went badly. I have had a couple of nightmare intros over the years with my boys; one ripped a new boy's flank open!

For really tricky ones I put them in the bath (starting with new rat + alpha then adding more rats gradually), have the shower attachment to hand (same as a water spritzer) to break up fights and I have used vanilla essence on occasions too - it is strong yet palatable and the idea is that they all smell the same (and it encourages licking, so non-aggressive contact). I then move them into an empty cage if it goes "ok" and keep nearby with a water spritzer...

It can take days or weeks, one step forward, two steps back sometimes, but you'll get there :luck:
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Rattybabe » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:58 am

How old is Cocoa?
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Woody » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:34 am

Sorry it didn't go well. A lot of people seem to have good intros, we virtually never do, the last one we did was the fastest ever at a few days.

To me this seems fairly normal for introducing girls together (and rats :lol: ), and is how most of our intros go.

Important things to note when intro'ing rats, have a small towel or something to pick up the rat who is aggressive. If you don't have one, you will get bitten putting your hand between them or picking them up.

What we do when introing is first, put them in a neutral territory, such as the bed, to see how it goes. If that doesn't go well, we put them in the bath (empty!) where they are normally concerned about other things. If things are ok there we go back to the bed to see how this goes. Continue until that is sorted (for us, that is a minimum of two days). Eventually they start tolerating each other more, so you can clean out the cage and put them in together with no igloos or places to corner. After a while of that, they should be getting on better, so they can have igloos back. After a while, they will be cuddled up together and you will forget how much they hated each other at first.

It is normal, they do have to sort out their hierarchy, and they will fight in general anyway.

And yes, some rats don't like some other rats, but it will take months if intros to work out that (our longest intro took 6 weeks, in the end they were inseparable) - we had two rats that didn't like each other - they came to an arrangement in the end.
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by ratobsessed » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:44 pm

my intros went quiet well and quick but sending Cocoa and u my good intro vibes!!! xx
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Ormrod91 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:41 pm

pineappletastic wrote:I'm sorry your intro didn't go well. There are some good threads on doing more difficult intros. I've had good results with the carrier method, if find intros go best if they can't see and smell each other beforehand, I think this just agitates them, some people use vanilla essence on the backs of their necks to disguise their smell as well. I know it's a bit too late but it's a good idea to have a spray bottles of water and towels on hand to break up fights, rat skin is much tougher than ours, I'm sorry you got hurt.
When you say she was biting the new rat, was blood drawn?
yeh, i would try again if i had more confidence, and didnt see what i have seen, it doesnt sound that bad in my explanation of it, but it really was awful. there is no way i will be putting them anywhere near each other now, not after what happened, i know as an owner it will go just as wrong or even be worse for these two.
ive done many other intros before and ive always put the cages near each other, so that they can get used to each other smell, as its always been too much of a shock if they havent seen or smell them before, so i was actually going by my own experience and my knowledge as an owner.
ive used water before and it doesnt work when a rat gets in a frenzy, and i dont use towels because i find it difficult to get hold of them properly, and when they get agitated like they do they get quicker. You might be right about the skin of rats, but ive always found their skin is softer than ours. my rats have drawn blood on each other easier than what they have drawn blood on me? but i might be wrong?
and no, no blood was drawn but thats simply because i separated them quickly, but if i had of left them to it, she would have tore her apart, and the new rat didnt even fight back, cocoa was all over her. it was truly terrifying, it hurt me to see my little girl that was so sweet to do that to another rat, and i dont honestly know what to do now. thank you for your reply
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Ormrod91 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:54 pm

Jimi+Milo wrote:I'm sorry you've had such a bad intro, and hope your ok!

My lads made my intro very easy for me so I cant give advise from personal experience, just what I think I'd probably do if it was me.

I would probably move the cages away from each other (preferably in separate room) for about a week and not let them have any contact with each other. Then after the week had passed try again but in a really controlled manor, I'd probably hold Cocoa (fairly tight so she cant wriggle free) and let her smell the baby, see how that went and then do it a few more times before I'd be happy to let them have even very well supervised free range. I would put something smelly on them (like vanilla essence as mentioned) to distract them a bit when they do get their next free range.

I know a lot of people use the carrier method but personally I wouldnt be comfortable with it, because I think if it doesnt go well they're in a confined space so baby cant escape, and if I was to put my hand in I might loose it lol, but thats just me.

Please dont get disheartened, there is still hope. Our pets are like our babies so its only natural to be upset when things go wrong, especially when we're trying to help them. :luck: :luck: :luck:
yeh im ok, thank you for your concern, my hand looks awful, i have massive chunks missing all down my palm to my wrist, shes bitten me so badly she was lucky she didnt hit a vein because if she had of bitten me there like she has my hand, i would have been in trouble. thats how bad it is. but what hurts more is that she reacted like that.

yeh ive had quite a few intros, but only my last and this one have gone terribly wrong.

theres no way they can go in separate rooms, but i have moved them around the room, so they cant see each other. i did actually hold her and she still wriggled free and got hold of the other, she doesnt like her, and would kill her if she got the chance. honestly.

i tried the carrier method, and they wouldn have it, and i feel the same, its more confined which would cause arguments wouldnt it. so yeh i agree with you there.

mine are my babies, i always tell people that i have four children, daughters, and for the people that know me, its normal, but for people that dont, they think im a young mum haha. i think thats why it hurt so much more, because ive already had a failed intro with marley and daise, and they are happy alone, but i still have guilt. but this was incredibly terrifying.

before i put the cages near each other i had them both on my lap and cocoa went crazy, and that was when i just got home with the new baby, so its not like she could smell her before.
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:smileyrat: Cocoa Roo, Isabella, Lace, Kizzmae & JerryLee :smileyrat:
:rainbow: Frodo, Elijah, Woody, Pipsqiek, Pixie, Tobey, Lili Rose, Tiddles & 8 littlens, Perky, Kizzbo, Pinky, DaisieMae, Marley :rainbow:

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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Hobbit Stealer » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:00 pm

My intros have all been horrendous, with what you describe; screaming, tearing violent all out fights... blood shed, absolutely terrified rats (I took on lone rats, so they had social issues). At the beginning of the process it was awful, horrible to see and made me want to give up straight away. I just thought I'd let you know I've come through the other side, it took weeks, but even after such vicious encounters at first my groups did settle and can now be found snuggling together in a hammock. So there is hope if you want to persevere! :)
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Ormrod91 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:03 pm

HannahJ82 wrote:Sorry to read that this intro went badly. I have had a couple of nightmare intros over the years with my boys; one ripped a new boy's flank open!

For really tricky ones I put them in the bath (starting with new rat + alpha then adding more rats gradually), have the shower attachment to hand (same as a water spritzer) to break up fights and I have used vanilla essence on occasions too - it is strong yet palatable and the idea is that they all smell the same (and it encourages licking, so non-aggressive contact). I then move them into an empty cage if it goes "ok" and keep nearby with a water spritzer...

It can take days or weeks, one step forward, two steps back sometimes, but you'll get there :luck:
jeez, thats awful, they do get pretty bad dont they, as i said before, i know for a fact if cocoa could have killed her she would have done.

if i were to put them in the bath it would be the same thing, mybe worse as i wouldnt be able to get my hands between as quick as i did.

thank you for your advice anyway, and i hope your little boy got better?
Mum To Many Amazing Rats:
:smileyrat: Cocoa Roo, Isabella, Lace, Kizzmae & JerryLee :smileyrat:
:rainbow: Frodo, Elijah, Woody, Pipsqiek, Pixie, Tobey, Lili Rose, Tiddles & 8 littlens, Perky, Kizzbo, Pinky, DaisieMae, Marley :rainbow:

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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Ormrod91 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:05 pm

Rattybabe wrote:How old is Cocoa?
she is four months old. and has been here and alone for about 2 months, but she does sit on my bed with daise sometimes and she gets hyper and too dominating with her as well. and the new baby is 2 months old
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:smileyrat: Cocoa Roo, Isabella, Lace, Kizzmae & JerryLee :smileyrat:
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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Ormrod91 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:17 pm

Woody wrote:Sorry it didn't go well. A lot of people seem to have good intros, we virtually never do, the last one we did was the fastest ever at a few days.

To me this seems fairly normal for introducing girls together (and rats :lol: ), and is how most of our intros go.

Important things to note when intro'ing rats, have a small towel or something to pick up the rat who is aggressive. If you don't have one, you will get bitten putting your hand between them or picking them up.

What we do when introing is first, put them in a neutral territory, such as the bed, to see how it goes. If that doesn't go well, we put them in the bath (empty!) where they are normally concerned about other things. If things are ok there we go back to the bed to see how this goes. Continue until that is sorted (for us, that is a minimum of two days). Eventually they start tolerating each other more, so you can clean out the cage and put them in together with no igloos or places to corner. After a while of that, they should be getting on better, so they can have igloos back. After a while, they will be cuddled up together and you will forget how much they hated each other at first.

It is normal, they do have to sort out their hierarchy, and they will fight in general anyway.

And yes, some rats don't like some other rats, but it will take months if intros to work out that (our longest intro took 6 weeks, in the end they were inseparable) - we had two rats that didn't like each other - they came to an arrangement in the end.
ive done intros before, ive had rats since i was 11 and im now 19, so i am quite experienced with them, and know my rats very well. and my intros have always been extremely successful apart from this one and the last. i cant get hold of the aggressive rat with a towel, when they get like that they are quick, and with a towel over them you cant really see them which makes it harder to get hold of them, and id quite happily put my hands between them if it meant i got bitten instead of the rat.
i know its normal for hem to bicker, but it isnt normal for them to try and tear each other apart, or in this case one to tear up the other one, the baby didnt even defend herself, so i wont be putting them anywhere near each other again , as i wont be putting her in danger.
my only problem now is what to do with cocoa. thank you for your reply
Mum To Many Amazing Rats:
:smileyrat: Cocoa Roo, Isabella, Lace, Kizzmae & JerryLee :smileyrat:
:rainbow: Frodo, Elijah, Woody, Pipsqiek, Pixie, Tobey, Lili Rose, Tiddles & 8 littlens, Perky, Kizzbo, Pinky, DaisieMae, Marley :rainbow:

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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Ormrod91 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:25 pm

Hobbit Stealer wrote:My intros have all been horrendous, with what you describe; screaming, tearing violent all out fights... blood shed, absolutely terrified rats (I took on lone rats, so they had social issues). At the beginning of the process it was awful, horrible to see and made me want to give up straight away. I just thought I'd let you know I've come through the other side, it took weeks, but even after such vicious encounters at first my groups did settle and can now be found snuggling together in a hammock. So there is hope if you want to persevere! :)

thank you so much, this helps, it does give me a bit of hope. how did you go about your intros? if you dont mind me asking?

ive spearated the cages so they cant see each other, but cocoa smelt her today on my hands and she still puffed up and hissed in aggression.
i think i might keep the cages apart and do no intros for a week, and then try again? is that how you did it?
im just so scared about the baby being hurt, cocoa had blood down her face from where she bit me so badly, i had to rip my hand out of her mouth to stop her biting me more. i dont have any confidence in her anymore, so dont know what to do. thank you for your reply, it helped to hear of someone who has gone through the same and got through.
Mum To Many Amazing Rats:
:smileyrat: Cocoa Roo, Isabella, Lace, Kizzmae & JerryLee :smileyrat:
:rainbow: Frodo, Elijah, Woody, Pipsqiek, Pixie, Tobey, Lili Rose, Tiddles & 8 littlens, Perky, Kizzbo, Pinky, DaisieMae, Marley :rainbow:

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Re: this may put me off rats altogether....

Post by Woody » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:48 pm

Ormrod91 wrote:
Woody wrote:Sorry it didn't go well. A lot of people seem to have good intros, we virtually never do, the last one we did was the fastest ever at a few days.

To me this seems fairly normal for introducing girls together (and rats :lol: ), and is how most of our intros go.
..
ive done intros before, ive had rats since i was 11 and im now 19, so i am quite experienced with them, and know my rats very well. and my intros have always been extremely successful apart from this one and the last.
I am sorry that you took what I said to me saying you didn't know how to do intros, or that you were inexperienced. I was just saying that to me, that really doesn't sound very unusual, so was surprised that that sort of intro was new to you.
Ormrod91 wrote: i cant get hold of the aggressive rat with a towel, when they get like that they are quick, and with a towel over them you cant really see them which makes it harder to get hold of them, and id quite happily put my hands between them if it meant i got bitten instead of the rat.
I wouldn't - the rat can recover faster than you. I normally find it easy to get them with the towel, they are the ones screaming and thrashing round!
Ormrod91 wrote:i know its normal for hem to bicker, but it isnt normal for them to try and tear each other apart
Which is why I was commenting, as to me it sounds like you have been very lucky in your intros - it is what I would expect on a first intro. In fact my last intro I was amazed at as there was only a bit of fluffing, squeeking and a bit of a squabble, not what i am used to at all.

Anyway, I hope you find a way to intro them succesfully.
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