Author Topic: Rough Intro  (Read 150 times)

Offline alleycat12321

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Rough Intro
« on: November 21, 2008, 12:46:31 AM »
My little girlie is finally done with her quarantine, and I'm trying to start intro's to the big girls. 
The new girls is young (3months) and the other girls are 2 1/2, 2, 2, and three sisters that are going to be a year in December. 
The 2 1/2 yr old get's along great with the baby... so I'm not worried about her at all.  They are together in a separate cage at the moment.
One of the 2yr old's poked a little, but get's along fine with her now also.   The other 2 yr old squabbles a little, but I'm not too concerned about her. 
I'm mostly concerned about the three sisters.  One of them is a little better, but still ends up fighting with the baby.  One is in the middle and the third is the most aggressive towards the baby.  They are all VERY sweet and never fight with anyone... but for some reason I'm having a hard time with this girl. 
The baby will squeak whenever they are even close to her, then she flips out and runs away.  That just makes things worse and the other girls go after her.... then start pinning each other. 
I did intro's on a neutral territory... I gave them a bath... i cleaned the cage really well... I put a drop of vanilla on them... everything I could think of and they still seem to fight.  I'm not sure if it was from one of the other girls, or not, but the baby ended up getting a poke on her foot and showed blood. 
Is there not hope?  Should I wait until she's older?   :help: 
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Offline scout

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Re: Rough Intro
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2008, 09:39:54 AM »
Nope, don't wait until she's older, but do take more time with the neutral territory play time. Introductions can't be done in an hour, or even a day, except in the most unusual cases. It's fortunate the older girls like her, so she does have someone to stay with.

There's nothing wrong with your process, you just need to take more time with it. Set up several play sessions during the day (as you're able). Put all the rats in your neutral area and keep them there until you see the aggressive behavior begin. I would then remove the aggressor (put her in the baby's cage alone) and let the rats continue to play. If another rat gets aggressive, remove her and put her with the first rat. When play time ends, put the older rat and the baby in the younger girls cage, and the younger girls in the baby/older girls cage. In other words, swap their cages. Do this each time you take them out for neutral play time. Continue with this until the aggressive  girls no longer show any aggression for an hour of play time. You can also put the cages next to each other, a couple of inches apart so they can't reach each other but can see and smell each other.

Then start the whole process over in an area where they normally play. You'll see some aggression again, but it should be a little less. Use the same process until there is no more aggression for an hour from any rat.

Then, clean the cage that you'll use for all the rats thoroughly so there is no scent left from any of the rats. Change the litter and the houses (I'd use plastic since wood will retain smells), hammocks, food bowls etc all around so it's new for everyone. I even change the location of the cage if possible. Then let everyone out for a long play period before putting them in the new cage. I like to do this in the morning of a day I'll be home all day. Once everyone is tired of playing, put them all in the cage together and keep an eye on them. If anyone gets aggressive, you can remove her for a few minutes. Then put her back in. Keep taking her out for a few minutes until she quits being aggressive.

By taking your time and doing introductions slowly, you'll lessen your baby's fear of the aggressive girls and reduce the risk she'll get injured. It may take longer, but it's worth it for her safety and your peace of mind.

Good luck!
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Offline alleycat12321

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Re: Rough Intro
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2008, 10:54:34 AM »
Thanks for you help! 
I've been doing them every night for an hour, for about a week now.

I've been doing pretty much what you said... switching them in the cages and stuff.

I never tried just removing the aggressor(s) though, so I'll try that tonight.

Thanks again!
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