Socialising new rats

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Jaydykes27
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Socialising new rats

Post by Jaydykes27 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:35 pm

Hi guys

So I adopted my new male rats 4 days ago, from pets at home (which yes, I know are awful, I was in there to get litter and saw these huge rats, in a tiny cage up for adoption, then an employee came over and told us that they were nearly 5 months old, had been to several homes, they were returned because they were 'too noisy'. We held one, who was lovely, and adopted both of them the next day) we were told one of them was slightly shy and would need more work.

So I took them home, put them straight in their cage (which is in our living room) and left them alone. The next day my mum put her hand through the bar's (which I know you shouldnt do) to stroke the more sociable one, and he bit her hard. The next day, the other one did the same to me when I was cleaning.

My plan was to take socialising them very slowly, and to start by just putting my hand in and letting them sniff it.
I've done this several times, as well as just sitting near the cage with the door open. They don't really seem as if they want to come to me, it takes them a long time to come to my hand, and when they do, they nip my finger and try to drag it in the cage, and then when I don't let them, they go away. Not really sure what to do as I'm not making any progress. They have a shoe box which they love sleeping in and lying in, and I'm tempted to pick up the box when theyre both in it and put it on the sofa to let them climb all over me, put I don't want to force them. Ive put in a shirt of mine that ive worn, and they dragged it into there shoe box to sleep in it, so arent to bothered by the smell. any ideas what to do? They've also completly destroyed the fleece they have in their cage, in only four days any way I can stop this too?

Thanks.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Socialising new rats

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:47 pm

1) remove the shoe box and anything else that they can hide in (flat hammocks are okay so long as you can reach them) - this forces them to stay in the open and they will quickly accept that there is no danger to need to hide from.

2) offer them yoghurt on a spoon - it won't hurt if they bite (and they won't bite the spoon twice), and they won't be able to run off with their treat.

3) extract them from the cage (using a tube or pouch if necessary), and go and sit or stand in a different room, keeping them on you (perhaps between layers of clothing like a loose hoody or dressing gown) for at least 20 minutes - this 'forced socialisation' helps them come to realise you are not going to hurt them.

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squeakrat
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Re: Socialising new rats

Post by squeakrat » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:51 pm

Sounds like they may have been fed treats by hand and through the bars, which is why their immediate reaction is to grab at fingers. Mary's tip of offering them yoghurt on a spoon is a good one to teach them not to snatch.

Well done for adopting them and have fun making friends with them :luck:
Jenny x
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Helzie
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Re: Socialising new rats

Post by Helzie » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:02 am

all good advice so far. I'd only add a comment to your last point - there is no way to stop rats destroying things in their cage- it's their cage and I take the view they can do what they like with it! It's natural behaviour. You might want to give them paper to shred and nest with - mine like kitchen roll, tissues and (on one occasion) rude rejection letters from jobs I've applied for.

Is the fleece part of their hammocks etc or is it on the floor of your cage?
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Jaydykes27
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Re: Socialising new rats

Post by Jaydykes27 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:42 pm

cyber ratty wrote:1) remove the shoe box and anything else that they can hide in (flat hammocks are okay so long as you can reach them) - this forces them to stay in the open and they will quickly accept that there is no danger to need to hide from.

2) offer them yoghurt on a spoon - it won't hurt if they bite (and they won't bite the spoon twice), and they won't be able to run off with their treat.

3) extract them from the cage (using a tube or pouch if necessary), and go and sit or stand in a different room, keeping them on you (perhaps between layers of clothing like a loose hoody or dressing gown) for at least 20 minutes - this 'forced socialisation' helps them come to realise you are not going to hurt them.
Thanks for the advice, I've removed the boxes but have kept a few pods that they can kinda hide in, but I can take out of the cage very easily to get them out of.

I can't eat milk so don't have actual yoghurt around, will soy yoghurt or coconut be fine for them? I tried almond butter but they didn't like it at all.

I managed to get the more confident one out by picking up the pod and letting him climb out on me, and once by picking him up and he seemed fairly content, there were no nervous poos or wees so I think that a fairly good sign. I also rewarded him with a treat after wards.
The more nervous one is proving to be more difficult, he cowers away when I try to pick him up, and when I pick him up in the pod he wont actually come out, but ill carry on trying.

Thanks again

Jaydykes27
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Re: Socialising new rats

Post by Jaydykes27 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:48 pm

squeakrat wrote:Sounds like they may have been fed treats by hand and through the bars, which is why their immediate reaction is to grab at fingers. Mary's tip of offering them yoghurt on a spoon is a good one to teach them not to snatch.

Well done for adopting them and have fun making friends with them :luck:
Yes from what the shop assistant said the both had been fed veg by hand, my mum fed them some through the bars on the first day but we haven't since. Hopefully they'll stop nipping soon :?

Jaydykes27
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Re: Socialising new rats

Post by Jaydykes27 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:58 pm

Helzie wrote:all good advice so far. I'd only add a comment to your last point - there is no way to stop rats destroying things in their cage- it's their cage and I take the view they can do what they like with it! It's natural behaviour. You might want to give them paper to shred and nest with - mine like kitchen roll, tissues and (on one occasion) rude rejection letters from jobs I've applied for.

Is the fleece part of their hammocks etc or is it on the floor of your cage?
The fleece is on the floor of their cage, and because one is really sneezy even with just litter in the toilet I'd be reluctant to use anything else :|

I'll try some paper out for them to shred- would be really good if I could get them to stop, as ive had them less than a week and they've already destroyed two fleeces :(

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squeakrat
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Re: Socialising new rats

Post by squeakrat » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:42 pm

Soy yoghurt will be fine - anything yummy on a spoon basically!
Jenny x
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:rattyrainbow: Lola, Ruby, Chick, Hope, Pocket, Belle, Dory, Silvermist, Poppy, Tarka, Jasmine, Flora, Penny, Lyra, Cassandra, Luna, Wren, Merryweather, Harper, Izzy, Tigger, Squeak, Bandit, Vandal :rattyrainbow:

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