When to reintroduce rats

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Firecat
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When to reintroduce rats

Post by Firecat » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:05 pm

Hi all

I had 4 rats in a large cage. They all got on fine, but one rat was getting distressed at all the play fighting, so I split him and another off and instead had 2 side by side cages (and group floor time).

Everyone gets on, two were quiet and calm during floor time, the other two are more into their play fights (which the others occasionally joined in). No aggression, all in good fun.

The meekest rat has died today so his cage mate is on his own. Can I just recombine them to one cage? The one who wasn't enjoying the rough and tumble has died, so I've no worries about anyone getting picked on.

Can I just recombine them (and monitor) or am I best waiting till Saturday (so around 60 hours from now) when they are cleaned (we have guinea pigs and they tend to bond better in a neutral territory, i.e. a cleaned one)? Don't want the lone rat getting lonely, but also don't want a turf war!

Thanks all.

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cyber ratty
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Re: When to reintroduce rats

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:27 am

The best method of introducing rats is the carrier method - which means essentially putting them into a small carrier together for at least a day, possibly also a night as well or longer if necessary, until the are relaxed and snoozing in a heap. Then move into a neutral small bare cage (e.g. a cheap hamster cage, look for a free/cheap one on local sites if you don't have one), and continue through the other stages. Don't rush any of them - the rats need to be bored and cramped in order to bond.

They may remember each other, and they may establish a new hierarchy quickly, or they may not. You haven't said how old they are, nor how long they've been apart, so it's hard to predict.

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Squirrel
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Re: When to reintroduce rats

Post by Squirrel » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:18 pm

Good advice. We had two lots of rats who lived separately but had free range together. When one died, we combined the survivor with the other group of two. It worked well. I'm sorry for your loss.
Willow, Skittle, Izzy & Rainbow

44 past ratties, 16 boys, 28 girls

Firecat
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Re: When to reintroduce rats

Post by Firecat » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:42 am

Thanks both.

They are a year and a half boys. I'll recombine them slowly, presumably what we want to avoid is squeaking and rough fighting?

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cyber ratty
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Re: When to reintroduce rats

Post by cyber ratty » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:16 am

Squeaking is fine, it doesn't necessarily become audible to us, but there's nothing wrong with rats expressing themselves. The general rule is 'no blood, no foul', although there can sometimes be accidental injuries (so it can be helpful to trim nails beforehand), and if the space is small enough there shouldn't be room for real fighting.

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