Three-Way Intro Advice

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bazu
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Three-Way Intro Advice

Post by bazu » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:00 am

I'm going to be collecting three new rats today (yay!), and while I've done intros a number of times before using the carrier method, I just wanted to check a couple of specific points regarding this one...

My existing rats are two girls (Astrid and Freya, 26 months), and I'll be collecting a neutered boy (7m) and two girls (either a 4m or 7m pair, depending which I choose). From what I gather, the boy was neutered due to cagemate aggression, and has just completed his healing/cooldown period, so hasn't been introduced to the other girls prior to today. In essence, then, I'm working with three groups.

My questions are:

- Should I intro the two newbie groups first, then intro them to my older pair, or start them all off together?
- I'll be taking two carriers with me to collect the rats, but would I be better taking the girls and boy home in the same carrier (essentially jumpstarting the intro there) with the second as a backup in case trouble breaks out, or should I keep the boy separate and wait until everyone's home to reduce pre-intro stress and start all three groups on a level footing?
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[cub]
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Re: Three-Way Intro Advice

Post by [cub] » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:45 am

I'm not an expert, but I'd intro all 3 groups together from the start, and I'd start the intro when you collect them. The latter has worked well for me so far (in my admittedly rather limited experience :lol: ) and if you're bringing a spare carrier (and maybe also a spray bottle of water and pair of gloves) I don't see any reason not to at least try to intro right away. Yes, you'll be starting in a more environmentally stressful situation, but that should reduce the social stress of meeting new rats, and it's the social stress you're trying to overcome with intros. First meetings are always going to be stressful, but there are different kinds of stress, and by adding external stressors (strange smells, sounds, movement) it should reduce the amount of internal (to the group) stress when they first get together. Obviously things will get more heated once they get home and everyone starts settling down and feeling more confident, but by that point they'll have already gotten to know each other a bit and that should help things go more smoothly than they otherwise might.

And there's no sense putting 2 groups through the intro process only to have to do it all over again when adding the 3rd group. If things do turn out to be too difficult with all 5 of them together then you can separate and re-start with a more gradual intro process, but from what I've seen that's rarely necessary, so there's no sense assuming the worst and putting everyone (including yourself) through more work unnecessarily.

Good luck! :luck:
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Caza66
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Re: Three-Way Intro Advice

Post by Caza66 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:33 pm

I agree, intro all at once.

Good luck :luck:
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bazu
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Re: Three-Way Intro Advice

Post by bazu » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:53 pm

Thanks for the advice! :)

Touch wood, it's going really well so far! In the 'small neutral space' phase, my boss-girl went dishing out grooming right off the bat and got groomed back, and there was no shuffling or hedgehogging or anything. They're all settled in a carrier now without the slightest hint of drama, so fingers crossed we're off to a good start :D
Currently servant to Pidge and Hunk.

Gone but never forgotten: Twenty-seven beautiful whiskery angels

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