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 Post subject: One of my boys fights everyone, including me!
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:54 pm
Posts: 10
It seems like a common problem, but it's proving very hard for me to judge how to react to this one!

I have 5 boys, all unneutered. One of them is the father (about 19 months old) and the other 4 are his kids (about 5 month old). I picked them up from a shelter about a month ago.
Now, they all fight a little bit, but for the most part it's very good natured and they'll often cosy up right afterwards, so it doesn't worry me so much. One of them however (the largest boy named Ghost) seems to pick fights a lot more than the others, both in the cage and outside it, they tend to be noisier, and the others seem to be avoiding him during their free-roam time.
Interestingly, he's started picking fights with my hand in exactly the same way he does with the other boys - he'll be siding up to my hand, pouncing on it, trying to turn it over. It's only ever when he's roaming around around and it always starts off seeming very playful. I'll wrestle with him a bit, tickle him, he'll scamper off and then keep coming back. But then after a while he seems genuinely riled up with his fur puffed up and he'll start biting quite hard. Not quite enough to hurt me, but it's not clear how serious about it he is. Obviously, I've yet to be overpowered by a rat, but he's certainly giving it a go.

It seems like he's just much more into rough play than he ought to be. I'd rather not neuter him if I can possibly avoid it. Aside from being traumatic, I'm also not sure how it would affect cage politics.
Perhaps a month isn't quite long enough for them to have settled into their (rather large) accommodations? Should I avoid 'play fighting' with Ghost? Is there something else I can be doing to let him know to be more gentle with his brothers? Or do I just have to bite the bullet for the sake of sustained cage happiness and have him snipped?

Here's Odin, Kabuki, Coffee and Ghost on the right. They're sweeties!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pcbJqQ ... m87nQ/view


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 Post subject: Re: One of my boys fights everyone, including me!
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
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Location: South Cambridgeshire
Personally, I would opt for the neuter, but if you want to leave it a bit longer in the hope he will temper his own behaviour, then you will need to be firm with him so he doesn't get away with dominating you - stop engaging with play fighting, instead be sure to occasionally pick him up on your own terms, and put him down when you are ready rather than when he wriggles.

If the cage dynamics don't settle, it could be worth going through the carrier method steps for introductions, as they will be forced to settle a new hierarchy more quickly. Go slowly though.

However, if he continues to cause hassle for everyone, or gets worse, then it's not fair to let the situation continue, and neutering will calm him down. You may then find the same problem with his brothers, but an overly hormonal rat isn't a happy one, so it's definitely the right choice to make.

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 Post subject: Re: One of my boys fights everyone, including me!
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:54 pm
Posts: 10
cyber ratty wrote:
Personally, I would opt for the neuter, but if you want to leave it a bit longer in the hope he will temper his own behaviour, then you will need to be firm with him so he doesn't get away with dominating you - stop engaging with play fighting, instead be sure to occasionally pick him up on your own terms, and put him down when you are ready rather than when he wriggles.

If the cage dynamics don't settle, it could be worth going through the carrier method steps for introductions, as they will be forced to settle a new hierarchy more quickly. Go slowly though.

However, if he continues to cause hassle for everyone, or gets worse, then it's not fair to let the situation continue, and neutering will calm him down. You may then find the same problem with his brothers, but an overly hormonal rat isn't a happy one, so it's definitely the right choice to make.


Ah, thank you! These are good tips. Is there somewhere I can read about the 'carrier method'? I still have the carrier I brought them over with.

Some days are definitely better than others. For the most part, he loves getting attention and climbing, so I don't want to jump hastily into neutering. I am still considering it though. After Ghost, Riff-Raff (not pictured) also seems to fancy himself king of the castle, but he's not nearly as much of a pain to everyone.


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 Post subject: Re: One of my boys fights everyone, including me!
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:29 pm
Posts: 63
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Here is the carrier method explanation. It would be well worth a try :)

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=52

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