I have a bully as a pet rat

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Tereza
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I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by Tereza » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:24 pm

Hello, I come today with a problem that I don't know quite well how to handle. Over 4 months ago I brought into my life two baby rats, Watson and Crick. As the babies they were they used to play wrestling and had little fights but nothing to concerning. But now, (they're 5 months old) the situation has got a little bit difficult.
One of the boys, Crick as outgrown the other (he's much bigger) and lays upon the other and forcely grooms him. He never really attacks him or anything but the problem is Watson yells and yells and yells, to the point I think he's been severely hurt, but no... he has absolutely no scracth. The situation really concerns me because Crick keeps Watson away from the food bowls. Consequently, Watson isn't getting enough food. I have to take Crick outof the cage, so he'll let his brother eat.
What can I do? Should I introduce them to a new rat to see if the group dynamics change? Take them appart?

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cyber ratty
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Re: I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:46 am

I would get Crick neutered, and yes, I would recommend adding a pair of babies after that. It's one reason why a group is far better than a pair, so there isn't always the same rat at the receiving end of the other's behaviour. Hopefully once things are settled, Watson will catch up with his growth.

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[cub]
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Re: I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by [cub] » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:00 pm

I agree that Crick sounds like he's a prime candidate for neutering. I'd also suggest scatter feeding instead of using food bowls, since that will make hogging/guarding the food much harder and ensure Watson can get his fair share. There's more information on scatter feeding here: http://www.fancyratsforum.co.uk/viewtop ... f=14&t=286

You mentioned they're 5 months old now, and you got them 'over 4 months ago'; does that mean they were only 1 month old (or less!) when you got them? :shock: If so, I certainly wouldn't get any more rats from the same place as they're homing out rats far too young. The NFRS minimum homing age is 6 weeks, and 8 weeks is the preferred minimum of most good breeders and rescues in the UK. Additionally, if you'll be introducing them to Watson and Crick, you'll want them to be a tad older, say 9-10 weeks, so that they're big enough to hold their own.
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Tereza
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Re: I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by Tereza » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:45 pm

I live in Portugal and it's not common practice to neuter rats, so I don't think I'll be able to :/ I said over 4 months ago in a very loose way. They were not bought from a breeder, but they were around 8 weeks if I recall well. Unfortunately, the creation of pet rats here is not much developed. Oneof the problems that comes with that is that our rats have a much smaller life expectancy. Most don't reach the 2 year old mark. We still have a long way to go.
Would you still reccomend that I get them new cage companions even if I can't get Crick neutered?

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cyber ratty
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Re: I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:19 am

Yes I would - you may find his behaviour improves with more varied companions.

Once the babies are big enough to defend themselves if necessary (e.g. 10 weeks, about 250g), then use the carrier method and take it slowly (minimum of 3 days and nights for each stage).

Tereza
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Re: I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by Tereza » Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:56 pm

If I may I have another question. What's the reason behind getting them two new cage companions, instead of just one more?

sneezy-rat
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Re: I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by sneezy-rat » Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:08 pm

It's always good to get a pair as the babies have a friend to play with of the same age and don't 'annoy' older ones when they're jumping around etc.

Especially if you have a slightly aggressive chap, he may change who he bullies from your original rat and start to pick on the young ratty.
At least if you have three others he can't just zone in on one and do the same as he's done to Watson!

All the best.

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cyber ratty
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Re: I have a bully as a pet rat

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:58 am

Plus babies need to play with other babies so that they can develop properly both socially and mentally - this is an important aspect, and it's because rats are so intelligent. :luck:

(Also, any good breeder or rescue wouldn't let you take just one, due to the reasons already given.)

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