wondering if it's a good time for a new rat

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Our Mrs Reynolds
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wondering if it's a good time for a new rat

Post by Our Mrs Reynolds » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:16 pm

Hi all,

I'm in a position to rescue a third rat over the Christmas holidays, but as I'm a new rat parent, I'm not sure if this is necessarily the best timing on my part.

Long story short: I rescued two brothers when they were babies, they will be just over six months by the end of the year. One boy is very chill and sweet, while his brother is happy and playful, but still won't let me pick him up and has to be 'tricked' into being touched at all. I am hoping that a third rat will help the skittish boy relax, plus I'd like them to have a larger group anyway. Neither boy is neutered and I wasn't planning on making them undergo the operation unless it becomes necessary. Finally, I'll be home for about three weeks over the holiday period, so I'll be able to keep an eye on everyone, but probably won't have this much time at home again until next season (there's a depressing thought!) when the boys will be a year and half.

Is it wise to introduce six month old, un-neutered boys to a new rat (who I'll adopt from a rescue, but otherwise don't have anyone specific in mind), especially considering my inexperience with rats generally? I can't tell if the pros outweigh the cons at this point.

Thanks! :)

PS. why aren't rats more popular?! I can't get over how cute they are :love:
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[cub]
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Re: wondering if it's a good time for a new rat

Post by [cub] » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:08 pm

Provided you have a large enough cage and sufficient funds for any possible vet trips, I don't see why not. You'll need to introduce new rats eventually anyway, to ensure that no rat is left on his own, and if the new friends are reasonably confident then that may help with your shyer boy. Having a 1 year gap between new incomers is a pretty good spacing, so if the Christmas holidays are the best time for you to embark on rat introductions, then that can be your new holiday tradition.

Juveniles are generally easiest to introduce to adult males, and rescues do often have youngsters in, but you can also introduce adults to each other. If you're on Facebook, the Rat Rescue Network also has people posting about their own or other rats in need of good homes, if you're happy to do a private rehome: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RRNUK/ Do be aware that young rats should have similar age company, so if you adopt juveniles you'll need to adopt a pair. That way they'll have each other to be silly youngsters with and won't pester the adults so much.

I'd recommend the carrier method of introductions, and don't be tempted to rush ahead. Some rescues (e.g. Wood Green) will help with introductions as well, so it's worth asking for assistance if you feel like you don't know what you're doing! (We've all been there ... I still live there. :lol: )
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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Our Mrs Reynolds
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Re: wondering if it's a good time for a new rat

Post by Our Mrs Reynolds » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:32 pm

Hey cub,

That's really helpful, thanks! Gah, now I have to wait 'til Christmas ;)

Good point about the one year gap between intakes, I hadn't thought of that, but it does work out well.

Can you please just clarify what age range 'juveniles' covers in rats?

I'll definitely follow that advice and do a kind of research deep-dive into introduction methods. I'll take a look at those rescue options as well; Wood Green's on my list, but I wasn't aware of their introduction assistance.

Ta!
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Re: wondering if it's a good time for a new rat

Post by [cub] » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:30 pm

Our Mrs Reynolds wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:32 pm
Can you please just clarify what age range 'juveniles' covers in rats?
I'm not an expert, but I'd say that 10-12 weeks is ideal for introductions (much younger than 10 weeks verges into too small to safely introduce territory, but much more than 12 weeks and it starts being more like an adult to adult introduction). You don't always manage to get rats in exactly the right age range though, unless you go to a breeder, but most good breeders have waiting lists measured in months. For needing similar age company, I'd say probably up to 4-6 months?

There are a number of introduction methods covered here: http://www.isamurats.co.uk/introducing-rats.html
The carrier method is the most reliable, but sometimes a situation warrants the use of another method. For the carrier method, most people just skip the neutral space introduction and go straight into a carrier together.
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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