How to build op the group

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oowie
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How to build op the group

Post by oowie » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:24 am

My two 8 weeks old males are doing great. Hij bought them a CN single cage. I want to expand my group to max 4.
At the moment it happens that one of them is sleeping while the other one is active and awake. They are different in energy levels. For this i would like tp take in 2 more kittens, but eventually i want a mixed age groups maximum 4. Would you take in 2 more now? Or when these two are older?
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by Feolthanos » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:42 am

If you want a mixed age group, then I'd say wait. 8 weeks is still really young and you'll find your group passing on at a similar time frame, which will be hard for you, but also for the rats. If however you are finding that your rats just aren't getting the company they need due to their different rhythms, then maybe that is something to consider.
Are you with your rats enough to know that this the case though? I will find one regularly pottering around on his own out of my rats, but they have main parts of the day (and my OH assures me during the night) that they are both out and about together.

I would consider not waiting too long to add to your pair, as rats do well in groups, but I think if mixed age is what your after then 8 weeks is too early to make that call. As I have 2 10 week old boys myself at the moment, I would be really interested in what other more experienced owners have to say about it too though, as you'll want to try and avoid any crappy hormonal stages to do intros.

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Re: How to build op the group

Post by oowie » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:39 am

Yeah the hormonal stage.... i think it is adding two now, or wait for a year.
They are playing and sleeping together, but one of them is just more active and wants to play when the other one is lazy.
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cyber ratty
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by cyber ratty » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:08 am

Rats do do better in groups of 3 or more for that very reason - I would get another 8 week old now (can you get a sibling from the same place?), and then add 2 more in a year's time, and then again once your numbers drop to 3. Your group will therefore fluctuate between 3 and 5, but most of the time you'll probably have just 4.

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Re: How to build op the group

Post by [cub] » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:21 am

You could also consider adding a pair of older rats, if a suitable kitten can't be found; they won't provide age-appropriate play in the same way, but they can still help spread the social load a bit, and also produce a more mixed-age group.

I have to warn you, a group of 4 is unlikely to be viable as an absolute maximum in the long term. You can (and it is entirely reasonable to) plan for that, but rats have an annoying habit of nodding thoughtfully at your carefully made plans and then pooping on them. :roll: :lol: I used to think I wanted a maximum of 4 myself, until I ended up in a situation where I had to go to 5: I had 2 seniors and 2 young adults, when one of the young adults died unexpectedly, and I was left with a choice between either waiting for the seniors to die and then rushing to find companions for the remaining young adult (and indeed hoping they would die in order of age), or adding more rats immediately and having a group of 5. I chose the latter, which is just as well as the seniors ended up living another 10 months and were seriously geriatric by the end.
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by oowie » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:50 pm

cyber ratty wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:08 am
Rats do do better in groups of 3 or more for that very reason - I would get another 8 week old now (can you get a sibling from the same place?), and then add 2 more in a year's time, and then again once your numbers drop to 3. Your group will therefore fluctuate between 3 and 5, but most of the time you'll probably have just 4.
I have just found a breeder who has 2 beautiful boys available. They are ready to leave in 4 weeks, they are 8 weeks old then.

My cage is big enough for 6 i believe, so adding two now, and another two when some are aging wouldn't be a problem.....

Oh my..... this is soooo hard!

How di you do a intro with 4 young rats? Is this the same way as with mixed ages?
My current boys are around 8 weeks old now, will be 12 when/if i take in the other two, who will be 8 weeks old.
Are minimum bodyweights important?
Or can you just introduce 4 youngs directly? Just start in a small neutral cage?
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by oowie » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:45 am

We decided to get the two kittens, to make a group of 4.
I'm very excited! Now we have to wait 4 weeks....

Any advice on how to inttoduce the 4 kittens to eachother?
The new kittens wil be around 6-7 weeks then and the boyw i have now will be around 12-13 weeks.
Can i do the carriermethod? Or can i just put them together since they are all still very young?
I have done intro's in the past, but not with only young kittens. Don'tknow if that is different ?
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by cyber ratty » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:48 am

It should be very straightforward, but that depends on the maturity of your older kittens and how big the younger ones are. Use the carrier method, but it may be possible to skip most of it and just go straight into the main cage after spending a few hours in the carrier.

If the younger ones are 200g or more when you go to collect them, I'd take your older pair with you so they can travel back together in the same carrier. But if they are smaller than that, then I'd keep them in a temporary cage while they've grown a bit more.

If your older pair show any signs of real dominance behaviour (as opposed to playfights) with the younger ones when you start intros, then I'd go through the full process (carrier -> hamster cage -> +hammock -> main cage).

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Re: How to build op the group

Post by frodo quin » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:59 pm

The idea is the same, but it usually goes a lot easier, so you can go through the process faster. I would expect that you can have them in a half-decorated cage in 24 hours.

I don’t use a carrier but introduce them on neutral territory and move on to a small cage if they don’t show aggression.

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Re: How to build op the group

Post by oowie » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:45 am

Ok thank you.
Should the new rats have a minimum weight for the intro? Now that all of them are still young?

I know when having adult rats and introducing new young rats,the young rats should weigh 100gr minimum.
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by cyber ratty » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:04 pm

Young rats need to be over 200g for introducing to adults, if they are under 100g they shouldn't be homed, as that is really tiny.

With kittens to kittens I guess it depends how big the older ones are, just use your judgement - at 8 weeks they should be fine to be introduced to 12 week olds.

When I split my litters, the baby boys move into a bachelor group which will sometimes already have kittens in from an older litter (there won't be more than a 3 week age gap), and they are obviously all still quite small.

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Re: How to build op the group

Post by oowie » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:51 am

Thanks for all the advice.
Another question. The new kittens are not used to scatter feeding.
My 2 current rats are used to scatterfeeded in a small area.
Can i just start the new ones with scatterfeeding, or should i feed them from the bowl first to now for sure they are eating enough?
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:14 am

Keep scatter feeding - they will pick it up from the others, although I'm sure their instincts would kick in anyway.

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Re: How to build op the group

Post by oowie » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:26 am

What do you think? My 2 boys are now 12 weeks old and seem te be playing rough lately. Maybe puberty is coming....
Ne new boys will arive next week. They are 6 weeks old then.
Os it saf to introduce the 2 6 week old (over 100gr) to two 13 weeks okd puber boys? Or would it be better to wait for 2 weeks ?
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Re: How to build op the group

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:21 am

I would think it's better to wait the extra 2 weeks - they'll grow a huge amount in that time, it's a very high rate growth phase (so feed them well :luck: )

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