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Dealing with a bully

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:56 am
by Aalice
Happy New Year!!

I have 4 Bucks that I love dearly. I bought them together from a lovely breeder and they have always been happy, sociable, friendly rats.

Lately I've noticed that the dynamics have changed in their cage. They have a huuuge cage, lots of room! But one of them, Cracker, has taken to what I can only describe as bullying Onyx.

Onyx is never in the same hammock/sleepy space, he never eats when the others do... He tends to wait until the others are at the bottom of the cage before going to the top and vice versa. I have left it be up until now as I know naturally there will be a hierarchy but last night Cracker really went for Onyx and the squeak was ear piercing :cry:

The 2 other rats aren't as brutal with Onyx. Ra tends to go with the flow and is usually following Cracker. Ra can also be a bit of a bully and the last rat, Buck, seems to be more mutual. Although he's usually with Cracker and Ra this morning him and Onyx were snuggled in a box together.

If you've got this far - thankyou! And if you have any suggestions please help! One of the things I can think of is getting some Baby Ratties that Onyx can then form a bond with in a separate cage...?

They were born in May so are currently 7.5 months old.

Re: Dealing with a bully

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:15 am
by cyber ratty
Sounds to me that their hormones are kicking in and either Cracker needs to be neutered for excessive levels leading to his aggression, or Onyx does if his hormones are making him too fearful of the others. Can you tell who initiates the problem?

If they are all brothers, this may be a problem that the others will also experience (e.g. you may find Cracker improves after neutering, but then Ra starts doing the same) - I suggest you talk to their breeder and find out how common this sort of behaviour is in their line.

In the mean time, you say Onyx won't eat with the others - if you are using a bowl, switch to scatter feeding so that he can forage a little way away from the others if necessary.

Re: Dealing with a bully

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:57 pm
by Aalice
Thankyou so much for the reply. Maybe I should get them all neutured...?

As for feeding - I scatter feed but he will stay away from any of it while the others are busy foraging. I do however include lots of cage enrichment with lots of treats hidden in different bits and bobs that never gets fought over.

Thanks for your reply. Xx