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 Post subject: how many should live together?
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:46 am
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I have one female about 23 months old now living all alone since her two sisters died, so I need to find her a companion. I was going to look for another lone female so that I could save two rats from being lonely but someone suggested that female rats do much better in groups rather than pairs and I should go back up to 3 in total. I don't consider my cage large enough for 3 and I just feel happier only having two - what is everyones advice? Is two ok or should I really have at least 3 together? Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: how many should live together?
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:39 pm
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Location: Leicestershire, UK
The main problem with only having 2 rats is that, once one of them goes, you're left with a lone rat again - and if the one goes due to sudden sickness, you'll not have any real notice to start searching for a companion. From that perspective alone, I'd take three as a minimum, without factoring in the extra social dynamics/enrichment the group gains from having additional members.

I personally prefer to have a group of 4-5 (again, for the added social benefits) but obviously that number depends on your own circumstances. Out of curiosity, which cage do you have? (Or how large is it?)

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 Post subject: Re: how many should live together?
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:46 am
Posts: 9
My cage is the same as this one:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Large-Rat-Cag ... Sw8gVX9K40

I had three in it originally but it looked a bit crowded to me.

Thanks for the advice.


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 Post subject: Re: how many should live together?
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:09 am 
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bazu wrote:
The main problem with only having 2 rats is that, once one of them goes, you're left with a lone rat again - and if the one goes due to sudden sickness, you'll not have any real notice to start searching for a companion. From that perspective alone, I'd take three as a minimum, without factoring in the extra social dynamics/enrichment the group gains from having additional members.


I definitely agree with this; I prefer to keep my numbers small as I don't think I could cope with a large group, but as soon as my numbers drop to 2 I'll start looking for new additions. At 23 months, your remaining rat is unfortunately at particularly high risk of sudden illness, so if you just adopt another lone rat and stop at that, you'll likely end up in the same situation in the not too distant future.

On the other hand, if you do find a lone girl (or neutered boy) who you feel you could give a home to, by all means adopt them, but I would continue searching for at least one more rat afterwards to round out the group. I've now had everything between 2-5 girls and they do seem to be happier/more balanced at the larger end of this range. Certainly I'd be happier having at least a few different friends to hang out with rather than just one!

I think your cage is a Ferplast Furet Plus? If so, what you could do is get another one and join them together to make more space: http://www.fancyratsforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=28886&p=272945&hilit=furet+plus+tower#p272945

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 Post subject: Re: how many should live together?
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:15 am 
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A cage really should be big enough for 4 rats to give enough space to fit the essential furniture and to provide space to move around. Try putting cage dimensions in the cage calculator here calculator/cagecalc.html

The cage you have is easy to make into a tower to create more space. Examples can be found here viewtopic.php?f=42&t=1821

I personally wouldn't keep less than 4 rats as I don't think any fewer allows them to have a proper hierarchy and social structure.

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