Should I introduce a new rat?

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Bubbs_1987
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Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:38 pm

Should I introduce a new rat?

Post by Bubbs_1987 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:11 pm

Hi all,

I have completely fallen in love with a little 8 week old male rat that needs rehoming. I currently have two male rats who are about 18 months old. I got them together so have been with one another since they were young. They have the odd tumble with one another but it has never gone too far & to be fair they are just like brothers. Fighting one minute, cuddling up together the next.

I really want to introduce this younger rat but am worried that it may upset the apple cart. I have read a lot of advice on how to introduce new rats but was wondering whether anyone had been in a similar situation and if so how did you get on?

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cyber ratty
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Re: Should I introduce a new rat?

Post by cyber ratty » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:41 am

It is great for the rats to live in a mixed age group, and if you want to continue keeping rats the best way to keep a group rolling forward is to add a couple of kittens each year so you end up with a group fluctuating between 4 and 6. Groups work far better than a pair, because rats have evolved to develop varied relationships which isn't possible when they've only got one companion.

However, young rats need to have some same age company as well in order to develop properly socially and mentally, so if you get this 8 week old baby you would need to find another baby of 6 - 10 weeks old at the same time. Introductions to adults are safest when the babies are big enough to defend themselves if necessary but still not too mature to pose a threat - this is usually at around 9 - 11 weeks old. Use the carrier method detailed here.

Where is this lone baby from?
Anyone selling a single baby is clearly not aware of their best interests, and from an ethical pov, it may not be right to support them by taking the baby off their hands. It's also vital that you check to make sure they have the sex right - so many accidental litters are caused by people adding the opposite sex kittens to their adults just because someone told them they were the same. It's probably also wise to quarantine the kitten(s) for 2 weeks in a separate building, especially if the 8 week old had a companion who has died.

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