Official Loofah Tester
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: SE United States
A cage bin should be fine. It's probably what he's been used to already.
In addition to reading the link I provided, here are some tips I've collected from difficult intros and four years of advice:
Rat intros go in stages: Introduction on neutral ground. Introduction on semi-familiar ground. Introduction on semi-familiar ground with toys and hidey holes added. Clean the cage thoroughly to obliterate as much familiar scent as possible, and introduce in the cage for short periods. Increase time in cage until completely comfortable. Allow them to stay in cage overnight and unattended.
1) Rats are smell oriented. If it smells like them, it makes them feel more secure. If it smells like them they own it and may be territorial about it and/or want to defend it.
2) Babies will usually be quickly fine with a new playmate. Get some bedding soaked in the adult cage's pee and rub it all over the baby. The adults will smell themselves all over the babies on their first encounter.
3) Pick a controlled smallish area that the rats are unfamiliar with and have not scent marked as their own. Keep it boring and simple. Some people say providing escape routes via tunnels or blanket hiding places are good, but I found this to create 'ownership' issues which led to biting. You want all to be a little unsure of what areas belong to whom.
4) Intro sessions should be supervised and last a minimum of 30 minutes. Preferably an hour or more. Try adding a liquidy food on a big plate that they have to lick up to eat. They will be forced to eat together. Shared eating creates bonding.
5) Assuming safety isn't an issue, try to end each session at a moment when everyone is as calm and relaxed as possible. Rats associate new things with their last memory of a place. If their last memory of a new rat is being fearful or aggressive, that is the mindset they will have when they encounter the new rat again. The exception to this is if a rat is in danger of serious injury, then you have to remove them regardless of how they feel for their own safety.
6) Have a spray bottle with water and towels to aid in emergency separation. Spraying them with water distracts them and the spend time calming themselves by grooming it off. If they start fighting, don't use your hands to separate them. You will get a nasty bite. use a towel or heavy duty work glove to give some protection to your hand.
7) No matter how much huffing, puffing, hip bumping, pinning, face offs, hissing, power grooming, or chasing goes on, it's all good....unless there's blood. "No blood, no foul".
8) Each step of intro should be progressed slowly. Don't go to the next stage until they are completely comfortable and relaxed with each other. If there is backsliding when you go to the next level, back up to the previous level. It may take up to 4 weeks to get them introed completely. Above all do NOT rush the final stage where they are sharing a cage. That is the place of highest territorial aggression as the older rats have already claimed it as theirs.
9) If all else fails, put them all in a carry cage and take them for a long drive together. Rats hate going on unfamiliar car rides. Shared terror creates a bonding experience.
10) If all else fails, consider neutering whoever is causing problems.
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Hanging out in the Land of New Feetsies:
Melon, Skinner, Black Pete, Zanna, Custard, Tucker, Jeffrey, Zmei, and Windham.
Last edited by Storyseeker; 04-12-2013 at 08:30 PM.