Introductions

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Introductions

Post by redrach on Mon May 28, 2012 1:24 am

I just thought I'd keep a log of our introduction in case any one wants a look in the future, or if anyone has any ideas for doing things differently.

Days 1 & 2.
The first 2 days Malcolm was here he was in a different room to the rest of the rats. On the second day here I decided to begin introductions as he showed no signs of ill health and has not been exposed to other rats in quite a few weeks. I'm also concerned it could be more difficult as he gets older, he's just about the age that he'll be starting to smell more like a boy and less like a baby (10-14 weeks I've read).

The boys first all met in the bath with a blanket down. This was pretty unsuccessful as Rincewinde and Twoflower were so freaked out about the bath and kept jumping out and clawing me to death when I tried to put them back Roll Eyes They did do a little sniff of Malcolm. Twoflower fuffed up once or twice. Malcolm's response was to squeal an awful lot and to mostly stand up on his back legs when they came near him. Poor bugger seems awfully intimidated by them, and they show pretty much no interest in him, or at least no worry. I then placed them in their tiny carrier. Rincewinde and Twoflower lay down and went to sleep within a few minutes and Malcolm stood on his back legs in the corner ready to fight if they came near.

After this introduction I moved Malcolm into the rat room and placed his cage beside the big boys, about an inch away so there can be (hopefully) no tails or arms flying between the two. Almost straight away he seemed more relaxed in this room, and was almost constantly up sniffing in the big boys direction.

Day 3.
Today I put all 3 back in the bath again. Malcolm was a little more relaxed. Rincewinde and Twoflower continued to jump out and be placed back. Then Malcolm, obviously thinking this a hilarious game, decided to join them. Roll Eyes After much reassuring, and much squealing from Twoflower, they started to calm down a little. Again they sniffed Malcolm a bit, but when he ran away they didn't feel any need to go after him. There was no pinning down, no fuffing up. Nothing really. The big boys don't really seem at all bothered by him, apart from wanting to sniff his man-bits. Malcolm squealed blue-murder every time they did so and tended to stand on his back legs, as if he'd have any chance of pining them or asserting any dominance. After about 15 minutes of this I put them in the carrier to see if confining the space changed things. Again, Rincewinde and Twoflower decided this was a lovely comfy place to lie down and sleep. Malcolm this time tried to join them, but didn't seem too confident or comfortable in doing so and as soon as one of them moved in the slightest he'd squeal and be up on his back legs ready for a fight.

So far I'm going to continue this method until Malcolm seems more relaxed with them. The big boys are pretty chilled about the whole thing, so I think it's just a matter of time until Malcolm doesn't feel threatened and understands he has no hope of being the alpha Roll Eyes
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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Mon May 28, 2012 7:43 am

Well, I've had a big set back tonight. I was intro'ing again in the carrier and Twoflower scratched Malcolm. The wound is about 1 inch long and about .5cm wide at the widest. I'm pretty hysterical still about it, but I've been reassured he'll be okay. I thankfully had some tamodine (iodine based) and rang the out of hours vet who said to dilute that 1:6 and dab it on and bring him in tomorrow if it doesn't look like it's healing. So I did that and also got some calpol and gave 0.1ml of that. I've since read he can have 0.1 per 100g weight every 6 hours since it's the infant calpol and not the child one. So I'm going to give the other 0.1ml in an two hours or so when I go to bed. I also removed the woodshavings from the cage he's in in hope of keeping the wound cleaner, and put towels down. He doesn't seem bothered or in any pain, he's such a sweetheart and such a good boy. I'll try and upload a video asap.
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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Mon May 28, 2012 7:51 am

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Re: Introductions

Post by smokierat on Mon May 28, 2012 7:57 am

It sounds like he's not bleeding anymore or in shock,so I'm sure he'll be fine xx rats are incredible healers,he's young and you've done everything to keep it clean so don't worry too much..I know that's easier said than done from personal experience Roll Eyes

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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Mon May 28, 2012 8:01 am

Thanks. I know he's prob okay, I'm just really worried now about doing intros again. Going to leave it a week or so, then try the sofa or cordoning off part of a room to do it. Poor wee man is just such a sweetheart and so good.
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Re: Introductions

Post by smokierat on Mon May 28, 2012 8:07 am

I found swaping stuff between the cages,bedding and toys etc,as well as swapping cages for a few hours and just leaving the cages in the same room for quite a while before they actually met helped my lot but I know they are all different.I would give him a while to recover alright

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Re: Introductions

Post by Zoundz on Mon May 28, 2012 9:35 pm

He will be fine, but I wouldn't introduce in carriers. It's too small a space and they can't escape. I've had close friends/brothers/sisters fight when I've put them all in one small carrier just to clean cages out! Roll Eyes Shocked

xx

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Re: Introductions

Post by Dangerousbeans on Tue May 29, 2012 12:02 am

Just looked at that vid and oh poor Malcolm Sad
Hope he's ok. x

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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Tue May 29, 2012 12:57 am

Malcolm's doing okay today. Mostly he's just been sleeping, as the rest all have. He came out this morning to get some calpol and tamodine put on, he's so very brave and honestly I can't get over how sweet he is. He actually came out and sat in the carrier while I dabbed him with iodine! I haven't been able to see the wound this afternoon but this morning it looked okay- clean and like a scab might be forming in one corner. I was hoping to do his first long freerange in the hallway tonight, but I'm going to hold off in case he does himself any damage climbing or running, or if I have to pick him up to get him back to his cage.
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Re: Introductions

Post by vivree on Tue May 29, 2012 8:05 am

Good luck with introductions and I hope Malcolm gets well soon. Smile You're really taking good care of him by the sound of it. Probably a good call to not let him be climbing and running around too much.

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Re: Introductions

Post by katherine on Tue May 29, 2012 8:18 am

Oh dear Sad hope he feels better and they all integrate soon *hugs*

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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Tue May 29, 2012 8:23 am

Thanks guys. He seems to be doing well tonight. The wound is closed up now as far as I can see, and it looks like a scab is forming on it all now. He's still very inquisitive and came out on my hands earlier, but I think the whole experience has made him a little wary, and tonight he refuses to come near me. I'm still going to leave him a week before I try intros again, just to give him time to heal and get more used to me, that will hopefully help his confidence with the big guys too. I'll hopefully try freeranging him tomorrow night. (:
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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:47 am

Update.

Malcolm's all healed up. He's doing well and has put on over 50g since he arrived. Two days ago I started switching things between the cages, bedding and hammocks. Neither seemed at all bothered by this and have been happily sleeping in the other's hammocks. Tonight I cordoned off part of our en-suite, close to 1m squared, and started introductions again. I rubbed vanilla essence on them all and then put them in. I had to stand in with them as there is no other space outside of the cordon for me to stand. Malcolm squealed pretty much the whole time, any time the other 2 came near him. He soon learned how to jump out (something the other 2 didn't manage) and how to climb up my legs, so he also squealed any time I put him back on the floor. The big boys puffed up and side shuffled him a bit, but no injuries this time. Rincewinde and Twoflower were more or less relaxed and only puffed up when he squealed at them. All in all, it only lasted about 15 minutes, then Malcolm repeatedly jumped out/climbed on me so I stopped for the night. I then left the big boys there and put Malcolm into their cage for a few minutes. He had a good sniff around and then went back to his cage.

I'm going to just keep repeating this until they settle down.
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Re: Introductions

Post by Zoundz on Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:38 pm

Sounds like it's going well! Grin

xx

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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:44 am

Things are really not going well Cry I need help guys.
I've been introing them in the bathroom space still and tonight Malcolm's been attacked again, this time it's not as bad, but still bad, about 1-2cm long. He's absolutely petrified, even of me now. I feel like the most horrible cruel person ever.
I'm completely at a loss here, I'm so scared he's going to end up being on his own forever now. I can't afford to get them all neutered, and wouldn't really want to either because they're all actually really soppy and relaxed, but they just are not happy with each other.
I don't know what to do Sad
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Re: Introductions

Post by Dangerousbeans on Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:24 pm

My first reaction is to say keep them separate.
Do you have space, resources to keep him separate and find a smaller or younger rat to keep him company.
The biggest problem is his fear, I have dealt with fearful cats and dogs, its a matter of building confidence, but how to do that for Malcolm I don't know.
You seem to be doing everything right, sorry no ideas, maybe someone with more experience will have an idea. Sad

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Re: Introductions

Post by katherine on Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:34 pm

I dunno really Sad I hate intros. Do you have any girls you could potentially have Malcolm done to put in with as a last resort? What makes you think it's unworkable with the boys?

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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:10 am

I dunno really, he's just terrified & i feel it's not working. I have girls he could go with if it came to that, but no room for another cage.
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Re: Introductions

Post by Zoundz on Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:27 am

Where did he come from again?
This is one reason why I vow never to take on lone rats, and I'm pretty experienced at these things Wink

I think you can keep trying, and just put up with injuries... they are not usually life threatening in any way, and things will *probably* settle. This doesn't work for everyone of course, and things can go wrong. You can take it a bit slower of course and just keep working at it. You could get same age friends for him... or you could have him neutered (I like this option least as I think it's largely unnecessary and comes with huge risk). I personally would leave him with them and let them fight it out. But as I said, that's me, it can go bad, and you have to be gutsy to stand by and watch fights happen and not intervene (by constantly intervening you are stopping them from sorting things out).

xx

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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:24 am

He was just being rehomed 'cause the girl didn't have time for him, he was a lone rat.
I know the injuries aren't life-threatening, far from it really. I just don't know if it's reall fair on him being put through it all the time. So far I've only intervened when he's been attacked, but I just really worry if I don't intervene when he gets cut, what would happen if I didn't, he might be torn apart. I really don't think having another cage is a possibility, especially with moving to Bristol. I'm not really considering neutering at this point, I'd not want to put any of them through it, and besides, I can't afford 2-3 neuters along with Schu's possible lump removal.
For now I think I am just going to keep going. I am going to get the furet plus cage out and built for Malcolm so that I can swap them between the 2 cages easier. And just work on that for a week maybe. I'm not really sure what is best.
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Re: Introductions

Post by siofradh on Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:44 pm

How is everything going with Malcolm? My intro isn't going too bad - Olive isn't taking to Dora like the others, but I'm hoping it'll settle down with perseverance. I've been in your position, and it's not fun. I had the exact problem with Ludo and Bruiser. There was actually blood spats on my wall from him being attacked. I tried for weeks and weeks but eventually gave up. I'm sure it will work out though, I'm useless with intros and panic at the slightest sign of fighting. I suppose half of it is confidence. Has his recent injury healed up?
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Re: Introductions

Post by redrach on Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:41 am

His most recent injury is getting there, not completely healed, but okay. He's doing well. I've stopped intros for 7-10 days (now day 2) so they can all have a break and calm down. Then I'll start again slowly.
Thanks for asking! I hope yours improves. If there are 2 in particular that aren't getting on, perhaps you could give them some time alone to work things out.
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Re: Introductions

Post by vivree on Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:01 am

Sorry to hear about his second injury. ): I've had some difficult intros and I know how stressful it can be. I adopted a pair of bucks from the DSPCA and they were very poorly socialized. Really aggressive with the other rats and they were some of the worst biters I've ever seen. Introductions were a disaster at the start, they just kept attacking the others. With a lot of persistence though they eventually settled down and were very happy living with my other boys, and they even stopped biting and started licking instead. Believe me, there was a lot of times I thought they would never change, especially since they were already 2 years old, but eventually things turned out alright. (:

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