Should I separate my girls?

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Should I separate my girls? Empty Should I separate my girls?

Post by FurMommy on Thu 01 Jun 2017, 3:05 am

Been a while since I was last here, busy days lately... So first... Hello all!

I'm looking for some advice on how to handle my 2 girls. Munchie, approx. 1 yr 10 mos old, has a new roommate... Nala, approx. 5 mos old. They've been living together for about 3 months so far. Introducing them went perfectly. I think because Nala was still fairly young when they were introduced, Munchie took on the mama roll and seemed happy to do so. Still no major battles, but they do have the occasional squabble over treats or just getting in each other's way. Even though they get along well, for the most part, I'm concerned that Nala may be trying to assert her dominance over Munchie. Munchie is not the spring chicken she once was and has slowed down a bit. I didn't worry about it at first because Munchie was more than capable of handling herself. I'm worried now that these minor scuffles might turn into something more and Munchie will get hurt. I've noticed that anytime they have a little scuffle now and I'm able to scare Nala away, Munchie is left laying on her back in the corner. I don't know if this is her submitting, or if it's just coincidence that she's in that position. I've tried doing some research on it but most of what I can find is about males. I've read that younger males will challenge the older dominant male, and many times end in one killing the other if one does not sumbit. Does this happen with females too? I'm wondering if I should separate them, if for no other reason than to give Munchie some peace. Or will that do more harm, taking away their only friend? Any advice? Thanx guys!!!

One last thing before I sign off... I just wanted to let everyone know how awesome you guys are! In January, when I lost my little girl, Crunchie, everyone was so supportive. Specifically, the night before, Crunchie had a very large tumor on her back that was bleeding and basically burst through the skin. It was like 3 AM when it happened and I jumped on here to get advice. Within like 30 mins or so, I had responses... At 3 AM! Just amazing, you guys! I am so grateful for all of you!

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Post by CallaLily on Thu 01 Jun 2017, 7:39 am

If there hasn't been any blood, I wouldn't intervene at all.  They need to work it out and separating now would probably make things worse.  Usually a minimum of 3 girls is recommended to a group because this would balance it out better, so one mouse wouldn't be getting the full attention of the dominant mouse.

If there has been blood drawn, I would put the aggressor in time out for a few days to a week.

What size enclosure are they in?  A submissive pose for mice -at least from everything I've read- is upright, hands held out, head turned up and away.  Though on her back could be a submissive thing too. I haven't really seen much mention of that sort of behavior though. I mostly see talk of the upright one.

Edit: I found this article that says whether from an upright position or on her back, it's the same submissive pose.
http://web.stanford.edu/~jeromeg/cgi-bin/Submissive%20Upright.php

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Post by FurMommy on Sat 03 Jun 2017, 5:58 pm

Thanks for the reply! I've read articles similar to the one you posted... about the upright position, which I have seen a few times from Munchie during some of their scuffles. Fortunately, no blood has been drawn, that I am aware of. As far as I can tell, they are just minor scuffles. I only worry because Munchie is an old gal and I don't want to see her get hurt. I'll just continue to keep an eye on them and let them work things out.

They have a fairly good size living space. They go back and forth between a glass aquarium that is about 2 ft x 1 1/2 ft, and the regular ol critter cages for hamsters/mice. They have a single level cage attached by tubes to a 2 level cage. I like to give them a change of scenery so they go back and forth between the different cages. It's just easier than trying to reconfigure the critter cages all the time. Maybe they do need more space? I have 5 other critter cages that I can attach to the ones they have now, I just need to find an area large enough to accommodate them. Or I can try bringing a third female. I just try to be careful with causing any unnecessary stress for Munchie since she's getting old. Maybe the benefit of having a third female would be worth the risk?

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Post by CallaLily on Sat 03 Jun 2017, 7:30 pm

I was actually wondering if maybe they had a little too much space.  More space isn't always better for mice and sometimes it can cause a colony to split or mice to get a little wild.  If nothing else works, try them in a smaller space to see if they do any better. The absolute minimum being a 10 gallon aquarium or 200 square inches.

Also, two separate spaces attached with a small opening (like tubes) can make bullying easier for the dominant mouse and can also lead to split colonies.  I definitely recommend against it, especially with the trouble you're having right now.

Adding a 3rd girl may help too, but I understand what you mean about not wanting to stress your old gal out any more than you have too.  Though, unless you don't want to continue on with female mice, you'll need to get Nala a new buddy or two eventually anyway.  Just remember to quarantine any new mice for 3 weeks before introductions, if you do decide to give that a try too.

I hope you can find a solution soon so poor Munchie can get some peace and quiet. Though a lot of the time it looks/sounds worse to us than it actually is. Good luck.

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Emrys, Cream, & Hershey / Bill & Frances  
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Post by Rodents rock! on Sun 04 Jun 2017, 10:41 am

It might be best to just use the aquarium and not switch them between two different types of cages. That could be causing stress. Just a thought.
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