Bullying after cage cleaning

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Bullying after cage cleaning Empty Bullying after cage cleaning

Post by Squidly on Mon 11 Feb 2019, 5:16 pm

Hi friends! So, I have 4 females who normally get along fine. Two old ones (1.5 - 2 years, not exactly sure bc I adopted them), and two that are about 5 months old. One of my oldies is very elderly and just clearly slower and more feeble than the others due to her age. I've noticed that one of the baby mice has started to bully her after their cage cleaning every week. For 2 or 3 days she is really mean (no blood, but lots of squealing and scrambling), and then it calms down and they get along fine. But now I dread cleaning because I know it puts so much stress on the old girl.

This is clearly territorial behavior, right? Is there anything I can do to lessen the need for baby mouse to be so mean? She isn't even the dominant mouse, she is maybe #2 in the pecking order. Thanks for any help or suggestions.
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Post by MouseLover on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 6:14 am

Aaw, sorry to hear your older lady is having a hard time. I think you're right, it sounds like territorial behaviour. Maybe you're cleaning things so well that it smells like neutral territory and for whatever reason your younger mouse thinks they need to establish the pecking order again.

Just curious, do you clean the cage and all the items in it on the same day? I'm wondering if it'd help to make sure the cage still smells like home after cage cleaning day. So you could take out and clean one item at a time, or you could clean them all together but on a different day that you clean the actual cage. You could give all items a sniff and pick a couple to not clean that week . Similarly when you clean the cage, maybe you could find a handful of clean-ish looking litter and nesting material and let them keep that? Hopefully if it still smells like their territory after cage cleaning, the younger mouse might calm down a bit. I'd certainly give it a shot for the next couple of cage cleans and see if that affects anything at all.

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Post by Squidly on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 6:42 am

Actually, only about half of the toys get cleaned regularly at a time. I use a lot of wood pieces and soak them after a few cleanings, but they mostly get a quick shake and are put right back in. So it's not a super sterile/neutral environment when they come back in. I do change the placement of everything just to make their home more exciting.

But that's a really good idea with the litter and nesting material. I can keep some scoops that are not too dirty and sprinkle it over the top of the clean stuff. Hopefully that will make a difference and help her calm down. Thank you!
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