First Intro (2 females) Did Not Go Well

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First Intro (2 females) Did Not Go Well

Post by Kate B on Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:47 am

Hi everyone!

So I posted awhile ago about my mice, how I got one first and then brought two more home with the hopes of all three eventually being cage-mates. But then I discovered one of the two new females I thought I got was male, so I had to separate them and then also keep the two females separate for even longer than the quarantine, to make sure the new one wasn't pregnant. We got through all that (and thankfully with no babies!), so yesterday I was very excited to introduce the two females. Daphne is the older one, and Mishka is the younger, newer one.

I had read up extensively on how best to go about this, so I wasn't too worried. But I was careful. I put together a not-too-large, neutral playground for them, with food and water available. I introduced them in there. At first it seemed to go okay. They seemed very interested in each other. They also seemed... anxious? Not sure how much I'm projecting my own emotions onto my mice there, but I do think their vibe was not relaxed. But they weren't being violent or anything, not at first. They smelled each other, and they both alternated between exploring the playground and sniffing each other. There were a few little run-ins, where they'd bicker a little. Some squeaks and nips, but then they'd separate themselves on their own. And then go back to exploring each other again. They ran on the wheel together, and they shared a snack, nibbling on different sides of a piece of cereal at the same time. (So cute!)

Oh, one thing that's possibly worth noting, thought maybe not important, is that Dapnhe immediately developed loose stools upon meeting Mishka. Both girls had had totally normal poops even seconds before being introduced, but once together, Daphne started pooping all over the playground in little dribbles. Maybe because she was nervous? Is that possible? She seemed find otherwise though, and Mishka was receptive to her, at least for the first couple hours, in spite of her poops.

So after a couple hours, I decided to move them into their new home. It wasn't a totally new tank, it was Daphne's tank before this. But I thought I cleaned it out pretty well, so it would be neutral territory. In there they were okay for a little while, maybe 20 minutes. But then I saw Mishka kind of attack Dapnhe. They brawled for a couple seconds, and then separated themselves while I was wondering if I should do something. Daphne was shaking and kind of walking funny, maybe just scared or maybe hurt (but not bleeding). They went to different sides of the tank and started to calm down. But then Mishka came back over, and it happened again, but this time they didn't stop. I had a toilet paper roll ready but had never broken up a mouse fight before, so I didn't know what I was doing. Plus, I think Dapnhe was kind of trying to get away, so she'd go into hiding places (like a little house thing), and that made it harder for me to break them up. But I did get Mishka out eventually.

There was no blood, but the intensity of the fighting was definitely more than felt safe to me. Sad

It was really discouraging, because I spent so long getting everything ready for them and moving everyone's tanks. (The switching of tanks also involved moving Xan, the male, out of his temporary tub house into Mishka's old 10 gallon tank, so after the fighting I had to figure out where to put Mishka.) And I've just wanted Daphne to have a friend for so long, which is why I got the other two in the first place, so to have to consider that this might not work was really disappointing.

I've reread the tips in this forum on introducing females, and I'm planning on trying them again at least a few times. With at least 24 hours in between each. Do you think I should try the vanilla thing next time? And do you guys have any other thoughts or tips? I could also just use encouragement, because now I feel really nervous about putting them together again. I just want them to be friends and not fight!

Anyway, thanks for reading.

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my mice are Daphne Sparkles and Mishka, and man of the house, Xan AKA Rock Crusher

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Re: First Intro (2 females) Did Not Go Well

Post by Peachy on Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:45 pm

It sounds like you have the basics down, neutral territory and a clean tank, but I would introduce them on empty neutral territory. In a bathtub or bin so they have space to come to each other on their own terms, no toys so there's nothing to fight over or protect, and ONLY interfere if there's blood drawn. Watching them fight like that can be so hard, but it's necessary to just let them work it out themselves. If there's blood drawn, then you can deal with separating and reintroducing, but separating and reintroducing for the wrong reasons can actually make things harder in the long run.

So when you try again, I would skip the toys, food, and water. I know some do it differently and it works for them, but adding in lots of toys to a new colony just seems to make things harder for me and my mice. If they do okay in neutral territory for 20-30 minutes, then you can move them to a tank.

When I put newly introduced girls in their new tank, it's also bare. The only things that are in there is a box to hide in, a water bottle, and scattered food. For some reason, once my mice have moved out of the bathtub and into a tank with toys, they just go crazy. Limiting toys limits things to fight over until your mice have accepted each other and started working out their hierarchy. If they do okay in the tank for 30-60 minutes I might add a new toy, like a TP tube or a wheel, just depending on how things are going. And then over the next couple days I add in more toys slowly, until there tank is busy and exciting again.

I hope it goes better next time! Vanilla has mixed results... it never worked for me, but it won't hurt anything. Pardon
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Re: First Intro (2 females) Did Not Go Well

Post by Kate B on Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:01 pm

Peachy, thank you, this is very helpful. I hadn't considered that the toys and stuff might have been a source of tension, but that sounds very possible. I will definitely try it with a bare environment next time.

And the part about letting them work it out if there's no blood drawn sounds very hard, but I see what you're saying. And I can see why that would be important. Eek! I'll have to be very brave! I guess I worry that by the time there's blood, it's too late or something. Or what if I don't see the blood, because it's all moving so fast, you know? But with your advice in mind, I will really try to give them some space to sort out their relationship before intervening.

Thank you!


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my mice are Daphne Sparkles and Mishka, and man of the house, Xan AKA Rock Crusher

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Re: First Intro (2 females) Did Not Go Well

Post by Peachy on Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:28 pm

Usually blood during an introduction is from a minor bite on their tail, rump, or back, not from anything extreme. More often than not, by the next day you wouldn't even know anything had happened. Smile

But oh gosh, I know how nerve racking leaving them alone can be. The first time I was trying to introduce girls to each other, one of them kept drawing blood in neutral territory. Over a few days, I plopped them back together in an empty, neutral tub over and over and hoped they could get through 15 minutes without biting each other. If blood was drawn, they were immediately separated and sent back home. When they did get through 15 minutes, we upped the time to 30 minutes. And after they got through 30 minutes in neutral territory without any blood drawn, they spent the night together... and from then on they were best friends!!! I had a really hard time not intervening, but once I let it go they warmed up to each other.
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Re: First Intro (2 females) Did Not Go Well

Post by FurMommy on Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:36 am

I just wanted to share with you what I did to introduce my girls. It may sound silly, but I think it really made a huge difference!

My first female really is a loner, LOL. She does not like any other mouse in her space. Before I realized that, I got a second female so she could have a friend. I tried introducing them several times, followed all the rules... neutral territory, no toys or hides, let them fight it out... each attempt ended in a rolling ball of fur and they had to be separated. The last attempt, there was blood, so I decided they just can't be friends. They lived as neighbors for about a year. My second girl at this point was going through some health issues and seemed kind of sad, so I decided to try one last time. (Thanks to the nudging of some people here that convinced me to try again!)

In the mean time, I got a male who was living alone. I felt bad for him because he was all alone and he's difficult to handle, so he didn't get as much out-of-cage play time as the girls. I would take the girls out and put them up to his cage so they could chit chat and hang out for a bit. Even though they were separated by the bars of his cage, he would groom the girls. I did some research and found out that's how they make friends, by grooming each other. Again, I felt bad for him, because he would groom them, but they wouldn't groom him. He would sit there and stick his little nose through the bars and wait to be groomed. The girls wanted no parts of grooming him, poor fella. So, I would take a small paint brush, the cheapy kind that kids use, and pet him with it. I have to mention again that he's difficult to handle and would never allow me to pet him. So I realized that he thought the paint brush was the girls grooming him! I'm guessing that because the girl's smell was on my hands, he smelled them and assumed they were the one grooming him.

Back to my point LOL... I thought I could try the same thing for my girls, to try to trick them into being friends. The first time I put one of the girls up to the other girl's cage, they tried to fight through the bars! Literally reaching through the bars and grabbing each other's hair! One of them got the other one's foot and there was a little blood. Then one got the other's tail... so I know they were not getting along at this point. Then I started using the paint brush. Little by little, day by day, they became less aggressive towards each other. At first they would try to bite the paint brush, thinking they were biting each other LOL. Within a few days, they both would just sit there and let me "groom" them, thinking it was the other one grooming them. Then I took away the paint brush and let them do their own thing, with the safety of the bars between them. After about a week, they were grooming each other, still through the bars. At this point, I slowly "re-introduced" them. I would hold one, and my husband would hold the other. We put them face to face, just to see if they would be aggressive with the bars no longer between them. If they were, we could separate them quickly since they were in our hands. There was no need though. They sniffed each other for a quick second, then went on about their business. After about a week and a half of this, when I was fairly sure they would not fight, I put them in a neutral cage together and nervously watched and waited for a rumble to start... but it never did! They got along like they had been roomies the whole time! Not once was there even the slightest problem! To the point, they were snuggling together when they went to sleep! I thought there was going to be a problem when I gave them each a cheerio. The one girl dropped hers and couldn't find it, so she went over to the other girl and took the cheerio right out of her mouth! Still, no problem! They shared everything... they ran on the wheel together, snuggled together, ate together, they would lick applesauce off of each other's face! I only wish I would have done it sooner so they could have had more time together.

I want to mention also, the only reason I was very careful and took so much time re-introducing them is because my one girl was dealing with a few health issues, nothing contagious of course, and I wanted to be sure that she would not be hurt if they started to fight. Sadly, I lost her not long after they became room mates. I have a new female now, and she's got about a week left of her quarantine. As soon as she's ready, I'm planning to introduce her to my other girl the same exact way. It worked out so perfectly!

I apologize for this being sooo long! I got carried away LOL. Hope everything works out for you and your mousies!!!

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