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Introducing my Females to each other

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Introducing my Females to each other Empty Introducing my Females to each other

Post by Denimoore808 Thu 24 Dec 2020, 4:37 am

I apologize ahead of time for the extremely long post. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can be doing.

I recently introduced my two pairs of female mice for the first time on 12/18. They had never met before but should have known about each other because they were housed close by each other. One pair is almost 5 months old (Flora and Fauna) and the other pair is roughly 4 months old (Sandy and Pebbles).

I started them off in the bath tub in neutral ground that none of them have ever been before. This didn't go as badly as expected but Sandy my biggest did nip and latch onto the other two (Flora and Fauna) multiple times. I separated them a few times, checking to make sure that everyone was alright. After much tail flicking and popcorning they finally settled down. After about 30 minutes I put them into a much smaller container with not much in it and they did great. They snuggled and cuddled and stayed in this container for about an hour. I then switched them over to my Critter Trailer. I know this is not acceptable for them long term but I didn't want to move them up to fast after the bath tub incident. This was the container I left them in over night. I provided two food bowls and a water bottle with lots of bedding, but no house. I left them to settle in for the night.

The next morning everything was fine and they were getting along great. Later in the day I decided to add a house witch they all loved. And shortly after I moved them into my bigger bin cage, roughly 66Qt. I added all new bedding and the house they all decided they liked. I watched closely during the day and heard them squeak a few times. I must say I have a very "talkative" group of girls. I was getting up every time I heard them and realized they were just getting in each others space and were fussing about it. After being confident in them yet again I left them with multiple food sources, a water bottle, bedding, and a house for the night.

The next morning they were all fine again. I watched them interact throughout the day. Although I heard them on multiple occasions I assessed that it wasn't aggressive. Later in the evening I felt bad and thought they were bored so I decided to spot clean a little and add in another house and a wheel. Well this is were it all fell apart.

They started getting agro, tail flicking, and popcorning, but not in the happy way. They were all super excited for the wheel and ALL wanted to go for a run. Well this soon turned into my tiniest little girl Pebbles chasing away Flora and Fauna from the wheel. Thinking quickly I added another wheel and this was OK for about 10 minutes until Pebbles began chasing them off the second wheel completely ignoring the first wheel. Squeaking became louder and more defensive and I noticed Pebbles biting both their butts and latching on. I separated Pebbles from the group and the rest of them were fine together. This really surprised me as Pebbles is my most gentle baby. She is pretty shy and doesn't even like to bite my finger just sniff it. Even when introductions were going down she instantly became part of Flora and Fauna's pack, besties right away.

Everyone was still very agro and popcorning but after they calmed down a bit I decided to throw them into the smallest container I had, trying not to loose the progress I've made. After an hour in the small container and everyone seeming to have calmed down and are getting along. I set up the Critter Trailer with two food bowls, a water bottle and some bedding. Back to square one. Gaah  I left them in this for the evening and woke up this morning to them cuddled in a big group. Today has gone well with minimal squeaking and lots of sleeping and cuddling. I just feel bad keeping them in this small cage with nothing to do and practically no toys. I feel like I'm torturing them or traumatizing them Crying or Very sad

After my long story I guess I have a few questions:
Did I do anything wrong that I could have done differently?
Did I move them up to a big cage too fast after only being together 4 days?
If so how long should I wait before moving up the cage size or adding additional toys?
Does anyone have any ideas why Sandy was the aggressor at first but now it is Pebbles?
Am I being a bad mother by not providing them any enrichment during this beginning process? or is this how it works?

Any other tips or advice that you guys have is greatly appreciated!

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Introducing my Females to each other Empty Re: Introducing my Females to each other

Post by SarahAdams Mon 28 Dec 2020, 2:14 pm

I don't have any females and don't know if there is any info in this vid you haven't tried, but might be worth a look?

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Introducing my Females to each other Empty Re: Introducing my Females to each other

Post by Oreoandfriends Tue 29 Dec 2020, 12:38 pm

It’s completely normal for things to not go perfectly at first! Some mice react poorly to new additions but they almost always get over it eventually. The first time I did introductions my smallest and sweetest mouse Pip got pretty grumpy with the new mice, but I found it helpful to just let her get all her anger out on them as long as no one was getting hurt and that seemed to work (no blood no foul). By morning they were all cuddled up together! It’s good that you are introducing them in smaller cages first so definitely keep doing that. You don’t want to upgrade them too quickly before they’re completely sorted out and bonded. Sandy and Pebbles are most likely just sorting out dominance with the new mice, and Sandy was probably just a bit overwhelmed at first.
As for the wheels, that’s a very common thing for them to get territorial over. Id try adding them back in once they’re comfortable with each other and it shouldn’t be as big of an issue.
I usually like switching used bedding and toys between cages for a week or so so they become used to each other’s scents before even meeting. I also introduce them in a neutral territory like a bathtub for about 30 minutes at a time for a few days leading up to when I have them move in together. I find that it makes the process less stressful on my mice but you certainly don’t NEED to do those things to have a successful introduction.
If I were you I’d just keep at it! It sounds like they’re doing pretty good overall and keep in mind that it’s completely normal for a few big fights to happen, just continue to separate the problematic mice from the group to cool down and they’ll realize that it’s not so fun being alone!
The most important thing to do is to move at the pace of your mice. I’d say that when they can comfortably share wheels without issues then they can move the next cage size up, but just experiment with what works best. If they don’t do well in the bigger cage, then move them back down. If they do, then great! It might take some mice 2 hours to get used to each other and others 2+ weeks so don’t worry too much about the time it takes.
Hope this helps, good luck Smile

Edit: I also want to add that it’s perfectly fine to leave them without enrichment for now. It’s not ideal but it won’t last forever, they’re busy enough trying to get used to each other right now. Too many toys will just cause too much stress and fighting between them right now. I like to add one toy that smells completely neutral at a time. If they do well with it then they get another, if it’s causing issues then I take it out. They might be more willing to share something like a hanging toy right now more than a wheel.
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