Drawn blood!! Should I stop the Introduction?

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Drawn blood!! Should I stop the Introduction?

Post by PipkinFiverSpeedwell on Fri 19 Aug 2016, 3:56 pm

Hi! I would love some advice on integrating females. I had three female mice that got along really well. Sadly, two died recently (tumours) leaving one rather fat little mouse alone (Pipkin). She is just less than a year old so could live another year and a bit. I read they can get terribly lonely so I thought I should try to get a couple of babies and try and integrate them.

I scrubbed the cage to get rid of any smell, changed it round, took out the levels so it was a smaller space (so they couldn't get territorial about parts of the cage). Then I introduced them in a neutral space (the bath) with a dab of vanilla essence on all of their backs. It went ok, they squabbled a little bit - but I expected them to whilst they sorted out the hierarchy.

I put them in the cage together and Pipkin who is much MUCH bigger than the babies wouldn't leave the shyer one alone (Fiver). She was thumping her tail and being very aggressive. I tried time outs but nothing seemed to work. So they were separated for the night.

I tried them in the bath again today, and it was ok, in fact it was a big improvement. About three fights (all Pipkin going for Fiver) but very short and they seemed fine after. I progressed to the cage again, after about 2 hours. Same thing! After a while Pipkin went on a rampage and became very aggressive! Before I could pick her up there was a lot of blood on the bedding, Pipkin had bitten Fivers tail and drawn a fair amount of blood!

I separated them immediately but now don't know what to do. Everywhere I have read have said 'fighting is fine, as long as they don't draw blood'. I don't want to give up on the integration if there is something more I can do/ it's unlikely she'll do it again as she gets to know them better. But I absolutely don't want to risk the babies getting hurt, and I think Pipkin might just be a bit of a bully so I am inclined to just not try again. My sister said she is happy to adopt Pipkin and give her lots of human attention to try and stop depression. I'd be sad to give her away but can't take two separate cages to uni and won't be able to train two and give Pipkin enough attention to keep her happy if she's alone.

What is best? Does anyone have advice? Does blood mean an immediate halt to proceedings?

Thank you! Sorry it's a long post!

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Re: Drawn blood!! Should I stop the Introduction?

Post by Peachy on Fri 19 Aug 2016, 4:24 pm

Welcome to the forum! Mouse Wave

How long has Pipken been alone, and how long have you had the babies? Other things that might be helpful to know is what size your cage is and what kind of toys you have in with them.

If you didn't quarantine, a three week quarantine is always recommended so you can watch for illness and/or pregnancy.

Before you give up on Pipken, it might be worth a try to give them all at least a week or two in their own spaces before you try introductions again. That will give you a chance to really work on getting all three of the girls tame (introductions go smoother with tamer mice) and give Pipken a chance to get a little lonely (and possibly be more accepting of friends).

Here's our page on Introducing Mice, if you haven't seen it. It has helpful tips, like swapping cage items (or cages completely) a few days before you're ready to introduce them to help them get used to each others smells. http://petmousefanciers.forumotion.com/t39-introducing-mice

Mice that are similar sizes tend to get along better, so either waiting for the babies to grow a little more or getting Pipken a friend that is a similar size may be a step to consider if you can't make it work now.
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Re: Drawn blood!! Should I stop the Introduction?

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri 19 Aug 2016, 8:21 pm

What I recommend is now that blood has been drawn, wait a week and then put them back together. Introduce in neutral territory (avoid the vanilla this time), then put them in a completely clean tank empty of everything except a food bowl and water bottle, and leave them alone. Keep an eye out for bloody fighting, but otherwise just leave them to their business. As they learn to get along, slowly add back a wheel and their other toys over the course of a day or two.

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Re: Drawn blood!! Should I stop the Introduction?

Post by scaredymouse on Fri 19 Aug 2016, 9:55 pm

Give them a week and try again using the suggestions posted above. Introductions went rough for the last female that I added to my colony. One of my mice was very aggressive with her and blood was drawn. Of course, every case is a bit different and can be handled all sorts of ways. In my case, since everone else seemed to be getting along, I removed the aggressor and kept her alone for a week. The rest of the colony bonded together and I spent a while bonding/taming my grouch. When i added her back in, everything went fine. So, it's possible to make things work after a rough start. It will just take a little time and bit more work!

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