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After finding out that one of my mice that i'd adopted from the rpsca was pregnant i am now left with her 5 boys which i've decided to keep. I've put the all the brothers together in a 64l rub and they seem to get on fine but as they have grown up now i've noticed they are fighting a lot more and are constantly squeeking. One of them will gang up on one and then they all get involved which ends up in a big fight. There has never been any blood or anything like that but some of them have had like wet patches over them where they have obviously been nipping each other. Do you think i should seperate them into smaller groups of say 2 and 3? Would it reduce the fighting? Or is this just completely normal behaviour and i have nothing to worry about? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

thanks,
laura
 

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Ive not had much experience of this because I keep males separately (although generally they are in with does). I think the general adivse form other users would be to remove the dominant bucks from the group if there is serious sustained fighting. The squeaking and little bits of wrestling and chasing could just be the dominant bucks asserting himself or lower bucks sorting out who is the lowliest.
 

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I agree that removing the aggressive ones will help. Sometimes you just have to put each buck in a separate cage. That's not a good solution, since they are social creatures. You'd have to devote a lot of time handling each one every day so they get the physical contact and interaction they need to stay sane and happy. I've also found that removing furnishings such as enclosures, wheels, tubes, etc. can reduce territoriality. Cage cleaning can present a problem as well, as the new litter smells like 'new territory' and can bring about an all and out fight for laying claim. I usually only remove part of the litter at any one cleaning and mix the old stuff in with the new. It's conservation of stench, essentially.

Fighting seems to worst among younger bucks, and after the are a year old, it may be possible to put them together again. Still, you have to be careful, as injuries that don't show can kill. Harassment such as hairpulling, dominance mounting, interfering with eating and drinking, can cause heart failure even in a young, strong buck.
 
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