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Fab 5

Introducing two established colonies
 
I wanted to share my experience with introducing two colonies in hopes it will help others. Many people don't have any luck introducing "settled" or bonded pairs or colonies to another colony.

I have done many introductions (my own gliders as well as for other glider owners), these two colonies was a first for me.

I have a trio of neutered boys, all very loving and laid back, then I have another pair which used to breed, however, we neutered the male January 2011. They are also very bonded and loving.

I have found that there is no use in swopping pouches or toys because they are all very familiar with each other's scents, the two cages have always been in the same room, and both colonies play in the same playroom, one after the other.

What makes this difficult, is the fact that they have been neighbors for so long and has accepted it that way. We live over here, you guys are over there, and that's just the way it is. No one shows any interest in each other at all.

We have tried to introduce the female to our most laid back and loving boy, but he was very aggressive with her and would have nothing of it. We only tried this once a couple of months back and decided to let it be because of health issues. I was not "up to it" nor did I have positive energy, and to me this is crucial!

Something else to keep in mind is the female's heat cycle. Although the male of the breeding pair has not shown any interest in mating at all since his neuter, doesn't mean the trio of neutered boys will be the same.

So, as soon as I felt I had positive energy again, we tried again.

DAY 1

We introduced the male of the breeding pair to the trio of males. HUGE success!

We kept them in the same pouch on us during the day, tried playtime in the playroom, and put them in the same cage for the night while staying up with them to keep an eye. It was like they've been together all their lives. Grooming each other, etc. The trio of boys loved the newcomer, and showed him all over the cage.

DAY 2

The next morning, we introduced the female to all of the boys. There were a few spats here and there, all 5 got into the same pouch and snoozed happily for the day.

The female is very obviously the dominant one and will rule the roost.

So, playtime came and all 5 got up, we went to the glider room, again, only a few spats here and there. Then all of the sudden, the female started attacking and picking on Gizzy, the smallest(75 grams) and oldest one in the group who is also an inbred.

The interesting thing was that if Gizzy was with the other 3 boys, she would not do a thing and actually mark him, but as soon as he is alone, she will attack him.

After a while with some reassurance and love, they all got along fine again.

During the day, we prepared a cage for all of them. We connected two cages (2m x 1.5m x 1m), scrubbed them down real good so that there will be no scent at all.



We wanted to ensure that they have lots of space to reduce spats, we also have 4 stealth wheels in the cage with 5 feeding stations and toys.

We moved from the glider room to the cage, all 5 happy on my shoulders. Got them in the cage and they loved it! They explored every corner and felt right at home.

After about half an hour, the female started picking on Gizzy again. He is submissive to her, but not as submissive as the rest of the boys. He wants to be friends and will follow her after she chased him and bit him. As soon as he comes close, she goes at him again.

As soon as we switch off the lights, she will get out of the pouch (everyone else is playing), and find Gizzy and attack. As soon as we open the cage door, she runs to the pouch to hide. We take her out, nothing, all is well while we watch. It is almost as if she just waits for us to turn our backs, the she attacks.

So we gave her time out, removed her from the big cage and put her in her own cage.

We have had night vision cameras in their cages for a long time, and recorded the boys throughout the night, no issues at all.

DAY 3

The following morning when I gave all of them morning mealies, she gave me a bark hiss, she was so glad to see me. So I opened the boys pouch and held her pouch to see if she wants to climb over. She did, not a crab, not a Tssst, nothing!

They are very content popping away and snoozing together.

Then that night, playtime went well in the playroom for a while, then Kaida (female) decided to stay in the one star all by herself instead of the 5 star with the boys, again.

DAY 4

Again, in the morning, I gave her the opportunity to get into the pouch with the boys, she did. So I gave them all morning mealies, usually Kaida will grab everything out of Kaimon's mouth (her hubby), not this time. She chose a spot next to Gizzy, I gave him a mealie, she waited patiently for hers.

Playtime went great! They have spend the whole day in one pouch and then another 5 hours in the playroom and the cage.

Things were awesome in the glider playroom. No fights at all! This is a first. Gizzy actually marked Kaida by rubbing his chest on her, and she had no problem with it.

Then we moved to the cage. All 5 played nicely in the cage for about two hours. Then at midnight Kaida picked a fight again with Gizzy. What did they say about not feeding gremlins after midnight? They become monsters! Time out again, back to the one star all by herself.

DAY 5

All 5 hopped happily into one pouch for the day once again. We officially have a colony of 5! I am so happy!!!
They had one whole night in the cage without Kaida being a wild one after midnight! Seems like dominance was established, and everyone is happy being a part of the FAB 5!

 

Fab 5

This experience showed me that it CAN be done. This was the most challenging introduction I ever did! I have found with colony to colony intros, that introducing one on one did not work for me personally.

What I did was to decide who of the two colonies was most relaxed and who was more protective, territorial.

I took one glider only (most relaxed) from the "more protective, territorial" colony, and introduced this one glider to the entire "more relaxed" colony. When that was done, I took the dominant female from the "more protective, territorial" colony and added her to the mix I already had.

 

SG

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