My anxiety was probably unwarranted. I figured this out when I noticed that, even though most of the squabbles took place between Niki and Sabine, Niki was always eager to go running back to the older girl. I figured she probably wouldn't do that if she were in any danger, but I was still anxious over any little squeak.
Over the past month I've learned to relax some. I've learned not to automatically jump in when I notice that something's up, and to instead watch and judge first if they can resolve their differences (relatively) peacefully or if I really do need to get involved. After all, some amount of play fighting is to be expecting, in addition to establishing a pecking order.
Possibly the worst bit was putting them all in the big cage together. I was afraid that if that didn't work out well, all was doomed.
Luckily, they took more interest in exploring new place than in bugging each other. Well, it's a new place to Kora and Aniki...Sabine has been in this cage before, but I bleached it to remove her scent and put new hammocks to try to make it as close to neutral territory as possible.
As of the moment I'm writing this, they have been hanging out in the big cage together quite happily for nearly five hours. They're also cuddled up together, probably sleeping. I'm not sure if I should make the move permanent as of right now, or if I should put them in separate cages again for the night. I'll probably make that decision in a couple hours.
Either way, I'm finally convinced that all is well with the three girls. :)
|A (bad) photo of the three rats|