Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Disappointing Setback

The first week of everyone together went pretty well. There were a few incidents of chasing and griping, but most mornings everyone was sleeping peacefully together. This weekend things started to go downhill went Foehn went into heat. There were a couple of ball-ups in the pouch, which of course gets everyone else all worked up.  The vet noted a healing scab on Sprite's chin at her wellness checkup last Thursday, as well as some minor abrasions on her rear foot. Those might have been from running on the wheel (which she does a lot), but she has never had them before that we know of. Yesterday Foehn was chasing Sprite down in the tent again, and trying to latch on to her tail, so we removed her from the tent. M also noticed that Foehn had some abrasion on her face and near her eye, so obviously both were getting their licks in. Sprite is back to being fearful of Foehn again, so we are more or less back to where we where before last weekend. Last night I brought up the small cage and Foehn and Rossby are now together there. We couldn't leave Foehn by herself - Rossby is her man.

Foehn's behavior is getting to be somewhat of a concern. She is constantly trying to mark and she bites on everything from the wheel to the cage bars. Tonight she was intent on getting into the pouch where CB, Flurry, and Sprite were in to the extent she was ignoring offers of mealworms.

We're not sure what we are going to do at this point, but it seems unlikely that Foehn will ever tolerate Sprite. Even though they got along fine for a few days, it seems that once the boys are in the mix Foehn's hormones kick into high gear and she needs to protect her turf.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Happy End to a Long Road!

Once Flurry was accepted by CB and Sprite, we introduced him a couple of weeks later to Foehn and Rossby. It was another easy introduction, and we're sure Foehn was happy to have another man around.  All that was left was to get Foehn and Sprite on the same page if possible. We split Foehn off into the smaller cage about two weeks ago to give the other four time to acclimate to each other. We were also hoping that Foehn's yearning to be with the guys would distract her from her issues with Sprite.  After a week we tried getting them together using the bathtub to introduce them. They would cautiously approach each other to a point, and then one of them would move suddenly or crab, and they would stay away from each other. In the bathroom Foehn appears to be interested in checking Sprite out by some sniffing, but Sprite won't let her get very close. This is in contrast to when they are in the tent when Foehn aggressively chased Sprite and they would ball up if she caught her.

To me, at least, they seemed to have a mutual fear and distrust of each other, and neither would leave their guard down enough to find out differently. At one point in the past they got along fine. I thought if they both could learn that there was nothing to fear with the other then this reintroduction would have a chance. My thought was to try a method called wet introduction. For this each glider is wet down with warm water from a spray or being wiped down. When gliders are wet their main focus is grooming and they don't pay attention to much else.  M wasn't too sure about this, but my feeling is that we had nothing to lose at this point. If this did not work then they would never be together and one of them would have to live separately from the rest (or most likely two and three).

So, on Saturday with some trepidation and a lot of hope I wet both of them down with a spray bottle of warm water. They looked miserable, but both started to groom themselves. We placed them in a small cage together along with a clean (neutral) pouch. The stayed away from each other, but more importantly neither was interested in chasing the other. Foehn took up residence in the pouch, and Sprite would occasionally stop and think about trying to enter. They both crawled up and down and across the top of the cage, once in a while sniffing at each other (without incident) but then quickly moving on.  After a few hours we added a large fleece blanket so that if one of them would not enter the pouch with the other in it, they would have a place to sleep comfortably. We decided to stay up with them to be able to intervene if there were problems. I chased M to bed sometime after midnight and stayed out with them until about 4:00 a.m. (dozing off from time to time). There were no problems whatsoever although they still weren't sharing the pouch, but that was OK. I came out about 7:30 a.m. to check on them and thought the pouch (open style) looked to be hanging a little low. It was, because there were two gliders in it!

We moved them to a larger cage on Sunday, but not in with the boys. We wanted them to get more comfortable with each other before they joined CB, Rossby, and Flurry.  Here are the two of them having their yogurt on Monday morning.

Foehn (L) and Sprite (R) 36 hours into their "reunion" enjoying yogurt.
On Monday night I had all five in the tent for play time and it was more active and relaxed than it had been for some time.  All five are now together in the big cage. More on the reunion in another post 

Next task on the list - a family (colony) photo!