Bonding help

P P and P

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:40 am


We have had a single sow for a little while now. We adopted her as an older piggy as she was on her own and had been in the store for 3 months. After looking around for a friend for her we found 2 baby pigs and brought them home with the intent of introducing then and all 3 living happily together.

Today was our first attempt at introducing them so we followed everyone's advice and left them to their own devices in a neutral ground and cleaned the cages, joined them together and after a few hours of them all getting along we put them together.

After about 3 hours of them all being happy together in the big cage one of the younger ones started rumbling at the older pig and in the end they lunged at each other so we quickly separated them back to babies and older pig. The rumbly pig, Polly, has since been chattering her teeth at the older pig, Peggy, through the bars and has started rumbling at the other younger pig, Poppy.

So I have a few questions.
1, did we put them in the cafe together too soon? It all seemed to be going really well so we thought they'd maybe grumble a little but be okay.
2, which pig would you separate in this situation? We've returned to how it was before but Peggy and Poppy seem to have been getting along fine so should we have just removed Polly instead?
3, does this mean they won't live together as a nice 3? Or can we try it again in a few days?

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lisam

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:00 pm


How big is the cage you put them in?

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:02 pm


Couple of thoughts, but others can chime in: are you 100% positive of the sex of all of the pigs? -- particularly the babies? Pet stores are notorious for mis-sexing their animals.

Also, what is your cage size?

P P and P

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:06 pm


The cage is 2x7 c&c cage in an L shape. Peggy had a 2x4 and they've been in a 2x3 so we joined them together. Sexes have been double checked at their vets check up.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:19 pm


Sorry -- looks like lisam and I posted at the same time.

I'd try it again in a few days. Helpful info may be found here:
http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=37

Most here will tell you that unless there is bloodshed or extreme bullying (to the point where the one being bullied is unable to eat, drink or enjoy the habitat in relative peace), it will largely be a matter of letting them work it out and establish the hierarchy.

P P and P

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:39 pm


Every time Peggy settled into a house (All with multiple exits) Polly would go and disturb her. Peggy would try to get away but Polly would follow, rumbling at her the whole time. We did leave them for a while to get them to sort it out but when they started to lunge at each other we separated them.

When they were in the neutral space, Peggy and Poppy seemed like they were getting on brilliantly. After the initial sniffs they were friends, Peggy was grooming her. Even when they got in the cage they were fine for a few hours. I'm hoping they will be happy together at some point as Peggy has been on her own for some time now and it would be nice for her to have friends to play with.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:24 pm


You could try it with no hideys for a while, and see if that helps. We've had to do that. Most of our hideys are little plastic step stools which make it harder for a guinea pig to get cornered/chased into and out of.

Was one baby lunging at another, or was it the adult? Lunging in and of itself is not too problematic if it's just a show of dominance and there isn't any biting/bloodshed involved (as long as it doesn't become a chronic thing). Lunging and biting is definitely something to watch out for.

Did you read through any of the Successful Introductions threads? One thing others here have tried when all else fails are so-called "buddy baths."

P P and P

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:33 pm


It was one of the young ones was lunging at the adult. She's been rumbling around all evening now, at the other baby and the adult through the bars.

It was just rumbling to begin with and then accompanied with a lot of teeth chattering, puffing herself up and nipping. But once they lunged we separated them by putting the grids back up between them.

Perhaps during the floor time the babies thought Peggy would be dominant because she's huge in comparison? And then once they settled into the cage Polly decided she wants to be the boss?

I read through so many introducing posts before we even got the babies and watched loads of videos too. This is our first time trying to put a herd together so I wanted as much information as possible.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:07 pm


If it's a baby doing the lunging, I wouldn't worry too much. But I would take out all the hideys and replace with with strategically draped fleece that breaks up the lines of sight in the cage. Also clip some fleece across the corners of the cage for hideys.

P P and P

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:37 pm


She's about 10 weeks. Do you think it might calm down when she matures?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:40 pm


Maybe, maybe not. But I'd try reintroducing them and see what happens. Give them a buddy bath (all together, not separately), and after they're dry, place a teeny tiny drop of vanilla on each nose. That way they'll all smell the same, with no guinea pig odor.

And I certainly wouldn't separate after the first lunge. I'd have a towel ready to throw over them in case it escalates to a fight, but the older pig may well take care of the situation herself.

P P and P

Post   » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:52 am


We will try again in a couple of days. Their cages are joined so they can see each other through the bars. This morning Polly is still rumbling at Peggy through the bars.

If it carries on and they can't live together then how would you separate? She rumbles at Poppy too so would you put Poppy with Polly (the rumbly one) or Peggy. She wants to be their friend, she spends a lot of time at the shared cage wall until Polly rumbles at her and she backs off.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:49 am


You're not thinking that you have to separate because she rumbles, are you? It's a TOTALLY normal behavior, and all guinea pigs do it.

P P and P

Post   » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:07 am


No not the rumbling, it was the lunging that concerned us. The rumbling was just constant all evening whenever another pig got near her or she would go close to them and start rumbling at them.

She seems to have calmed down today but my concern was just that if they wouldn't get on in the future which pig to remove. Not that we are planning on that, we want them all to live together happily! Just want to know what to do if it did happen.

JX4

Post   » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:52 pm


Buddy baths are great at fostering bonding. I'd try again in a couple of days. There are lots of noises and sights that look absolutely horrible to us but really aren't that bad. Unless you see blood or the bullied pig is not eating or drinking then you really shouldn't worry. They do have to work out their hierarchy on their own, and separating them causes everyone to go back to square one.

If you feel you must separate, I'd put the lunging one by herself and the other two together.

Be aware that between 6 and 18 months piggies go through adolescence -- and just like many human teens, they can get downright bratty and tempermental. The spats will likely get worse, not better, during that time period for the young ones. But this too shall pass. Once they exit adolescence, they mellow quite a bit.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:12 pm


That's interesting what you said about adolescence. Two of my boars fought to the point of drawing blood when I tried to bond them. I've mentioned it a few times on the forum. They were about 5-6 months old then, but both are over 2 years old now. Despite being in separate cages, they are very familiar with each other now. They do pretty much everything together, just with a see through barrier between them. I'm almost tempted to try bonding them again since both of them are out of adolescence. I'll think about it and if I decide to try it, I'll post it in their Cavy Chronicles thread.

P P and P

Post   » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:14 am


I think we probably did intervene too early. Peggy has been with us for a year and she's our baby so it was difficult to watch them arguing. We will try again tonight and see how it goes.

If every time we separate they have to start from scratch does that mean that you wouldn't recommend play dates? If they all get on out of the cage then just put them straight in together?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:42 am


No play dates. Just a lengthy introduction out of the cage, then back in it. Once and done.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:45 am


Agree. Multiple play dates tend to cause the whole dominance thing to start all over again, each time.

P P and P

Post   » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:58 am


Okay, I'll have to wait until the weekend then to give them enough time. They were together for 5 hours or so before this started last time.

Hopefully it will stick this time as I really want them to all live together happily. Polly is the only one who hasn't been spending a lot of time near the bars, she spends a bit of time there but the other 2 are there almost constantly.

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