We would like to ask you advice about handling some recent fighting between our four girls. There have always been some squabbles, but since B (bottom pig) and R (#2 pig) underwent antibiotics treatment and were under the weather for a few days (R)/weeks (B), their fighting has really escalated. As R was feeling better, she inflicted a bad bite on B (requiring emergency vet visit.) She has also bitten/nicked D (#3 pig) at least four times (the bites were not as bad as B and we regularly clean with betadine). We presume that their illness has upset the dynamics and the girls are renegotiating their pecking order.
Upon advice from our vet, we separated B last week, so we can monitor her and allow her bite to heal without the other girls messing with it. Today we also separated D to protect her from getting more bites from R. It’s very sad for us to have to keep them separated, but we don’t really know what else to do.
We see two options: once B is ok, we could either try to reintroduce all four in a new cage, or we can pair B with D and keep two each in a separate cage.
Do you have some experience or thoughts to help us navigate this situation? We would live to see them all together again, but can’t have them bite each other...
Keep in mind that if it seems they must be separated, it might not be forever. You may be able to reunite them in the future.
This is handy for that time:
However, I think you just have to be really patient even though it is horrible to see them being nasty to each other. Personally I would segregate them but put their feeding bowls near the barrier so that they can see and smell each other, eat, socialise, but still feel safe. I have successfully introduced several sows to each other with this method. Always make sure (if they're not segregated) that there are plenty of water bottles and pellet bowls so that no one gets bullied away from them, and also plenty of hidey holes for everyone. It could take some time and they may need to re-establish their pecking order for themselves. But I do empathise and have been through it a few times - it's not nice when one is being bullied.
- And got the T-shirt
You can also do a buddy bath. Put them all in the tub at the same time. The shared terror may make them forget about their squabbles.