Bonding concerns

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Squiggles

Post   » Fri Apr 05, 2024 8:41 pm


Crossposted from guineapigcages.

So I'm a little concerned. I recently bonded my old pig (almost 6 next month, but healthy and still very agile) with a new one I adopted since he lost his brother back at the end of November. They've been living side by side in a grid divider so they were able to see each other, but I hadn't had the time to bond them. When I saw they were sleeping against the grids to be by each other, I figured it was time. I did the other day, and it went the usual, chasing, mounting, screaming, etc. I left them in there all day and by the end, they had pulled out one of the blankets to tunnel under and were under it together with no screaming. I removed the grid wall, after I had cleaned the cage completely, and of course the usual chasing and screaming began again, and I know that's normal, but that's not my concern.

My older pig is cornered. I have many rooms for them to be by themselves, but he used to sleep in his cuddle sack on the right loft, and now the other pig (who had no interest in the sacks before) has stolen it (again, I know, normal, dominant gets what he wants). I don't want my older one to feel left out, so I made sure wherever he is at the moment (I now expanded the area he's been staying in) I give him plenty of hay and his vegetables because if I put the vegetables out in the middle for the two of them, once the other pig approaches, he goes to hide after screaming. I know this is part of the process, but is this going to stress him and I have no choice but to put them alone again? I never had an issue like this since my pigs either came together, were babies, or instantly clicked (probably because in the past, they were sows). I just feel bad because my older pig was everywhere when the wall was up, the loft, upstairs all the time. Now he seems afraid to do anything. (It's been two days since they've been in the cage completely).

This is the current setup.

Image

And this was where he was most of today. Until the other one stole it. Now he's been chased upstairs and I had to feed him dinner there, and he was afraid to come out but I stayed to make sure he got to eat.

Image

Sorry if the pictures are large, Lynx. I'm so bad with getting them correct size.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:41 pm


Your pics are fine. The board software resizes them so they fit just fine. If they are really large, it can mean downloading is tougher for anyone with slow internet though. p.s. my internet is crappy and they are okay. By the way, have you recently read this great article?
https://www.guinealynx.info/introductions.html

First, it sounds like you are being very proactive in trying to protect him. I would definitely do regular (maybe even daily) weighings to get a good handle on whether or not he is really stressed and not eating enough. Try no corners, a whole loop so he can run all the way up one ramp and all the way down another. Don't forget the fleece forest things to block view of another guinea pig.

At this point, it's been some years since I have even had guinea pigs - your instincts and familiarity with your guinea pigs will help a lot. I expect a few other members may kick in their own advice. Oh, and maybe add a couple plush guinea pigs or small animals to shake things up and give the young-un another thing to focus on?

And food in several locations if you can. Hay will give your old fella something to do.

Squiggles

Post   » Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:53 pm


I actually did read the article before I started the bonding, and was trying to follow it, but my new guy wasn't helping.

Thanks so much, Lynx. I do have a loop where they can run up one ramp and it takes them upstairs and then back down. I plan to weigh him tomorrow. I know I was concerned already that he's dropping, (before I had bonded them) but being almost six, I can see that happening. He's still in the 1100sg, but I panic when I think about my guy I just lost in November due to hyperthyroid, but he's definitely not showing those symptoms. I just want him to be as comfortable as possible. When I went to check on him tonight when he was hiding, when I pet him, he screamed. I made sure he had no cuts (or boar surprises, thankfully, none) and he seemed to relax. But anytime he hears the new pig or sees him, he goes running.

For now, I blocked the upper ramp with pillows. Just for tonight so he can get some rest. I know separating is a bad idea, but I really want him to relax. The plush guinea pig is a great idea. I'll go order some. I do have fleece forests, but I had removed them to make sure I could see them perfectly (I have them on a camera feed) to assure there were no fights. And there haven't been, but the new one is aggressive in chasing and mounting.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Fri Apr 05, 2024 10:11 pm


I hate the stress of his hiding and being fearful (I am sure this is what is worrying you most) - but if this can be mitigated or lessen to where he is okay, he may end up with the benefit of lots of exercise from running around (I couldn't tell if there was a true total loop - am happy to hear there is one). If he ends up hiding in particular locations, those may be good places to put some extra hay to take his mind off his cage companion.

Squiggles

Post   » Fri Apr 05, 2024 10:43 pm


Yes, because he's going to be six. I don't want him stressing and making his life shorter. I removed the corners like you said. They had hay rooms upstairs outside the loft, which is a bummer since they both loved them, but that's a spot to be trapped in.

Image


I have hay everywhere right now to a point I think not a single spot is covered (aside from the ramps), but if it continues, I might have to put the wall back up. I thought because they were talking to each other through the grids and sleeping beside each other, that maybe it would be okay, but it doesn't look like living together fully might work out.

Yep, full loop all around

Image Downstairs
Image Up

Squiggles

Post   » Fri Apr 05, 2024 11:44 pm


Oh well. I put the wall up, and the second it went back up, my older pig came out of hiding. I don't think this is going to work out the way I hoped. Also, I think the shelter got the new one's age wrong. They said he was over a year. I'm convinced he's younger than a year because he's been growing (not the weight only, I mean length wise), and correct me if I'm wrong, but are pigs no longer growing after 6 months?

I would never give him back since I gave him a home, and would never take it back, but I don't think they're meant to pair. Someone in the guineapigcages asked if my older guy was lonely after he lost his brother, and while he did show for a few days that he knew he was missing, he never had an issues with being mopey and not eating. I guess he didn't need a friend like I thought he did.

Squiggles

Post   » Sat Apr 06, 2024 12:58 pm


Should I get a buddy for my new one and make a smaller cage for just my older pig?

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sun Apr 07, 2024 8:10 am


Gee, I don't know which would work best. I can say, though, that guinea pigs know when there is another guinea pig around and I believe knowing you're not the only one in the house is still comforting/exciting/reassuring (you pick the adjective!) for each of them.

Since you were not experiencing violence from your newer guy, with the right companion, he might be a bit happier.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Sun Apr 14, 2024 12:13 am


I've had 2 guinea pigs which I know for a fact were 6 years old (Mr Bubbles and Dean) and 2 more (BJ and Zachary Binks) which the vet was relatively sure were 6 or very close to it. In my experience with older guinea pigs, it's best to avoid major changes such as dietary or pairing; especially with a young energetic partner. They get pretty set in their ways and as long as they're happy and healthy, I believe it's best for them to just leave things as they are.

As for your youngster, a pairing with a pig closer to his own age just might be easier if you feel that he needs a buddy. Guinea pigs are social animals, but that doesn't always mean that they need a partner. My two single pigs do great with their cages butted together. They are fully aware that they aren't alone. They can sense each other, plus the other 4 cages with pairs of pigs in them are right there too. Just something to consider.

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RavenShade
Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2024 4:13 pm


A divider may be necessary for a time or forever. Time will tell. I had to divide off a cage for a bit when I introduced my then new 2 yr old boar to a 5ish yr old boar. The 2 yr old was too excited. See if during neutral floor time things improve - or not. In my case, once the younger pig settled down, they were good friends until the elder pig's passing.

At the moment I have a baby boar and that now probably 3 yr old boar with a divider. I plan to introduce them to the same cage this weekend, but given that the adult had been a problem in the past, I took the intros very slow. Even without a pig in his territory, he's been more vocal and active. He likes the company. TBD if he likes the company IN his space.

I hope things are going better. If that particular setup doesn't work and you're OK with more pigs, perhaps get them neutered or consider spayed sows. Good luck. Love your cage, BTW.

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