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Small pets

Help please! Failed bonding?

5 replies

WeBuiltThePyramids · 18/03/2020 08:20

Hello I’m looking for some sage advice as I think I have a badly failed bonding situation Sad

Sadly our Original Pig 1 died recently leaving Original Pig 2 alone - she’s about 3-3.5 so I didn’t want to leave her alone. We’d got a bigger cage so ended up getting two new pigs (appreciate with hindsight this may have been too much!), both girls aged about 1.5.

It was really lovely for the first week and they were getting on great then New Pig 1 started getting really stroppy with Original Pig (OP) - it seems to have been a tussle for dominance which was a surprise as OP has always been so submissive (but obviously decided she wanted to be top pig now). I tried to leave them to sort it out but it ended up with OP getting a nasty bite requiring vet, antibiotics etc (all treated now). Vet also checked New Pig 1 and said no medical problems but to separate them for a bit to avoid fights and check OP was eating ok. So they’ve had a cage divider in which means no one really has enough room Sad

New Pig 1 has continued to be really feisty, she teeth chatters at everyone on occasion including humans and bosses New Pig 2 around. I have tried reintegrating all 3 on neutral territory but it ends in fisticuffs - New Pig 1 is openly hostile and even OP is teeth chattering back now and looking for a fight. Then tried integrating OP and New Pig 2 (thinking Pig 1 was the main issue) but Pig 2 surprisingly decided they also wanted to be boss of OP and it ended in a near fight (separated them at that point).

I’m sadly coming to the conclusion that it’s failed but wondered if anyone had any magic tips? The cage isn’t big enough to separate permanently and we don’t have room for two “herds” so if I can’t make it work the new ones would have to go back but I’m really gutted that it’s come to this, especially after going so well at first!

OP posts:
ellanwood · 18/03/2020 08:35

Could you try putting both on your lap at once and simultaneously giving them a treat while gently talking to them. Allow their bodies to touch side by side, then gradually over a few days do the same with them starting to face each other (at an angle first.)

In the cage, every time you see them getting on, give food. Every time they show hostility, separate them and remove food temporarily. Just a guess, but it might work.

Roomarmoset · 18/03/2020 08:46

Slightly different situation as I had two boys but when our first passed away we rescued a piggy for our remaining boy.

They got on fine for a bit then there was a struggle for dominance. The advice I got was to put them together in a completely new setting (we put them in the bathroom) with new toys and things and let them be together on neutral ground for an hour or two or longer if they're happy.

Then you should try putting them back in their cage, fully cleaned and without any piggy smells on. It worked for us, the boys got on fine after that. It's to do with dominance and if they're in a neutral setting they seem to figure it out.

WeBuiltThePyramids · 19/03/2020 19:26

So, after gathering advice on here and from guinea pig friends, I have bathed them (in a fashion) and they are penned in the bathroom with some liberally scattered veggies. In the meantime, the cage has been fully cleaned and rearranged.

No fighting or teeth chattering yet (except at me when I caught the stroppy one and put her in the bath!) so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I might well be jumping the gun, but if there aren’t any incidents do you think they’ll be ok in the cage together tonight? I would be reluctant to put the divider back in case it splits the herd again but don’t want to risk more injuries!

OP posts:
Roomarmoset · 19/03/2020 20:34

I'm glad it's working so far 😊 if there aren't any incidents I would be happy to leave them together. Maybe just keep a close eye on them for a while.

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 19/03/2020 23:38

(There's another bonding thread on here at the moment)
Guinea-pigs seem to be going into revolt at the moment Shock

Neutral everything
Move things

Confuses them and makes them seek the company they trust (other guineas) while taking away the familiar things that give them status .
My housie My corner My smell

Glad they've calmed themselves .
I often wonder how these huge groups of pigs cope , the ones you see on YouTube . There must be one or two wee souls that really don't thrive , but they're all thrown into together .

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