Advice needed please

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Woodlouse

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Just over a month ago we bonded a group of 6 piggies - a neutered boar (Dude) and 5 sows. During the bond there was a LOT of discussion between Winnie, Artoo and Dude as to who would be in charge - with Artoo becoming top sow and Dude somewhere on a parr with her.

Over the last week or so we have noticed that Dude is "upsetting" Winnie a lot and we have just found a few nicks on her rump where he has clearly been nipping her. He doesn't appear to be trying to mount her - just nips her bum! (She is otherwise fine - eating, drinking etc).

Does anyone have any advice please?
Would bathing them all so that they all smell the same help to calm things down?
Or is there a way I can "teach" Dude to leave her alone?
Is this "normal" in a group of pigs with a boar at the helm?

Really need some advice as I don't want Winnie getting hurt but splitting off some-pigs to make another group is not my ideal ...
 

Wiebke

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Usually, it is the girls who run the show, unless your boy is VERY dominant and has an advantage in age/size/experience. What you are currently experiencing is probably a struggle for #2 in the hierarchy with Dude making very sure that Winnie won't get his place.

Nipping is part of dominance behaviour, but it should not generally exceed more than a bit of fur at the most. It looks like Dude is a bit more enthusiastic than normal. Hopefully, the problems will be over when Winnie comes into season next time round and they can use the occasion to bond better. Sows come into season about every 15-17 days.

In my experience, it can take quite a bit of time until the hierarchy is settled in a new group to everypig's satisfaction. It works its way down the tree, with usually the previous top sows being the most flamboyant. You are having Dude in the mix as well.

PS: Check Winnie and Dude for mites or fungal to be on the safe side of those nip marks. Sometimes, an outbreak of them in a stressy situation like a new group can make a piggy even more tetchy.
 
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