Advice On Reintroducing Sows

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Jessbeth

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Hi, I wondered if you guys could give me some tips on reintroducing sows. I had to separate the two of them as the hierarchy got confused when one of the sows had babies.

What's the best way to go about reintroducing them?

Would it be best to start in a cage with a shared wall, then neutral floor time, then consider putting them together if all goes well? I've never bonded guinea pigs before, they were bonded when I got them and now I'm worried that I may think they're bonded when they aren't or stop them because I think they're fighting when they're just determining hierarchy.

Any advice would be helpful thanks!
 

Wiebke

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Hi, I wondered if you guys could give me some tips on reintroducing sows. I had to separate the two of them as the hierarchy got confused when one of the sows had babies.

What's the best way to go about reintroducing them?

Would it be best to start in a cage with a shared wall, then neutral floor time, then consider putting them together if all goes well? I've never bonded guinea pigs before, they were bonded when I got them and now I'm worried that I may think they're bonded when they aren't or stop them because I think they're fighting when they're just determining hierarchy.

Any advice would be helpful thanks!
Always start with meetings on neutral space (indoors or lawn run) and deep clean (including furnishings)/ neutralise /rearrange the cage once things are going well but before you put them back, so no sow can feel like her territory has been invaded and trigger a new round of dominance.
Please read our information carefully. With a lactating sow, bonding can take more than a day and you have to be patient. The good news is that virtually all sows will eventually go back together, but it can be a slow process and it may not be for the faint-hearted as the sows sort out the hierarchy again. Your new mummy has gained in status by having babies, and she won't be all too happy to go back to being an undersow.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/sow-behaviour.38561/
 

Jessbeth

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This might be a silly question, but how long does the lactation last after she has been separated from her babies?

So basically the day they are reintroduced, if all seems well after a few hours they can go into their newly arranged and cleaned cage?
or do you introduce them for an hour or so over a few days before you put them together in the cage? :)
 

Jessbeth

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Always start with meetings on neutral space (indoors or lawn run) and deep clean (including furnishings)/ neutralise /rearrange the cage once things are going well but before you put them back, so no sow can feel like her territory has been invaded and trigger a new round of dominance.
Please read our information carefully. With a lactating sow, bonding can take more than a day and you have to be patient. The good news is that virtually all sows will eventually go back together, but it can be a slow process and it may not be for the faint-hearted as the sows sort out the hierarchy again. Your new mummy has gained in status by having babies, and she won't be all too happy to go back to being an undersow.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/sow-behaviour.38561/
Hi,

Just a quick question about bonding!
I'm looking to reintroduce my sows tomorrow or the day after and I'm wondering if they get along okay after a few hours, then can I put them into the new cage? As I have work at night till the next day I'm wondering if they were okay during the day if leaving them overnight will be fine? I'll make sure there is two of everything and no hideys with only 1 entrance. I'm just worried that if I think they're okay after a few hours and then they fight when no one is home! Do they usually start a severe fight if they've been together for a few hours already?

Sorry if these are silly questions!

Thanks for your help :)
 

Wiebke

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Hi,

Just a quick question about bonding!
I'm looking to reintroduce my sows tomorrow or the day after and I'm wondering if they get along okay after a few hours, then can I put them into the new cage? As I have work at night till the next day I'm wondering if they were okay during the day if leaving them overnight will be fine? I'll make sure there is two of everything and no hideys with only 1 entrance. I'm just worried that if I think they're okay after a few hours and then they fight when no one is home! Do they usually start a severe fight if they've been together for a few hours already?

Sorry if these are silly questions!

Thanks for your help :)
If they are fine, put them back in their cage with at least an hour for you to observe that they are OK in there. If necessary, leave out any hideys with just one exit for the night.
 

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If they are fine, put them back in their cage with at least an hour for you to observe that they are OK in there. If necessary, leave out any hideys with just one exit for the night.
So far they're doing well, a few little nips and nose offs but they're just exploring their new cage now!

Thanks so much for your advice :)
 

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If they are fine, put them back in their cage with at least an hour for you to observe that they are OK in there. If necessary, leave out any hideys with just one exit for the night.
Hi Wiebke,

They've been in their cage together for just over a day, and there's been lots of nips, teeth showing and chattering by both of the piggies. It looks pretty mean, but I've checked both of them and there's no blood drawn or anything. Do I need to separate then or leave them to sort it out? Just don't want either of them to hurt the other one!
 

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@Wiebke (Just tagging Wiebke so she see's your question).

Personally I wouldn't separate unless they are doing fisty cuffs but Wiebke will be able to advise a lot better than myself as she's had lots of piggies :)
 

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Hi Wiebke,

They've been in their cage together for just over a day, and there's been lots of nips, teeth showing and chattering by both of the piggies. It looks pretty mean, but I've checked both of them and there's no blood drawn or anything. Do I need to separate then or leave them to sort it out? Just don't want either of them to hurt the other one!
It doesn't sound promising for the long term if they are that hostile with each other. I would give it another day, but it sounds to me that they have decided that they can't settle the hierarchy and don't belong together. Normally the face-offs and the chattering should have died down by now and given way to more low level dominance from the top sow. I have tried to leave hostile sows together where there hasn't been an open fight, but usually had to find another solution usually sooner rather than later as things tended to just not settle down and the situation was very stressful for everypig involved. Sadly, there are times when things just don't work out - and there is nothing like sows holding a grudge! :(
 

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It doesn't sound promising for the long term if they are that hostile with each other. I would give it another day, but it sounds to me that they have decided that they can't settle the hierarchy and don't belong together. Normally the face-offs and the chattering should have died down by now and given way to more low level dominance from the top sow. I have tried to leave hostile sows together where there hasn't been an open fight, but usually had to find another solution usually sooner rather than later as things tended to just not settle down and the situation was very stressful for everypig involved. Sadly, there are times when things just don't work out - and there is nothing like sows holding a grudge! :(
Oh really? that sucks :(

they did get along till one of them had babies and now they just both want to be in charge i think.
sometimes it looks like they've sorted it out and ones in charge, but then sometimes it looks like the other one is in charge.

I really hoped they'd get along.. so if they are still doing nose off and and nipping tomorrow then I should look at options to seperate them?
 
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Wiebke

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Oh really? that sucks :(

they did get along till one of them had babies and now they just both want to be in charge i think.
sometimes it looks like they've sorted it out and ones in charge, but then sometimes it looks like the other one is in charge.

I really hoped they'd get along.. so if they are still doing nose off and and nipping tomorrow then I should look at options to seperate them?
Nose-off and nipping is not so bad as is medium level dominance; that you may be able to sit out, even though it is likely to take a a few weeks until things settle down, but if they are still very much strong teeth chattering at each other and pulling fur etc. and the level of hostility continues to be very high in the next few days, then I would reconsider.
 

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Nose-off and nipping is not so bad as is medium level dominance; that you may be able to sit out, even though it is likely to take a a few weeks until things settle down, but if they are still very much strong teeth chattering at each other and pulling fur etc. and the level of hostility continues to be very high in the next few days, then I would reconsider.
Okay, thanks for your help. I'll keep an eye on them for the next few days. Hopefully they will settle down, if not ill have to come up with another option!
 

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Okay, thanks for your help. I'll keep an eye on them for the next few days. Hopefully they will settle down, if not ill have to come up with another option!
Your girls are currently in the midst and worst of the dominance sort-out. if they cannot come to an agreement as to who is top, then a bonding is failed. It is always much more difficult with re-integrating mums, as they have experienced a raise in status by having babies and also suffer from hormonal changes. it hink that your girls were struggling pre-birth?
 

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Your girls are currently in the midst and worst of the dominance sort-out. if they cannot come to an agreement as to who is top, then a bonding is failed. It is always much more difficult with re-integrating mums, as they have experienced a raise in status by having babies and also suffer from hormonal changes. it hink that your girls were struggling pre-birth?
They were good friends before Lola had her babies, now they seem like they're struggling to work out whose in charge because now Lola wants to be the top piggy. Their behaviors are a bit confusing, they will have nose offs, nip and teeth chatter, then sometimes they popcorn or play in the hay box together, so I'm not really sure what's going on
 

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They were good friends before Lola had her babies, now they seem like they're struggling to work out whose in charge because now Lola wants to be the top piggy. Their behaviors are a bit confusing, they will have nose offs, nip and teeth chatter, then sometimes they popcorn or play in the hay box together, so I'm not really sure what's going on
If they have phases of being friendly with each other and are showing that they are happy being together, then it is worth sitting it out. They will hopefully eventually come to an agreement.
 

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If they have phases of being friendly with each other and are showing that they are happy being together, then it is worth sitting it out. They will hopefully eventually come to an agreement.
They aren't teeth chattering as much anymore but seem pretty annoyed towards each other still, they sit on opposite ends of the cage. I've also noticed that my other piggy when originally with Lola used to nip me when I held her, then when she was seperated from her during Lola's pregnancy she was very cuddly and liked to be handled, now that I've put them back together, she's gone back to nipping me. Do you think this is a sign of unhappiness?
 

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If they have phases of being friendly with each other and are showing that they are happy being together, then it is worth sitting it out. They will hopefully eventually come to an agreement.
Is it normal for one of them to chase the other and bite them, then popcorn around the cage? It seems really odd...

Still having tiffs and they've been together for 4 days now, with occasional teeth chattering. They nip over the food and when one goes through the tunnel the other one bites her when she comes out. Still no blood drawn, so not sure whether to just leave them and its just lots of dominance behaviour, although i feel like one is biting more than the other, so whether that means that she's the top piggy I'm not too sure! Why couldn't they just get on nicely? Would make it easier, lol

@Wiebke
 

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Is it normal for one of them to chase the other and bite them, then popcorn around the cage? It seems really odd...

Still having tiffs and they've been together for 4 days now, with occasional teeth chattering. They nip over the food and when one goes through the tunnel the other one bites her when she comes out. Still no blood drawn, so not sure whether to just leave them and its just lots of dominance behaviour, although i feel like one is biting more than the other, so whether that means that she's the top piggy I'm not too sure! Why couldn't they just get on nicely? Would make it easier, lol

@Wiebke
Nipping and chasing is normal dominance behaviour, but as it is in the medium dominance range, you have to sit things out. With an ex-mum it can sometimes take a few weeks until she (and her hormones) settle down, especially as your little mum's reactions have been right at the top end all the time. Nipping is a carefully judged demonstration of power where a piggy lets the other just feel the teeth without breaking the skin or hurting the other piggy.
 
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