Aggressive guinea pig with new pigs

Gymypig

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Hello all! Last year I adopted 3 guinea pigs that I absolutely loved, so I decided to get two more. I isolated the New Guinea pigs in a cage right next to the other 3 for about two weeks then introduced them to my other 3 pigs. Unfortunately it didn’t go well. Lillie, my most dominate old pig started to bite, chase and pull fur from all the other guinea pigs. that night we separated her from the rest of the others for a couple of days. We let Lillie mingle with the guinea pigs she was used to while the other new pigs were unreachable so she didn’t become depressed. I tried to introduced Lillie with the dominate guinea pig of the other two, Guinevere, by holding them and putting next to each other. Lillie would nip at Guinevere every so often, but nothing serious. I though this was a personal space issue. Then I put them in a portable cage together in a neutral area and Lillie started to chase Guinevere and nip her in the butt. I tried to let them work it out, but Guinevere was biting the cage to get out. I have separated Lillie from the pack again to let the two New Guinea pigs adjust to the other old two pigs in a new C&C cage I built when I got the new pigs to expand. I always make sure they have plenty of water, hay and pellets, and clean cage and plenty of greens.

How can I stop Lillie from attacking my other pigs? And what else can I do to help my New Guinea pigs adjust to my old ones? Help!
 

PigglePuggle

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Oh dear, it sounds like you have tried your best with the bonding by letting them interact through the bars for a couple of weeks then introducing them on neutral ground... but if there is biting and fur pulling and you've had to separate them then think you need to conclude here that they aren't going to live together :(
I don't think taking Lillie away from her established friends is a good idea, I think you may just need to keep the new pair living next door to your old trio... sometimes it happens, like with people some piggies just plain dont like another piggy and dont want to live with them!
 

Piggies&buns

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:agr:

Unfortunately, it’s really not as simple as being able to just join two separate groups. You can’t make guinea pigs like each other. They have complex social structures and by introducing new piggies the structure is disrupted. Lillie clearly is not happy about having new piggies in her group. When Lillie didn’t appear happy to have new piggies join them and was fighting, the meeting needed to stop and the new piggies removed and be left to live as a separate pair and leave your trio together.
So now, you will need to remove the new two piggies to a separate cage and leave them together as a bonded pair.
You can then try to reintroduce Lillie back to her original group (do it in a neutral area first and while they are in the neutral area, clean down their original cage so it doesn’t smell of the other piggies etc) ) and hopefully they can reestablish themselves and go back together.

Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
 

Wiebke

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Hello all! Last year I adopted 3 guinea pigs that I absolutely loved, so I decided to get two more. I isolated the New Guinea pigs in a cage right next to the other 3 for about two weeks then introduced them to my other 3 pigs. Unfortunately it didn’t go well. Lillie, my most dominate old pig started to bite, chase and pull fur from all the other guinea pigs. that night we separated her from the rest of the others for a couple of days. We let Lillie mingle with the guinea pigs she was used to while the other new pigs were unreachable so she didn’t become depressed. I tried to introduced Lillie with the dominate guinea pig of the other two, Guinevere, by holding them and putting next to each other. Lillie would nip at Guinevere every so often, but nothing serious. I though this was a personal space issue. Then I put them in a portable cage together in a neutral area and Lillie started to chase Guinevere and nip her in the butt. I tried to let them work it out, but Guinevere was biting the cage to get out. I have separated Lillie from the pack again to let the two New Guinea pigs adjust to the other old two pigs in a new C&C cage I built when I got the new pigs to expand. I always make sure they have plenty of water, hay and pellets, and clean cage and plenty of greens.

How can I stop Lillie from attacking my other pigs? And what else can I do to help my New Guinea pigs adjust to my old ones? Help!
Hi!

Please read our very detailed bonding guide links in the post above so you learn what is normal dominance behaviour and what not.

Accept that it is a myth that all bondings work - they don't. And there is nothing you can do change their personalities, outlook and especially their mind once they have made it up as to whether they want another piggy as part of 'us' (the group) or not. When the chips are, your piggies have to want to live together.
Just because you have a dream doesn't mean that they share it or can be made to share it. When getting piggies on space for a merge, the first rule is always to have a plan B at the ready in case things don't work out the way you want them to. Any piggy bond relies on mutual liking and character compatibility.

It is generally much better to do a full group intro than to try to bond single piggies in small session beforehand in my own experience. The latter is prone to confuse bonded piggies who are not willing to give up their bonds and may refuse a newbie on those grounds.
There is no guarantee that a group will work out but general there is less over-reaction although you will see some comprehensive dominance behaviour after initial acceptance has happened, leadership is established and a new hierarchy is worked out from top down and then slowly re-affirmed in the weeks after. However, if Lillie has already made up her mind about Guinevered, then it is never going to work well even if you get them to live together as the old grudge will resurface again and again.

However, if Lillie has made up her mind about Guinevere by now, then you will have to keep them as two groups. If you separate the two from their own groups and they can still smell them, of course they won't be quite happy and want to be rather back with their own friends.
 

Scooter Pie

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Just wanted to say hi and offer support. I'm going through something similar right now (tried to bond a new pig to a bonded pair and it did NOT go well, it’s even not going well through the bars) and we are looking for a friend for the new pig and will hopefully end up with two neighboring pairs.

It’s good you have a trio and pair! Noone’s alone :). Good luck. 🍀. The advice here is awesome!
 

Gymypig

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Thank you everyone for the help and advice! I really appreciate. I do have a backup plan and will keep them separated.
 
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