Biting

Flibbertygibbert

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Hi all, me again! Needing some advice re behaviour with my quartet of sows. Usually it’s squeak (11 weeks) I post about as she avoids my other guineas and seems to prefer humans - she’s very tame. This time it’s Treacle my Sheltie who I bought from the same breeder. Shes 11 1/2 weeks old and is the largest of my pigs at 394g. She’s always rumblestrutting around squeak to intimidate her and my two youngest pigs Fudge and Bubble follow her around. Fudge has attempted to take charge a couple of times (nicking food etc cos she’s faster) but as she’s the baby at 10 weeks and only weighs 290g she’s not got much hope. I thought after having them two weeks a hierarchy would emerge and everything would settle down but I’ve taken my girls out for the day and Fudge has a nasty bite in her nose and I know it’s treacle, bubble and squeak are just not remotely aggressive. What should I do? Should I remove treacle or pair her with bubble and leave fudge and squeak together ( so each Dom pig has a laid back one) and see if we can reintroduce them at a later datewhen they have a large shed to free roam in - is that possible? Or should I seriously consider rejoining treacle and keeping a trio? Their hutch is big enough, there’s multiple food and water bowls and plenty of enrichment so I’m at a loss.
Also will Fudge need to see a vet? I’ve popped some guinea antiseptic cream on the wound. I’ve left treacle alone in the hutch this morning which I feel awful for but I wanted some advice before I put them back together.
Side note squeak is currently out and not huddled in a corner.

Photo - bubble at back left, squeak and fudge middle and naughty treacle front exploring one of their forage fleeces
 

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Piggies&buns

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It could be a misplaced nip and accidental injury - I’d observe them before rushing to separate. If you didn’t witness the incident occurring, then I’d be hesitant to assume it was deliberate unless you are absolutely certain there are problems in the relationship before now.

If you think there are problems in the relationship - and you do need to be very certain before you step in - then reintroducing them when they’ve got a bigger space wont necessarily help. It’s character which is the important factor and if they don’t like each other now, they won’t necessarily like each other in a bigger space.

Trios can be tricky to get right, there is always the risk of an outsider situation occurring. If you do need to separate, then I’d personally opt to go for two pairs rather than rehoming one and having a trio....just in case problems in the trio come to light down the line as they all hit their teens. If that was to happen, you’d end up with a pair and a single which isn’t ideal.

Bonds In Trouble
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
 

Flibbertygibbert

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Thanks. Squeak is much happier without treacle around but I’m reluctant to part Fudge and bubble as they are sisters and have really bonded. It’s making my head hurt! Treacle attempted to nip me the other day out of the blue. She was sat eating dandilion leaves out of my hand then suddenly reared up, nipped me on my neck then went back to eating happily as if nothing had happened. She needs an ASBO that one 🙄
 

Piggies&buns

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While they are living together, keep them together. Leaving her in the hutch on her own won’t help their relationship. Their hierarchy needs to be respected and she may now feel the need to assert more dominance to confirm her position.
If they’ve not been together long, then she may not feel confident enough in her position yet. It may just take some more time.
Moody guinea pigs: Depression, Bullying, Aggression, Stress, Fear and Antisocial Behaviour

This guide may help with her biting you.

" Biting" And What You Can Do (Biting, Tweaking, Nibbling and Nipping)

I used to have a rabbit who was lovely to her sister but an absolute menace with me! She was tiny though - half the size of her more docile sister - so when this little bunny came running out at you, you’d think oh how cute and then shed’d stare you down and launch an attack, blimey she was scary!
 

Siikibam

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Who was Treacle bonded to before you made the quartet? :agr: with Piggies&Buns in that if you didn’t witness it then it may have been a misplaced swipe. Perhaps try them on neutral ground and if she doesn’t get on with them then you may just have to go back to your two pairs...
 

Flibbertygibbert

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Who was Treacle bonded to before you made the quartet? :agr: with Piggies&Buns in that if you didn’t witness it then it may have been a misplaced swipe. Perhaps try them on neutral ground and if she doesn’t get on with them then you may just have to go back to your two pairs...
She was with squeak but really seems to have a problem with her. I’ve put them back together for now thanks and will keep an eye on them. She’s only been apart for an hour I literally dived onto the forum when I saw fudge for advice 😂 thanks everyone
 

Flibbertygibbert

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While they are living together, keep them together. Leaving her in the hutch on her own won’t help their relationship. Their hierarchy needs to be respected and she may now feel the need to assert more dominance to confirm her position.
If they’ve not been together long, then she may not feel confident enough in her position yet. It may just take some more time.
Moody guinea pigs: Depression, Bullying, Aggression, Stress, Fear and Antisocial Behaviour

This guide may help with her biting you.

" Biting" And What You Can Do (Biting, Tweaking, Nibbling and Nipping)

I used to have a rabbit who was lovely to her sister but an absolute menace with me! She was tiny though - half the size of her more docile sister - so when this little bunny came running out at you, you’d think oh how cute and then shed’d stare you down and launch an attack, blimey she was scary!
I adopted a hamster like that once too. Never been so scared of anything in my life. Very cute but EVIL 😂😂😂
 

Piggies&buns

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I see there is a little age difference there so I’m assuming treacle and squeak aren’t siblings. How did they come to be together? Sadly, being put together as babies means that character incompatibilities can come out as they grow. If fudge and bubble get on then they can remain together. If squeak and treacle really do have a problem in their relationship, then they are unlikely to be able to stay together for the long term.
The injury that treacle has potentially caused to fudge means (barring our comments about the chances of it being accidental) that there may also be a problem there.

If squeak really does get on ok with fudge and bubble and they can make a trio work, then that’s fine. As I said, trios can be tricky, but it’s not always the case. Treacle could live alongside them for companionship through the bars. You’d just have to keep a watch out to be sure the trio is all settling in ok. A lot of trios are fine, but they aren’t the easiest of combinations to get right, doesn’t mean it’s impossible though.
 

Flibbertygibbert

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I see there is a little age difference there so I’m assuming treacle and squeak aren’t siblings. How did they come to be together? Sadly, being put together as babies means that character incompatibilities can come out as they grow. If fudge and bubble get on then they can remain together. If squeak and treacle really do have a problem in their relationship, then they are unlikely to be able to stay together for the long term.
The injury that treacle has potentially caused to fudge means (barring our comments about the chances of it being accidental) that there may also be a problem there.

If squeak really does get on ok with fudge and bubble and they can make a trio work, then that’s fine. As I said, trios can be tricky, but it’s not always the case. Treacle could live alongside them for companionship through the bars. You’d just have to keep a watch out to be sure the trio is all settling in ok. A lot of trios are fine, but they aren’t the easiest of combinations to get right, doesn’t mean it’s impossible though.
I asked for them to be kept together at the same breeders for a couple of weeks after I picked them out as I wanted to see if they got on. Treacle was recovering from having her nose and ears badly bitten by her mum at the time so I left both there until I could take them at the same time. I was told they were getting on ok together but when I went to pick them up squeak was bought out from inside the house and treacle was in the outside hutches.
After spending much of the last couple of weeks on pig watch outside, it’s clear squeak is bottom of the pack and she keeps herself very separate from treacle but she will cuddle up with bubble and fudge. Treacle pushes her into corners and rumblestruts but hasn’t gone for her. Fudge I suspect tried to assert herself with treacle and must have got a nip for it. Sadly as they live outside I can’t keep much of an eye on them at night - I’d love to bring them in but there’s not enough space and I’ve a boisterous two year old boy who likes posting items and banging things so they wouldn’t be safe.
 

Piggies&buns

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Ah, so perhaps they weren’t together as you’d hoped before you brought them home then afterall.
If you were to separate into a trio and a single, would you be able to position treacle’s hutch so she could have through bar interaction?
You’ve mentioned having a shed, is that a near possibility? It’s obviously easier to to separate and have through bar interaction in something like a shed!
 

Wiebke

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Hi!

Unfortunately the majority of especially for sale breeders don't have much regard for welfare and even less of species needs and this constant stress their mothers are under plus the lack of being able to interact in a normal way will transmit to the babies in womb and later in my own experience. The piggies from the place you got them from sadly sound like they cvome from one of the worse sort of backyard breeders with highly stressed mothers and babies that are being messed up even before they are born (seeing high stress hormone levels as their default normal setting) and then even more being brought up in a dysfunctional stressed social setting. If your babies come with nibbled ears and bite wounds, then you know that you are going to be up against it...
Sadly anybody can call themselves a breeder or rescue (and any shade berween the two) in the English speaking world without license or supervision. The RSPCA is not allowed to step in unless the very survival is threatened and conditions are truly horrendous. :(

It is unfortunately a myth that all sows will get or that sisters won't fall out. In fact, my adopted sister pairs or trios have often be the worst squabblers. My record stands at about 50%.

Please take into account that new surroundings/being outside when not used to it are added stress factors. Full-on bites to the nose are always instinctive defence bites and not fights from an on-edge piggy that feels cornered, very often from another piggy rushing in or happening onto the place they have holed up.
Here is more information on biting, and what can be behind it and what you can do: " Biting" And What You Can Do (Biting, Tweaking, Nibbling and Nipping)


Use the temporary separation as described in the Bonds in Trouble guide to work out whether your girl perk up when separated. In this case you may find that splitting your quartet into two pairs may work a lot better for everybody involved, including your own peace of mind. Bonds In Trouble

At the bottom of every successful piggy bond lies the willingness to want to be together. Character compatibility is the single most important aspect in any piggy bond, long before age or gender; sadly it is usually not considered when getting pretty babies. Shops and breeders will tell you anything about the babies being siblings because that long debunked myth is still what most people want to hear. :(
Once two sows have decided they cannot agree about leadership and they don't like each other, then there is no way back to mend any fences. That issue is bound to stick around and rather escalate than settle down. :(

PS: Please make sure that you piggies are as safe in this hot weather as can be. The heat and thunderstorm are adding yet another stress level: Hot Weather Management, Heat Strokes and Fly Strike
 

Flibbertygibbert

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Ah, so perhaps they weren’t together as you’d hoped before you brought them home then afterall.
If you were to separate into a trio and a single, would you be able to position treacle’s hutch so she could have through bar interaction?
You’ve mentioned having a shed, is that a near possibility? It’s obviously easier to to separate and have through bar interaction in something like a shed!
Shed won’t be ready until next month sadly :(
 

Flibbertygibbert

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Hi!

Unfortunately the majority of especially for sale breeders don't have much regard for welfare and even less of species needs and this constant stress their mothers are under plus the lack of being able to interact in a normal way will transmit to the babies in womb and later in my own experience. The piggies from the place you got them from sadly sound like they cvome from one of the worse sort of backyard breeders with highly stressed mothers and babies that are being messed up even before they are born (seeing high stress hormone levels as their default normal setting) and then even more being brought up in a dysfunctional stressed social setting. If your babies come with nibbled ears and bite wounds, then you know that you are going to be up against it...
Sadly anybody can call themselves a breeder or rescue (and any shade berween the two) in the English speaking world without license or supervision. The RSPCA is not allowed to step in unless the very survival is threatened and conditions are truly horrendous. :(

It is unfortunately a myth that all sows will get or that sisters won't fall out. In fact, my adopted sister pairs or trios have often be the worst squabblers. My record stands at about 50%.

Please take into account that new surroundings/being outside when not used to it are added stress factors. Full-on bites to the nose are always instinctive defence bites and not fights from an on-edge piggy that feels cornered, very often from another piggy rushing in or happening onto the place they have holed up.
Here is more information on biting, and what can be behind it and what you can do: " Biting" And What You Can Do (Biting, Tweaking, Nibbling and Nipping)


Use the temporary separation as described in the Bonds in Trouble guide to work out whether your girl perk up when separated. In this case you may find that splitting your quartet into two pairs may work a lot better for everybody involved, including your own peace of mind. Bonds In Trouble

At the bottom of every successful piggy bond lies the willingness to want to be together. Character compatibility is the single most important aspect in any piggy bond, long before age or gender; sadly it is usually not considered when getting pretty babies. Shops and breeders will tell you anything about the babies being siblings because that long debunked myth is still what most people want to hear. :(
Once two sows have decided they cannot agree about leadership and they don't like each other, then there is no way back to mend any fences. That issue is bound to stick around and rather escalate than settle down. :(

PS: Please make sure that you piggies are as safe in this hot weather as can be. The heat and thunderstorm are adding yet another stress level: Hot Weather Management, Heat Strokes and Fly Strike
This is something I’ve really come to learn sadly. I thought I was doing the right thing by not going to the pet store and then my heart went out to these little piggies. Rookie error I guess - I’ve only had pairs before and never had any issues maybe I’ve just been lucky in the past 😢.
If I do separate into twos do you think bubble will be ok without fudge? I have the hutch in a very very sheltered spot in the garden but they won’t be able to see each other as it’s tiered so I’d have two on each tier. There isn’t space in this spot for another hutch and anywhere else in the garden is unsuitable as too exposed to sun wind etc so until the shed turns up and I could theoretically get a second hutch and partition the shed they would be totally separated at night. I can get a second run no problem and place them next to each other but would that then upset bubble and fudge seeing each other but not being able to play?
Again keeping a trio and separating treacle wouldn’t work for this reason as she will then have no companion the poor thing.
Honestly I’m so passionate about the welfare of my pets it breaks my heart I’ve got it wrong this time.
 

Siikibam

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If they get on in the pairs you choose then they should be okay. And there would be no need to have them interacting through the bars.
 
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