Bonding a new female

bmc1990

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Morning hope everyone is well.

We have had our 5 guinea pigs now since March, the two girls are bonded well, as are the three boys, and have a side each of their enclosure to avoid pregnancy. They all get along really well and can sniff at each other through the mesh separating their sides.

Yesterday we took in a lone female guinea pig (approx 3 years old) who was very lonely on her own. We are hoping we will be able to bond her with our girls so she can move in with them.

Just looking for some tips really, ours have been together since birth (2 litters within a couple weeks of each other that we took in from a local farm) so we have never had to try and bond piggies before!

We have Honey (the new girl) in a large dog crate for now and the girls are in a “play area” (lovingly made by my daughter haha) next to her so they can see and sniff each other, but not get to each other. First impressions seem positive, sniffed each other, happily eating their veggies next to each other. We have had a little teeth chattering but they then back away. I have read this is common on initial meetings? I don’t want to rush anything so will let them take their time.

Just looking for any tried and tested ways of helping things go as smoothly as possible! Our current guineas are around 6 months old, and the new girl is 3, will this have any bearing on how things may go?

Thanks in advance! X
 

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Piggies&buns

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All you can do follow the bonding procedure. Being side by side is not an indication of how things will go upon physical introduction. It comes entirely down to whether they like each other and can work out a hierarchy. Adding a single to a pair can work but it can also be an all out failure. It works best if the single is younger so doesn’t challenge for dominance. You may need to have a plan b in mind if they can live together.

Be very careful with three boys together, I’m sure you know, but a trio of boars are unlikely to be able to remain together if they are within their teens and particularly if sows are present. When keeping boars and sows in the same room it is advisable to keep them in stacked cages with the girls at the bottom so girly smells can’t pass to the boys and always handle the boys first.

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

Siikibam

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Did you take Honey in from a private owner? Another thing to think about would have been quarantine and a vet check if so.

Lastly, be aware that trios can sometimes be a little difficult in that you may end up with an ‘outsider’ piggy.

Good luck with the bonding and feel free to start a thread for support while you’re doing it.
 

bmc1990

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Thanks for the replies. We have been keeping them in separate enclosures but side by side so they can see and smell each other through the wires of the runs. The first day we had a lot of teeth chattering and a couple of little fights between our established pairs and group. The teeth chattering is much less now but still happens. They have separate runs in the garden alongside each other. Honey has really taken to one of our boys, Socks, and they get along very well, and have also been together in a run with no fighting. Only issue we have is that neither have been spayed/neutered so can only be together when fully supervised. Anyone had success with neutering? Wondering whether a good solution would be to neuter Socks and house him and Honey together so all are in pairs. The girls really do not like Honey and I have seen little improvement so far 🤷🏼‍♀️ I just worry about the risks with neutering x
 

KathT

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I have had two boars neutered without any problems. You say you allow your sow and boar are together when closely supervised - it takes seconds for a boar to impregnate a sow, much faster than you are able to react, so best not put them together at all. A sow at three is too old for pregnancy.
 

Piggies&buns

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:agr: Don’t allow unneutered boars to be physically with sows at all, not even when supervised. They must constantly be kept apart as a mating will take seconds and you wouldn’t stop them in time.

In your situation, I would personally neuter one boar and bond him with one of the sows to have three pairs. A boar trio has such a high chance of failures and fights. They may have been ok so far with the sows present, but they can just turn one day.
 

bmc1990

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Thank you! We sit with them in the run but won’t be doing this anymore if it can happen so quickly! We have been quoted £67+ vat for a neuter, does this sound about right?
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you! We sit with them in the run but won’t be doing this anymore if it can happen so quickly! We have been quoted £67+ vat for a neuter, does this sound about right?
Yes that sounds about right for a neuter
 
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