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Bonding A Sow Trio With A Sow Pair

GPIGFAN

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Hello,

I am still quite new to the world of guinea pigs - we got our pair of sows in November last year and we were given a sow trio just over 2 weeks ago. They have been living in separate hutches where they can see each other in our heated garage. I tried introducing them to each other today and I am not really sure if it was a success or a failure so I put them back in their separate hutches afterwards. The sow trio are 3/4 years old and the dominant piggy appears to be Squeak as she is always out first for food, is very vocal generally and I have seen her being a bit nippy with Fluffy and Steve (who is a girl-I didn't choose the name :)) who she has been bonded with since she was a baby. The pair - Dionsy and Fairy - are 7 months old and we got them as a bonded pair. Dionsy seems more dominant than Fairy who is very timid. Anyway I put them in the neutral territory with two tunnels initially and then removed the tunnels as they seemed to be arguing over the tunnels. They had moments of sitting eating hay and veg and then Squeak would start chasing Dionsy and Fairy and/or Fluffy and Squeak. No blood was drawn, but there was a lot of squeaking, chasing and some nipping. At one point the pair were sat on one side of the cage with Squeak in the middle and the other two just sitting quietly. Should I have tried putting them in the shared hutch afterwards? Is it only considered to be a failure if they fight? I was thinking I would try again tomorrow. What do you think? I have looked through the advice on here, but I just want to be sure if it is a good idea to continue with the bonding or not?

Many thanks in advance.
 

Wiebke

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Hello,

I am still quite new to the world of guinea pigs - we got our pair of sows in November last year and we were given a sow trio just over 2 weeks ago. They have been living in separate hutches where they can see each other in our heated garage. I tried introducing them to each other today and I am not really sure if it was a success or a failure so I put them back in their separate hutches afterwards. The sow trio are 3/4 years old and the dominant piggy appears to be Squeak as she is always out first for food, is very vocal generally and I have seen her being a bit nippy with Fluffy and Steve (who is a girl-I didn't choose the name :)) who she has been bonded with since she was a baby. The pair - Dionsy and Fairy - are 7 months old and we got them as a bonded pair. Dionsy seems more dominant than Fairy who is very timid. Anyway I put them in the neutral territory with two tunnels initially and then removed the tunnels as they seemed to be arguing over the tunnels. They had moments of sitting eating hay and veg and then Squeak would start chasing Dionsy and Fairy and/or Fluffy and Squeak. No blood was drawn, but there was a lot of squeaking, chasing and some nipping. At one point the pair were sat on one side of the cage with Squeak in the middle and the other two just sitting quietly. Should I have tried putting them in the shared hutch afterwards? Is it only considered to be a failure if they fight? I was thinking I would try again tomorrow. What do you think? I have looked through the advice on here, but I just want to be sure if it is a good idea to continue with the bonding or not?

Many thanks in advance.
It sounds to me that your girls have made it past the acceptance phase into the dominance phase with the typical behaviour while they establish a working hierarchy.

Please start again in neutral space (without any hideys) and let them get on tomorrow. You can move them into their hutch once they have had a nap together.

In the meantime, please read our very detailed guide; it will make a lot of behaviours you have seen become clear to you and you should find it very helpful. The guide covers the whole period from the preparation to the end of the dominance phase, which typically lasts around 2 weeks until a group has worked it all out and settles down together.
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
 
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