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Bonding Problems....

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Lou1975

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I have three bonded sows, and of them, Belle is the boss. She's about 7 months old and the other two are 6 months old.

Yesterday, I took in three of my friend's sows to look after while she's on holiday, at the end of which, I'm keeping one to join my girls. This new pig is about three years old. I put her in the run with my girls this morning, and apart from being mounted about a dozen times by Belle, all was fine.

Then it started to rain. So I put my three, plus the new sow into their (freshly scrubbed) hutch...all hell broke loose! There was such a scrap between the new girl and my Belle, that fur actually flew! I put her back in with her old cage mates that she tolerates.

Am I right to think these two will NEVER get on?

When the two visitors go back home, should I get her a younger cagemate or keep persevering now?

We're going away in August....I don't want to keep disrupting her (the new sow).

I've read through all the bonding threads; I just want to do the right thing.

My long-term plan was to have more sows in a shed. But now I'm worried that Belle won't tolerate any newcomers...
 

Wiebke

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I have three bonded sows, and of them, Belle is the boss. She's about 7 months old and the other two are 6 months old.

Yesterday, I took in three of my friend's sows to look after while she's on holiday, at the end of which, I'm keeping one to join my girls. This new pig is about three years old. I put her in the run with my girls this morning, and apart from being mounted about a dozen times by Belle, all was fine.

Then it started to rain. So I put my three, plus the new sow into their (freshly scrubbed) hutch...all hell broke loose! There was such a scrap between the new girl and my Belle, that fur actually flew! I put her back in with her old cage mates that she tolerates.

Am I right to think these two will NEVER get on?

When the two visitors go back home, should I get her a younger cagemate or keep persevering now?

We're going away in August....I don't want to keep disrupting her (the new sow).

I've read through all the bonding threads; I just want to do the right thing.

My long-term plan was to have more sows in a shed. But now I'm worried that Belle won't tolerate any newcomers...
It sounds like one of the younger girls is very dominant and did not like her home invaded and her top spot threatened by another sow. Please make sure that both girls are only introduced to sows (or nuetered boars) that are submissive and then you should be OK. The safest way is to go piggy dating at a good rescue, so acceptance happens under expert supervision and you only come home with guinea pigs that click with each other. it is well worth driving that bit further and doing your research into the background, especially when when building up a group.

I would recommend to start out with a neutered boar they accept (he will help to keep the peace) and then go for an already bonded couple of younger or submissive piggies or those with a background of living with a larger group. This means that the existing hierarchy is never in question. this is how I went about building up the original Tribe (only that I started with a neutered patriarch). I now have several middle-sized groups, each built around either a dominant "husboar" or "First Lady".

Your closest rescue is The Potteries Guinea Pig Rescue in Kidsgrove where you will be in very safe hands. I have just adopted a couple of young sows as companions for my bereaved Carwyn after he ran afoul of a rambunctious also bereaved sow over the dominance issue during bonding.
http://www.thepotteriesguineapigrescue.co.uk/ (please always ask a rescue, as they often have piggies in the pipeline that are not yet listed on the website; especially if you are not urgently looking for a companion for a pining piggy)
 

Lou1975

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Thank you! It's funny, but I've just emailed The Potteries Guinea Pig Rescue to ask their advice too! Is there a chance Belle may have a behavioural problem, as she attacked her old best friend Daisy when Daisy had a litter of babies....

Would a neutered male keep her in line?
 

Wiebke

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Thank you! It's funny, but I've just emailed The Potteries Guinea Pig Rescue to ask their advice too! Is there a chance Belle may have a behavioural problem, as she attacked her old best friend Daisy when Daisy had a litter of babies....

Would a neutered male keep her in line?
It depends on the boar and the chemistry between them. Some sows can be very tricky to bond, but generally a younger and/or submissive piggy has got a better chance. Dating is the way forward, especially with difficult to bond guinea pigs. Belle could also have fear-agression issues and is certainly very iffy about her dominance. it can sometimes take quite a bit of time to relax a fear-aggressive piggy enough for it to become bondable and the bonding itself can take more than one day to work through.
 

Lou1975

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Something very strange has happened...Belle seems to be letting the new pig be the dominant one! Keeping out of her way & letting her eat first. Is that usual?
 
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