Depression after separation

LydiaH

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Hi all, three weeks ago I sadly had to separate my boars, Sven and Ghost, after a falling out. They had lived together for 11 months but it was always more of a coexistence enabled by a large space and lots of resources than a happy loving pair. I always knew it could happen because my older boy Sven was separated from the last bond attempt after attacking him pretty badly. He did accept Ghost as a baby and tolerated his antics, but I think perhaps just saw him as more of a threat as he got older and bigger. I moved ONE THING in their cage one day and problems arose, Ghost trying to hump Sven until the point Sven was up on his hindegs clearly about to attack.

Its a shame because I think if we could have made it past Ghost's puberty time, they might have been ok (only would have been 2 more months)
but separating them was definitely the right thing for Ghost's safety. They were in a 2x6 (c&c grids), they now have half each with a divider. Sven is infinitely happier and calmer, out and about much more and happier spending time with us out of his cage.

I am however worried about Ghost. He still does a twice daily zoom around his little space and is still eating, drinking etc. The rest of the time though he pretty much spends sitting or laying at the divider staring at Sven. He is petrified during floor time and won't move. He has always been more skittish and nervous and would follow Sven during floor time for safety - we still give them floor time together, with a divider, but Ghost just hides. I'm most worried about him sitting at the divider in the cage. He seems sad. They don't interact through the bars because Sven ignores him. Could he be depressed or am I reading too much into it, as he's still zooming, eating, drinking?

If he's depressed I don't know what to do. There isn't enough room to add another pig to his little space now and if there was another falling out we'd be completely stuffed as we have no other space. I do not have a rescue near me that will do bonding (I asked last time around) and as much as we would be prepared to neuter him and get a female, even if we could extend his 2x3 I don't feel it would be fair to Sven to put a female that close to him.

Any thoughts?
 

Siikibam

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I’m sorry you had to separate. Unfortunately you can not tell what will happen when the younger one reaches their teenage months. It sounds like Ghost may have wanted to take over as top pig. But moving things around can cause issues if there is already underlying tension.

With regards laying down next to the divider, that’s To do with marking territory rather than wanting to be with the other pig.

If you decide to get them a friend each, then you could stack the cages. But otherwise living alongside each other helps to stave off loneliness. Is it possible to expand so they each have a 2x4?

How long have you had Ghost? It may be he’s just a skittish piggy and will take more time to settle in.
 

LydiaH

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I’m sorry you had to separate. Unfortunately you can not tell what will happen when the younger one reaches their teenage months. It sounds like Ghost may have wanted to take over as top pig. But moving things around can cause issues if there is already underlying tension.

With regards laying down next to the divider, that’s To do with marking territory rather than wanting to be with the other pig.

If you decide to get them a friend each, then you could stack the cages. But otherwise living alongside each other helps to stave off loneliness. Is it possible to expand so they each have a 2x4?

How long have you had Ghost? It may be he’s just a skittish piggy and will take more time to settle in.
Thank you for your reply @Siikibam
Yes Ghost was definitely trying to take over and there were often times like that. Sven usually dealt with it decisively but not aggressively, until that point. It had been close at one point before but I managed to rebond them in a neutral area.

We've had Ghost for a year this month. He's just never really moved past being skittish with us, although we've done exactly the same with him as all the other pigs we've ever had, including Sven who is absurdly tame. It's a shame because they live in the main room with us and we're here 24/7 now working from home so if he were at all comforted by human companionship it would be ok, but he isn't, unlike Sven who seems to genuinely like us.

This is technically Sven's fourth separation so I am not going to risk attempting to pair him again. We don't have the room to make a 2x8 space (to give them each a 2x4) but a stacked cage could give us the room to build a bigger space for Ghost and a new friend. We have enough kit to do it actually, I've just never understood how I would clean the bottom level with another built on top of it. And we removed the loft we originally had because it was difficult to clean under and kept collapsing!
But if the sitting at the fence is territorial rather than sadness, perhaps I'm reading too much into it and Ghost is ok.
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you for your reply @Siikibam
Yes Ghost was definitely trying to take over and there were often times like that. Sven usually dealt with it decisively but not aggressively, until that point. It had been close at one point before but I managed to rebond them in a neutral area.

We've had Ghost for a year this month. He's just never really moved past being skittish with us, although we've done exactly the same with him as all the other pigs we've ever had, including Sven who is absurdly tame. It's a shame because they live in the main room with us and we're here 24/7 now working from home so if he were at all comforted by human companionship it would be ok, but he isn't, unlike Sven who seems to genuinely like us.

This is technically Sven's fourth separation so I am not going to risk attempting to pair him again. We don't have the room to make a 2x8 space (to give them each a 2x4) but a stacked cage could give us the room to build a bigger space for Ghost and a new friend. We have enough kit to do it actually, I've just never understood how I would clean the bottom level with another built on top of it. And we removed the loft we originally had because it was difficult to clean under and kept collapsing!
But if the sitting at the fence is territorial rather than sadness, perhaps I'm reading too much into it and Ghost is ok.
you can’t have stacked cages if you have a single piggy. Single piggies need side by side cages for interaction so even if you get one piggy a new friend, you still need cages side by side so the single can interact with the pair.

Cleaning - stacked cages are different to lofts. A lot goes directly on top of the bottom cage, whereas stacked cages stand three grids high, whereas a loft makes the cage two grids high, so there is one grid of height between the top of the bottom cage and the bottom of the top cage
 

LydiaH

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you can’t have stacked cages if you have a single piggy. Single piggies need side by side cages for interaction so even if you get one piggy a new friend, you still need cages side by side so the single can interact with the pair.

Cleaning - stacked cages are different to lofts. A lot goes directly on top of the bottom cage, whereas stacked cages stand three grids high, whereas a loft makes the cage two grids high, so there is one grid of height between the top of the bottom cage and the bottom of the top cage
Thank you @Piggies&buns
I understand what you say about the interaction that side by side cages provide, although Sven genuinely does ignore Ghost and does not interact with him through the divider. But in that case the stacked cages won't be an option. I wouldn't put another pig into the 2x3 space (far too small) and can't make it bigger on one level. Also I do not think it would be fair to Sven to have a female in the cage next to him and I cannot try Ghost with another male because if they aren't compatible we have nowhere to house the third.
I sort of knew these were the options, I was more seeking advice on whether Ghost's behaviour actually indicates depression or if I am being overly concerned without cause, as that will be the crunch factor in what we do. Perhaps I will just have to monitor him for a little longer, see what happens, and then decide what's best all round.
 
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