Did I do the right thing?

RosieLily

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
7
Points
70
Location
Estonia
Hi and thanks for reading,

As of now, I have two very happy guinea pigs, Lily and Rosie. The girls have bonded very well, they’re inseparable and great friends. Rosie, the smaller one, seems to be a tad more dominant. Lily is the classic gentle piggy.

Today I got a third piggy, 3-4 months old, same as Lily and Rosie. She was very brave, we built her a tiny play pen to settle in, after 2h she was already exploring and eating well. Then I moved her along to a 100% neutral area where I also added our girls to, they were separate with a wire fence in between, though. The first hours everything went well, the girls and new piggie weren’t too curious about one another. Eventually I decided to take the wire fence away and let them meet. At first all seemed fine but then terrible fights got loose. My girls Lily and Rosie ended up fighting, too, which I haven’t seen before. We gave them more time with a fence inbetween but every attempt to introduce them, failed. The pen had greens, hay, pellets, houses with multiple escape roots. I thought it was full of distractions but nothing worked.

I got so concerned and returned the new piggy. I feel immense guilt because I feel like I simply took her home and scared her a bunch. I’m also worried about the home she goes to, I hope she will get great owners.

Was I too impatient, I have introduced guinea pigs before and simply letting them meet on a neutral pen area with distractions always worked wonders. But the new girl ended up trying to chew through the fence, she was wrestling it to the point it seemed like she was hurting herself. She was clattering her teeth and came off very VERY dominant. I just felt like waiting would result in the same.

Is there a better way to introduce a third? I don’t think I am going to bother Lily and Rosie with a third piggy anymore, but I’d love to know. Thank you.
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
9,683
Reaction score
11,700
Points
1,925
Location
Cambridgeshire
I’m sorry to hear you’ve had problems.
It comes entirely down to character compatibility and adding another and creating a trio is the set up which is most prone to problems. Sometimes adding another piggy works, sometimes it just doesn’t. It comes down to finding the right piggy and whether your current pair want another piggy added to them.
When bonding it’s best to not have hides in the neutral pen, just a pile of hay

Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,241
Reaction score
49,171
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Hi and thanks for reading,

As of now, I have two very happy guinea pigs, Lily and Rosie. The girls have bonded very well, they’re inseparable and great friends. Rosie, the smaller one, seems to be a tad more dominant. Lily is the classic gentle piggy.

Today I got a third piggy, 3-4 months old, same as Lily and Rosie. She was very brave, we built her a tiny play pen to settle in, after 2h she was already exploring and eating well. Then I moved her along to a 100% neutral area where I also added our girls to, they were separate with a wire fence in between, though. The first hours everything went well, the girls and new piggie weren’t too curious about one another. Eventually I decided to take the wire fence away and let them meet. At first all seemed fine but then terrible fights got loose. My girls Lily and Rosie ended up fighting, too, which I haven’t seen before. We gave them more time with a fence inbetween but every attempt to introduce them, failed. The pen had greens, hay, pellets, houses with multiple escape roots. I thought it was full of distractions but nothing worked.

I got so concerned and returned the new piggy. I feel immense guilt because I feel like I simply took her home and scared her a bunch. I’m also worried about the home she goes to, I hope she will get great owners.

Was I too impatient, I have introduced guinea pigs before and simply letting them meet on a neutral pen area with distractions always worked wonders. But the new girl ended up trying to chew through the fence, she was wrestling it to the point it seemed like she was hurting herself. She was clattering her teeth and came off very VERY dominant. I just felt like waiting would result in the same.

Is there a better way to introduce a third? I don’t think I am going to bother Lily and Rosie with a third piggy anymore, but I’d love to know. Thank you.
Hi!

If Rosie and Lily are getting into a fight, then that means that there are massive tensions coming from the top sow. Any bonding is not likely to work out. At the worst you can end up with three singles.
Keep in mind that the bonding process is actually very complex and goes through a number of stages. Yours has clearly failed in the leadership phase, which is for sows the classic big hurdle.
More information with illustrations on the different stages of the bonding process: Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

Unfortunately adding a third one of your own choice to a well bonded pair is very often not a good idea; as tempting as this is for new owners. Pairs are very often not open for a third, especially when the newbie is contesting the leadership. They will either close ranks against the newcomer or the stress will come down between them.
Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?

Please find another partnership solution for your new piggy and hope that Lily and Rosie will settle down again together. This is not going to work out. Once piggies have made up their mind that another one doesn't suit, they won't change their mind for the next few years or until they die. Any happy piggy bonding relies on mutual liking, character compatibility and the wish to be together. If one of these is not happening, then the bonding fails or problems will resurface again and again. :(
 

RosieLily

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
7
Points
70
Location
Estonia
Hi!

If Rosie and Lily are getting into a fight, then that means that there are massive tensions coming from the top sow. Any bonding is not likely to work out. At the worst you can end up with three singles.
Keep in mind that the bonding process is actually very complex and goes through a number of stages. Yours has clearly failed in the leadership phase, which is for sows the classic big hurdle.
More information with illustrations on the different stages of the bonding process: Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

Unfortunately adding a third one of your own choice to a well bonded pair is very often not a good idea; as tempting as this is for new owners. Pairs are very often not open for a third, especially when the newbie is contesting the leadership. They will either close ranks against the newcomer or the stress will come down between them.
Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?

Please find another partnership solution for your new piggy and hope that Lily and Rosie will settle down again together. This is not going to work out. Once piggies have made up their mind that another one doesn't suit, they won't change their mind for the next few years or until they die. Any happy piggy bonding relies on mutual liking, character compatibility and the wish to be together. If one of these is not happening, then the bonding fails or problems will resurface again and again. :(
Thank you for the detailed response, I really appreciate it.

I noticed that Lily and Rosie are a bit distant with each other now. They’re in separate houses (which was very rare prior to this) and there is a lot of “whining” and complaining when they get too close in their cage, which is rather big.. Is this normal? Do they just require a bit of time and patience?
 
Top