Dominance issues after bereavement

Hj10

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Hello everyone! This is my first post and I'm a little worried at the moment so I hope this doesn't come across as confusing.
I used to have a herd of 3 sows, maya, ziggy and winnie. They all got on quite well and dominance behaviours were quite rare. Earlier this year in about June winnie passed away incredibly suddenly. There seemed to be no signs of grief in ziggy and maya, and after a couple weeks they soon began rumble strutting and the sorts but nothing too serious. After a while, the dominance behaviours started leaning to being more aggressive, which leads us to now. I moved the pair into a much larger area which seems to have made the dominance issues worse. Maya will chase ziggy if she so much as gets close to her, maya will not let ziggy sit in the covered part of the hutch and will teeth chatter and rumble strut practically every time they see eachother. I've only recently seen them eat hay next to eachother once or twice which has now stopped. I'm hoping this is just a result of the new enclosure but I'm now starting to think if introducing a pair of young sows would help matters? I have researched this a little bit on what would be the best potential match but I'm curious for other peoples opinions on if introducing more pigs is the way to go.
thank you in advance!
 

Wiebke

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Hello everyone! This is my first post and I'm a little worried at the moment so I hope this doesn't come across as confusing.
I used to have a herd of 3 sows, maya, ziggy and winnie. They all got on quite well and dominance behaviours were quite rare. Earlier this year in about June winnie passed away incredibly suddenly. There seemed to be no signs of grief in ziggy and maya, and after a couple weeks they soon began rumble strutting and the sorts but nothing too serious. After a while, the dominance behaviours started leaning to being more aggressive, which leads us to now. I moved the pair into a much larger area which seems to have made the dominance issues worse. Maya will chase ziggy if she so much as gets close to her, maya will not let ziggy sit in the covered part of the hutch and will teeth chatter and rumble strut practically every time they see eachother. I've only recently seen them eat hay next to eachother once or twice which has now stopped. I'm hoping this is just a result of the new enclosure but I'm now starting to think if introducing a pair of young sows would help matters? I have researched this a little bit on what would be the best potential match but I'm curious for other peoples opinions on if introducing more pigs is the way to go.
thank you in advance!
Hi!

It can be a dominance issue, but depending on the age, which you have not disclosed, it may be worth having them vet checked for ovarian cysts.

Please be aware that adding new piggies is not a going to help heal any rift. In my own experiencve the problem will simply continue to surface again and again and disrupt or even split the whole group. Sows can fall out; they just don't usually as dramatically as boars. Once they have made up their mind that they don't suit, they won't change it this side of the grave, how many years that is in the future!

The information in the guides below may help you work whether their bond is still viable (see bonds in trouble how you go about getting an honest opinion from both) and then take it from there. At the worst, you may find each girl a new companion of her own liking (sow or neutered boar) to live in two separate pairs. Rescue dating is the best way forward to find the all important personality match in that case.
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonds In Trouble
Rescue Locator
 

Hj10

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Hi!

It can be a dominance issue, but depending on the age, which you have not disclosed, it may be worth having them vet checked for ovarian cysts.

Please be aware that adding new piggies is not a going to help heal any rift. In my own experiencve the problem will simply continue to surface again and again and disrupt or even split the whole group. Sows can fall out; they just don't usually as dramatically as boars. Once they have made up their mind that they don't suit, they won't change it this side of the grave, how many years that is in the future!

The information in the guides below may help you work whether their bond is still viable (see bonds in trouble how you go about getting an honest opinion from both) and then take it from there. At the worst, you may find each girl a new companion of her own liking (sow or neutered boar) to live in two separate pairs. Rescue dating is the best way forward to find the all important personality match in that case.
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonds In Trouble
Rescue Locator
Thank you so much for your advice! Will def get them checked for ovarian cysts. They are both around 2-3 years old.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you so much for your advice! Will def get them checked for ovarian cysts. They are both around 2-3 years old.
That is the classic time for hormonal cysts to really play up, so worth checking. I would also most strongly conduct a short temporary separation as described in the Bonds in Trouble guide to evaluate the state of the relationship. PLEASE read those links!

Cysts can unfortunately lead to a fall-out if there are other underlying issues; but it rather sounds to me like the relationship has already descended into a grudge match. I have had to split sows of mine (including a sister pair) over cysts. The death of a group leader is always difficult when the succession cannot be sorted amicably because there are too many claimants for the throne that are not willing to retract their claim. :(

Please keep in mind that we are all doing this for free in our free time on top of our jobs, our own piggies and our own private life; so we cannot explain everything in detail to everybody; I would be writing a novel every day! The in-depth and practical how-to information is in our guide links which we have made sure are very clear, very practical and as precise and comprehensive as we can make them. It usually takes me more than one day to write one.
 
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