Taegijoon

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We have a total of 4 sows. Unfortunately we lost a pig and are currently in the process of introducing a baby. So far I've done 3 attempts, I do struggle with the introduction process a bit and often wonder if i'm doing it correctly. My struggle is knowing when the pigs have finished. The first attempt didn't seem to go well, a lot of shooting pee and the baby was interested and going up to the other 3 sows but near the end she became withdrawn and would squeal anytime a pig came near. We have a sow named Chai who i believe has fear aggression, she always nips, chases, rumbles, and is quite difficult to introduce to. The second attempt I put them in our tub and I figured the playpen we used probably carries the pigs scent and may be why our intro's don't go so well. This time things went better, Chai seemed to get along with one of the sows (Latte)she has been living with since December. Chai doesn't show much signs of acceptance though, she sniffs the girls bums but i don't ever see her groom or even nip ears as I thought she was the more dominant pig by her behaviors. I noticed Mochi, who i thought was the most submissive, groom the other pigs and even nip their ears. She tried to do the same to Chai but Chai would react with aggression, nips and all! Is this Mochi trying to be the more dominant pig? Meanwhile, the baby is completely on her own, shows no interest in the other sows and vise versa unless the adult sows are near her and then they would just nip. Mochi sniffs the baby's chin and seems more accepting of her. Latte and Chai are the sows that nip at the baby or chase her off. This intro in the tub was cut short as the bathroom was needed but we had them in there for i'd say an hour or more. I tried a 3rd attempt, again Chai seems to accept Latte, Mochi was trying to sneak in her ear nips, and the baby was not interested except for a moment where she came up to Latte and climbed/laid on her back and Latte allowed this. My main concern is Chai, her fear-aggression makes intro's hard. Is there any way I can help her feel comfortable with other pigs? I would hate to put in a divider. I'm not sure why Chai and Latte seem to dislike the baby, i held the baby near them yesterday and both of them began to teeth chatter pretty intensely. Does this mean they absolutely want nothing to do with the baby? Should i keep trying introductions? I know you can't make a sow change her mind, but i can't tell if Chai gotten the time needed to get to now the baby as they rarely were near each other and the same for Latte and the baby. I think maybe the baby lost her confidence after being treated "harshly". Thanks for any advice given! :)
 

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We have a total of 4 sows. Unfortunately we lost a pig and are currently in the process of introducing a baby. So far I've done 3 attempts, I do struggle with the introduction process a bit and often wonder if i'm doing it correctly. My struggle is knowing when the pigs have finished. The first attempt didn't seem to go well, a lot of shooting pee and the baby was interested and going up to the other 3 sows but near the end she became withdrawn and would squeal anytime a pig came near. We have a sow named Chai who i believe has fear aggression, she always nips, chases, rumbles, and is quite difficult to introduce to. The second attempt I put them in our tub and I figured the playpen we used probably carries the pigs scent and may be why our intro's don't go so well. This time things went better, Chai seemed to get along with one of the sows (Latte)she has been living with since December. Chai doesn't show much signs of acceptance though, she sniffs the girls bums but i don't ever see her groom or even nip ears as I thought she was the more dominant pig by her behaviors. I noticed Mochi, who i thought was the most submissive, groom the other pigs and even nip their ears. She tried to do the same to Chai but Chai would react with aggression, nips and all! Is this Mochi trying to be the more dominant pig? Meanwhile, the baby is completely on her own, shows no interest in the other sows and vise versa unless the adult sows are near her and then they would just nip. Mochi sniffs the baby's chin and seems more accepting of her. Latte and Chai are the sows that nip at the baby or chase her off. This intro in the tub was cut short as the bathroom was needed but we had them in there for i'd say an hour or more. I tried a 3rd attempt, again Chai seems to accept Latte, Mochi was trying to sneak in her ear nips, and the baby was not interested except for a moment where she came up to Latte and climbed/laid on her back and Latte allowed this. My main concern is Chai, her fear-aggression makes intro's hard. Is there any way I can help her feel comfortable with other pigs? I would hate to put in a divider. I'm not sure why Chai and Latte seem to dislike the baby, i held the baby near them yesterday and both of them began to teeth chatter pretty intensely. Does this mean they absolutely want nothing to do with the baby? Should i keep trying introductions? I know you can't make a sow change her mind, but i can't tell if Chai gotten the time needed to get to now the baby as they rarely were near each other and the same for Latte and the baby. I think maybe the baby lost her confidence after being treated "harshly". Thanks for any advice given! :)

Hi!

Please be aware that submission screaming especially from babies is a normal part of dominance and their integration into the group. The dominance behaviour you are describing is also very much what you would expect. It is not nice to watch but it is necessary in order to establish a new group hierarchy and to put the baby emphatically in her place at the bottom. Babies are just so vocal and dramatic that everything looks three times as horrible as it actually is.
All the nipping, chasing etc. are carefully calculated dominance behaviours that demonstrate power but without actually injuring an under-piggy. Lying down to be mounted is acceptance of the mounting piggy as their group superior.

Please let the piggies get on with it and do not interfere. The dominance phase usually last for about 2 weeks after the intro although it should lessen in intensity as time goes on. Please make sure that you haven't got any hides with just one exit in the cage and either sprinkle feed or feed in one bowl per sow, the bowls carefully spaced at least one adult body length apart and make sure that hay and water access cannot be blocked and is ideally in several places.

Please take the time to carefully read our bonding and sow guides before the next meeting and transfer to the cage:
- Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics (includes baby, sow and group intro dynamics and videos)
- Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts) (also contains a chapter on bonding, dominance and bullying amongst sows)
 

Taegijoon

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Hi!

Please be aware that submission screaming especially from babies is a normal part of dominance and their integration into the group. The dominance behaviour you are describing is also very much what you would expect. It is not nice to watch but it is necessary in order to establish a new group hierarchy and to put the baby emphatically in her place at the bottom. Babies are just so vocal and dramatic that everything looks three times as horrible as it actually is.
All the nipping, chasing etc. are carefully calculated dominance behaviours that demonstrate power but without actually injuring an under-piggy. Lying down to be mounted is acceptance of the mounting piggy as their group superior.

Please let the piggies get on with it and do not interfere. The dominance phase usually last for about 2 weeks after the intro although it should lessen in intensity as time goes on. Please make sure that you haven't got any hides with just one exit in the cage and either sprinkle feed or feed in one bowl per sow, the bowls carefully spaced at least one adult body length apart and make sure that hay and water access cannot be blocked and is ideally in several places.

Please take the time to carefully read our bonding and sow guides before the next meeting and transfer to the cage:
- Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics (includes baby, sow and group intro dynamics and videos)
- Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts) (also contains a chapter on bonding, dominance and bullying amongst sows)
Hello! Thank you for the response. Yes I read the bonding form like a bible lol! I guess in the cage is the horror show and I know it's still apart of the process, it's just sad cause the baby doesn't leave the top part of the cage (the loft), and if the other pigs go up, they chase her and she runs into the grids. I'm going to have to baby proof with the extra coroplast I have. But yea, i'm just concerned because she doesn't leave the loft area to interact with the adult sows. And then also how to work through Chai's fear aggression
 

Taegijoon

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also, is it ok to take them out the cage for floor time or do they need to hash it out for those 2 weeks? I find it hard to understand when people say "do not interfere" as in completely leave them be? or to not come in between pigs when they are showing dominance? Thanks so much!
 

Wiebke

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also, is it ok to take them out the cage for floor time or do they need to hash it out for those 2 weeks? I find it hard to understand when people say "do not interfere" as in completely leave them be? or to not come in between pigs when they are showing dominance? Thanks so much!

You can do more sessions on neutral ground but ideally you do not add more stress to the situation by breaking up interaction. This usually only helps to aggravate the situation.

Unfortunately if your baby is not accepted by the group as a whole, the bonding has failed and you will have to find an alternative option like splitting your quartet into two pairs.
 

Taegijoon

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You can do more sessions on neutral ground but ideally you do not add more stress to the situation by breaking up interaction. This usually only helps to aggravate the situation.

Unfortunately if your baby is not accepted by the group as a whole, the bonding has failed and you will have to find an alternative option like splitting your quartet into two pairs.
Ah ok! sometimes we take them out for floor time that's why. For these sessions should the cage be cleaned out as well?
 
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