Fighting Started

Piggielover333

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I have four female pigs and they are 20 weeks (dominant piggy), 16 weeks, 16 weeks, and 10 weeks. Just a couple minutes ago my one 16 week pig, and the dominant piggy started lunging at one another and mildly fighting (no blood drawn or need for me to separate because it only lasted a second at most). Recently all of the pigs, except my one 16 week pig who doesn’t care at all to be dominant, have been rumbling around the cage and the 16 week one who was fighting with the dominant piggy seemed to be in season because she was acting more annoyed with all of the other girls. Could my oldest and dominant piggy be doing this because someone is challenging her dominance in the group? I assume this will keep happening as they age and get larger but I just wanted outside opinions!

Because they are younger is this going to be normal behavior? Or could they be having a falling out?

They are living in a 16 square foot cage and get floor time daily. As soon as I noticed this behavior I took them all out for floor time in a very large space and no issues with any of the piggies is going on anymore. The two that were fighting are near one another and seem perfectly content.

Just wondering if anyone has any explanations and advice!
 

VickiA

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To be honest it’s probably that with 4 very young sows someone has had a strong season and there has been a play for top spot in the hierarchy. When there is a challenge in the hierarchy at the top it can affect all the others in the herd too as they all have to work out their place.
Was there anything in particular they were fighting over? Is there one each of everything and one to spare? Eg 5 beds/hidey places and is there anywhere anyone can get trapped? Please have a read of our guides.
Sow Behaviour

Unless there is a major fight and blood is drawn or unless one piggy is being bullied I would let them work it out. They are all very young and new to this.
 

Piggielover333

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To be honest it’s probably that with 4 very young sows someone has had a strong season and there has been a play for top spot in the hierarchy. When there is a challenge in the hierarchy at the top it can affect all the others in the herd too as they all have to work out their place.
Was there anything in particular they were fighting over? Is there one each of everything and one to spare? Eg 5 beds/hidey places and is there anywhere anyone can get trapped? Please have a read of our guides.
Sow Behaviour

Unless there is a major fight and blood is drawn or unless one piggy is being bullied I would let them work it out. They are all very young and new to this.
Yes they have 3 water bottles, 2 pellet bowls, and 2 hay racks, 4 hideys, multiple blankets draped over certain parts of the cage for additional hiding, and then multiple litters. They weren’t fighting over anything particular it happened when they all were popcorning and running around in their sleeping/hangout side of the cage. Like I said it only lasted a few seconds each time and after a couple go’s my younger pig started to make submissive noises. I figured it was probably just them fighting for top spot but my eldest pig is very very concerned with being top girl. I definitely will give that guide a read. Thank you for your response! They seem to be doing much better after floor time!
 

Wiebke

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Yes they have 3 water bottles, 2 pellet bowls, and 2 hay racks, 4 hideys, multiple blankets draped over certain parts of the cage for additional hiding, and then multiple litters. They weren’t fighting over anything particular it happened when they all were popcorning and running around in their sleeping/hangout side of the cage. Like I said it only lasted a few seconds each time and after a couple go’s my younger pig started to make submissive noises. I figured it was probably just them fighting for top spot but my eldest pig is very very concerned with being top girl. I definitely will give that guide a read. Thank you for your response! They seem to be doing much better after floor time!
Lunging is in first line not an aggressive move, but a very strongly worded "stay away from me" or "stay out of me space". Whether there is a tussle ensuing depends on the response of the other piggy.
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics

It seems that here is some trouble at top over the leadership. It can happen in a group that one of the other sows makes a bit for leadership which can run on for a while and flare up whenever one of them is in season. Your top sow is likely not feeling secure/confident and lacks the natural instinct for leadership - at this age they would normally all live with mum and her group companions for guidance and security, so it is not easy for her to take over by default with no back-up. The good news is that sow issues generally do not end up in a full-on fight with deep bites. The worst they get to is chasing with biting/pulling a mouthful of hair as sows are wired to live together in a group with a boar of their choice to bring up the babies between them.
 

Piggielover333

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Lunging is in first line not an aggressive move, but a very strongly worded "stay away from me" or "stay out of me space". Whether there is a tussle ensuing depends on the response of the other piggy.
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics

It seems that here is some trouble at top over the leadership. It can happen in a group that one of the other sows makes a bit for leadership which can run on for a while and flare up whenever one of them is in season. Your top sow is likely not feeling secure/confident and lacks the natural instinct for leadership - at this age they would normally all live with mum and her group companions for guidance and security, so it is not easy for her to take over by default with no back-up. The good news is that sow issues generally do not end up in a full-on fight with deep bites. The worst they get to is chasing with biting/pulling a mouthful of hair as sows are wired to live together in a group with a boar of their choice to bring up the babies between them.
Thank you so much for your response! I will keep an eye on them but I feel much much better about it now I will read through the attached link as well!
 
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