George's dilemma: Boar now or..... eventually sow?

Free Ranger

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George (my neutered boar) has suffered the loss of both female companions this year and it's hit him hard. I was hoping to introduce more sows but he rejected one lovely local girl pretty firmly. I've contacted a couple of rescues and put in applications but no joy. He's been alone now for over a month and I do feel so very sorry for him. We had a lone boar for a while once before while we waited after a neutering op but Casper was much more confident and got a lot of pleasure from interaction, and the hideys and bags we put in for him - George is a different character.
We put out a local plea for 'left-over' sows and got an immediate reply from someone with a boar whose brother had died. This boy is 2 1/2 - a year younger than George - and intact. The owner said we could have him 'on loan' to see if it works out! I was hesitant for a few reasons: George is nervous - he was bullied by his brothers in the past and when he came here it was clear that our bright spark Ivy would be wearing the fluffy trousers. At the minute he spends most of the day hiding with his nose just visible. And he had so much fun with lively Ivy and tender Daisy... I could just imagine him looking at the new guy and thinking "is this it?" And I was quite convinced that the house and garden would smell a bit 'sow' and that might cause problems, so we said thanks but no thanks.
But over the last few days I've found myself reassessing. Over a month later and no sows have magically turned up - rescues are covid limited - one is on the site here and offers boar dating but having an unusual set up I'm not sure we'd be acceptable to them. I woke up this morning thinking about that intact boar being so young - if we don't have him what chance has he got of finding a companion. I'm sure he's in a lovely home but he's all alone. Am I about to make a big mistake?
We've got enough area for 2 boars and we've actually got 2 cages we can use in case they fight - we're only using one at the minute for George. I've read the bonding guides and I recognised George straight away in the 'fear-aggression': he attacked the new female because she suddenly moved quickly, I'm certain. My instinct would be to house the two boars in neighbouring cages for a few weeks until they become well known to each other and then try introducing somewhere neutral... but they'd end up going back to the cage area so would I just be making a problem here? Normally my pigs move freely between the two cages and use the area between and around. They'd have to be blocked in and take turns coming into the shared area. However, if I go straight in for the introduction like I did with George and Rosie (and the poor girl did everything right) I just can't see it working out... and once I take him on I can't see myself returning him to a solitary existence even if it's difficult here. Rosie was different as she just went back to her group.
So - I would appreciate opinions as to whether I should go boar now or wait to see if girls turn up. And also if I've said any definite No-No's about getting the guys together as I've not introduced boar to boar before. I'm just trying to see whether I missed anything here before I make a decision. Thanks people.
 

Siikibam

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I think I wouldn’t discount boars if sows aren’t available. The important thing is compatibility. Age doesn’t matter at all. They could be the same age and get on, or one significantly younger and they don’t get on.

When you say you have an unusual setup, what do you mean?

I take it the lone boar is from a ‘private owner’? If you do decide to try, you will have to quarantine him for two weeks (separate room) before you can introduce. In that time it would also be a good idea to book him in for a general check.

How they act while living alongside each other won’t be an indication of whether they get on or not. They only way you know is to try and bond them. If they bond you would have to thoroughly clean and rearrange their cage so it smells of neither of them.

If they don’t, then they can live alongside each other as neighbours. If they decide they can’t live together, you can’t put them together for floor time or lap time or anything. They must then be kept separate and only interact through the bars.

It’s a tough time but 🤞🏾 you find your boy a new friend soon.
 

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have you contacted @furryfriends (TEAS) as she may have some rescued piggies at the sanctuary?

I've only contacted rescues within about 1 hours drive because of the lockdown.

When you say you have an unusual setup, what do you mean?
We free-range, but not as a point of principle... it's just worked out that way. I suppose you could say we share the space.
We have a 'pig area' by the back door which is 8ft x 3 1/2ft but I do have to get in and out so I can't fill it with C&C. We had an L-shaped C&C for quite a few years with a mat next to it but I ended up leaving everything open as the pigs don't come into the main kitchen area. Then we had some hygiene issues so we replaced the C&C with a Ferplast (95 x 60) which slots in under the worktop at one end, and left it open so they could come in and out at will. Last year Daisy retired here with her own cage (100 x 50) so we cut holes in the sides of each as Daisy had arthritis and didn't do ramps or steps. So the boys would have a lot of space but neither cage is big enough for 2 boars - and I can't see the point of trading in the two for a giant cage to shut them in when they don't have to be. We use a barrier between the pig-bit and the main kitchen when we get a new pig. One girl - LouLou - used to come round when the fridge opened and she taught Ivy how to do it - but when LouLou died Ivy stopped. We always have 2 or 3... but we get them older - rescues or singletons locally. We've had mites brought in before but actually both culprits were from Blue Cross so what can you do!
The trickier issue is that we have a tiny back garden with a tinier lawn that is surrounded on all sides by high walls. When I started to keep pigs again I used a run which they kept escaping from so to prevent emergencies I modified the garden set up, fencing off possible drops, removing suspect plants etc so that if they got out they'd be safe. I spend a lot of time out there so it ended up being another shared space and we gave up on the run and propped the back door open. We don't get cats in, it's too small and overgrown for the red kites to swoop, we've never even had a magpie but I'm very aware that there's always a first time. So I balance that with the pleasure of watching the pigs use the whole of the space. They have hideys on the grass but given the choice after a big nosh they go and sprawl on the soil under the raspberry patch. Ivy used to go out at dusk and sit on a certain pile of stones (?) but her fave place was under the bike (?!) Daisy brought her own sturdy run so we could use that for new pigs but again, it stops them coming in if they feel like it. Nervous George won't go out alone now but if I take him out he'll 'patrol' for 10 minutes or so and then go back inside. I just took my lead from them.
So we didn't start out like this but it slowly evolved from having a cramped terrace house with a tiny Victorian 'yard' and privacy-obsessed neighbours! I wouldn't recommend it as a general approach if you've got room for a nice enclosure but in 10 years (touch wood) no problems. Nearly all my pigs have been at least 'mature' and they just wanted to pootle round. LouLou was adventurous, Daisy was placid, Ivy a lone-wolf, but George has been quite unique and I just want to do the best I can for him because I know how difficult it can be when your nerves get the better of you.
 

Siikibam

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I see what you mean. So would they be ‘closed’ into the cage at night or would they still be free roaming to a degree?

I think travel is allowed for pets...but I would double check and look at rescues a little further afield.
 

Little Ones

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:agr:
You’re still able to travel for pets. A single guinea pig is considered a welfare issue. We travelled just over two hours last Saturday to bond our bereaved boar with a new friend. I do get though that at the minute it’s difficult to find pigs to bond with. Granted, I was looking for a single male piggy. We tried 6 rescues I believe it was before we found a boar to bond with.
Also, it might be worth mentioning that we weren’t stopped or questioned at all as to why we were travelling. We also ended up at the seaside whilst the rescue were bonding the pigs and we still weren’t questioned
 

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So would they be ‘closed’ into the cage at night or would they still be free roaming to a degree?
Again, depends on the pigs but the only time we've deliberately shut one in recently was when old Daisy was winding down and Ivy used to wake her up at night (complaining squeaks) so we shut Daisy in her own cage to get a bit of peace (and then it was bar chewing!) I do miss them 😪

I think you're right about looking at rescues further afield - and I will be careful because I've already seen places advertising as 'rescues' and there seemed to be an awful lot of babies in the photos... but very few individual descriptions of the pigs.
 

Siikibam

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Look at the rescue locator on here. They are very rigorously vetted. Anyone can call themselves a ‘rescue’ as there is no legislation or law that needs following to be one.

Just be aware they may ask for a full sized cage. Good luck!
 

Little Ones

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Definitely be careful about the rescues you go to! I almost went to a rescue that went against everything I felt was right. For example, they forgo a quarantine period meaning they will bond your pig with one they got in just this morning. A lot of, if not all, rescues will at least give a 2 week period before adopting a new Guinea pig out to make sure they’re healthy. They also would break up bonded pairs in order to bond them with other people’s Guinea pigs (this one made me so sad). I also wasn’t keen on their bonding process which was to put my male guinea pig, Little, in with two other males and see which one he liked the best. The proper way to bond is with just two Guinea pigs, not a third in there. I was especially worried about that because Little is a special needs one - he is blind in both eyes and has no bottom incisors so wouldn’t be able to defend himself if both boys went straight for him.
Luckily I wrote about it on a thread I had started and a forum member warned me to steer clear of ‘rescues’ like that.
Anywhere that gives you a funny feeling, don’t go there! I had been saying to myself that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Little there but felt like we were out of options. When I was advised not to, it confirmed all my instincts and removed it from my consideration. After that, i took another look at the rescue locator (the bad rescue wasn’t on there, but rather I’d found them from a google search) and found a rescue I hadn’t noticed before. Definitely give the Rescue Locator a good look. I recommend viewing it on a computer rather than mobile as it’s easier manage in my opinion.
You’re right to be cautious about the rescues you go to. I hope you find something soon! :)
 

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Thanks for the good wishes and good advice. We'll find something, I know. We're all feeling a bit brighter than yesterday - it was so dark and binning down with rain.

I carried George out into the garden this morning as the sun had come out but he didn't look interested in going on the floor (which was very wet) so we just stood there enjoying the sun and I was talking to him absent-mindedly while I was thinking about the plants when suddenly - munching! He was within reach of the people-parsley which I grow in a wall basket out of pig-reach... he must have thought, "Ooh finally!" :))

PS I do grow parsley for pigs but it has to be rationed!
 

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Hubs put up a post enquiring as to the well-being of the local lonely boar (now I'm worrying about everyone else's pigs too!) and the happy news is that he was rehomed with another boar and has settled in well. It's just not our time yet....
 

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And eventually.... two sows! Louise and Zara (which to me are bizarre names for guinea pigs but there you have it!)

Burford blue cross got a sudden influx of pigs and we got lucky. They have apparently come from a good home but the lady needed to downscale so she kept her older ones (aaah) and gave up her younger ones. These are 3 which is just right for George. After a lot of thought I decided to first try keeping them as neighbours for a few weeks and so far so good. They are certainly interested in each other through the bars - George has found his rumblestrutt and tried to popcorn but he's a bit fat for that... every now and again the rumble turns into teeth-chattering so I'm thinking he just gets overwrought. He's not bar-chewing either (yet) so he's happy enough they're at a distance... I suspect Zara's front end means business although her back end is kind of comical... she looks like she's got a fuzzy white nappy on! There'll be photos at some point ☺ Louise is all floof to the point where you have to offer food to know which end is the front! My gosh - wish me luck...
 

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lovely news for George, I’m sure the ladies will love him :D
 
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