Help Me Pick Out And Introduce New Pigs

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sugarandbubble

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So, today I made my cage 20 sq ft, or 1.787 sq meters. I've decided to add some new piggies! I already know I'm getting sows, plus I'm increasing my cage to a four by four ASAP! I want a little herd so no one is cast out, and I've no worries about not enough space as I am capable of building cages if there are fights. I know a four by four, how I make my C&Cs, will be 25 sq feet plus loft. Also, from what I've heard the equalized dimensions are much better than a 2 by 6 and allow more space for pigs to get away, which means I want three new pigs to add to my M/F pair. How do you suggest I introduce them? What are your experiences adding a large group to a pairing? If my new pigs are too exuberant for my elderly ones I will by all means separate them, as I know this was suggested to me before.
Edit- a 2 by 6 c and c with 14 in grids is about 1000 sq in smaller than a 4 by 4, if my math is even close to correct. A 2 by 6 is the suggestion for four, so I have significantly improved upon that.
 

Wiebke

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I would look for smaller sub-adult sows who cannot compete for dominance, so your existing girl is getting an enhanced status as top lady of her mini-herd, which will help her to accept any newbies and to share her man. Brace yourself for quite some tough dominance at first, as any youngsters are VERY firmly put in their place in the first few days by their elders; you have to sit that out. Chasing, head butting and nipping will be par for the course, as will be loud pitiful submission screaming from the youngsters (who will be much more vocal and dramatic) as the sows are establishing a hierarchy amongst themselves with the boar slotting in somewhere. The worst of the dominance behaviour is always coming from the sow just above in the ranks and it will slowly travel down the new ladder.

Your space is certainly plenty for a group of four!

Any babies under 12 weeks I would introduce straight away, they are desperate to be part of a group and will put up with anything. If they are older, please give them a few days next to your couple, so they can settle into your routine and get to know the neighbours for a smoother ride.

Conduct any intros in neutral space that is not part of the regular territory, so the new arrivals cannot be perceived as intruders and met with hostility. Make sure that your piggies have settled down together before you move them to the revamped and rearranged cage.

Please read our guides; you can find more tips and descriptions of behaviours in them:
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/sow-behaviour.38561/
 

sugarandbubble

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Thank you! I've actually run into an interesting situation while looking for some guineas to adopt. I've found a family with 21 that need homes, a mistake of a pet shop handing them a boar and a sow. So, looks like I'll have plenty of choice, since many are young. The rest will be given to the no kill shelter for care.
 

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Please make sure that you get two boys, as any sow over 4 weeks old is likely to be pregnant - and that would be a very steep learning curve for you!
You will also have to be aware that any piggies are likely to come with health problems that may need sorting out.

Alternatively, you could adopt via the shelter once all piggies have been properly sexed and quarantined.
 

sugarandbubble

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I was planning to take in a mother and daughters, or just several young female pups as I can't take boys, no one around here offers neuters- my boy came neutered. Shelters, unfortunately, have adoption fees of up to $100 per pig, which I can't handle.
 

Wiebke

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Can you cope with potentially all sows of yours having up to 6 babies?
 

sugarandbubble

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No, of course not. That's why I intended to take only a small group of sows younger than four weeks and a mother pig, because I can't take boars. I don't want my boar to get upset with a bunch of new males coming in, and I don't want them bothering my sow. I'm not sure what to do here, but it was my only idea.
 

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No, of course not. That's why I intended to take only a small group of sows younger than four weeks and a mother pig, because I can't take boars. I don't want my boar to get upset with a bunch of new males coming in, and I don't want them bothering my sow. I'm not sure what to do here, but it was my only idea.
Please be aware that sows come into season again within hours giving birth - guinea pigs are basically non-stop breeding machines as soon as they are weaned. :(

As much as you would like to help, as somebody who has no experience with guinea pigs, you really need to go into this with your eyes open and check out the facts. Please have a read through our pregnancy thread before you commit to anything that might surpass your abilities - you are not doing those guinea pigs any favours.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/pregnancy-guide.109375/
 

sugarandbubble

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Oh... Wow! I'm being completely pigheaded and rude to you, I'm quite sorry! It's very unlike me, I'm just really desperate to help out this family and their poor pigs that I'm rushing into this quite rashly! I'll read through those and please excuse my brashness
 

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You are not brash, but I have very much the feeling that your good heart is currently overruling your head and that you simply don't know what you are letting yourself in for! ;)

Have a look through our pregnancy section; it will give you a more realistic concept of what you are facing. :(
Please be also aware that mum and daughters are likely to come with mites, fungal/ringworm etc. which need proper good quality treatment and hygiene, so you will be very much in a very steep and expensive learning curve indeed! The high adoption cost of the shelter is there for a reason; it reflects what needs to be put into getting those piggies into an adoptable shape and what you will have to do all on your own with no experience.

As tough as it is, you may find that it is better to learn to walk before you run. Your non-kill shelter will hopefully know better how to deal with an influx of pregnant piggies in a likely less than optimal state if from what I can see with comparable rescues here in Britain.

You can always aim to volunteer and foster for a shelter or a rescue once you know a bit more what guinea pigs are about. ;)
 

sugarandbubble

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Unfortunately, the private shelter requires you to be 20 to volunteer with them. I'm kind of worried, any way they go, because our shelters don't take very many guinea pigs.
 

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If you are a minor and not yet earning a lot yourself, have you or your parents got the money and willingness to pay vet treatment for several guinea pigs and also be able to pay for any emergency cesarian, which can cost you up to $1000 upfront for a specialist, as another US member has sadly found to her cost?
 

sugarandbubble

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Yes, my family would never allow animals to suffer. Also, the gmail recently sent me an email saying they've had the pigs separated for 6 months now with no pregnancies.
Edit- I'm not sure why it says gmail. I meant family!
 
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