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Integrating

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Kerry Harper

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Hi

I had 4 females who had to be kept in 2 twos. 2 Teddies we had from babies and 2 rescues. The rescue GPs we very close. We had tried to integrate them when we first had the rescue GPs, but sadly they were attacked by the teddies (mainly the dominant female). We had them in 2 separate C&C cages and it wasn't a problem (just bit of a pain to have to clean two cages).

Sadly, we have now lost one of the rescue GPs and I am trying to work out if it is better to try to introduce the remaining rescue GP to the others again or leave her separately on her own. The cages are next to each other and she can see the others. I would really appreciate some advice. Also when (if we should) would be the best time to introduce her?

Thank you
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry for your loss! You are welcome to post a tribute in our Rainbow Bridge section whenever it feels right for you.

Where are you located? We have members from all over the world and our recommendations in this instance depend on your local options. please add your county, state or (for the UK) your county or city to your details, so we can always adapt our advice straight away. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location.

It is certainly worth trying another introduction. Ideally, you do it when you have a couple of free days so you can keep an eye on procedings and can separate if necessary.
Here are our tips, which you may find helpful:
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/

If a bonding doesn't work out, would you consider looking for a rescue that has single sows or neutered boars? Age is less important than mutual liking, so if you can find a place that offers meet&greet/dating at the rescue under expert supervision, you will have an enormous advantage as the piggies can make the ultimate choice and you come only home with a new friend that has been accepted. All our recommended rescues are piggy savvy with a mandatory quarantine and pregnancy watch, so you can neatly avoid all the usual risk factors.
We have got a UK rescue locator on the top bar, but can offer some rescue contacts in other countries.
 

Kerry Harper

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Thank you Wiebke.

I shall check the web address you have sent.

Unfortunately, we re-homed the 2 rescues from a good rescuer and did the introduction before we took them. However, when we actually got them home it went wrong. Perhaps it was the way we put them together to begin with - I'm not sure and we have tried a few times since. The rescue home did suggest we could bring them back, but we fell in love with them and didn't have a problem with building a separate cage at the time.

I have read somewhere about bathing them together with small animal shampoo and then drying them on a neutral area and see if they interact without the serious injury. Once this has worked, you can then put them in a cleaned cage. I may try this.

Thank you

Kerry
 

Wiebke

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Thank you Wiebke.

I shall check the web address you have sent.

Unfortunately, we re-homed the 2 rescues from a good rescuer and did the introduction before we took them. However, when we actually got them home it went wrong. Perhaps it was the way we put them together to begin with - I'm not sure and we have tried a few times since. The rescue home did suggest we could bring them back, but we fell in love with them and didn't have a problem with building a separate cage at the time.

I have read somewhere about bathing them together with small animal shampoo and then drying them on a neutral area and see if they interact without the serious injury. Once this has worked, you can then put them in a cleaned cage. I may try this.

Thank you

Kerry
Buddy baths are only necessary if you are dealing with squabbling hormonal boars on the brink of a fall-out that end up covered in testosterone laden pee. Otherwise, they do not contribute to the outcome. It is better to either rub all sows mutually with a little rag that carries the group scent across or swap the parties for a night in the other cage before intro.

You want the intros to be as stress-free as possible and on neutral ground. Any bath will carry at best only through the acceptance phase but won't survive the crucial dominance phase when the hierarchy is being established, as that lasts several days. Your sows either gel or they don't, but no trick in the book can make them fall in love which each other if their personalities clash. It is also often the case that once guinea pigs have made up their mind that another piggy is "not us", they are pretty reluctant to change their mind. :(
 

Kerry Harper

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Thank you again for that information. It is so sad because the 2 rescue (Buttercup and Bluebell) were so sweet together. Bluebell would lick Buttercup if she was feeling poorly. Sadly Buttercup was a poorly little thing often visiting the Vets.

Our Teddies (Tiffany & Bethany) are strong little things. Bethany has the usual Teddy characteristics of being cheeky and outspoken, but it's Tiffany who is the quiet, but dominating one. Not sure if that's any help with character assessment.

We shall try them at the weekend on mutual territory (perhaps a blanket on the floor with three of us at hand to grab them if all goes wrong).

Kerry
 

Wiebke

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Thank you again for that information. It is so sad because the 2 rescue (Buttercup and Bluebell) were so sweet together. Bluebell would lick Buttercup if she was feeling poorly. Sadly Buttercup was a poorly little thing often visiting the Vets.

Our Teddies (Tiffany & Bethany) are strong little things. Bethany has the usual Teddy characteristics of being cheeky and outspoken, but it's Tiffany who is the quiet, but dominating one. Not sure if that's any help with character assessment.

We shall try them at the weekend on mutual territory (perhaps a blanket on the floor with three of us at hand to grab them if all goes wrong).

Kerry
It all depends on whether Bluebell will submit to Tiffany and Tiffany will accept the submission. I have some teddies myself. The last two are currently as a pair forming a little family group even though they are not related (but very similar looking); Nerys the 6 year old is my Mrs Grumpy and Nesta is my Miss antisocial who has made herself unwelcome with my other piggies... :mal:

After 40+ bondings, all I have learned is that you can always give it a try, but you can never predict whether it will work out or not - it very much hinges on the individual character constellation. Plus that a lot of the "surefire" tricks don't make one bit of a difference to the outcome! I have listed in the introductions thread what is the most likely to work.

But you have got other options for Bluebell if a bonding doesn't work out. ;)
 

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