• This weekend was forum pride! We hope you had a great time, the section will remain open to read over the information threads, so dont worry if you missed last night. Visit the section HERE

Introducing Neutered Boar To 2 Bonded Females

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Hello,

We recently got a neutered boar from a rescue with the intention of introducing him to our two bonded females. After waiting six weeks after the neutering op, we introduced the 3 of them last night in our kitchen (neutral area) with two piles of hay and food.

At first they seemed to be happily eating the food together and after about 20 mins, the dominance began. Our girl, Larry - she's a big gal :) - has always been the dominant one of the pair, and she immediately showed dominant behaviours towards our newbie boy, Red. There was rumble strutting, teeth chattering and a bit of lunging / chasing, but no blood was drawn. This continued for a bit, and Red seemed to get very distressed - staying in one corner and chattering his teeth very loudly when either of the other pigs approached him. Our other girl, Tuppy, is very submissive and friendly and she was trying to get to know Red without showing any dominant behaviours. I think this calmed him down a bit but things between Larry and Red continued to be quite tense.

After 4 hours of watching them and a few naps, I decided to put them in their newly extended and cleaned cage. Things all kicked off again with all three of them chattering and chasing. I stayed the night with them to make sure no serious fights broke out.

Now it is the next day and things haven't really settled down. Larry is showing very dominant behaviour to everyone (quiet teeth chattering, puffing out and occasional chasing and nipping). Tuppy is occasionally on the receiving end of this even though she is happily submissive, she does get a bit annoyed and quietly teeth chatters. I am most worried about Red, who appears to be very on edge - staying in one place and getting very nervous when anyone approaches - he chatters his teeth very loudly but I think it is because he is scared. This riles Larry up and there have been a few stand offs which end in Red getting chased a bit and occasionally nipped.

Things don't seem to be calming down and it has been a few hours again. Red is constantly chattering very loudly whenever approached. The only positive sign I've seen is Larry and Red washing near each other (cautiously) and lying down near each other (cautiously). But then Red will start teeth chattering again : (

Is this bonding not going very well? I don't want to separate them as I don't want to ruin their chance for bonding but I don't know if this is normal behaviour and whether they will eventually work it out, or whether this just isn't going to happen. Any advice would be really appreciated, I feel absolutely terrible watching them!
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
2,035
Reaction score
2,802
Points
950
Location
Rome, Italy
@flowerfairy recently (last week) introduced a neutered boar after 6 weeks from his operation, to her bonded duo of girls. Her group is going on very well, but she also have noticed some rumble strutting. There is a thread she wrote during the first days of bonding describing the scene with all the datails. I am sure she can give you a lot of good advices.
Is you cage large enough?
 

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Thank you for the link, I will check it out! I have a 6 x 2 cage so I think it should be big enough.

Things have calmed down a bit in the last half an hour - Larry and Red were sitting on the same side of the cage quietly (music to my ears) and there has just been a few seconds of teeth chattering again. I am holding my breath at every interaction!
 

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
After a bit of peace and quiet, there has just been another confrontation with Larry (female) chattering and puffing out at Red (male), and Red chattering his teeth loudly. A bit of a lunge happened before I distracted them with hay. They just don't seem to be getting on and I don't know what to do :(
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
73,158
Reaction score
47,051
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Hello,

We recently got a neutered boar from a rescue with the intention of introducing him to our two bonded females. After waiting six weeks after the neutering op, we introduced the 3 of them last night in our kitchen (neutral area) with two piles of hay and food.

At first they seemed to be happily eating the food together and after about 20 mins, the dominance began. Our girl, Larry - she's a big gal :) - has always been the dominant one of the pair, and she immediately showed dominant behaviours towards our newbie boy, Red. There was rumble strutting, teeth chattering and a bit of lunging / chasing, but no blood was drawn. This continued for a bit, and Red seemed to get very distressed - staying in one corner and chattering his teeth very loudly when either of the other pigs approached him. Our other girl, Tuppy, is very submissive and friendly and she was trying to get to know Red without showing any dominant behaviours. I think this calmed him down a bit but things between Larry and Red continued to be quite tense.

After 4 hours of watching them and a few naps, I decided to put them in their newly extended and cleaned cage. Things all kicked off again with all three of them chattering and chasing. I stayed the night with them to make sure no serious fights broke out.

Now it is the next day and things haven't really settled down. Larry is showing very dominant behaviour to everyone (quiet teeth chattering, puffing out and occasional chasing and nipping). Tuppy is occasionally on the receiving end of this even though she is happily submissive, she does get a bit annoyed and quietly teeth chatters. I am most worried about Red, who appears to be very on edge - staying in one place and getting very nervous when anyone approaches - he chatters his teeth very loudly but I think it is because he is scared. This riles Larry up and there have been a few stand offs which end in Red getting chased a bit and occasionally nipped.

Things don't seem to be calming down and it has been a few hours again. Red is constantly chattering very loudly whenever approached. The only positive sign I've seen is Larry and Red washing near each other (cautiously) and lying down near each other (cautiously). But then Red will start teeth chattering again : (

Is this bonding not going very well? I don't want to separate them as I don't want to ruin their chance for bonding but I don't know if this is normal behaviour and whether they will eventually work it out, or whether this just isn't going to happen. Any advice would be really appreciated, I feel absolutely terrible watching them!
You have to give them more time. Please never move piggies to a cage until they are relaxed enough with each other. Either separate them overnight if the bonding is still tense (you can do that with sows and mixed pairs/groups once they have worked a fair bit past acceptance and into the dominance phase; it is just boars only bondings that you cannot interrupt) and try again on the next day or leave them all together in the bonding pen if you are sure that they won't fight.

Red is still very unsure of himself, but Larry is obviously trying to make friends with him now but your bonding has obviously never gone up to the line. The teeth chattering sessions are likely going to continue for several days. I had a lot of that when I bonded Gareth with my two old ladies (Iola bonds by teeth chattering anyway, so I have been braced for it), but now that the dominance phase is over, they have settled together really well with Gareth at the bottom. I would leave them to work through it as they are now and interfere as little as possible and only if things get noticeably worse. The fact that they have been nuzzling each other means that acceptance has happened.
 

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Thank you for your reply, Wiebke. Do you think I should move them out of the cage and back into the neutral area now for them to sort things out or leave them in the cage as they are at the moment?

I am very worried about them all, all this nipping and teeth chattering looks very distressing and feels very tense, I am finding it very difficult not to lose my nerve!
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
73,158
Reaction score
47,051
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Thank you for your reply, Wiebke. Do you think I should move them out of the cage and back into the neutral area now for them to sort things out or leave them in the cage as they are at the moment?

I am very worried about them all, all this nipping and teeth chattering looks very distressing and feels very tense, I am finding it very difficult not to lose my nerve!
As I have said, please leave them as they are and let them work through it. I would interfere as little as possible during the worst of the dominance phase. It should be over in a few days and your boy will make his own little space in the group.
My Gethin is a happy boy now even though he has been most emphatically told to not pester his old ladies and did have quite a bad shock at first when he realised that the life of a husboar was not at all what he had imagined.

Just make sure that there are no hideys with only one exit where he can be cornered and if necessary, sprinkle the food around the floor to prevent hogging until things have settled down.
 

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Thank you for your advice, Wiebke, that makes me feel a lot better about the situation. Red hasn't even dared to mount the girls yet, so maybe I will see that when he feels more comfortable. They are sleeping one guinea pig length away from each other at the moment which I am taking as a positive sign :)
 

flowerfairy

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Jul 17, 2013
Messages
4,836
Reaction score
4,880
Points
1,200
Location
Hampshire
Sounds like they are getting things sorted. Mine had been living side by side for 6 weeks while Caramel got over his neuter. Also he is only a youngster and the sows are a year old. They have been together just over a week now and not seen any mounting at all.

Caramel rumbles whenever he approaches either Jingle or Mistletoe but appart from the odd lunge from them to tell him to naff off all is calm.

It would be lovely to see pics when you have time.
 

Stewybus

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
3,765
Reaction score
2,620
Points
1,005
Location
Stockton-on-Tees
I always add lots of fresh grass when bonding & keep topping it up. They'd much rather eat than fight. Have bonded several pair of girl with neutered girls & most have involved teeth chattering in the early stages. If Larry keeps being aggressive you could take her hou if it gets too bad & see if Red & Tupy can make friends first then reintroduce Larry. But try with the altogether for now unless it gets really out of hand x
 

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Thanks for the advice, guys! I keep topping up the food and hay which gets them all moving a bit - Larry even popcorns when this happens. Red hasn't really moved from his corner and the teeth chattering between him and Larry is continuing - things are quiet when everyone is sleeping but it kicks off a bit when they wake up.

Is it normal for the new guinea pig to just stay in one part of the cage and not really interact with the other pigs unless approached? I guess when we first got him, he didn't move for a few days until he got used to his surroundings so maybe that is just his way of coping. I will continue watching their behaviour and hope for a good outcome!
 

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Update: so the teeth chattering from Red has died down over the last day but he is still in his corner of the cage. Larry occasionally sleeps near him. This morning, there was some new behaviour I hadn't witnessed before when Red started squealing really loudly - it turned out that Larry was right up to his face, hissing and opening her mouth (showing her teeth)? It seems Larry keeps showing dominating behaviours and Red is always submissive - shouldn't they have sorted out the hierarchy by now as Red never challenges Larry? But Larry is still exhibiting aggressive signs towards Red. I'm so confused! :(
 

auserid

New Born Pup
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Hello, just another update. Larry is still showing a lot of dominance towards Red with nipping and chasing. She occasionally walks to near where he is, and Red freezes and occasionally starts squealing, and then nips him for no reason.

I feel really bad for Red, it seems he has low confidence and he is always just sat in his corner. He sometimes wonders to the middle of the cage where I sprinkle the food but he just slowly approaches (one eye on Larry), grabs a piece of food and retreats to his corner. I don't think he's even been to the other side of the cage! I am just wondering when dominance behaviours turn into bullying? Is this normal behaviour?
 
Top