Is there always a top pig?

Ellie-May

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I am asking this question because I am now on day two of bonding my four bonded girls with their husboar. So far it is going well and things are much calmer now, however I can’t tell who is boss. At the start the top pig Erma was squaring off with Grizzly, but now she just ignores him or runs off. The other pigs don’t tend to do anything and all he does is rumble strutt, try to hump or chase. I can’t tell if anything has been established and I don’t want to move them to their permanent home in case it all kicks off and I wouldn’t want to re-start everything as it’s not fair on them. They lived happily side by side and if that will be the case then I’m happy to do that.
 

Eddie & Elvis

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If it's only day 2 it's very likely they haven't worked it out yet themselves. It can take around 2 weeks for things to be completely sorted. When I first got my boys I couldn't tell who was the boss pig and they were bonded before I got them so I wouldn't worry too much at this point.
 

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I am asking this question because I am now on day two of bonding my four bonded girls with their husboar. So far it is going well and things are much calmer now, however I can’t tell who is boss. At the start the top pig Erma was squaring off with Grizzly, but now she just ignores him or runs off. The other pigs don’t tend to do anything and all he does is rumble strutt, try to hump or chase. I can’t tell if anything has been established and I don’t want to move them to their permanent home in case it all kicks off and I wouldn’t want to re-start everything as it’s not fair on them. They lived happily side by side and if that will be the case then I’m happy to do that.
There is always a top pig; the hierarchical group is at the very core of guinea pig society. Your pigs have worked through acceptance, establishing leadership and a new hierarchy and are now in the 2 weeks post-intro dominance phase where the hierarchy is full established and sometimes leadership is contested. The piggies not involved in any discussions in a group will stay away. My guess is that the leadership is between Erma and Grizzly but it seems to have been resolved amicably.

It always depends on how great acceptance is, how laid back/dominant/insecure (i.e. fear-aggressive) the piggies involved are. If the bonding process is on the laid-back side, it takes experience to pick up on the often very subtle body language and key interactive behaviours to work out which of them comes out on top by the end of the dominance phase. Right now, nothing is yet cast in stone and just going by your words and your own perception I can only guess.

Please take the time to read our very comprehensive bonding guide which takes you through all phases of the complex bonding process and shows you key behaviours for every stage: Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
 
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Ellie-May

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If it's only day 2 it's very likely they haven't worked it out yet themselves. It can take around 2 weeks for things to be completely sorted. When I first got my boys I couldn't tell who was the boss pig and they were bonded before I got them so I wouldn't worry too much at this point.
It is early days but they were completely fine in the pen overnight, no injuries etc. All my girls were pre-bonded before their potential husboar arrived anyway so it’s just a matter of bonding him with them
 

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It sounds like things are going well, but possibly adding a husboar might shift the girls hierarchy a little. We have a neutered husboar Theo with 5 lady friends, and our boss lady Clover is older and she is not interested in mating at all and our little husboar is very respecful of her!
But one of our other girls Puggle has the status of "favourite wife" which means a bit of a status boost as she can always get Theo to take her side in any disputes, and she can take his food and pull his ears and boss him around, also she can guard him and not lend him out for mating with the other younger ladies if she doesnt want to! So we have a clear older boss lady, 2 girls who subtly (or not so subtly!) compete with each other for second place, Puggle who can use her favourite wife status to temporarily boss these two... and we have eccentric aunty old Jezzy floof, who doesnt get involved and waddles about doing her own thing... but if the mood takes her, she can get what she wants because she is big, and also we think she is our boss piggy's mum!
And little Theo, a very submissive little husboar who learned very fast that ladies are much cleverer than him so he just does as he's told then they will be his friends :)
 

Minipiggies

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I was wondering this too. I really can’t work out who my top pig is! They were definitely working things out for a few days, but seem to have come to some kind of agreement. They seem happy around each other, also happy to have their separate spaces, but I don’t know who ‘won’ the title of alpha pig!
 

Winniepeg

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I have two pairs of boars and each pair has a dominant male. Lenny rules the roost over Frankie but acts like a wimp when I trim his claws and groom him. It’s funny when he bar bites for food because he looks like he is wearing a tutu and he twirks his bum 😂. Lenny is the tri coloured piggie
 

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Ellie-May

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It sounds like things are going well, but possibly adding a husboar might shift the girls hierarchy a little. We have a neutered husboar Theo with 5 lady friends, and our boss lady Clover is older and she is not interested in mating at all and our little husboar is very respecful of her!
But one of our other girls Puggle has the status of "favourite wife" which means a bit of a status boost as she can always get Theo to take her side in any disputes, and she can take his food and pull his ears and boss him around, also she can guard him and not lend him out for mating with the other younger ladies if she doesnt want to! So we have a clear older boss lady, 2 girls who subtly (or not so subtly!) compete with each other for second place, Puggle who can use her favourite wife status to temporarily boss these two... and we have eccentric aunty old Jezzy floof, who doesnt get involved and waddles about doing her own thing... but if the mood takes her, she can get what she wants because she is big, and also we think she is our boss piggy's mum!
And little Theo, a very submissive little husboar who learned very fast that ladies are much cleverer than him so he just does as he's told then they will be his friends :)
Erma is the top pig out of the girls, but it is clear she has no interest in mating right now. Whenever he goes near her she will whine, maybe nip or just run away. The only person he has mated with is one of my youngest Sow. Beatrice who is the second in command of the girls at the start would teeth chatter towards him but mainly runs and whines. My other young girl Luna just stays out and doesn’t do anything
 

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Erma is the top pig out of the girls, but it is clear she has no interest in mating right now. Whenever he goes near her she will whine, maybe nip or just run away. The only person he has mated with is one of my youngest Sow. Beatrice who is the second in command of the girls at the start would teeth chatter towards him but mainly runs and whines. My other young girl Luna just stays out and doesn’t do anything
If you read the mixed gender bonding, you will learn that sows will allow a boar to mate upon meeting as a signal of submissive acceptance. More dominant sows not in season will just stay away/keep the boar at a distance. If the boar can accept that and not press the matter, then a bonding will usually succeed. My suspicion is that your boy is the one who has come out on top, but he is thankfully a more laid-back/not too dominant 'rumble-singer' and not an over-sexed generally more dominant 'mountaineer'. In a group of sows, acceptance generally depends on the top sow unless you have an under-sow with very strong feelings.

Sows have a special whine when in the company of boars saying 'keep off, I am not ready for mating'. But the behaviour of your two leading sows sounds like they have submitted to him. However, without seeing a video, I can only guess. We all pick up on and describe behaviours very differently so it can be tricky to assess without first-hand access.
 

Ellie-May

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If you read the mixed gender bonding, you will learn that sows will allow a boar to mate upon meeting as a signal of submissive acceptance. More dominant sows not in season will just stay away/keep the boar at a distance. If the boar can accept that and not press the matter, then a bonding will usually succeed. My suspicion is that your boy is the one who has come out on top, but he is thankfully a more laid-back/not too dominant 'rumble-singer' and not an over-sexed generally more dominant 'mountaineer'. In a group of sows, acceptance generally depends on the top sow unless you have an under-sow with very strong feelings.

Sows have a special whine when in the company of boars saying 'keep off, I am not ready for mating'. But the behaviour of your two leading sows sounds like they have submitted to him. However, without seeing a video, I can only guess. We all pick up on and describe behaviours very differently so it can be tricky to assess without first-hand access.
It is very quiet which makes me question whether or not I should move them to their permanent home, but it may to been soon.
 

Wiebke

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It is very quiet which makes me question whether or not I should move them to their permanent home, but it may to been soon.
In my experience, it is better to not move them to their pen too early; often give them all afternoon or even overnight in the bonding pen. The more dominance stuff they can get through in the bonding pen, the better. That means that the dominance when in the cage is noticeably less intense.
 

Ellie-May

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In my experience, it is better to not move them to their pen too early; often give them all afternoon or even overnight in the bonding pen. The more dominance stuff they can get through in the bonding pen, the better. That means that the dominance when in the cage is noticeably less intense.
They have already spent one night in the pen which went well by the looks of things
 

Wiebke

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They have already spent one night in the pen which went well by the looks of things
Then you can move them to the cage anytime. The very roughest bit of the dominance (hierarchy establishement) has now happened and they are now well into the small print of their new group contract. ;)
 
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