Issues mixing sow groups, advice please?

CavyConnoisseur

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I now have a pair of 2 sows (Lottie and Dolly) and another group of 4 sows (Willow, Melody, Delilah and Paisley), I tried to merge them all together today and it didn't go well, I've come here to explain what happened and to see if there is a way I can merge them successfully. No blood has been drawn at all, but the behaviour and launching at each other is concerning me.

My reason for wanting to merge the two groups together is because a few days ago sadly my girl Harriet died after surgery, leaving behind Lottie and Dolly. Lottie is the one I'm worried about, she and Harriet were sisters and have been together since birth, they were extremely close and now Lottie is upset that Harriet isn't around. Even though Dolly and Lottie get along, they're not actually friends and Lottie is missing the closeness she had with Harriet. Plus Dolly is constantly pushing Lottie around which isn't fair.

I think Lottie would benefit greatly if she lived with the 4 girls, the 4 are a nice little family unit that never argue with each other and they just all get along. Plus Paisley is the perfect candidate to be Lottie's new best friend and I don't want Lottie to miss out on that. I've tried Lottie with the 4 and it goes perfectly, she fits in really well and they accept her, Lottie seems much happier with them. But when I add Dolly, that's when things go wrong.

Dolly is blind in both eyes and I believe this is why it's not working, she's not aggressive, she's just defensive and anxious because she can't see well. Dolly just sits in a corner teeth chattering to herself and launches at anyone that comes near her, even her friend Lottie. Dolly launched at and bit Delilah on the bottom and then she had a rolling fluffball fight with Melody which ended the meeting completely. No blood was drawn, but I think that's because I intervened. There was no chasing, rumblestrutting or mounting, there was only face to face teeth chattering and launching which is a bad sign.

So now I'm in a situation where I don't know what to do, do I keep trying to put them all together? do I leave them as they are? do I just add Lottie and keep Dolly alone? or do I try and add Paisley to Lottie and Dolly? Paisley is bottom of the herd and is very sweet, she never causes issues, I think Dolly would be okay with her and I already know Lottie and Paisley would be best friends, which is my whole reason for attempting this.

What would you do in this situation? Was I right to call it quits after the fight or should I have let them fight until blood was drawn? What do you think is the best thing to do? Any advice is greatly appreciated. I want them all to live together as a herd of 6 but I don't think it'll work and I feel bad for Lottie who is lonely even though she has Dolly. :(
 

Wiebke

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Please call it quits. We can have our dreams but guinea pigs have very much their own ideas as to who they get on with, especially adult sows. It is rather rare in my own experience that established adult First Ladies will submit peacefully to another one, especially in pair or small group mergers. Once piggies have made up their mind that they don't want to be with somepig, then you have had it; they are not going to change their minds for next few years!

If they work in the combination they are in now, then please leave them as they are and don't cause any further upsets. Undersows will take on the stance of their leader and line up behind them.
 
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