Maternal agression and reuniting sows after the birth

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Cyberjez

I am new to Guinea pigs but have a lot of experience of agricultural animal husbandry but I have a query regarding my two sows that are sisters and were housed together through out their pregnancies but when the the more dominent of the two (Squeak) was a couple of days from having her babies, Bubble (the less dominent) was pushed out of the sleeping area as Squeak was nesting. Because Bubble was very close to giving birth too I decided to move her temporarily into a spare hutch so she and Squeak could have a seperate sleeping/nesting area so they could concentrate on their youngsters. Bubble delivered a week after Squeak and now both have two fit baby pigs and all was well.

I was concerned that they should all be reintroduced as quickly as possible in order to avoid rejection but I have tried to put them together and Squeek gave Bubble a proper beating so I have seperated them again for now.

Several question are in my mind:

When and how should I try to reunite Bubble with Squeak?

When should I seperate the male baby pigs to avoid more pregnancies / safe weaning age?

Can males be castrated or must they be seperated?

I would like to keep a male from each litter and then reunite Bubble & Squeak so I can house two pigs per hutch for the long term but I would like them to share an outdoor run. If the males and females need to be seperated that's fine but it would be nice if they could all be run together.

If I cannot reunite Bubble and Sqeak - I need to rethink my housing etc so any assistance would be very much appreciated.

Many Thanks,

Jez
 

squeakypigs

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Hi There

Welcome to The Guinea Pig Forum.

Cyberjez said:
When and how should I try to reunite Bubble with Squeak?
I have had the same situation with two of my piggies in the past. They lived together to start off with and were separated when we decided to breed (I do not breed anymore!). They both had their babies within 12 hours of each other and from what I can remember I think we left them alone with their babies until the boars could be separated from the mothers. I think the best thing to do with trying to reunite them is to have neutral territory for them to go on when being introduced to each other again. Perhaps putting them in a run or on the floor insde all together to have a run around. Sometimes being in close proximity to each other can cause fights. Did you want the baby sows to live with their mothers as well altogether for example both mums with their baby girls? Sometimes little fights will occur as they need to work out who is "boss" so I would suggest waiting till the babies are at least 6 weeks old before reuniting them.

Cyberjez said:
When should I seperate the male baby pigs to avoid more pregnancies / safe weaning age?
The age advised to remove baby boars from their mothers and sisters is at 3 weeks old (4 weeks at a maximum!) By this age the boars should have started to stop feeding from their mothers and if not, it is not essential they still get the milk from the mothers (They usual carry on feeding just for comfort!)

Cyberjez said:
Can males be castrated or must they be seperated?
Boars can be neutered however it can be a risky procedure. If their is more than one baby boar then keep the boars together. Boars usually get on well if kept together from a young age. For more info about boars check out the Barmy 4 Boars Website - http://www.barmy4boars.co.uk

Cyberjez said:
I would like to keep a male from each litter and then reunite Bubble & Squeak so I can house two pigs per hutch for the long term but I would like them to share an outdoor run. If the males and females need to be seperated that's fine but it would be nice if they could all be run together.
The only way that both boars and sows can be together is if they have been neutered. If not this WILL lead to more pregnancies.

Hope the information I have given you helps. I am sure others on the forum will be able to help too!
 
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Cyberjez

Amazed by your speedy reply - really helpful, thankyou. I think I best get another hutch quickly to put the three boars in - the oldest is 3 weeks old this weekend but he is the runt in a litter of 4 (two were still born unfortunately) so he may take a few days more to mature sexually (I hope).

Thanks again,

Jez
 

squeakypigs

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This page may help on when to males should be separated from females - http://www.guinealynx.info/reproduction_faq.html#separate

As long as you remove the boars around 3/4weeks of age you should be fine. If you see them "wiggling" their bottoms or trying to mount the females I would remove them around 3 weeks of age.

How many babies did each mother have and how many boars and sows are in each litter?
 

kellyandpiggies

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Welcome to the forum! :) :)

Agree with what Ellie says.

But you have to be really, really careful with baby boars - a couple of previous litters, the boars have been sexually mature from 2 weeks.


xx Mrs Player xx
 
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claire

Welcome to the forum ;D

I'm sorry i dont really know much about pregnancy and seperation in guineas so i will leave that to the experts ;D

Just wanted to say hi and welcome ;D
 
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Cyberjez

:) Thankyou all for the helpful advice and for the very warm welcome to the forum. I am sure you will be hearing from me quite regularly in future and particularly over the next few weeks.

I shall endevour to get a photo or two posted so you can get to know my pigs too (my son Josh's pigs actually - he's 7 and still a little shocked at Squeak beating Bubble up!).

Thanks again,

Jez
 

kellyandpiggies

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No probs. That's what here for. Can't wait to see the photos.

xx Mrs Player xx
 
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Cyberjez

;D Wow another welcome to the forum - I can't remember being this welcome anywhere! 8)

Thanks Bev. I should probably open another thread for this question/survey but can I ask you all what your experiences are of keeping boars together have been?

Bubble has got a couple of 'burly and full of beans' boys and I was wondering if I can try putting Squeak's little runty boar in with them. I am sure that whilst they are this young they will be ok but I downloaded an American e-book last night about general guinea pig husbandry and they seem to suggest that keeping boars together (neutered or not) is on the whole a bit of a no-no.

I would be glad to hear your experiences.

Thanks again

Jez
 

bevs

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Well you'll find lots of us here with boars, I have two boys in together aged 5 & 6 months, have been together since Jan, they get on ok on the whole, although they are going through another trying out the dominance phase at the mo so I'm keeping a close eye on them.

I don't think it will be possible to put three together as they seem to do better in pairs, the barmy for boars website that Ellie recommended has some great advice, but you'll get loads on here too from the others, some of them have kept guineas for years.

Bev x x
 
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claire

Hiya

I have 3 boars called Bokki, Beni and Munchkin.

Bokki and Beni used to live together but they had a huge fight and now live seperately. Before the fight Beni was always mounting Bokki and used to stop him getting out of his tunnel. They then had a huge fight and i decided to seperate them. I then tried Munchkin and Bokki together but Munchkin hates other pigs so they all now live seperate

I have never had three boars together before as all of my boys live seperately, but on the whole i think boars live better together in pairs. Also get to know your guineas personalities as its then easier to tell if there is a problem.

Barmy4boars is a great site and it helped me alot with my boys.

Love
Claire
x
 

kellyandpiggies

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I have 3 boars and 8 sows.

Tonic and Guinea have been paired up for a few months now - Tonic's coming up to 6 years and Guinea is roughly 6/7 months. Titch is on his own at the moment, he's just over 2 months. He will remain on his own for a while.

As the others have said 3 together is a real no-no! I'm certain they all wont get on even though they are young ones.

Sometimes you can't even pair boars up. Boars are pretty tricky ones sometimes!



xx Mrs Player xx
 
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Cyberjez

I have just had the three boys out and put them together for 45 minutes to see how they got on first time out and surprisingly it went pretty well. We were concerned that putting "Wee Man" (Squeaks runt) in with "Marmite" and "Mojo" (Bubble's two hefty lads) might have been a bit daunting for him but they were all very well behaved.

Marmite is the unquestionable Boss of the trio but he was the one that showed little or no aggression towards Wee Man. Mojo on the other hand was posturing and rattling a little and gave Wee Man a little nip but nothing too serious. Wee Man seemed mildly harassed by the attention he was given but otherwise seemed fine.

My wife and little boy Josh are adamant that we keep Wee Man (everyone loves an underdog) even though I am sure that keeping the two brothers together would be a safer bet!

By the way - please don't think I am an irresponsible breeder - we bought Bubble and Squeak and then found they were both pregnant and now two have become 6 and realistically we only have time and space for four. The petshop has offered to take any unwanted ones but I will try to find new homes myself first.
 
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Michele

Welcome to this friendly forum.

I have 2 sows but both have had hysterectomies so cant help with your situation. Hope it all turns out well and hopefully can help next time. ;D

Michele aka Mrs Mod
 

kellyandpiggies

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Cyberjez said:
By the way - please don't think I am an irresponsible breeder - we bought Bubble and Squeak and then found they were both pregnant and now two have become 6 and realistically we only have time and space for four. The petshop has offered to take any unwanted ones but I will try to find new homes myself first.

No-one thinks that love.


xx Mrs Player xx
 
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Cyberjez

Hello again everyone - sorry I've not been about for a couple of weeks but rest assured I have been putting your advise into practice and with some reasonable progress so far! I have had Bubble & Squeak and all the babies together in a big run with plenty of shelters and although Squeak was very aggressive for the first 3-4 times she has calmed considerably and rarely seeks anyone out to have a go at. She is only agressive towards Bubble and her two boys and will not tolerate them in close proximity for very long.

The problem is that I am unsure if I can ever get Bubble and Squeak to live together in the same hutch again and I have a huge dilemma as I adore Squeak (it's a strong woman thing that I have) but if she really will not settle with Bubble I will have to find a new home for her.

Bubble - on the other hand is entirely passive and often cuddles up with all the babies leaving Squeak in a grassy hut on her own (just as she likes it!).

In your collective experience, how much agression from a dominant sow is acceptible? I don't want to lose Squeak but I can't subject Bubble to constant harassment either. The oldest of the boys is 4 weeks this weekend and they need seperating but I can't seperate them until I am confident about Bubble and Squeak being housed together again.

I can house Squeak seperately while the weather is mild but when autumn comes I will have nowhere to keep her unless she accepts living with Bubble again!

Any advise or experiences welcomed - I really don't know what to do for the best. :-\
 

kellyandpiggies

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How agressive is she? Teeth chattering and squeaking, or really going for it and biting?

Sometimes my girls have done this towards babies when they need a bit of a rest and don't want to be bothered and have also been jealous.

The boys need to be separated asap. By 4 weeks they are sexually mature. Maybe try Bubble and Squeak in the hutch together and see how they go. Bubble might be jealous of Squeak because of the babies.

xx Kelly xx
 
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Cyberjez

"How agressive is she?" - well that's the thing really - I am not really sure. Personally I don't think she is being out and out aggressive, I feel that she is just being maternal and doesn't like being crowded and would rather have her own space but still be in the group - if that makes sense?

When they are all in the run outside and she is able to simply chase off unwanted attention from Bubble's two boys she does so without biting/fighting and will often tolerate bubble and or the boys in very close proximity for 10 - 15 minutes without a problem but then all of a sudden she decides she wants her own space again and give them a swift bite to get rid of them.

It is very rare for her now to seek out Bubble to attack her (in fact not at all since the third or fourth occasion of being together in the run) but she still rarely allows bubble to be very near to her.

My fear is that all may be reasonable freindly in the run but being housed together in the hutch will bring them into close proximity without space to avoid each other and in that situation I fear for Bubble - on the other hand, when the babies are weaned and seperated Squeak may chill out a bit and be more tolerant of Bubble - I just wish I knew!

Squeak doesn't arch and posture and chatter to bubble or any of the others - she simply bites and then chases them off for a short distance by the way.
 
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