New Baby Piggie With Dominant Sows

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gatorgirl

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So I have a little problem that I hope I can get some advice for! My daughter wanted a new piggie after the loss of our piggie Cocoa. I guess children morn differently than adults do. So we went to a different pet store (done with petsmart) and they had a 2 month old sow. She is super sweet but really small. I tried a brief introduction that went horribly wrong. Looking back I think the dominance problem came when the baby tried to go into the igloo with our piggie pumpkin. Pumpkin attacked her while our oldest sow Callie was stand-offish with her.

Right now the new piggie is in a separate cage in a seperate room. Once my crazy hyper kiddos go to bed I wl divide our c&c cage so they can get to know each other but still keep the baby safe.

Is there any other advice y'all can give? PS, I'm sorry if there was another thread and I missed it.
 

piggyme234

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When you say attacked can you describe what actually happened please. Nipping and chasing is all part of sow dominance when they meet someone new. Baby will sound like they are being killed but it is just how they say they are submissive. Does it sound like this is what happened or was it more prolonged and intending to hurt?
 

Wiebke

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So I have a little problem that I hope I can get some advice for! My daughter wanted a new piggie after the loss of our piggie Cocoa. I guess children morn differently than adults do. So we went to a different pet store (done with petsmart) and they had a 2 month old sow. She is super sweet but really small. I tried a brief introduction that went horribly wrong. Looking back I think the dominance problem came when the baby tried to go into the igloo with our piggie pumpkin. Pumpkin attacked her while our oldest sow Callie was stand-offish with her.

Right now the new piggie is in a separate cage in a seperate room. Once my crazy hyper kiddos go to bed I wl divide our c&c cage so they can get to know each other but still keep the baby safe.

Is there any other advice y'all can give? PS, I'm sorry if there was another thread and I missed it.
Hi! Did you put the new girl simply in the cage of the others without introductions on neutral ground etc. ? That generally arouses pretty hostile feelings as the newbie is seen as an intruder. Never use hideys with just one exit until the worst of the dominance sort-out is over, which can take several days (or even several weeks).

Please give all girls time-out and try again in a few days following the proper bonding protocol. Be aware that it may not work out. Once sows have decided that a piggy is "not part of us", they rarely change their mind. Consider what other options you have in case the bonding is not working out before the next meeting, so you start with a plan B as back up.

Please read carefully through these threads here so you can judge the behaviours and see whether they were just strong dominance or whether they were real aggression:
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/
 

gatorgirl

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When you say attacked can you describe what actually happened please. Nipping and chasing is all part of sow dominance when they meet someone new. Baby will sound like they are being killed but it is just how they say they are submissive. Does it sound like this is what happened or was it more prolonged and intending to hurt?
After reading other threads I believe it was dominance but pumpkin was actually on top of her but didn't appear to be humping. It started out normal but I pulled her out. I messed up their first introduction :doh:
 

gatorgirl

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Hi! Did you put the new girl simply in the cage of the others without introductions on neutral ground etc. ? That generally arouses pretty hostile feelings as the newbie is seen as an intruder. Never use hideys with just one exit until the worst of the dominance sort-out is over, which can take several days (or even several weeks).

Please give all girls time-out and try again in a few days following the proper bonding protocol. Be aware that it may not work out. Once sows have decided that a piggy is "not part of us", they rarely change their mind. Consider what other options you have in case the bonding is not working out before the next meeting, so you start with a plan B as back up.

Please read carefully through these threads here so you can judge the behaviours and see whether they were just strong dominance or whether they were real aggression:
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/
Wiebke, I realized I botched up their first introduction. I should have started off in neutral ground. I mean, I would not like a stranger just showing up in my home so why would they? At any rate I am giving Baby her quiet time and will attempt it again tomorrow. After the quarantine period would dividing the cage be best?
 
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piggyme234

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Once you have introduced them it is not recommended to split them up again. They need time to sort out who is boss. I have just adopted a new baby for one of my groups, Ava who was bottom pig does tell off baby Elizabeth when she wants to share the hidey. I have plenty of hideys for them to pick from and they all have two entrances. Try again on neutral territory, expect chasing, nipping, rumbling and lots of submissive squeaking from baby. It should work out most sows will accept a baby.
 

Freela

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Definitely do your introductions on neutral ground. The last time I did introductions a couple of months ago, I actually put towels down in my bathtub and let them meet in there. It was completely neutral, had no corners for anyone to get backed into, and was an easy place for me to intervene if need be. It is normal for there to be lots of chasing, squeaking, squealing, mounting, etc. It also really helps to scrub down the cage and everything in it before you first introduce the new pig to the cage. It makes it smell like a neutral, new cage, since pigs generally will be more likely to accommodate a new pig in a 'new' place than allow another pig into 'their' home. Luckily they are easily fooled when things are cleaned so there is no scent left!
 

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Wiebke, I realized I botched up their first introduction. I should have started off in neutral ground. I mean, I would not like a stranger just showing up in my home so why would they? At any rate I am giving Baby her quiet time and will attempt it again tomorrow. After the quarantine period would dividing the cage be best?
No, even my groups don't like neighbours visiting their pen...

I would recommend to split up the cage, give them time to get used to each and see how things go and whether they can settle together. there is likely to be some rather strong dominance and teeth chattering etc. when they meet again at first. You have to see whether you can work past it. Make sure that there are ideally only open hideys, like cardboard boxes with as much of the sides cut off or stools for the first days. After the straight intro failed, you may have to take it very slowly. I am sorry, as you are having a pretty upsetting time anyway!

It can be quite difficult to introduce a third piggy to an established pair anyway. At the worst, you may need to find a companion for the newbie in the long term.
 

gatorgirl

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So my plan is to divide the cage tonight for the piggies to get to know one another while keeping the baby safe. I have now noticed a possible problem with the baby's hind legs. Instead of running regularly she now hops. The only exotic vet is out of the office until Monday so the baby will get her first checkup Monday morning. I have seen her moving pretty fast since she's been home but for her safety, until she is able to move as she is supposed to, I will save the introductions until after visiting the vet.
 

Wiebke

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So my plan is to divide the cage tonight for the piggies to get to know one another while keeping the baby safe. I have now noticed a possible problem with the baby's hind legs. Instead of running regularly she now hops. The only exotic vet is out of the office until Monday so the baby will get her first checkup Monday morning. I have seen her moving pretty fast since she's been home but for her safety, until she is able to move as she is supposed to, I will save the introductions until after visiting the vet.
That is a good idea. if the hopping is caused by a health issue, it could be down to scurvy (vitamin C) deficiency, but you will need a vet visit and a proper check-up and diagnosis as to what is going on. I would wait with intros until your little girl has settled in and is well.
 

gatorgirl

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That is a good idea. if the hopping is caused by a health issue, it could be down to scurvy (vitamin C) deficiency, but you will need a vet visit and a proper check-up and diagnosis as to what is going on. I would wait with intros until your little girl has settled in and is well.
I was actually thinking of posting something about the new piggie hopping in the illness forum because I was worried it was scurvy. She will move her hind legs independently when picked up so I gave her a dose of vit c and will keep an eye on her. I did pull out my oldest piggie Callie and introduced her to the baby and it went beautifully. Callie cleaned around her ears and eyes and was very careful around her. No rumbling or teeth chattering at all.
 

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Sorry it took me so long to update. Luckily Ms. Dixie (name change) is up and running around like normal for one so little! Apparently she had a sprain, maybe from being picked up and possibly dropped back into her cage by kids or on the drive home. Nothing, according to the vet, was broken or swollen. I have done several group feedings in neutral territory and for the most part it goes well. Several days ago I attempted to take the divider out of the cage after cleaning the coroplast and changing out the bedding. It went the same as before, no change. I now realize the best thing is to wait until Dixie is a little older and larger.

Tonight, while checking on them before retiring for the night, I caught Callie and Dixie visiting each other through the divider. Callie has been perfect in the past during introductions so I thought I would put Callie in on Dixie's side to see how everything would go. The result was comical. Dixie tried to chase Callie around her half of the cage and attempted to "hump" her and during this Callie completely ignored her. :D
 

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Please be aware that right after the initial acceptance, you get the hierarchy sort-out. The dominance phase is never pleasant, but vital for any successful bonding. it can last several days. In my personal opinion, Dixie (and your other girls) are ready, and in Dixie's case past ready for bonding. It also sounds like Dixie was in season, as that behaviour and Callie's reaction are typical for that.

You will see the strongest dominance always coming from the sow just above Dixie in the hierarchy, as she wants to make sure that her place on the ladder is not under threat; the other girls won't be too bothered apart from putting Dixie in her place every now and then. Please be aware that once you start a full introduction, you will have to commit and just sit by during all the nipping, chasing, chinning/facing off and chucking out that are part and parcel for the dominance phase. Youngsters tend to be pretty dramatic compared to adults.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/sow-behaviour.38561/
 

gatorgirl

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Please be aware that right after the initial acceptance, you get the hierarchy sort-out. The dominance phase is never pleasant, but vital for any successful bonding. it can last several days. In my personal opinion, Dixie (and your other girls) are ready, and in Dixie's case past ready for bonding. It also sounds like Dixie was in season, as that behaviour and Callie's reaction are typical for that.

You will see the strongest dominance always coming from the sow just above Dixie in the hierarchy, as she wants to make sure that her place on the ladder is not under threat; the other girls won't be too bothered apart from putting Dixie in her place every now and then. Please be aware that once you start a full introduction, you will have to commit and just sit by during all the nipping, chasing, chinning/facing off and chucking out that are part and parcel for the dominance phase. Youngsters tend to be pretty dramatic compared to adults.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/sow-behaviour.38561/
Well I guess tonight I will take out the divider and sit back. I now have plenty of hidey's for the girls with two entrances/exits so that shouldn't be a problem. Probably best to get it done. I do catch Dixie trying to dig through the fleece and go under the divider to be with the others.
 

gatorgirl

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So everything seems to be going good so far. Dixie keeps her distance from the other piggies, bolting in the opposite direction whenever they come near her. I presume this will continue for a little while longer but I am sure they will figure out the new hierarchy!
 

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it is not at all unusual for a new piggy that is insecure to keep her distance with a group, especially one that is not coming out at the top. I hope that she will relax and settle in. She's likely been at the receiving end of a dominant swipe and didn't like it.
 

gatorgirl

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Yes indeed she has received a few swipes here and there but she is slowly allowing them to get a little close to her. Eventually these girls will sort it out!
 
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