New introduction

Sibod

New Born Pup
Joined
Mar 30, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Points
80
Hi,

We lost a guineapig recently, and decided to bring a new partner for our remaining Guinea Pig.

Iniitally we adopted two piggies from our local rescue centre, but unfortunately it didn't work out. (Long story short, we mistakenly let them meet for the first time in non neutral territory and it ended badly and the initial encounter set their relationship for life) They went back and are now with a good home on their own.

We now have a neutered male, and he's been with us for just over 3 weeks - separated via a mesh, and so far all the indications are very positive. They both interact throught he mesh. THey choose to spend time near each other pretty much all the time.

Today we attempted our first introduction 'proper' in a neutral space with lots of open ended hideys and hay and food strewn around.

Initially it was very positive - they were paying each othe rattention, a little bit of popcorning. THere was no teeth chattering or hissing, no biting.

However, after a little while the body langage changed and we had an altercation between them which we separated imediately. No damage done.

Back in the cage - separated, there is no negative body language that we can see so far.

From reading, it appears to all be normal - and from what we see, we should be attempting another bonding again tomorrow.

However, our failed attempt with the previous piggies has kind of made us nervous.
Any further advice appeciated.
 

Piggylove82

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
2,164
Points
875
Location
Worcestershire
Hi,

We lost a guineapig recently, and decided to bring a new partner for our remaining Guinea Pig.

Iniitally we adopted two piggies from our local rescue centre, but unfortunately it didn't work out. (Long story short, we mistakenly let them meet for the first time in non neutral territory and it ended badly and the initial encounter set their relationship for life) They went back and are now with a good home on their own.

We now have a neutered male, and he's been with us for just over 3 weeks - separated via a mesh, and so far all the indications are very positive. They both interact throught he mesh. THey choose to spend time near each other pretty much all the time.

Today we attempted our first introduction 'proper' in a neutral space with lots of open ended hideys and hay and food strewn around.

Initially it was very positive - they were paying each othe rattention, a little bit of popcorning. THere was no teeth chattering or hissing, no biting.

However, after a little while the body langage changed and we had an altercation between them which we separated imediately. No damage done.

Back in the cage - separated, there is no negative body language that we can see so far.

From reading, it appears to all be normal - and from what we see, we should be attempting another bonding again tomorrow.

However, our failed attempt with the previous piggies has kind of made us nervous.
Any further advice appeciated.
Every time you set up a bonding session, and then separate them you are going back to square one the next time you put them together. They don't pick up where they left off like humans do when a conversation is interrupted.

Have you read the bonding guides on the forum?
 

Sibod

New Born Pup
Joined
Mar 30, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Points
80
Every time you set up a bonding session, and then separate them you are going back to square one the next time you put them together. They don't pick up where they left off like humans do when a conversation is interrupted.

Have you read the bonding guides on the forum?
I understood the advice to separate as soon as there is agression?
 

Piggylove82

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
2,164
Points
875
Location
Worcestershire
I understood the advice to separate as soon as there is agression?
But then you went on to say you'll attempt another bonding session?

So either it was successful and you let them establish their hierarchy even if there is some dominance behaviour as part of that, and they stay together...

Or

... if there's fighting and blood is drawn then you separate them and accept they will need to live separately.

Putting them together then separating them, then putting them back together means they have to start all over again.
 

Sibod

New Born Pup
Joined
Mar 30, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Points
80
I'm confused now.

Should we have just let them get on with it unless there is blood drawn (none was), and not separate at the sign of aggression?
I did read the guides here, and it did say this:

"The top spot can be decided in a series of sometimes very tense face-offs which can display some of the "ready to pounce signs" if the guinea pigs are very closely matched in daminance. If the piggies are staying within the limit of just threatening and then just walking away, let them get on with it, otherwise, separate immediately (towel/glove at the ready!). Something like this is a difficult bonding that can take time to work out and that can sometimes fail at a later point when the piggies in question fail to come to an agreement."
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs

Or are you saying that as soon as any agression appears, - thats it?
 

Piggylove82

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
2,164
Points
875
Location
Worcestershire
I'm confused now.

Should we have just let them get on with it unless there is blood drawn (none was), and not separate at the sign of aggression?
I did read the guides here, and it did say this:

"The top spot can be decided in a series of sometimes very tense face-offs which can display some of the "ready to pounce signs" if the guinea pigs are very closely matched in daminance. If the piggies are staying within the limit of just threatening and then just walking away, let them get on with it, otherwise, separate immediately (towel/glove at the ready!). Something like this is a difficult bonding that can take time to work out and that can sometimes fail at a later point when the piggies in question fail to come to an agreement."
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs

Or are you saying that as soon as any agression appears, - thats it?
I think it's just if blood is drawn. They may face up to each other, that I believe, is normal.
 

alpacasqueak

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Jul 21, 2013
Messages
4,998
Reaction score
10,859
Points
1,775
Location
Warwickshire
Some sows can get quite ‘snappy’ around the time they’re in heat and hormones are raging (but the boys are not allowed near!):gd:, it’s great you’ve had them getting to know each other for all this time next door.
I spent 7 and a half hours watching like a hawk while bonding my odd pair last year, it was quite up and down. How long were they together before they started having issues?
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
9,431
Reaction score
11,406
Points
1,925
Location
Cambridgeshire
You are going to see dominance behaviours when you put them together. It is however essential to not mistake dominance and aggression. They are very different - one is fine, one is possibly the end of their potential relationship.

How they have been during interacting through the divider up until now is no indication of how their relationship will be when physically put together. Laying next to the divider, for example, can be marking territory and not a sign that they want to be together.

You need to put them together and do not separate unless there is an obvious failure. If you continually put them together and then separate, you interrupt the process and they have to start all over again which is stressful for them. If it obviously fails, then there is little point in trying any further introductions. Once a sow has made up their mind about another piggy they rarely change it back again

And to add when doing bonding introductions, you should not really have hideys in the neutral area. It sets up the possibility of territorial issues over particular hideys
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,122
Reaction score
48,961
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
I understood the advice to separate as soon as there is agression?
Hi

Please read our bonding guide link below, so you understand the various stages of the bonding process, which runs from acceptance through to sorting the leadership, establishing a hierarchy and then in the two weeks after the intro reinforcing and settling the hierarchy.

You will see dominance behaviours as soon acceptance has happened and your piggies are working on establishing leadership and a hierarchy. This happens in a number of rounds. As long as the dominance behaviour is still within normal parameters and the piggies are fine and ideally exchanging signs that they still want to be friends in the intervals, then there is nothing to worry.

If you separate at the first sign of dominance, your piggy will never get to work through the bonding process. A hierarchical group is at the very core of guinea pig society. The less you interfere until things really take a turn for the worst (acceptance not happening or a fall-out over leadership), the better. when it comes to bondings, once committed you have to ride the tiger until the end. If necessary leave the piggies in the bonding pen overnight as long as there is no real aggression in play rather than transferring them to the cage too early.

It all comes down to whether they compliment each other personality-wise and whether they want to be together. No magic wand trick and no interference from you can do the trick. they may have concluded that they do not suit; in this case you will see strong negative behaviours pretty much straight away.

Please take the time to carefully read our comprehensive illustrated bonding guide which takes you through each stage with the attendant behaviours for every stage so you can judge for yourself whether you are still on course or not. It also has got chapters on special aspects for various bondings, including cross gender bonding dynamics. The guide also covers the post-intro dominance phase.

Here is the link. You may want to bookmark it so you can look it up and re-read at need as you go through the bonding:
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
 
Top