Recent mama won’t rejoin the herd

Cannonpack

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Hi all. Long time reader, first time poster. I’ll try to give details but keep it short too, I need some advice about bonding after a fight.

10/4 I adopted three female pigs that were rescued from a lady that bred them to feed to her dogs. They would join the two pigs, Cinnamon and Cookie, I already had after a two week quarantine.

10/18 Cinnamon and Cookie were in three Midwest cages connected but I built a 4x6 C&C cage for the five girls. They bonded quickly and easily. Reeses, Pieces (Reeses’s daughter) and Sugar fit in great. After a few weeks it became clear that Reeses and Pieces were both pregnant. As they came close to giving birth I put each of them into their own Midwest cage so the babies couldn’t escape when they arrived.

10/28 Reeses gave birth to one baby, Peanut Butter Cup.

11/4 Pieces gave birth to three babies, Cashew, Almond and Pecan.

Yesterday my vet verified that all four babies were girls so we were excited to bring the herd back together. I broke down the old cage and built one twice the size, 8 x 6 C&C. Everyone seemed ok, the moms were realizing that even though they were the boss of their babies, Cinnamon was the herd boss. The hierarchy seemed to be almost solidified when Pieces started bothering Cinnamon and a fight broke out leaving Pieces with a bite wound on her shoulder. This is the first ever fight. I’ve cleaned it and she’s going to the vet in a few hours.

My question is, the babies and other girls seem great as a herd so what do I do with Pieces? I separated her with her babies but they were clambering to get back to the herd. I now have Pieces in a Midwest by herself placed inside the huge herd cage. Do I split the herd? Do I pick one friend for Pieces and keep them separate? Do I get her a totally new friend? Do I keep her separate but next to the herd? Thank you in advance!
 

RedLoredAmazon

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Hi! Welcome to the Forum!

Someone will come along soon that can help you with your bonding question, I've never bonded piggies as my current two came already bonded.

Thank you for adopting those piggies out of that horrible situation! Quick question and I'm sorry to derail this post, but did you adopt the piggies directly from this lady? If so, I would contact your local police department and see if they need to make a police report for animal cruelty. Feeding live guinea pigs (I'm assuming they were alive) to her dog is just awful!

Thank you again for rescuing those piggies! :hug:
 

Piggies&buns

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As you have many piggies, I would not leave her alone, you have enough piggies to either pair her up with one other or make two herds. Which route you take is really down the piggies though, their character compatibility and finding the ones which get on best.
 

Cannonpack

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Hi! Welcome to the Forum!

Someone will come along soon that can help you with your bonding question, I've never bonded piggies as my current two came already bonded.

Thank you for adopting those piggies out of that horrible situation! Quick question and I'm sorry to derail this post, but did you adopt the piggies directly from this lady? If so, I would contact your local police department and see if they need to make a police report for animal cruelty. Feeding live guinea pigs (I'm assuming they were alive) to her dog is just awful!

Thank you again for rescuing those piggies! :hug:
Hi and thank you!

I did get them straight from her, she came right out and posted it on a Craigslist ad! She was “getting rid of non-breeding stock” because she was moving cross country. When I first contacted her she said she only had one female left. When I went to meet her she had two other females that someone else didn’t come for and I couldn’t leave them behind. I couldn’t bring myself to ask her her process but did inform the humane society and reported her to animal control. Simply horrendous!
 

Claire W

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Hi and thank you!

I did get them straight from her, she came right out and posted it on a Craigslist ad! She was “getting rid of non-breeding stock” because she was moving cross country. When I first contacted her she said she only had one female left. When I went to meet her she had two other females that someone else didn’t come for and I couldn’t leave them behind. I couldn’t bring myself to ask her her process but did inform the humane society and reported her to animal control. Simply horrendous!
Well done for taking all 3. I’m glad that you’ve reported her. What a horrible thing to do :(
 

Cannonpack

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As you have many piggies, I would not leave her alone, you have enough piggies to either pair her up with one other or make two herds. Which route you take is really down the piggies though, their character compatibility and finding the ones which get on best.
Thank you! Plenty of pigs and plenty of space so I’m glad it’s an easy answer!

Is it best to keep her separated while healing and then find the groupings or will that keep her segregated too long? I just dropped her off at the vet so not sure what the treatment plan is yet.
 

RedLoredAmazon

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Hi and thank you!

I did get them straight from her, she came right out and posted it on a Craigslist ad! She was “getting rid of non-breeding stock” because she was moving cross country. When I first contacted her she said she only had one female left. When I went to meet her she had two other females that someone else didn’t come for and I couldn’t leave them behind. I couldn’t bring myself to ask her her process but did inform the humane society and reported her to animal control. Simply horrendous!

That's good that you reported her. Hopefully, she will stop using piggies as food.
 

Cannonpack

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For now I would be tempted to keep Pieces and her babies as one group all together.
Four is a nice number for a mini herd.
I think that’s a smart choice, especially if it’s better to let her heal with other pigs around her. I don’t want her to be secluded for too long and lose more bonds.

I’d love to keep the four babies together so maybe Reeses and her baby could eventually be with them. Reeses is Pieces’s mom. Again, that might be me being too sentimental about it.
 

Cannonpack

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Thank you all for the support and advice! I just heard back from my vet (they were able to squeeze Pieces in as a drop off appointment). She has a good laceration but no muscle damage so no stitches. She’ll get laser therapy to help jump start the healing, meloxicam, oral antibiotics and a topical. He suggests that she stays on her own for 3-4 weeks while she heals.
 

Swissgreys

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Thank you all for the support and advice! I just heard back from my vet (they were able to squeeze Pieces in as a drop off appointment). She has a good laceration but no muscle damage so no stitches. She’ll get laser therapy to help jump start the healing, meloxicam, oral antibiotics and a topical. He suggests that she stays on her own for 3-4 weeks while she heals.
It all sounds good but I would disagree with having her stay on her own for 4 weeks. That is a long time and will cause more disruption to the herd to then reshuffle everyone again after a month. The babies are unlikely to hurt her (even accidentally) so I would put them back in with her for now and see how they go together.
 

VickiA

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When sows have had babies this affects their perception of their position in the hierarchy and even previously well bonded sows can fall out irrevocably. I suspect that Pieces, now a mother, decided she wasn’t going to accept a lower position in the ranking (even if she had occupied it previously).

I would keep Pieces and her babies together as a mini herd of their own.

And I agree with @Swissgreys. I would not keep her separate at all. Otherwise you are storing up future bonding problems.
 

Cannonpack

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It all sounds good but I would disagree with having her stay on her own for 4 weeks. That is a long time and will cause more disruption to the herd to then reshuffle everyone again after a month. The babies are unlikely to hurt her (even accidentally) so I would put them back in with her for now and see how they go together.
I think that sounds good. I will be watching her closely so of the babies seem to bother her I can always separate at that point. I’m really nervous about her losing that bond since she has already lost it with Cinnamon.

That leads to another question. If I keep her babies with her is it ok for me to split the big cage in half so they have more room (it would give them 4x6 C&C) or is that allowing too much movement for her while healing? It’s her front shoulder.
 

Cannonpack

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When sows have had babies this affects their perception of their position in the hierarchy and even previously well bonded sows can fall out irrevocably. I suspect that Pieces, now a mother, decided she wasn’t going to accept a lower position in the ranking (even if she had occupied it previously).

I would keep Pieces and her babies together as a mini herd of their own.

And I agree with @Swissgreys. I would not keep her separate at all. Otherwise you are storing up future bonding problems.
Thank you! I really don’t want her to lose all bondings so that’s what I’ll do. I just returned from the vet with her and it’s dinner time for them shortly so I’ll do a bit of rearranging with the cage first.
 

Swissgreys

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I think that sounds good. I will be watching her closely so of the babies seem to bother her I can always separate at that point. I’m really nervous about her losing that bond since she has already lost it with Cinnamon.

That leads to another question. If I keep her babies with her is it ok for me to split the big cage in half so they have more room (it would give them 4x6 C&C) or is that allowing too much movement for her while healing? It’s her front shoulder.
As her injury is fairly superficial then a large cage shouldn't present a problem. Make sure everything is on one level (no platforms that require jumping for example) and the space shouldn't be a problem.
 

Cannonpack

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As her injury is fairly superficial then a large cage shouldn't present a problem. Make sure everything is on one level (no platforms that require jumping for example) and the space shouldn't be a problem.
Will do! Thank you, thank you, thank you! (I’ll still be sure to watch her healing and activity, of course.)
 
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