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Ruby - Saturday is the big day

Swissgreys

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Ahh Ruby, sweet, difficult Ruby.
Our guinea pig who has fallen out with 5 other guinea pigs in the last 4 years.
Our guinea pig who doesn't seem to like girls, or boys, or people (except for 1).

But I suddenly and unexpectedly find myself with a boar and a sow, who live quite happily side by side.
Harry is alone after loosing Lucy earlier this week, and Harry is not a guinea pig who wants to live alone.
Harry craves company, and has always enjoyed rubble strutting along the shared grids with Ruby's cage.
Harry regularly 'calls' Ruby over to the shared grids, and treats her to a display of his most marvelous rumble strutting.
Harry is also the only guinea pig who I have never tried to bond with Ruby, as he was bought as a companion for Lucy (after Ruby fell out with Lucy).

So before we go out and get another guinea pig to live with Harry, I have decided to take the bold step of trying to bond him with Ruby.
This would be the perfect solution.
Ruby hasn't lived with another guinea pig in over 2 years, so I am trying not to get too excited, but keep your fingers crossed.
The bonding pen is set up, and tomorrow is the big day.
 

Wiebke

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Ahh Ruby, sweet, difficult Ruby.
Our guinea pig who has fallen out with 5 other guinea pigs in the last 4 years.
Our guinea pig who doesn't seem to like girls, or boys, or people (except for 1).

But I suddenly and unexpectedly find myself with a boar and a sow, who live quite happily side by side.
Harry is alone after loosing Lucy earlier this week, and Harry is not a guinea pig who wants to live alone.
Harry craves company, and has always enjoyed rubble strutting along the shared grids with Ruby's cage.
Harry regularly 'calls' Ruby over to the shared grids, and treats her to a display of his most marvelous rumble strutting.
Harry is also the only guinea pig who I have never tried to bond with Ruby, as he was bought as a companion for Lucy (after Ruby fell out with Lucy).

So before we go out and get another guinea pig to live with Harry, I have decided to take the bold step of trying to bond him with Ruby.
This would be the perfect solution.
Ruby hasn't lived with another guinea pig in over 2 years, so I am trying not to get too excited, but keep your fingers crossed.
The bonding pen is set up, and tomorrow is the big day.
Even if they are not able to live together, they might be able to live side by side?
Being friends through the grids goes a long way towards acceptance in my own experience with 'unbondable' sows. It doesn't work always but it has generally got a higher rate of acceptance than rescue dating.

Please separate as soon as Ruby is starting to go on overload. I find that shared lap sessions in these cases are the best way of starting off to see whether physical presence can be tolerated. It also may take several rounds of bonding during cage clean. As long as things are in the 'maybe' range, you separate as soon as Ruby starts being stressed and then restart again some days after.
This system has worked for Beryn, Brathlys and Tegan - but you need a companion who is willing and patient enough to cooperate.
 

PigglePuggle

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Aw best of luck, paws crossed Ruby knows its Valentine's day weekend and is kind to poor bereaved Harry, and having heard about the beautiful feisty Ruby I hope you have the oven gloves at the ready and the emergency vet on speed dial just in case...! But if the stars align I hope you have a beautiful love match rather than a weekend at the vets getting Harry's ears sewn back on :) x
 

Swissgreys

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Thanks so much @Wiebke
I so appreciate your encouragement and words of wisdom.
Ruby and Harry have lived side by side (with Lucy) for a while, so they both have the benefit of regular interaction through the shared grid.

However I do think Harry (who is only 2) needs to live with another guinea pig full time.
He is such a happy, vibrant boy and loves interaction, so contact through a grid just doesn't seem enough long term.
Hence my plan to try and see if Ruby will accept him.
I will keep a close eye on her (I have set aside the whole day tomorrow), but in all honesty I think I will probably know which way it will go in the first 30 minutes - Ruby either loves you (rare) or hates you. She is very all or nothing in that respect.

It is good to know I can separate and restart though. I will try and intervene as soon as I feel it is going too far, and maybe it will just take time.
Failing that we already have a couple of potential sows lined up for Harry, but I worry that introducing a new sow will mean that Ruby looses the shared grid contact with Harry, as she is notroious for not tolerating even the sight of another sow.
It is so hard to know what to do for the best.
 

Swissgreys

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Aw best of luck, paws crossed Ruby knows its Valentine's day weekend and is kind to poor bereaved Harry, and having heard about the beautiful feisty Ruby I hope you have the oven gloves at the ready and the emergency vet on speed dial just in case...! But if the stars align I hope you have a beautiful love match rather than a weekend at the vets getting Harry's ears sewn back on :) x
So funny.
I almost don't want to admit it, but I did send the local vet a text last night to check if she was around this weekend.
I have everything crossed it won't go that far, but better to be prepared....
Oven gloves, a beach towel, and a water spray are already next to the bonding pen.
Soothing tunes for guinea pigs is ready to go on the iPad, and the kids are on standby to keep me supplied with coffee.

Ruby's No #1 slave got a message from a friend tonight asking if she could come over and hang out tomorrow.
Ruby's slave replied - Sorry, no. My Mum is bonding guinea pigs :lol:
 

Wiebke

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Thanks so much @Wiebke
I so appreciate your encouragement and words of wisdom.
Ruby and Harry have lived side by side (with Lucy) for a while, so they both have the benefit of regular interaction through the shared grid.

However I do think Harry (who is only 2) needs to live with another guinea pig full time.
He is such a happy, vibrant boy and loves interaction, so contact through a grid just doesn't seem enough long term.
Hence my plan to try and see if Ruby will accept him.
I will keep a close eye on her (I have set aside the whole day tomorrow), but in all honesty I think I will probably know which way it will go in the first 30 minutes - Ruby either loves you (rare) or hates you. She is very all or nothing in that respect.

It is good to know I can separate and restart though. I will try and intervene as soon as I feel it is going too far, and maybe it will just take time.
Failing that we already have a couple of potential sows lined up for Harry, but I worry that introducing a new sow will mean that Ruby looses the shared grid contact with Harry, as she is notroious for not tolerating even the sight of another sow.
It is so hard to know what to do for the best.
While I generally do not propose stop and go bonding, it has its place if carefully done with problem piggies to give them the time and space to work through their issues - as long as you feel that there is still that spark between the two parties and that there are still signals that they like each other and want to be with each other when the chips are down. It takes a certain experience in reading body language and the exchange of social key behaviours.

Anyway, the piggies can continue to communicate and socialise through the bars in between sessions. Telling is also how they react to each other immediately after a session - Brathlys and Alan would for instance nap next to each other companionably.

This kind of bonding can take 2-3 weeks (or longer) but as the key is very careful reading of body language and dynamics, it is not something you would recommend to inexperienced owners. And there is never any guarantee that it will work out in the end... which is another reason it doesn't belong in the wrong hands. I have had major blow-ups when I misjudged it.
 

artcasper

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Best of luck today! Hope it goes well.... Would be the perfect solution for them both x
 
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