Should I continue bonding? My old guinea pig is frozen and terrified in a corner.

Anna12

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Hi all,
I have a question about bonding my guinea pigs. My oldest guinea pig Stella, lost her companion a while ago. We got her 2 friends. We made the mistake of putting them together right after we got the other two, and at that moment she was very aggressive towards the other two. We now had them next to each other for a few weeks, and yesterday tried to rebond them.

During this bonding session, there was very little aggression, except for some teeth chattering, and some hairs got pulled out in the first 10 minutes, but for the rest it seemed ok. Because of the previous experience we were afraid Stella would be very aggressive and dominant towards the other two. We gave them a lot of space for the bonding session (about 4 square meters) in neutral grounds (the kitchen). However, contrary to our expectations, Stella seemed absolutely terrified, hid in a corner and stared at the wall for the full length of the bonding session. She stopped eating (even refused anything we put in front of her) and she also stopped pooing and peeing. After about 5h we therefore decided to end the session and give her some critical care and syringed her some water (because of her kidney issues, see below) to get her appetite going again (we lost our previous guinea because of teeth issues, so not eating really spooks me by now). She fell asleep on my lap instantly, which she has never done before, she's very tame and loves interaction, but not a lap guinea at all, so I don't think her sleeping on my lap is a great sign. We decided to put them in their previous set up for overnight where they can interact through the bars, but cannot get to each other. Since then, Stella has been sleeping, and she luckily is eating and pooing again.

Some further background context: We think Stella is quite old, since she is a rescue we are not sure how old exactly, but I think she's over 5. She's also lost a little bit of weight lately, which we are closely monitoring, and if she loses more we will call the vet. Also, she has a known kidney issue for which she's being medicated, and it's really important she drinks a lot. So for these reasons I don't want to run the risk of her not eating or drinking over extended periods of time.

Is it wise to try another bonding session? Or should we accept that the bonding has failed? I've read a lot about aggressive behavior, but except for some initial chasing that did not happen. I however cannot find any information on freezing/hiding/staring at walls and corners during bonding.

Hopefully someone knows what to do!
 

Siikibam

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:agr: Sorry it didn’t work out but she will have the interaction through the bars. That’s better than nothing. Hope she perks up soon and is back to her usual self.
 
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