Sow bonding- advice needed!

ImmyH

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Hi all,
I have had a very tense day introducing my new baby sow (7 weeks) to my existing herd (2 year old sow and her 10 week old baby).
When I first introduced them at lunch time, everything seemed to go fine. No teeth chattering, 10 week old sniffed her but seemed quite indifferent and the 2 year old was sniffing her and seemed more interested. I waited for a few hours until things had settled down and then moved them into their hutch (thoroughly cleaned and new bedding). Since then, the 2 year old is chasing the new baby and keeps pushing her out of her hidies/ hiding places. Again, no teeth chattering and no biting.
I am sure I am being an over cautious new pigmum but I hate the thought of them being unhappy! I have read advice that sows will settle down soon enough, but any reassurance right now would be great!
P.S. New member based in Devon!
 

Claire W

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Hello and welcome. It sounds like normal dominance behaviour to me. Your two year old is throwing her weight about and putting the baby it her place. It often looks far worse to us than it actually is. Just make sure that baby is able to rest and eat
 

ImmyH

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Hello and welcome. It sounds like normal dominance behaviour to me. Your two year old is throwing her weight about and putting the baby it her place. It often looks far worse to us than it actually is. Just make sure that baby is able to rest and eat
Thank you, that is reassuring that it all sounds normal. Little one is eating, I’ve made sure there are plenty of food bowls and am putting food around the hutch.
How long would you expect this to carry on for? I have only just introduced them today so maybe my worrying is a bit premature!
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you, that is reassuring that it all sounds normal. Little one is eating, I’ve made sure there are plenty of food bowls and am putting food around the hutch.
How long would you expect this to carry on for? I have only just introduced them today so maybe my worrying is a bit premature!
It can take two weeks before a working hierarchy is established so you can expect to see dominance behaviour for quite some time yet
 

ImmyH

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@Piggies&buns @Claire W Thank you for your replies, it’s good to know that it’s normal and also that it won’t be instant. At times they are all stood around together eating hay and then at other times the chasing happens! I will keep you posted, hopefully it will settle in a few days 😊
 

Siikibam

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It takes up to two weeks for the hierarchy to be established.
 

ImmyH

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It takes up to two weeks for the hierarchy to be established.
That is really reassuring to know! I know it must sound silly me being all anxious after just a few hours but you know what’s it’s like; they’re our babies!
 

Siikibam

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Their behaviour can come across as very dramatic, especially the submissive wheeks. But it should all settle down.
 

ImmyH

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Their behaviour can come across as very dramatic, especially the submissive wheeks. But it should all settle down.
Yeah baby really is squeaking! I know she isn’t in any physical pain but it is not the nicest sound to hear. I was able to meet her mum and she is very vocal as well, maybe I just have a bit of a drama queen!
 

Siikibam

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Babies can be pretty dramatic so just take it as she has a loud voice 😁
 

Wiebke

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Hi!

Please take the time to read these two guides here.

You will find them very helpful in understanding what is going on. Most people think that bonding is just a short introduction while in truth the bonding process is very complex, goes through several stages and lasts for around 2 weeks until a new group hierarchy is fullt established and settled. Dominance with babies is quite drastic with the babies being very dramatic and vocal, too. They are always firmly pushed to the bottom of any group hierarchy and put in their place - even by their mothers when they make the transition from protected nursing babies to weaned full group members.

Please click on these links here:
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)

You can access our full and very comprehensive information collection via the guides shortcut on the top bar.
 

ImmyH

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@Siikibam @Claire W @Piggies&buns Thank you for all your advice.
three days later, and Apart from some postering at the food bowl, things have settled down nicely. The baby is still very vocal but they are sharing their sleeping quarters happily and they are interacting really well when they are in their run and back in their hutch.
I am loving having a little herd!
 

Claire W

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@Siikibam @Claire W @Piggies&buns Thank you for all your advice.
three days later, and Apart from some postering at the food bowl, things have settled down nicely. The baby is still very vocal but they are sharing their sleeping quarters happily and they are interacting really well when they are in their run and back in their hutch.
I am loving having a little herd!
I’m glad you’re enjoying them :)
 
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