Sow trio is ganging up on one of its members

LittleLily

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Hi! I've recently been lucky enough to rehome two adorable sow piggies from my local rescue as companions to my 4 1/2 bereaved sow Jasmine. The two new piggies have only been here for a couple of days, but they're already super confident: taking food from my hand and popcorning. They were looked after by an elderly lady who lavished love onto them but sadly grew too old to look after them properly. Gideon (3 1/2) is definitely the top pig in the trio, with Heidi and Jasmine still working it out. However, I've noticed that Gideon and Heidi have started to gang up on Jasmine, cornering her and nipping/chasing her around the cage. They're also first to the dry food, water, and hay as well as the greens, and Jasi being quite shy hasn't been able to get enough. What should I do? They bonded really well, and sleep together as well as (sometimes) share greens from the big plate which I put out three times a day. The rescue owner told me to put them in the cage together, but I'm wondering about adjoining cages for a while. Should I separate them or weather it out and see in a couple of weeks?
 

LittleLily

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P.S Sometimes I've noticed that Jasi spooks when they try to groom her or give her piggie kisses, so I don't know if they're being mean or just trying to be affectionate
 

Piggies&buns

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You say they’ve only been together for a couple of days - it actually takes about two weeks for them to fully establish the hierarchy. If you separate prematurely you undo it all and then have to start again if you try to reintroduce them.

As long as she is able to eat and not losing weight (you should weigh them weekly anyway but if you are concerned, then weigh daily), not being constantly chased out, not being bullied, then they will need time to establish themselves. If she becomes depressed, not allowed to eat or rest at all, or if fights occur then separate them.
It can, however, sometimes be tricky to have an already bonded pair accept a single piggy.

Ensure you have multiple hideys, multiple hay piles, scatter feed veg and pellets rather than using bowls, ensure the cage is big enough.
I’ll add in some guides below which will help you spot whether it is going as expected or if the behaviours are more concerning and the bonding isn’t going to work for the long term

Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Bonds In Trouble
Cage Size Guide
 

Wiebke

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You say they’ve only been together for a couple of days - it actually takes about two weeks for them to fully establish the hierarchy. If you separate prematurely you undo it all and then have to start again if you try to reintroduce them.

As long as she is able to eat and not losing weight (you should weigh them weekly anyway but if you are concerned, then weigh daily), not being constantly chased out, not being bullied, then they will need time to establish themselves. If she becomes depressed, not allowed to eat or rest at all, or if fights occur then separate them.
It can, however, sometimes be tricky to have an already bonded pair accept a single piggy.

Ensure you have multiple hideys, multiple hay piles, scatter feed veg and pellets rather than using bowls, ensure the cage is big enough.
I’ll add in some guides below which will help you spot whether it is going as expected or if the behaviours are more concerning and the bonding isn’t going to work for the long term

Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Bonds In Trouble
Cage Size Guide
:agr:

Please take the time to read the green guide links so you can understand what is going on!

Bonding is so much more complex than just a quick introduction. It take about on average (but it can take longer) to fully establish a group hierarchy through all the ranks. During this time it is vital that you remove any huts and corners with just one exit to prevent a piggy from being 'locked in' or bullied. You also need to serve any food in a bowl each per piggy and space them well apart. Please remove food bowls between meals (which should be only a small bowl of veg and 1 tablespoon of pellets per piggy per day) and make sure the access to the unlimited hay (80% of the daily food intake) cannot be blocked.
 
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