Splitting up bonded sows?

LittleMissPiggie

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I have 2 boars and 2 sows .

The 2 boars are single but get daily side by side company with each other .

The two sows are mother / daughter and have been together since the daughter was born (now just over 18 months old).

The boars are going to be neutered and the idea is to pair each boy with one of the girls; this would obviously mean separating the girls.

I’m having second thoughts as it’s all the little girl has ever known to be with her mom.

The other option is to add one boar to the sows to make a trio and get another new girl for the remaining boar . I really don’t want to get another pig though as I will have to also spend more cash to increase cage size to accommodate a trio.
But I obviously want what is best all round .

What would people advise ?
 

Piggies&buns

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I think if they are all happy as they are, the boys aren’t lonely because they can talk through the bars, then I’d be tempted to not rock the boat and instead leave things as they are.
 

LittleMissPiggie

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I did think about that but the boys spend the whole of the overnight on their own so I feel they’d be much happier with a mate . It would also save me on space as the 3 cages and 3 runs take up a lot of room .
 

Piggies&buns

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I did think about that but the boys spend the whole of the overnight on their own so I feel they’d be much happier with a mate . It would also save me on space as the 3 cages and 3 runs take up a lot of room .
Ah I see - Why are they only side by side during the day then but not at night?
 

LittleMissPiggie

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I don’t have the room for them to be side by side at night . One boar was the result of me getting two “boy” guinea pigs but one was actually a girl .
 

Siikibam

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Do you have a commercial cage or c&c?
 

LittleMissPiggie

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I have a commercial 3 tier cage indoors for them at night. The girls are in one and the boys have one each . It’s quite big but not big enough to split it for 2 boars .
They all go out during the day in their own runs (girls in one and boys in a big c&c split down the middle ).
 

Piggies&buns

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is there a way you can get rid of the commercial cages, then have the boys live in their c&c permanently. Put the c&c where the commercial cages normally are. then you make another c&c and stack it on top of the boys cage for the girls to live in? That way you would save space and the boys can have constant interaction?
It may not work and it’s obviously hard because we can’t see your space/know the measurements, just throwing ideas out there. You can then use more grids to make runs which can be put temporarily during run time.
 

LittleMissPiggie

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Thank you - I did also think of that but the space they have to fit in isn’t big enough for a c&c to permanently split . They’d end up with a tiny space each compared to a full area they have to themselves at the moment .

I think I may end up replacing their commercial cage with a two tier hutch (indoors) as it will give them more floor space overall .

I would keep the trio on one level and possibly the single boar / new sow in the other .

Would it be unfair to keep a single boar and have a trio below him ? The single would then have side by side during the day with the trio . I’m very reluctant to do this though as I will feel so bad for the single boar !
 

Piggies&buns

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Yes it’s unfair to keep the single on one level and a trio below him. however, if the single had a friend, then it’s obviously fine. Single piggies need constant side by side.
you would need a 6ft x 2ft hutch as that is the size recommended for a trio
 

Little Ones

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Depending where you are in the world, it might be kinder to retire one of the boys to a rescue and try neutering one and creating a trio. Single boars are usually adopted very quickly as there are many boars out there looking for other singles so you wouldn’t have to worry about him not finding a home
 

LittleMissPiggie

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Yes I did think him being a single on his own wouldn’t be good . I did also consider the option of re-homing the single boar but I just can’t do it :( . He was born with us . I feel like he is my responsibility and he needs to be happy even if it’s an inconvenience to me space wise .

I’m trying to work out whether the girls would be upset by a split and a re pairing with a boy each ?
 

Piggies&buns

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It’s such a difficult decision - you’re trying to do right by everybody and there are pros and cons to both.
It does feel unfair to split the girls but I’ve not split a bonded pair so can’t comment on how they are going to react and how quickly they’ll get over it.
I know you don’t necessarily want a fifth piggy - but that would certainly be the ‘easiest’ option if you have the financial means to care for a fifth.
If you were to get a 6ft hutch with the intention of trio on one level and the boar/sow pair at the top - would you have space to put the trio at the bottom and for the time the single boar is single, have him in a separate cage alongside the bottom level of the hutch so he can interact constantly, and then once he’s got a friend them move him and his new friend up to the top level?
 

Swissgreys

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Yes I did think him being a single on his own wouldn’t be good . I did also consider the option of re-homing the single boar but I just can’t do it :( . He was born with us . I feel like he is my responsibility and he needs to be happy even if it’s an inconvenience to me space wise .

I’m trying to work out whether the girls would be upset by a split and a re pairing with a boy each ?
You are doing a wonderful job trying to do what is best for your piggies and dealing with unexpected additional pigs.

Neutering the boys and splitting Mum and daughter is a risk, as there is no way to be sure that the new pairings will actually work out.

However what I would say (and I am not an expert by any means) is that piggies don't always see their relationships like humans do - they can be quite flexible, and over the years I have moved piggies around and re-paired them as needed.
There are definitely cars of certain piggies having exceptionally close bonds, but most piggies are pretty accepting of changes in their partner, as long as they are compatible and all introductions are handled carefully on neutral territory.
 

Tara95

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It's completely up to you what you want to do but if you have the means and the funds then you could adopt another sow. If it was me I wouldn't want the split the mother and daughter up either. You'd need to think through fully the risks of neutering both boys and it'll need to be your decision. Good luck !:)
 

LittleMissPiggie

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Yes I think I am swaying more to adopt another sow . As much as I really didn’t want any more piggies (my goodness the mess!) I think this would be the best option for all involved .

I just worry the girls will be very upset if split . I still remember the cries from the baby boar for his mum when they had to obviously be split :(.

I’m sure one more won’t be a massive difference in cost .
 

LittleMissPiggie

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The new sow would be paired with the other single boar.
One boar is very placid and I know he’ll be a perfect match for the two girls .
The other one is friendly but has a bit of an attitude with the placid boar .
 

Tara95

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Yes I think I am swaying more to adopt another sow . As much as I really didn’t want any more piggies (my goodness the mess!) I think this would be the best option for all involved .

I just worry the girls will be very upset if split . I still remember the cries from the baby boar for his mum when they had to obviously be split :(.

I’m sure one more won’t be a massive difference in cost .
I've noticed (but I have been lucky that all my guinea pigs have been healthy apart from an infection after neuter) that the price difference is not that much especially with vegetables that need to be limited anyway. I find I'm giving my guinea pigs the best diet (lots of hay and less vegetables) with more as I was overfeeding with just two. There's always alot less waste. I have limited myself to 5 though even though in the past I would've been tempted to add one or two more to my herd some people on the forum have had to spend £1000's on just one guinea pig. It's also quite expensive to neuter (over £100 per pig for me) that's without the use of medication afterwards for example painkillers, antibiotics If there's an infection. As well as this it is alot of stress if something goes wrong. It was worth it in the end for my Winston to be happy living with his herd/siblings but it was really distressing to go though at the same time. Xx
 

LittleMissPiggie

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If I did split the girls and pair with a boar each , I had planned to have all pigs together in the large c&c run during the day (split down the middle for each pair ). That way the girls would still see each other and be able to nose etc .

Do you think that would be an option?

I’ve just measured up the space and there’s no way I’m going to be able to fit a 6ft hutch for 3 piggies . The max I could have is enough for 2.
 
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