Switching from boar keeper to sow keeper and welfare concern

Winterfell

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Sadly my old boar Eddard recently passed and was the sweetest pig, 23 guinea pigs have come and gone across the years, but the constant is I have always had boars.

I am thinking of 'switching' to be a sow piggy keeper, I've had fall outs, bullying the works leading to boars kept side by side, and the circle of life leading to rebonding and more. I was thinking to look to get 3-4 sows, as then I can add more sows.

I am particularly fond of sheltie's but do not see them very often, most of my piggy have been smooth but have had peruvian, crested and a teddy. One of my sweet boars who passed in 2014 was a Teddy, he use to bully everyone i tried to bond him with so in the end he lived next to another boar quite happily. He was also the largest I ever remember having

Has anyone moved from looking after one sex of guinea to the other and for similar reasons? Should I really start with a trio and work upwards? Indoor living only in my C&C cages. Hopefully sows are still as friendly as i have found boars to be.

I am looking to get younger guineas, around sub 10 weeks, but there was one ad i was looking at, it made me sad to see that it was a sow and her 3 babies, my main concern is 2 are female and 1 is male and I am not sure if they have seperate. If i took the 4 I'd end up with a boar again but would have to seperate him until I can get him neutered. Then there is a concern if they have not seperated they may be moving them on because of pregnancy. But I feel bad for these guineas and am concerned for their welfare, and if I should do anything or not, I don't know where they could end up.
 

Piggies&buns

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I’m sorry for your losses.

Piggies who don’t get on will fight regardless of their sex.

If you rehome piggies from anywhere other than a reputable rescue centre then you are taking on a risk - people selling/rehoming animals via websites can be very economical with the truth. We see posts from people who take on piggies from such sites in good faith and end up finding the reasons for the rehoming weren’t accurate - bonds that simply don’t work and then the person ends up with two piggies who need to be separated, or very large vet bills when the reason for rehoming was an underlying and undisclosed health issue. You do just need to be aware of the risks if you go down this route.

rehoming bonded, health checked, not pregnant piggies from a rescue is the safest way.

A Closer Look At Pairs (Boars - Sows - Mixed)
 

Siikibam

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I’m sorry for your losses. Sounds like they were quite sweet characters.

As above, please look to get your piggies from a rescue rather than an ad, breeder or pet shop. You may bite off more than you can chew and end up with large vet bills - anything from pregnancy to long term illnesses. with a rescue you will end up with the ones that suit your household. Also don’t be stuck on a particular breed else you will be disappointed.

A trio is a hard balancing act, even in females. You can often end up with an outsider, so go for a pair or four.

Whether the piggy is friendly depends on its personality. I’ve got both boars and sows. I would say the boys are more friendly but that’s probably because they’ve been with me longer.

Good luck in your hunt. Contact some rescues and see how you get on.

Rescue Locator
 

VickiA

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I started out as a sow keeper, but each of my current sow groups has a neutered boar, so I have experience of both. Sows, like boars, can vary tremendously in personality. I’ve had some very strong characters and some very easy going characters.
 

Winterfell

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Alot of rescue in the SE, Sadly a few i have checked do not have suitable sow pair piggies atm. Bobtails all sow are on res, as is hazelcroft. Other had boar pairs, maybe I am destined to be a boar keeper 4life. Every pig I see I could easily take in. If we werent in the times of corona could travel pretty much anywhere for the right pigs.

I have never had a boar neutered, If a pair of a boar and sow was up then that is very interesting too. At least rescues usually have the pairs in a stable bond. I did get one of my boars from a rescue back in 2013 or so now, but i was in a different part of the country. I've had some pigs from babies and others as older pigs from 1-2 years old, oldest I had join me was 4 and was 6 on passing. I think the initial desire for babies is the touch wood 5-7+ years of hopefully health lives not having to go through another pig crossing over. I wish they would live forever

I found some other 'rescue' not on the list, but it mostly looks like people houses so may or may not be an actual rescue rather than a hobby, but the info said they were surrended due to the owner being unable to keep due to their own pregnancy. There's a mum and daughter pig, the mum seems to have had 2 is there is also a boar, but is seperate as not neutered. Daughter pig is 9 months, I think mum is 2 years. I know they arent like humans but to have the boar never see his mum or sister again seems kind of heartbreaking so maybe would be able to get neutered and reintroduce in a couple of months. I'll keep checking other pages on the link too.

I have seen some large sow herds, would be nice to have a mini herd, never found having more pigs more costly (day to day) health can be like a box of chocolates. I have too long i n20 years to retirement, but then i will escape back to the country and take in more piggies and thats how i dream of living out my life with happy healthy piggies!
 

Tara95

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I'm sorry for your losses. In regards to you potentially adopting 3 sows and one boar and then waiting to neuter, I am in a similar situation. I adopted 2 sisters from the same litter and their brother (who I didn't plan on adopting) he was the only one left in the litter with no male to pair up with; seeing him by himself shaking was just heartbreaking. The first thing I'd say is it has been really hard to watch him being on his own for so long he used to always bar bite and cry for his sisters. You'd have to keep him separate for I'd say at least 4 months, (including the 6 week post op wait) There's been times where I really have doubted whether it was best to purchase him as he has been very lonely. Luckily for him he was able to have an early neuter at 9 weeks (which is very rare it has only been possible due to starting puberty early and being a big size for his age) so luckily he only has to wait 6 weeks to be with the sows. I don't regret purchasing him as I formed a bond as soon as I saw him and to be honest he definitely adds something different to my herd. The females are definitely much more confident since he's been living next to them. Everyday they push their bums to the bars and squeak when he sniffs their bums and then they popcorn, it's really bizarre. When he went for his operation and wasn't there their behaviour completely changed and the only time they came out of their hideys was when they were looking for him. He definitely adds so much to my herd but at the same time it has been stressful putting him through the operation for him and me! There's always risks and you definitely need to do your research. :) This place has been fantastic for post op advice, care and all sorts! Best of luck! :)
 

Winterfell

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Thanks, I've had a look at a number of topics here, some useful stuff for sure. It's finding the right vet experienced with neutering and with a very high number of ops under there belt that would be be important. If he is 9 months old I expect it would be op booking time and then the 6 weeks so hopefully would only be side to side short term. This is just one possibility from my research so far, might not work out, might be just the sows or have to keep searching for the right pigs. I was though set on sows, but I am definitely swayed to accepting a neutered male or one who can be safely done. One male is just 1 funky pocket to manage in later years at least Lol.
 

Tara95

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Thanks, I've had a look at a number of topics here, some useful stuff for sure. It's finding the right vet experienced with neutering and with a very high number of ops under there belt that would be be important. If he is 9 months old I expect it would be op booking time and then the 6 weeks so hopefully would only be side to side short term. This is just one possibility from my research so far, might not work out, might be just the sows or have to keep searching for the right pigs. I was though set on sows, but I am definitely swayed to accepting a neutered male or one who can be safely done. One male is just 1 funky pocket to manage in later years at least Lol.
Ohh that's good if he's 9 months old a much shorter wait time! :) it is really tricky to wait but it'll be worth it in the end! I would definitely recommend my vet, who is an exotic specialist who specialises in Neutering. First of all I thought it was quite pricey (£105) but that included all of the medication, an overnight stay if needed to check up on him after the op and a post op appointment to check on how he's doing a few days after the operation. Plus apparently the way she did it (through the abdominal is much safer reducing time under anesthetic and infection/further complications) it's how the American's do it. I'm not an expert and I'm sure there's lots of different points of view but there are a few of the studies that I have read (only out of 40 Guinea pigs though) that have indicated that there was a 100% chance of success rate and 0% chance of infection but that figure seems a bit too good to be true to me and made the other option look terrible (which I believe isn't true). I think it just depends on what your vet is comfortable with though. And I originally had two sows to start with and then when I saw how happy they were around other Guinea pigs (by mistake when looking after another pair of females in a run with a fence when I was inexperienced, which you shouldn't do) they were just so interested in each other, and they were all so confident! Which was amazing because both groups had been hiding for weeks! Anyway, I purchased two young (but large) bonded sows a month or two later and it has been successful but there is definitely a hierarchy and there was a few issues at the start. Luckily any minute disputes have been resolved as they now have a much larger cage with lots of hidies so they're not territorial like they used to be. But I'd definitely recommend a large Cage if you're having more than 2 and lots of hidies as mine used to argue over a specific spot in their old cage and the boss pigs had to have certain areas. Good luck finding the right pigs :)
 

Winterfell

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I have a 3.5 year old sow bonded with a 9 month sow who will be joining after lockdown. Elder pig not much is known about her . Is smooth coated black and white piggy. Her companion is a 9 month +/- ginger peruvian sow. As mentioned I have had peruvian before, a long trime ago so I will need to get a grooming kit for her.
 
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