Trouble Bonding two Sows

Xarea

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I have previously posted about my daughters two ladies They get along great with their kitchens pushed together, they even get along while we hold them next to each other. The floor playpens they love each other and even try to climb over to meet each other. The issue is when we place them in the same play cage, its 6 foot by 5 foot with lots of tunnels and huts, Kara who is about 4 months older keeps nose punching Red. She does all the normal behaviors, Kara (the oldest) runs over and does the nose sniffy, the bum sniffy, she even grooms herself and Red, then she and lays down, but If Red runs towards her, she nose punches her back. It's odd because while in separate cages they love hard on each other. Any ideas
 

Xarea

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BTW they talk..to each other and take turns zooming and popcorning. Is it Kara likes her new friend but doesn't want to share her space.
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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My sow punches at my boar if he gets too close to her. But thats as far as it goes. I'm not worried about it.

But i will tag in @Wiebke for this one , to help you
 

Swissgreys

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To be honest this sounds like perfectly normal behavior and nothing to worry about.

The real problem is that every time you separate and reintroduce guinea pigs they have to start their whole relationship again from scratch.
This can be stressful and is counterproductive if you plan for them to live together long term.

So if you want them to live in the same cage permanently please start bonding them properly and let them stay together until they are done.
Read the guides here for an accurate description of what is normal bonding behavior and what is not normal.
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

If you don't plan for them to live together full time then please just leave them in separate cages with contact through the bars.
 

Swissgreys

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Sorry forgot to add that it is very important that all introductions are started out on neutral territory.
You can't put one guinea pig into another guinea pigs space and expect them to be happy about it.
This is all clearly explained in the bonding guides above.
 

Wiebke

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BTW they talk..to each other and take turns zooming and popcorning. Is it Kara likes her new friend but doesn't want to share her space.
Hi!

Nipping is mild dominance behaviour. It means that the dominant piggy wants to keep their personal space respected during the post-bonding dominance phase.

Please take the time to read our comprehensive behaviour and bonding advice, which covers the whole period. You will find it very helpful:
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
 

Xarea

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Sorry, it has taken me a while to report or respond to this. Yes, I have read up on the bonding guide and have read through it many times, and yes I have watched many videos on bonding. I thank all those that did respond, @Wiebke, thank you for your support. We also waited two weeks to put them in the same play cage, and we left them for 2 hours. @ Swissgreys, we did this on very neutral territory in my den with fresh clean fleece. The guineas always have playtime in the living room never the den. With any guide, a person still might have a question or two and that was all I was expressing. The guineas Kara and Sabine(was Red) now get along great in the playpen for floor time.
Mind you there is a slight battle over the purple tunnel. It's odd but funny. We plan on moving them into the same cage after Sabine no longer needs baby guinea pig pellets, Kara eats adult and we don't want her to eat Sabines with are higher in calcium. Their cages are side by side and they nose kiss through the cages and do the guinea jibber jabber, and get floor time for 2 hours every day.
 

Wiebke

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Sorry, it has taken me a while to report or respond to this. Yes, I have read up on the bonding guide and have read through it many times, and yes I have watched many videos on bonding. I thank all those that did respond, @Wiebke, thank you for your support. We also waited two weeks to put them in the same play cage, and we left them for 2 hours. @ Swissgreys, we did this on very neutral territory in my den with fresh clean fleece. The guineas always have playtime in the living room never the den. With any guide, a person still might have a question or two and that was all I was expressing. The guineas Kara and Sabine(was Red) now get along great in the playpen for floor time.
Mind you there is a slight battle over the purple tunnel. It's odd but funny. We plan on moving them into the same cage after Sabine no longer needs baby guinea pig pellets, Kara eats adult and we don't want her to eat Sabines with are higher in calcium. Their cages are side by side and they nose kiss through the cages and do the guinea jibber jabber, and get floor time for 2 hours every day.
Hi!

Please move the girls together but either have two purple tunnels or leave it out.

Baby pellets for guinea pigs are a sales gimmick to make some easy money. The extra amounts needed are minuscule and are pretty much covered with a general diet that covers a wide range of nutrients but leaves out the fattening foods. The more hay your piggies eat, the better as that is the key to good health and a long live. Veg and just a very small amount of pellets are more in the way of daily treats compared to hay; they are NOT the mainstay of the diet. Pellets are full of empty fillers compared to hay. ;)
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
Weight - Monitoring and Management


None of my own youngsters have ever suffered from growing up with adults on an adult diet; my surprise baby Tegan (the one in the my avatar) has been with me from the day she was born. In fact, three of them (including Tegan) are currently working up to their 8th birthday never having been seriously ill in their lives - and that despite two of them having been rescued as very young babies from a really bad place.
 

Xarea

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Okay, we plan on moving the girls in together, I am afraid the midwest cage Kara has is not big enough, both girls zoom and popcorn from 5 am till 7 am and with only one ramp I am afraid of collisions, lol they are pretty silly. We plan on expanding the cage. I was just looking up options on guineapigcages.com. Does anyone have any advice in this area
What can I do other than removing the purple tunnel Kara is so fond of, How Can I make it friendly for both, we have two of them, but she is super protective of both.
 

Wiebke

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Okay, we plan on moving the girls in together, I am afraid the midwest cage Kara has is not big enough, both girls zoom and popcorn from 5 am till 7 am and with only one ramp I am afraid of collisions, lol they are pretty silly. We plan on expanding the cage. I was just looking up options on guineapigcages.com. Does anyone have any advice in this area
What can I do other than removing the purple tunnel Kara is so fond of, How Can I make it friendly for both, we have two of them, but she is super protective of both.
Place the tunnels either parallel next to each other or right at the opposite ends so cannot physically control both at the same time.
I have a sow where I had to place identical log tunnels (each with two exits) in a terraced row to get peace as there is no longer anything special to claim and nothing she can physically control more than her fair share of. At the worst, you have three hideys, which is too much to control.

I would also recommend to sprinkle feed pellets and veg around the cage for the same reason - she can't hog the bulk.
Make sure that you have water bottles and hay in two places to prevent bullying by blocking access.

The post-bonding dominance phase lasts around 2 weeks.

Please read these guides here; they tell you exactly what to expect and what you can do:
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
 

Xarea

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We have moved the girls into the same midwestern cage, made sure they had separate water and feeding stations. The girls cuddle and get along. Well, feeding time is a nightmare, Kara noses Sabine( Red the new baby) off of the hay feeders, and will only let her get a wee bit of water or pellets. With fresh veg, Kara eats hers but Sabine just nibbles hers. Both are super happy and take turns zooming and popcorning. So I am super confused about what to do. We did weigh Sabine(the new girl I call red) and she has gained 6 ounces, in the last 4 weeks we have had her.
 

Xarea

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I should mention Sabine is a challenge when it comes to veggies she seems to hate them all. Kara is just a hay pig and we have kinda fixed that. Any help with a pig that mostly hates fresh veggies would be a HUGE help.
 

Julie M

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I would just continue to feed veggies she will probably get used to them.
 

Wiebke

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I should mention Sabine is a challenge when it comes to veggies she seems to hate them all. Kara is just a hay pig and we have kinda fixed that. Any help with a pig that mostly hates fresh veggies would be a HUGE help.
Just persist and try with fresh grass (if necessary grown in window sill trays), fresh herbs and green leafy veg; please be aware that grass and hay do contain vitamin C and that fresh herb in small quantities contain a lot of minerals and trace elements, so not much needs to be eaten in quantity.
Hay is the important bit. Veg is only 10% of the daily food intake and is more of an additional treat than the mainstay of the diet. The same goes for pellets.

Guinea pigs learn what is safe to eat and what not from their mothers and elders. If that has not happened, and if their companion is not triggering the 'I want what you have' instinct, then it is doubly and triply hard. The only thing you can do is patience and persistence.
 
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