Urgent Bonding Help Please

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vicky1519

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Hi,

A couple of months ago I rescued a boar, Obi (about 9 months old) who was in a bad way and living alone. He received treatment for his skin problems, got him to a healthy weight and have now (6 weeks ago) had him castrated so he can hopefully go in with my two girls (about 6 months old). Their cages have been next to each other since I've had them but they couldn't see each other.

Last night I prepared everything following recommended guidelines (scent free, new pen, food etc ) and introduced the three pigs. Obi was rather excited and wouldn't really leave the girls alone (lots of mounting, head raising, bum sniffing, rumble strutting/hip wiggling etc) which I have read is all normal behaviour. One of the girls didn't seem to mind too much but my more dominant girl kept running away or sort of standing her ground facing him. He would go off but keep going back soon after. The girls gave a few kicks and were pee squirting at him (I've seen them do this to each other before). They seemed to settle down so I left them over night. This morning there were a few clumps of hair in the cage, seemingly from obi. I have checked them all, but they are all very long haired and fluffy so it is hard to see the extent of the damage. Obi has a few small bald patches, one worse than the others with a little blood on his back. The dominant girl also has a few bald patches with a very small amount of blood under the skin.

Now, there is still lots of rumble strutting from obi. Occasional chasing. Noise wise it mainly seems to be wheeking, but occasional rumbling and a small amount of low teeth chattering. Every so often obi and the dominant girl stand facing each other and look like they might go for each other, but I haven't seem them actually go for each other, one just tends to walk off.

Does all this sound normal or should I separate them? I'm worried if I leave them in together it will escalate and someone will get hurt, but I know obviously they need time to sort who's boss etc.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated, thanks.
 

Wiebke

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Hi,

A couple of months ago I rescued a boar, Obi (about 9 months old) who was in a bad way and living alone. He received treatment for his skin problems, got him to a healthy weight and have now (6 weeks ago) had him castrated so he can hopefully go in with my two girls (about 6 months old). Their cages have been next to each other since I've had them but they couldn't see each other.

Last night I prepared everything following recommended guidelines (scent free, new pen, food etc ) and introduced the three pigs. Obi was rather excited and wouldn't really leave the girls alone (lots of mounting, head raising, bum sniffing, rumble strutting/hip wiggling etc) which I have read is all normal behaviour. One of the girls didn't seem to mind too much but my more dominant girl kept running away or sort of standing her ground facing him. He would go off but keep going back soon after. The girls gave a few kicks and were pee squirting at him (I've seen them do this to each other before). They seemed to settle down so I left them over night. This morning there were a few clumps of hair in the cage, seemingly from obi. I have checked them all, but they are all very long haired and fluffy so it is hard to see the extent of the damage. Obi has a few small bald patches, one worse than the others with a little blood on his back. The dominant girl also has a few bald patches with a very small amount of blood under the skin.

Now, there is still lots of rumble strutting from obi. Occasional chasing. Noise wise it mainly seems to be wheeking, but occasional rumbling and a small amount of low teeth chattering. Every so often obi and the dominant girl stand facing each other and look like they might go for each other, but I haven't seem them actually go for each other, one just tends to walk off.

Does all this sound normal or should I separate them? I'm worried if I leave them in together it will escalate and someone will get hurt, but I know obviously they need time to sort who's boss etc.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated, thanks.
it sounds like Obi and your top girl have had a tussle overnight. If you are in doubt and things have not quite settled down at bedtime, please always separate a sow or mixed gender bond (it works differently to boar-boar bonding).
Please disinfect the scratched area with saline solution, either from the pharmacy or homemade by mixing 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt into 1/2 pint/250 ml of boiled, cooled water.

If there have been no full-on bites, you can see whether things are settling down over the course of the day, but if tensions remain persistently high by this evening, I would consider the bonding a fail. Do not move them to their cage before things are relaxing. Sometimes a cross gender bonding can fail if the dominance question between the boar and the top sow cannot be resolved. Make sure that there are no hideys whatsoever and have a big pile of hay in the middle, which you keep refreshed.
Illustrated Bonding Behaviours And Dynamics
 

vicky1519

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it sounds like Obi and your top girl have had a tussle overnight. If you are in doubt and things have not quite settled down at bedtime, please always separate a sow or mixed gender bond (it works differently to boar-boar bonding).
Please disinfect the scratched area with saline solution, either from the pharmacy or homemade by mixing 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt into 1/2 pint/250 ml of boiled, cooled water.

If there have been no full-on bites, you can see whether things are settling down over the course of the day, but if tensions remain persistently high by this evening, I would consider the bonding a fail. Do not move them to their cage before things are relaxing. Sometimes a cross gender bonding can fail if the dominance question between the boar and the top sow cannot be resolved. Make sure that there are no hideys whatsoever and have a big pile of hay in the middle, which you keep refreshed.
Illustrated Bonding Behaviours And Dynamics
Thank you so much for all the advice. I have chlorhexidine, would that be ok to disinfect? It all seems to have quietened down now, and obi and top female were just lying fairly close together, they moved slightly further just before I took this picture. There seems to be more moments of high tension rather than any long periods. They haven't been together 24 hours yet, so could this still just be normal part of the dominance period, or should I be worried?
Thanks

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Wiebke

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Thank you so much for all the advice. I have chlorhexidine, would that be ok to disinfect? It all seems to have quietened down now, and obi and top female were just lying fairly close together, they moved slightly further just before I took this picture. There seems to be more moments of high tension rather than any long periods. They haven't been together 24 hours yet, so could this still just be normal part of the dominance period, or should I be worried?
Thanks

View attachment 50422
A dominance sort-out goes in rounds, it is not constant. Yours has got off to a rocky start, but both piggies have obviously pulled back right on the line and have kept it at hair snatching instead of full-on biting.

Just give it time and see whether they come to an agreement or not. Do not interfere unless there is another altercation (which would be the end of that) and let them sort it out in their own time.
 
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