When Can I Introduce A New Cagemate To A Bereaved Piggy?

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WinnieandBear

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On Sunday we lost one of our little girls, Winnie, very suddenly and she has left behind a very shy sister, Bear, who relied on Winnie very much. Winnie was the very outgoing, extremely tame piggy and Bear is her shy, although much bigger, sister. Bear is only 6 months old and since Winnie passed away became very withdrawn and reluctant to leave the blanket we left for her with Winnie's scent on. I took away the blanket last night and replaced it with an Ikea Rat toy and have added some new bits to her cage and have been handling her more often.

This evening she has completely perked up and has been popcorning and wheeking since I got home and has been out of her hidey since I got in. I have been leaving the radio on for her during the day and coming home on my lunch break to be with her. I hope I am doing enough and would appreciate any extra tips from people!

We would like another girl to bond her with, from a rescue (made the mistake of getting my girls from P@H and have had so much trouble and lost Winnie after only 3 months of having her, breaking mine and my boyfriends hearts completely, not to mention Bears. Vet said she was probably interbred and had underlying health problems) I was thinking a younger pig would be best? Thank you! Any advice would be great
 

Wiebke

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You can introduce a new mate anytime now. I would recommend dating at a good rescue, so Bear can make her own choice as to who she likes and wants to live with - it really makes for a much happier relationship in my own experience! Age and gender (sow or neutered boar) is not as relevant as mutual liking.

I think I have already recommended a rescue to you? But you can find more good ones via this link here; we can guarantee that all our recommended rescues practice a mandatory quarantine, pregnancy watch and are piggy savvy. The vast majority offers dating at the rescue under expert supervision, so you come home only with a new friend that has been accepted, is healthy and guaranteed not pregnant. That is well worth going that bit further afield in my experience!
 

WinnieandBear

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We are happy to travel as far as needed to get her the right companion and of oh yes of course, a neutered boar would be absolutely fine too! We are planning to take a trip to some rescues next Friday and I will give the rescue you recommended a call and see if they can arrange dating for her. The links you sent me on Sunday were really helpful, thank you!
 

Wiebke

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Wishing you and Bear all the best! Bereaved sows of mine have gone down either way and have always come away with a very happy and loving new relationship.
 

Wiebke

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I have found that it has invariably helped to lift my spirits. You do not grieve any less, but seeing the bereaved piggy happy again will give you the free space to do so in your human way while knowing that you are doing right by Bear.
 

WinnieandBear

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I think spending extra time and worry looking after her now she is alone has helped me focus on the more positive things after such a traumatic experience... we have definitely cheered each other up during this time which is a good bonding experience with her and myself. If we do bring a rescue pig of her choosing home, what would you suggest in regards to the cage i.e should we strip it and wash it all (fleece bedding) before putting them in together?
 

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I think spending extra time and worry looking after her now she is alone has helped me focus on the more positive things after such a traumatic experience... we have definitely cheered each other up during this time which is a good bonding experience with her and myself. If we do bring a rescue pig of her choosing home, what would you suggest in regards to the cage i.e should we strip it and wash it all (fleece bedding) before putting them in together?
Yes, please strip, wash and rearrange it completely, so it is as new to Bear as the companion. I would also recommend to start off again with a little intro on neutral ground at home before you move them to their cage. You are bound to see dominance behaviour for a quite a few days as they establish their new relationship, but it should never go past mild to medium dominance behaviours.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/
 
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