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Thread: Am I doing this right?

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    Cavy Slave
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    Am I doing this right?

    Hello!

    I have a 4 1/2-year-old female piggy (Her name is Dax ) whose mate died in July (RIP my sweet girl). Knowing that guinea pigs are social animals, I got my existing girl a new cagemate back in August (her name is either Ginger or Athena. Can't decide! She's around 6 months old.). I honored the quarantine period as suggested by nearly every guinea pig website I came across when researching on how to do this. I'm holding the introduction in my bathroom, a completely neutral and large area. They're on brand new fleece and towels, there's new hay, and I put fresh veggies right in the middle. I put them in the area at the same time.
    Initially, Dax went up to sniff the new piggy's butt. I figured that was completely normal. They chattered teeth, rumblestrutted, and nipped at each other a few times. No serious fighting or overly aggressive behavior. However, the new piggy nipped Dax on her behind a little, resulting in some of her hair being bit off. Dax squealed out of shock/fright. It almost sounded like she was wheeking. Normal? I checked to see if any blood had been drawn; there wasn't. Because there was none, I continued with the introduction.
    Currently, they're lying comfortably around three feet away from each other. Dax looks a little nervous, which I'm assuming is normal. I'm sure it's very distressing. The other piggy appears to be completely at ease. She'll go over to Dax and sniff her butt, chatter her teeth for a few seconds, then go back to her position across from Dax. Could this mean Ginger/Athena is the dominant piggy? How long until I know they're going to be okay with each other? It's been around an hour since I've put them in together. Just a few minutes ago, they were eating hay at the same time in their designated areas. Should I wait until they're eating side by side? Most importantly of all, did I do this correctly?? ALSO, Dax was the submissive pig when her cagemate was still alive. I suppose it would make sense for her to be submissive for this new pig, right?
    Thank you!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    I'd leave them quite a while longer. One of the major reasons for failed introductions, IMO, is trying to put them in the pen too soon.

    Sounds like you've done it right, but if you want to check, here's how to do introductions: http://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html

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    Cavy Slave sallyvh's Avatar
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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    Don't worry, it sounds like you are doing introductions correctly. All the behaviours described sound completely normal.

    For intros, I like to have them in the neutral space for several hours (at least 4, if not longer) before I put them in the cage together.

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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    Thank you, guys. I feel so much calmer. Ginger/Athena has mounted Dax once and is continuing to nip her butt. Dax is still a bit weirded out, poor thing. No fighting or blood so far. I plan on keeping them in the bathroom for the entirety of the evening. Hopefully, things keep progressing as they have!

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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    Update, just in case anyone was wondering...

    Things are well. They're still in the bathroom. Ginger is still pulling out Dax's hair and Dax is squealing (it sounds like crying and it's breaking my heart). No blood, no fighting. This could be my anxiety talking, but now I'm not sure if Dax would even enjoy a buddy. She's older, so she's not as active. She'd rather eat hay and sleep all day. Ginger is obviously much younger and full of energy. I feel as if the two would not make a good combo and that I should stop this introduction process entirely. I feel like I'm hitting a breaking point. I can't take Dax crying. Since her mate died, I've bonded with her profoundly. She closes her eyes when I pet her, enjoys cuddling, perks up when I enter the room... this is all very hard and stressful for me. I think I already know the answer, but am I overreacting? What do I do? I feel like crying.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    If someone could respond to this ASAP, that would be great.
    Dax has a small bite mark on her butt. There's a little bit of blood. She's in my lap now. I'm debating on whether or not I let this continue. Please help!

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    Cavy Slave Beatrix187's Avatar
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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by elveegee View Post
    If someone could respond to this ASAP, that would be great.
    Dax has a small bite mark on her butt. There's a little bit of blood. She's in my lap now. I'm debating on whether or not I let this continue. Please help!
    I hope I'm not too late, but for now I think you should separate them. Any bloodshed and I would separate them.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    I did separate them. I'm not sure if I will try again with these two. For now, I need a hot shower and a good night's rest. Thank you to all who replied; it's greatly appreciated.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    Sorry I didn't see this last night, but I wouldn't have separated for a nip on the butt.

    Please do try again. Read that link I gave you earlier. Do it when you've got hours to spend, and see if you can't put them somewhere that you can see them but still move around. Sitting in the bathroom all day gets pretty boring!

    You might try a buddy bath next time -- the shared terror may help them tolerate each other. And put a tiny drop of vanilla on each one's backside. That way, they'll both smell alike, and it may confuse the issue.

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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    @Guinea2002 it won't let me message u back bc you have too many messages


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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    And put a tiny drop of vanilla on each one's backside. That way, they'll both smell alike, and it may confuse the issue.
    A note to add here: put a dab of vanilla on their bum AND the nose.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    @Guinea2002 i can't message u back again


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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    Dax is probably cautious mayb because she's still remembering her old mate. The new Piggy doesn't smell like her old friend and she might be thinking 'What the heck??' idk. Just a random thought

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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    I'm a little late on weighing in on this, but just wanted to share my story of one of our introductions.

    We adopted Freyja in March, and wanted to introduce her to a very established, bonded pair, the last two of what had been a large herd. She was about 6 months old, still pretty wee, so I figured it was our best chance, to go in while she was still little. Things went well all the time there was fresh veggies to distract the bigguns, but once plates were empty the rumbling began. Inga was always very bossy, and didn't like the baby very much. She chased her a lot, and nipped, and Freyja is a MAJOR squealer. Inga also pulled her hair and did the same, pulling it out of her bottom. But there was no blood, no real viciousness as I would call it (as in they were not balled up in full on fights) so I let them carry on, and did eventually put them in the cage together after a full day spent on our kitchen floor. I put them in when they were tuckered out and ready for naptime in the late evening. We'd been in the kitchen about 7 hours at that point.

    The hair pulling continued for a few days. Inga did push Freyja around and Freyja -really- squealed, but it was just noise. Inga didn't properly hurt her at any point. There was one small bite mark, no broken skin, but a tiny bruise. And after a few days it settled down and stopped, and they became very good companions who would share pigloos and food bowls and there were no more issues.

    I think you can do this. As already said, next time try not to separate again. They will work it out. Maybe do it over a full weekend, so you can keep a close eye once they are in the cage together for a couple of days. Dax will benefit from the company, they both will. Maybe try in a larger area than your bathroom, too. A clean bedroom floor or living room might be better.

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    Re: Am I doing this right?

    @Guinea2002 can't message u


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