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Thread: Introducing my boar and sow

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    Cavy Slave
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    Exclamation Introducing my boar and sow

    Hi guys. I am new to this forum and I have been a guinea pig owner for about a year and a half. I first bought my male guinea Henry on his own and he has lived alone until about 4 months ago. I didnít realise how mean it is to keep one GP alone and I had been searching for a pair for him for sometime.

    Anyway, I managed to find a partner called Herbie who is a female about 2 years of age who previously lived with her mother until she unfortunately passed away.

    They have spent a few months with their cages beside each other before making small introductions to one another between cages. This week I decided to try a proper introduction and it seemed to go well. Having spent 3 hours together in a neutral place I decided to move them in together in a freshly cleaned and neutral smelling cage. This resultied in each pig occupying a floor of the cage and frantically chattering their teeth. I decided to separate them as things seemed to be quite hostile and try again another time.

    I have done done lots of research particularly on http://www.cavyspirit.com/sociallife.htm and tried to follow the advise and steps as carefully as I could.

    On their most recent bonding session, it started well with dominance behaviour taking place I.e. mounting and rumble strutting although it quickly turned into being very scared to approach one another with constant teeth chattering and showing of teeth. Despite this I tried not to intervene with the hope that one would concede and sort out their differences. This went on for a couple of hours before one particular stand off led to herbie, my sow, launch herself at Henry. I immmediately clapped my hands loudly and threw a towel between them and fortunately no harm came to either pig.

    They are are now separated and back to their usual cages, but Iím wondering if thereís something I am doing wrong or perhaps these two pigs are just not a compatible match. I really hope they can be together and some point but I donít want to cause them any stress by keeping putting them together. I have decided to leave them apart from now and maybe try again in a few weeks. I am hoping anyone can maybe reassure me or perhaps offer any advise?

    Thanks in advance, Amanda.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    First of all, we never recommend housing a boar and a sow together unless one or both has been neutered. Pregnancy and delivery are risky for GP sows, and the death rate for sows and pups is high. In addition, guinea pigs can have several genetic problems that result in blindness, deafness, immature digestive systems, wonky/missing teeth or lifelong pain from bone diseases.

    Additionally, Herbie is far too old to be having a first litter. The pelvic ligaments in sows start to stiffen at about nine months of age, and older sows are much more likely to die during labor and delivery, or to be unable to deliver the pups on their own. Please don't try to put these two together, even for short periods, unless you have one of them "fixed." Mating takes seconds, and you could sneeze and miss it.

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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    Perhaps I should have mentioned. I had Henry neutered before getting Herbie. I was conscious two boars can be more difficult to pair so thought it best to seek out a sow. I have also waited more than the necessary time afterwards to ensure Henry is no longer fertile.

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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    Great!

    First, here's a better way of going about introductions: https://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html. Do it when you've got hours to give to it, and don't rush things.

    Second, how large is the cage? Lack of space is a major reason for guinea pig aggression. Make sure there's not so much cage furniture in there that they can't move freely, and make sure all hideys have at least two doors so nobody can get trapped.

    Third, a buddy bath with a tiny drop of vanilla on each nose afterward may help. Do the bath together -- the shared terror may make them decide it's better to be friends.

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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    I have tried to allow lots of time so far but it hasnít worked out. Thatís why I think Iím going to wait a while now to let things settle and wait until I have a free day to dedicate to the introduction.

    The cage i have is a C&C cage which is 3x2 with a 1x2 upstairs. Although after them occupying separate floors the first time round I changed the layout to 3x3, however, since the second introduction didnít go well on neutral ground, they didnít get as far as sharing a cage this time round.

    Thanks for the advise with the buddy baths, I have read something previously about that. Iím a little cautious about bathing the pigs as Iíve never done that before but I think Iíll research that a bit more and give that a try next time. I just really want them to get a long and it can be so stressful watching them go through the dominance struggle but I know there are so many benefits in the long run!

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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    Hello,

    That is great you adopted another piggy and did research ! A few questions, what was your set up when you were doing the introductions? Also, how was the cage set up- type of hideys used, food areas, water bottles etc). Since no blood was drawn it seems that you have hope for bonding your two.

    For the introduction area, make sure you only have tunnels or hideys with two exits, you don't want anyone feeling trapped. I personally love taking a bent grid, binder clipping on a piece of fleecec and using it as a tunnel. If your piggies are larger you can zip tie to bent grids together to form a super tunnel. Also have two water bottles, and multiple open areas with hay piles. I let mine hang out for over 4 hours so you want to have hay and water for them. For the play pen itself, a bunch of grids zip tied together can make a super cheap, easy, and very large playpen. I liked having an extra large pen when introducing my three so everyone had plenty of space.

    Speaking of space, is there anyway you can expand the cage? While the 2x3 meets the requirement, you can see by your piggies reaction that they prefer/need more. It is great you got rid of the loft, they usually lead to fighting and are just more work to clean. Even though a 3x3 seems large, if introductions go well, you might want to expand to a 4x3 or 2x5. More space is always better

    For the cage set up only use hideys with two exits, or tunnels. Since you have a cxc cage, I recommend the use of fleece forests. They can be bought or easily made with scrap fleece. They also don't take away any valuable zooming space or allow your piggies to get trapped. For two piggies I would have three hideys, two hay areas/piles, two food dishes and two water bottles. For my cage I have a 1x2 kitchen area on each end of the cage. This way all piggies can happily munch/lay in hay without having to be near each other. This is the key to my three peacefully coexisting with each other.

    Best of luck, please keep us updated!

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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    Hi wheekermommy, sorry for the very delayed response. I have sat back for a while and left them separate but I am currently introducing them as we speak!
    The introduction area is large with a neutral smelling towel in the middle and two separate piles of hay, food and water. I haven’t however added any hideys into the introduction area as I do not have anything that is neutral smelling.
    They are about 30mins into the intro and I am starting to get very worried!

    It started very very well with Henry (the boar) trying to mount herb. But suddenly she started attempting to mount him. This has led to constant teeth chattering and a couple of lunges from both parties, however, the food distractions are working well and they keep taking breaks from the chase.

    Although this is very stressful to watch, I am planning to stick at it for a while, in the hope that they can work out their differences.

    I thank you you for your advise with regards to the cage sizing, and whilst that is not currently possible (I don’t have enough cage grids) I will certainly look into making that possible. I do have two wooden houses that have two exits which I hope will work well should they actually ever manage to live together!

    If anyone one has any further advise I would be gladly reciptive!

    Thank you!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	8B4F0026-1760-426A-BC18-5C9E66A7346D.jpg 
Views:	47 
Size:	129.1 KB 
ID:	85661Here is a photo of their introduction area. There is a kind of hidey under a bookshelf and as you can see there is more than enough space. Currently they are between chasing each other but Herbie (the sow) is quite aggressive and making the odd lunge at Henry!

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    Re: Introducing my boar and sow

    UPDATE!

    Things were getting increasingly heated, so I gave both pigs a buddy bath. Things have calmed down a lot, and I’m hopeful the dominance struggle might be almost resolved. Herbie is no longer displaying any aggressive behaviour and is doing a lot of loud squealing. She is however, still running away as Henry attempts to mount her but the teeth chattering has stopped from both parties and they are much more comfortable in each other’s company.

    I’m now a bit nervous about moving them into the same cage together, but I’m gonna leave them to figure things out on the floor for a little while longer. As an owner new to introductions this has been a very stressful and lengthy process but I’m hoping the worst is behind me!

    Thanks again for everyones help and advise! I’ll post any further updates.

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