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Thread: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave
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    How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    Hi, We are doing introductions today between our piggie of 4 years and her new rescue cage mate who is 3 years old (we recently lost her prior cagemate )

    They are currently in a large neutral pen and doing fine. They have been in there about 2 hours. They are mostly keeping to themselves, occasionally coming together to check each other out. There has been some squealing and pouncing, a little nipping, but overall it seems pretty normal. Mostly they are chilling out and eating hay on opposite sides of the cage.

    How long should they stay in this pen? They will eventually be going into the older pig's big cage which is about 2 x 5. I am cleaning it out and spraying with vinegar so it smells different but she will still know it's her cage and will be new to the new piggie.

    Should add: We are told that the new piggie lived alone with her other family. So she is not used to having a roommate.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    I would leave them in until you are positive there are no serious issues. I personally have never had an introduction take more than a couple of hours, but I also know that some can take an entire day, or more.

    As long as the permanent cage has been thoroughly cleaned (and I would even say changed as far as the "furniture" goes so it's completely new to both pigs, you should be good.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    Make absolutely sure that NOTHING in the new cage smells anything like the old pig. Take all the furniture out if it can't be washed or cleaned, and replace it with cardboard boxes and fleece forests. Wipe down all the grids, change the litter. Rearrange anything that can stay so that it doesn't seem like her own cage to your previous pig.

    I never put them in a cage until they'd been together several hours and were tired enough for a nap.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    Well, now what do we do? We left them together all day. The neutral pen is a huge playyard, bigger even than their cage, and we had to go out for a while.
    The new piggie seems to be completely dominating our original one. She seems to be ruling the cage. Our original piggie is cowering in one corner and seems afraid to do anything. She looks like she just wants to go back in her old cage. They aren't fighting, I don't think they are unsafe. We are going to leave them in the pen overnight and transfer them to permanent cage in the morning. But if original pig always looks intimidated and unhappy, have we done a good or bad thing getting her a new roommate? I feel so bad for her.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    Day #2 if anyone is reading. Original pig is having a terrible time. She stays put in one corner and if she tries to move around the cage the new pig chases her down. Each time we give them veggies, the new pig eats all of hers fast and then goes and takes what's left of original pig's supply. Hopefully they will work it out because we really like the new pig too. But my husband and kids already want us to return the new pig to the shelter.

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    Cavy Slave Smileandnod's Avatar
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    Be patient with them as they figure it out. Seems like things are going well as there hasn't been any real fighting.

    Put a few extra piles of hay to make sure original pig is getting her fair share and to add some extra enrichment. Also make sure she has an extra water bottle. Avoid any single entry huts/houses so no one get cornered. Add some fleece forests scattered down the cage so original pig can move about but they can have hiding places to stay out of sight of each other for a few days until they get used to sharing space.

    I have also found if you have a C&C cage that adding a large upper level, with two ramps, does wonders for building harmony. We all need a little alone time now and then.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    We've been delivering take out of hay and wet vegetables to original pig, who remains hunkered down in one corner of the cage. New pig is roaming freely and parks herself right up against original pig. Original pig is 4 years old and more frail than at her prime. I hope this is not too much stress for her! We got the new pig because she was subdued and quiet after her cagemate died, but maybe she'd rather be alone! We'll see how the rest of today goes.

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    Cavy Slave SSLee's Avatar
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    @SandyPig, your situation reminds me of what my original pig, Lily, went through after her original cage mate passed away. It likely will take more time than just today for their relationship to stabilize.

    Lily, was and is my original submissive pig and I tried pairing her twice. The first replacement, Ally, was very bold and she came up to me right away at the humane society. With Lily, although there was no blood drawn, Lily was constantly getting her hair yanked out. I saw it in person multiple times to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore.

    Lily is now paired with Felicia, who is definitely the boss. During introductions, Lily was so afraid of Felicia that she squeezed into a small section of the introductory pen where I jerry-rigged the panels and refused to leave. Since there was no blood drawn or hair pulling, I kept Felicia. It took at least a week for them to really get used to each other and now they generally live in harmony. Felicia still eats Lily's veggies after she polishes off her own bowl and she frequently chases Lily out of whichever hidey Lily is resting in. Those are typical guinea pig behaviors, although it may seem aggressive and foreign to us.

    I have come home early from work and saw the two sitting close to each other, just relaxing. I have also taken to serving smaller bowls of veggies and then hand feeding extras to Lily at a later time. I am also happy that their cage is now a 2x5, which gives them each just a little more room to get away from the other. So while Felicia and Lily may never be best friends, it seems to be nice to have companionship.

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    Make sure you have several hideys with 2 entrances so one pig can't corner the other one. And it may help to have some fleece fringe or other hanging dividers to disrupt their line of vision so they aren't always able to see each other.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    I gave up .
    Original pig did not leave the corner all day. She did not drink any water, and only ate a few veggies. New pig completely dominated the cage, was all over the place and wouldn't let original pig move. I couldn't go to bed tonight this way. So we moved the new pig to our holding cage. Original pig is so much happier. She GUZZLED water and is roaming around eating hay. We really like the new pig but I guess we will need to return her. Feel like a failure.

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: How long should they stay in the neutral cage?

    You're not a failure, I would have done the same. That's why I haven't gotten a second pig for mine. She was a single pig who was in foster care after having 2 babies at a young age. She's been very active, healthy and social. I've been tempted to try a second pig, but I just don't want to make her fearful. I've had her 4 years, and she'll be 5 in July. So as we enter her golden years I just want her to be comfortable.

    Is there any way you can house the new pig nearby without having them together?

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