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Thread: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave
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    Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Hi all, sadly Iím just beginning a reintroduction of one of our elder piggies named Nibbler (5yo) as we had an unfortunate death with his cagemate of 5 years named Yancy on Tuesday which had left him very sad (not to mention us incredibly as well). First two days he had been visibly eating and drinking less, skittish, and afraid to leave his hidey at night. He had been becoming more active as of late reminiscent of his old playful self, social with us, and pretty much back to his eating routine as of today, but we still decided to find a new buddy ASAP. After a fair share of research since Yancyís passing, my wife adopted a 2 - 2-1/2 year old male boar named Owl to be his buddy. We chose to do a quick neutral introduction in a 2x8 grid fleece enclosure today.

    Things were testy at first with our first boy Nibbler rumblestrutting, chattering, chinning, chasing/following, even trying to get a hump on. Owl would shift and run around the cage, and squeal high in what seemed like self defense or just trying to remain neutral - even submissive from what it appears from the outside looking in. A fight didnít break out thankfully, but things were nippy with Nibbler seeming to be the aggressor. Owl was the first to lay down, while Nibbler had constant energy. Eventually they both tired out, napped a bunch on opposite sides and then closer next to each other, even eating together as well (hay and from the same pellet bowl) and out of the same pellet bowl. Owl is still getting chased and theyíre both still testy at times.

    My questions are, since this has been going on since 5PM and itís 9:30PM now, do we put their new hideys in? Do we divide the cage with two grids in the middle and house them separately for the night? Or do we leave them together in this set up and continue to provide individual housing amenities?

    Thank you in advance for you time and assistance! Iím hoping this is successful match!
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  2. #2
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    I think that I would separate them, just for the night. in case a big fight breaks out. Although that’s totally up to you, if you feel comfortable leaving them together overnight then you can. Eating out of the same bowl is a great sign. I’m so sorry for your loss but I hope this bonding works out for you!

  3. "Thank you, teambenji543, for this useful post," says:


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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    No, do not separate them. Guinea pigs are wired to establish dominance every time they meet another pig, and everything you've done today will be for nothing if you separate them.

    I'd leave them in the same cage, but not put any hideys in. I'd string fleece forests or some other kind of safe material across the cage so they're not always in each other's line of sight. Or I'd cut big holes in the ends of a couple of sizeable cardboard boxes, and make temporary houses. Turn them crossways to each other so they can't see each other if they're in a hidey.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Quote Originally Posted by teambenji543 View Post
    I think that I would separate them, just for the night. in case a big fight breaks out. Although thatís totally up to you, if you feel comfortable leaving them together overnight then you can. Eating out of the same bowl is a great sign. Iím so sorry for your loss but I hope this bonding works out for you!
    Thank you for the response and kind words. A big fight just happening is my concern as well and from what I read thatís a bond breaker in the beginning. Iím also nervous about ďrestarting the processĒ by adding the divider, however I donít think it should be an issue since theyíre grids and donít block off complete access. I got a Ring camera set to the cage so I can watch their behavior.

    I donít know if theyíll be best buds like Yancy (Iím not expecting that much) but I hope they have a social aspect and both feel comfortable and happy in time.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    No, do not separate them. Guinea pigs are wired to establish dominance every time they meet another pig, and everything you've done today will be for nothing if you separate them.

    I'd leave them in the same cage, but not put any hideys in. I'd string fleece forests or some other kind of safe material across the cage so they're not always in each other's line of sight. Or I'd cut big holes in the ends of a couple of sizeable cardboard boxes, and make temporary houses. Turn them crossways to each other so they can't see each other if they're in a hidey.
    Hi Bpatters, thanks for your input! I’ll definitely see if I can find some cardboard boxes and create a makeshift house.
    I did have the hideys in for about an hour or so, but will take them out and see if I can put some additional fleece in.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    You could also cover only one corner of the cage with a towel so that they get some shelter.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Thanks Benji, I kind of gambled last night by laying out some towels for light shelter on opposite sides. Last night was a success together with no separation, no big fight and it appears that they are less snippy today so far and still approaching each other. Should I only sweep up the poop off the fleece or replace entirely? Again, I’m thinking if I replace, I’m removing both scents which may cause some fear/confusion?

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    If they've been together overnight and no problems have ensued, I think it's probably safe. If you plan on moving them to their permanent enclosure, make sure you've completely sanitized it so that Yancy's scent is completely gone. If it isn't the scent of a third pig could complicate things in a big way.

    I answered your thread the other night, albeit not timely enough it seems. I am so very sorry about your loss of Yancy. Most of us know too well the loss of a beloved pig, and the mixed feelings it brings when a new one is introduced so soon.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Thanks GPP, the loss of Yancy was terrible for all of us. Nibbler was able to beat URI last year, but Yancy gave us a big sign of hope a day after the vet visit. He was such a sweetheart and his personality was perfect for Nibbler. Right now we have the grid on the floor with fleece, but the plan is to get cloroplast and build out a new base. There is still some chattering and Nibbler doing some chasing. I just put in some 2-way cardboard hideys in the cage but I feel things might get more territorial and so I may take them out. Is that a good idea or not? All this behavioral stuff and monitoring has me walking on eggshells.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    There's always going to be some chasing and rumbling. Chatter not necessarily but probably. Simon and Leo have been together and year now and even though they are very happy together, there is still the odd chatter.

    A new base would be a good idea, and washing the old grids as well. If you haven't had a problem yet and some mounting and a little chattering is all you've had, you're doing very well.

    Personally I've never had an introduction take more than about 4 hours. I've been very, very lucky.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    From what I read, and correct me if Iím wrong - the first part of the introduction is them establishing hierarchy/dominance. Is that right? I believe Nibbler (black/brown) has already done so by doing the chasing, the humping (although very brief and not often). I often see Owl (grey/white) lay down in front of Nibbler in the middle of a chase to give signs of conceding. If that ended without a fight then I suppose all thatís left is for them to now establish and build a relationship - which like you say could still involve a bit of the aggressive antics. Right now theyíre laying together (I just coughed and Owl ran next to Nibbler for comfort). I suppose Iím the bad guy for now, but Iíll take it.
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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Yeah, that picture there pretty much tells the story. They seem to be very comfortable to me. I'd call that a successful introduction.

    Leo is the dominant pig here, and yet I still see Simon mounting him every now and again. Same went with Punkin and Scooter, Punkin was dominant but they were so bonded that Scooter would do the same back and they would just grumble at each other and then go eat.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    What youíre describing between your pigs sounds about right, Iíve definitely seen that with Nibbler and Yancy too - as long as they continue to go about their business in the end, things are good. Iím going to continue to monitor their exchanges, hopefully we see further improvement.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Things have gone rather smoothly today, although it was up there in temps reaching 91 degrees F outside, I set the boys up with a shaded corner spot which they both shared and a few ice packs outside the grid. For the most part they rested together but did venture out for hay and Nibbler was much less nippy. Tonight I was able to catch Nibbler and Owl laying down and facing each other, Nibler had yawned, and a brief second later Owl Had yawned as well. I have a video of it that I tried posting, but it wonít upload, so a screenshot will do!

    Iím happy to see things are going smoothly for the both of them so far - better than I completely expected.

    I plan on changing the fleece tomorrow night and hope the things will continue to get better and not worsen after the sense on the blankets have been washed.
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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Is it strange that Nibbler (the one who I thought was dominant and doing the chasing) is now the one being chased?

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    They're likely still working things out, however, a normally dominant pig who is suddenly the one being dominated can be an indication that he is ill.

    It's still early, but in light of everything else you've said about Nibbler, if he were mine I'd have a vet look at him.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    I found an exotic vet in the city that mentions treating guinea pigs specifically on their website so I’m looking into calling them tomorrow morning and booking an appt. for a check up. He’s eating his hay, pellets, and is drinking his water. Maybe I’m being nervous but his behavior seemed a little off today and definitely noticeable. It got better as the evening went on but like you said, it’s probably best to take him to the vet anyways.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    It's best to have a vet established for the pig in case anything else happens. They need yearly check ups like cats/dogs, so even if you just have the vet so a wellness check, you're getting something done.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    He was checked and treated last year for a URI and we definitely will be scheduling an appointment for both pigs for this week if possible. Our boy Nibbler got mounted and glued in the rear yesterday evening. It’s pretty dry up to the skin area I believe. My wife and I tried cleaning his rear with light Dawn soap but it didn't do anything. Well, it was nice for Nibbs to get a brief bath. Poor little fella. The tables certainly have turned.

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    Re: Quick Introductions (After Death of Cagemate)

    Nibbler seemed very lethargic and puffy earlier and so we decided to get him to a vet today as soon as we could. He wasn’t eating his hay (and would only eat his bell peppers and treats). After calling around for vets to get him a checkup and see what’s going on with him, I finally was able to get an appointment for a spot downtown.

    We just got back from the vet and unfortunately had to wait outside while they treated and checked Nibbs. I was told that his vitals and physical examination checked out good so they’re not sure if this is an early catch of URI or something else. He let out a couple of good poops in the car ride there which I gave as samples/tests. They prescribed Nibbler Sulfatrim liquid (2x a day) for 7 days, and Metacam liquid as well. They gave him SQ fluids, a vit c injection and further stated it might be a good idea to split the 2 piggies for the time being as Nibbler might be stressed.

    We got the critical care on hand and they said to administer if we don’t see him eating and drinking enough.

    We decided to go with the vet’s suggestion and split them in the 2x4 grids for the time being. Hopefully all goes smooth and Nibbler makes a full recovery. A side of me thinks he’s stressed, as if he was acting big and dominant for the first couple of days but couldn’t keep up and is now really scared of Owl. I’m also seeing him yawn a lot more which I read could be a sign of stress. Nibbler now is eating his hay, pellets and drinking water which he wasn’t doing earlier.

    This sucks and I feel terrible for Owl now. The little guy is so full of energy and is tugging, biting and pulling on the divider hoping to get through to Nibbler. I feel this introduction went south real quick. ��

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