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Thread: Bonding - How Long for Introduction to New Pig

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    Cavy Slave SSLee's Avatar
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    Bonding - How Long for Introduction to New Pig

    Up until a month ago, I had two piggies, Felicia and Lily. Lily is the remaining piggy from my original pair, which I had taken in from a Craigslist rehoming situation. Lily and Birdie, original alpha, were for my niece who lost interest about a year afterwards. I think it was when both Birdie, the alpha, and Lily, peed on her.

    Birdie unexpectedly died several years ago. It took more than 4 months and many trips to SPCA/animal shelters all over the San Francisco Bay Area before I found Felicia, who became the new alpha. Lily is an extremely submissive pig and they have been generally living harmoniously.

    I was worried that when Lily passes, I would have a hard time finding another solo piggy. So when I saw a really pretty solo piggy, Kitty, at the SF Animal Control site a month ago, I went to meet her. Kitty was evicted by the landlord of the home she was living in, as no pets were allowed. She is 13 months and had always been a solo pig. My visit with Kitty went well and I adopted her. As I was leaving with Kitty, the volunteer did say that Kitty is bitey and now I wear thick gloves when I put her food down or pick her up.

    After a 3-weeks quarantine and a Saturday vet check I introduced Kitty to Felicia and Lily following https://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html directions. Felicia came out aggressively immediately. Both Lily and Kitty were hiding in different corners of the neutral territory whereas Felicia was chasing and nipping at Kitty. Felicia ended up with all the veggies that night as neither Lily nor Kitty dared to eat the scattered veggies, even the ones immediately in front of them. Lily was like a statue except when Felicia was chasing Kitty and Lily had to run out of the way. After about 6 hours, things had calmed down and I put them all into the cleaned out 2x5 cage. I would have slept on the sofa that night except I have a back issue and my chiropractor told me under no circumstances should I sleep on the sofa.

    Sunday, Felicia was still really aggressive and she continuously chattered, nipped, and pulled out Kitty’s hair. Kitty was too scared to react on Saturday but Sunday was a little different. At one point, I saw Kitty nipped Felicia which shocked, her and she then went into hiding. Lily was too scared to move out of her cuddle cup almost the entire day. I brought the hay, pellets, and put a water bottle right by Lily. Kitty has been staying in the litter box as generally Felicia does not allow her to come out except to chase her. Felicia has been freely eating, drinking and doing whatever she pleased. I reduced the veggies as Felicia has been eating from all three bowls and her poos can sometimes be a little mushy, which I think is from too much veggies and frequent water drinking.

    How long do I continue to let them teeth chatter, nip, and pull out hair? On Oct 30, I will be going on a cruise and had made plans to board them at the pet store for a week. As a last resort but hopefully no need, I can reconfigure my living room furniture to put a 2x3, next to the 2x5 one, so that it would be a L shape.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Bonding - How Long for Introduction to New Pig

    If at all possible, I'd have someone come in to take care of them. Sometimes just a change of cage can upset all the pig relationships, and relocating them a different place would be very stressful.

    One other possibility is to just make one huge cage. That might solve some of the territorial issues.

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    Cavy Slave SSLee's Avatar
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    Re: Bonding - How Long for Introduction to New Pig

    @bpatters, thank you for the helpful information. My brother used to help me whenever I went on vacation but he did not do a good job of picking up the poos and soiled bedding, so I switched to the pet store. But given the situation, I might have to rethink my plans.

    The girls are not through with their drama. Yesterday when I got home from work, there were new tufts of tan colored hair in the cage, so I knew the hair pulling was still going on. Both Felicia and Kitty have tan colored hair so I can't tell which piggie the tufts came from. However, now it is Kitty, the newcomer, that is doing the chasing and nipping. I have not seen her do any hair pulling. Felicia is now the one in hiding at the other end of the cage, although she still teeth chatters at Kitty when they come close to each other. Poor Lily is still stuck in the cuddle cup with Kitty periodically coming over to intimidate and chase her out. Interestingly Lily on several occasions came out of the cuddle cup and huddled near Felicia, as if for protection. They were never close in the past and just tolerated each other.

    Initially I had the 2x3 ready, which was Kitty's quarantine cage, in the event one pig had to live solo. 3 days without blood drawn or actual fighting is a good sign that they likely will be able to co-exist. I hope they will determine soon who the alpha will be. I'm not sure I can handle the stress for too much longer.
    Last edited by SSLee; 10-12-21 at 10:10 am.

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: Bonding - How Long for Introduction to New Pig

    Depending on what bedding you use, going a week with little or no poop scooping isn't necessarily a huge deal.

    Sure it leaves a mess for you to clean up at the end of the week, and isn't ideal, but if you have a type of bedding that will keep the cage fully dry for a week it won't make them sick. Id much rather have a mess but have them stay in their own cage myself.

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    Cavy Slave SSLee's Avatar
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    Re: Bonding - How Long for Introduction to New Pig

    I use fleece but for vacation coverage, I've always used CareFresh, since the poos fall down into the crevices. Another reason why I started taking the pigs to the pet store for boarding is that the last time, Felica bit my 7-year old nephew's thumb. I explained that Felicia has poor eye sight and probably thought his thumb was food. My nephew disagreed and said that he was just starting to put the veggie bowl down and Felicia ran up and bit him. He refused to handle food for the piggies since then. I will talk to my brother again and double the amount for vacation coverage.

    At least the hair pulling has stopped but not the chasing and nipping. It looks like Kitty will end up being the new alpha as Felicia now constantly runs away from her and hides at the other end of the cage. That was a change that I did not expect, given how aggressive Felicia was on Saturday and Sunday.

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