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Thread: Sow intros not going well :(

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Thanks all,

    I am seriously considering getting Megapig another companion first so she can bond without the others bullying and then try and introduce two pairs, at least this way there will be enough different piggies to hopefully not single out one and Meg can be bonded with another instead of being alone and if worse came to worst I'd just have two bonded pairs!

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaG View Post
    Thanks all,

    I am seriously considering getting Megapig another companion first so she can bond without the others bullying and then try and introduce two pairs, at least this way there will be enough different piggies to hopefully not single out one and Meg can be bonded with another instead of being alone and if worse came to worst I'd just have two bonded pairs!
    That's what I thought too.

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    Cavy Slave Razzle's Avatar
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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Sounds like a good game plan. Keep us posted. And even thought the piggie is in her own separate cage, just being in the room and hearing the other piggies is very good for her until a pal is found.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    @Razzle thanks so much! And yes I noticed an immediate difference in her happiness when we brought the little ones home and she could hear them. She has spent about 3 days deeply grieving for her cage mate (until this day the longest she's ever sat in my arms for a cuddle was the day Martha was put to sleep and didn't come back to her) but perked up when she heard others. They all squeak together for food, they even talk over the cages and have their mad run around together so in spite of being separated physically they definitely have a relationship of sorts across the way

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    Cavy Slave Razzle's Avatar
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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    She's a lucky piggie to have found a home with you.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    @Razzle , that means a lot! I will continue trying to do my very best for them all, all the reading I've done I've become a walking piggy encyclopedia which my husband finds amusing. Still, there are always things that aren't in books and that's where talking to you lovely people comes in very useful, I appreciate people taking the time to respond very much .

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    Moderator foggycreekcavy's Avatar
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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    The cage is too small for three pigs. That probably has a lot to do with them not getting along. 2x5 feet is only 10 square feet. The recommended space for a pair is 10.5 square feet. I would not try to house all three in anything less than 13 square feet, and maybe even more.

    10.5 square feet works for three pigs who get along really well, but that's not the case here.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Sadly I did not intend to have 3 piggies and I have absolutely no more room to allocate than the 10sq foot I have allocated for them. There is nothing I can do about that unfortunately and if it doesn't work out then I'll have to work out what I can do. 0.5 foot is not a lot in the grand scheme of things but 13ft is not going to be a possibility.
    Last edited by VictoriaG; 05-17-13 at 10:09 am. Reason: changed my mind

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    just as an add on to my last comment.. they have displayed the same behavior when allowed to roam free in a room of about 20 square foot so I don't think space is the immediate issue. That said I will give up the idea of getting another one to bond with the lone Mega pig as I really don't have the space to expand so it would be a case of leaving her on her own rather than having 4 in an unsuitable space.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    I'm glad you are trying your hardest to get this right! And could you try adding another level? like building up instead of out? Then you could have to pairs in two 10 ft spaces which would be fine. 10.5 is the recommended, but 7.5 is the minimum. I think as close as you wanna get to 10.5 is best.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    thanks @aeiou, I had planned to have an upper level to my 10 ft enclosure but as things are not resolved I have decided to do just that, I have room to make a "T" shaped setup with the 10ft one on the bottom with the two young ones in it and then a (probably about 6sq ft) across the top for the single one.

    I think I have finally worked out what is going wrong with them all. I have taken a video of the last time they had together which if permitted I will share a link to. Megapig is the one who is behaving oddly rather than the two being overly bullying. She seems to have forgotten (or decided she doesn't want to remember) how to interact with other piggies.

    I put them in the new home again with a barrier between them all (Megs cage top) and the two Bel and Tukki took great interest in her, sniffing and chewing the bars but Meg completely ignored them. She didn't avoid them but showed no interest what so ever. After about 30 - 40 minutes I decided to lift the bars and see what would happen (as there had been no teeth chattering or aggressive behavior from any of them) and nothing dramatic happened at all. However, Meg just wanted to run away from the others (even though they weren't doing anything) and hide. She stuck her head in a (cut open) cardboard tube and refused to move until one of them nipped her and then she ran to the opposite end. She cowered in the corner and every time the others came close her squeaks became a lot louder and more distressed and she backed further into the corner. In some ways it was a little comical because she quite literally did an ostrich and buried her head in the sawdust hoping they'd ignore her (I caught this on video). every time they went near her she just squealed and shivered causing the others to look at her and each other a bit like "what the heck's wrong with her?" and eventually they gave her a kick to move her, she just froze, then ran, then hid again at which point the other two started to bite at her face and head. They didn't draw blood or do anything too serious at all but poor Meg got more and more distressed.

    I genuinely thing that many people, quite rightly, will think I did the wrong thing taking her out. Part of me did feel that perhaps I should leave her to "man up" and stop being silly as I think she just confused the others and they bit at her because she was sitting still and crying. But then if I or someone else did anything to distress my pig so much that she sat fluffed up in a corner trembling and hiding her head I would feel like an awful owner if I didn't stop it, so I figured why does it make a difference that it's other piggies causing the distress?.

    She took quite a while sat in my arms before she calmed down and stopped trembling but when I finally put her back in her own cage (she let me know she needed a wee ) and put the top back on she popcorned in delight.

    Whether it's just these two piggies or whether it would be any piggy I tried to pair her with I don't know and sadly at the moment it's really not practical for me to find out if she would be like it with any others, I don't feel I have the finances to accommodate 4 of them at the moment as well as house them comfortably . All I do know is that she is most definitely happier on her own than with these two and although she might not have physical contact with a companion she always seems very happy to squeak and chat across bars with the others.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Meg popcorning when she was back in her own cage kinda says it all. She is happy on her own for right now so why change that. If she starts showing more interest in the othesr through the bars you could always try again but there's no rush. As long as she's happy

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    *update*

    I tried something as a last ditch attempt to get these guys all together. I combined the new home with Bel and Tukki's quarantine cage (all disinfected and properly cleaned out to remove smells and any infection that might possibly have been lurking). It's not overly practical in my space but I am desperate to get this to work so I now have a super long 9ft by 2ft run that stretches the length of my living room. This was the only way I could have an enclosure with a divide down the middle and give all piggies adequate space. I hoped the divide would give Meg a chance to get used to other piggies behaviour and all of them to smell each other etc.

    All has gone well, the divide was a good idea and both sides seemed to spend a lot of time trying to break the barrier down. So after 3 days with the divide I took all the girls out and put them back in on the opposite side so smells were picked up and everyone had a chance to make the entire cage their own. After several hours in this new configuration I opened up the barrier. That was on Monday, the barrier has not been put back in.

    Although none of them are best friends yet, Meg has stood up for herself and even challenged Tukki for queen pig (although not particularly successfully as yet). There has been rumble strutting, LOTS of urine spraying from all parties but NO fighting, no serious biting or bullying! I have a feeling it's going to take quite a bit of time for them to all be properly happy together and there is a bit of "your end and our end" with the long home and Tukki has an annoying habit of guarding boxes, but they have even shared food bowls with no squabbling and no one being pushed out or bitten. There have been nice periods where they have all laid down fairly close to each other (not snuggled yet ) and there has been a teeny bit of grooming and gentle nudging. All round I feel this method has proved successful and patience has won through .

    I very much hope that things won't go down hill - would I be right in thinking that after all the early squabbles and biting that if it was going to deteriorate it would have by now?

    I did have an awful night sleep the first night I left them all together and left my door open just in case a massive fight broke out but I had a feeling it wouldn't and I was more certain this time of leaving them than when I first tried it out, I have gradually relaxed over them and each day that has gone by I have seen an improvement in group dynamics. I now feel slightly sorry for Bel who is very sweet but a bit dim and is now being rumbled at from Meg and Tukki but she seems to take it all in her stride and is happy bouncing about the new space switching between her original companion Tukki and Meg .

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaG View Post
    I did this because I read in quite a few places including factual information and forum experience that other people had found this to be something they had found good/successful. It would not have been something I would naturally have done but plenty of people out there have done it and none of the pigs made any kind of fuss when it was put on them, as I said they seemed to like it.
    It's already been mentioned & I'm sure you won't do it again, but I want to make it perfectly clear for anyone reading this thread or finding it through a search engine.

    Pigs have a very strong sense of smell and as Vapor Rub is already strong for us humans, imagine what it's like for them. It contains camphor & eucalyptus oil which both can cause burning or seizures when ingested. Along with turpentine which is also toxic. Forcing them to inhale the smell of vapor rub would be extremely irritating & potentially harmful to the pig, as vapor rub can cause severe irritation to the mucus membranes (hence why it shouldn't be used on young children or people with a sensitive respiratory system).

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    I'm glad things are going well

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner 2198lindsey's Avatar
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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    It sounds like they're doing normal pig stuff..I added a single pig that had been a single pig for 2 years to a bonded pair and it worked perfectly. They're all on different heat cycles so it causes some squabbles, but nothing bad.

    I'm confused, so how big is your cage now?

    I think something else that needs to be understood is that seperating them and doing intros over and over does nothing but make the situation more and more impossible. If they are together and not biting to the point of blood, leave them together. Nipping, chasing, mounting, sniffing, it's all normal. Unless you're having serious concerns about one being bullied out of food or something, they're fine.

    Guinea pigs have a complex social hierarchy and aren't very pleasant about it.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Quote Originally Posted by 2198lindsey View Post

    I'm confused, so how big is your cage now?
    .
    9foot x 2foot = 18 sq ft

    I think something else that needs to be understood is that separating them and doing intros over and over does nothing but make the situation more and more impossible. If they are together and not biting to the point of blood, leave them together. Nipping, chasing, mounting, sniffing, it's all normal. Unless you're having serious concerns about one being bullied out of food or something, they're fine.

    Guinea pigs have a complex social hierarchy and aren't very pleasant about it.
    Thanks, in this case it really was necessary to separate, many other people agreed with me. The few times I had to separate did not seem to cause more problems, finding the right way to get them together was the key. I frequent two other Guinea Pig forums and although I am not dismissing what you are saying, many people have found different ways that have worked for them and their pigs. I have taken advice from many different places and the method I have ended up with is one that seemed to reduce stress for me and more importantly them.

    I do get the feeling on this forum particularly that I am getting told off for posting my experiences and asking for information, I apologise for not getting everything perfect and taking advice from various places, I appreciate the advice I have been given but sometimes the tone is very condemning which I don't find overly welcoming.

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    Exclamation Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Quote Originally Posted by HannibalLecter View Post
    It's already been mentioned & I'm sure you won't do it again, but I want to make it perfectly clear for anyone reading this thread or finding it through a search engine.

    Pigs have a very strong sense of smell and as Vapor Rub is already strong for us humans, imagine what it's like for them. It contains camphor & eucalyptus oil which both can cause burning or seizures when ingested. Along with turpentine which is also toxic. Forcing them to inhale the smell of vapor rub would be extremely irritating & potentially harmful to the pig, as vapor rub can cause severe irritation to the mucus membranes (hence why it shouldn't be used on young children or people with a sensitive respiratory system).
    Here is information online about Vicks that backs this up http://www.ehow.co.uk/info_7908082_v...y-infants.html

    Can I just say though that I would never have even considered this had it not been recommended by experienced individuals. I was advised by someone who works in a rescue centre, a person who I know in the flesh not just online who has kept piggies for 20 years or more and then at least 3 different people on forums. I felt given the experience of these individuals I could trust the advice which is why I tried it. I also want to point out that I did not cover their noses with it or apply more than a 1mm dot to the end as I still wasn't overly comfortable with using it - clearly with good reason!

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaG View Post
    Here is information online about Vicks that backs this up http://www.ehow.co.uk/info_7908082_v...y-infants.html

    Can I just say though that I would never have even considered this had it not been recommended by experienced individuals. I was advised by someone who works in a rescue centre, a person who I know in the flesh not just online who has kept piggies for 20 years or more and then at least 3 different people on forums. I felt given the experience of these individuals I could trust the advice which is why I tried it. I also want to point out that I did not cover their noses with it or apply more than a 1mm dot to the end as I still wasn't overly comfortable with using it - clearly with good reason!
    Just because it's safe for infants doesn't mean it's safe for guinea pigs. They're respiratory systems are so delicate.

    There are also several individuals who frequent this site that are years into pigs, pig rescue and vet care. Everyone here is only concerned about the safety of the pigs. Things may come across as hostile but only because we care that much.

    Also, often times tone is very difficult over the internet. Sometimes it's best to take a couple minutes away and come back and read it later to better understand the intent of the poster.

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    Re: Sow intros not going well :(

    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaG View Post
    Here is information online about Vicks that backs this up http://www.ehow.co.uk/info_7908082_v...y-infants.html

    Can I just say though that I would never have even considered this had it not been recommended by experienced individuals. I was advised by someone who works in a rescue centre, a person who I know in the flesh not just online who has kept piggies for 20 years or more and then at least 3 different people on forums. I felt given the experience of these individuals I could trust the advice which is why I tried it. I also want to point out that I did not cover their noses with it or apply more than a 1mm dot to the end as I still wasn't overly comfortable with using it - clearly with good reason!
    Unfortunately it's not safe for infants, as it's such a strong irritant it can actually increase the mucous and inflammation in narrow airways, making breathing more difficult. It's hard to know which sources to trust & it's important to become knowledgeable about ingredients, especially when it comes to animals & children.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/.../13/vicks.html
    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan...ce/sci-vicks13

    A good way to get rid of their scent, making intros easier is a buddy bath with a safe guinea pig shampoo.

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