Reintroduction After Illness

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Annapox

Post   » Tue Oct 19, 2021 1:30 pm


I had to separate my two sows, Penny and Lily, while Penny recovered after being spayed (she had an ovarian cyst). I always divide the cage by putting up a fence made of extra grids while they eat their pellets and veggies, so I just kept the fence up. So the pigs have still been able to see, hear, and smell each other, and occasionally they sniff each other through the fence. When I tried taking the fence down yesterday, now that Penny's incision is healed, they couldn't even make it five minutes without getting in sufficiently intense arguments that I didn't feel comfortable leaving the room. So I put the fence back up.

I want to reintroduce them, but I'm not sure how closely this reintroduction needs to follow the usual introduction protocol. I know I need to give them plenty of space, but do I need to wash their bedding and fleece hideys with vinegar if they've been in the same cage this whole time? If I do, do I need to wash all of their bedding and fleece hideys in vinegar, or just what I need for their reintroduction and the first week or so of living without the fence again? After they've been reintroduced, will putting up the fence while they eat their pellets and hay undo any of the progress made in their reintroduction? Penny is a very fast eater, so the fence is necessary in order to ensure that she doesn't take more than her share of the food.

In case it matters, Penny has always been the dominant pig because I brought Lily home when she was only five weeks old and Penny was three and a half. Their initial introduction was therefore very peaceful. Lily had started trying to assert dominance once every month or two, but since Penny is so much bigger than Lily, Lily always gave up after about half an hour to an hour.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Wed Oct 20, 2021 2:45 pm


How big is the undivided cage? I would indeed shake it up, cleaning what you can, moving things around, so what they experience is not being on one side or the other. And as you say, space is important.

While it looks like it won't be a seamless reintroduction, making it look like a whole new space might be good. Oh, and mix up the location of objects like waterers and bowls to new locations so it seems new.

Annapox

Post   » Fri Oct 22, 2021 9:50 pm


Sorry, I didn't get a notification for your reply! It's a C&C cage, 2 grids by 4 grids. I also have a 3x4 playpen made of spare grids and a blanket; it's where the pigs go while I'm changing the cage bedding, and it's what I used to introduce Penny to her previous cage mate. (Penny was introduced to Lily at Lily's foster person's house; the rescue wanted to make sure the two would get along before I took Lily home.) Unfortunately, because the fence needs to be up while the pigs eat their pellets and veggies (so that Penny doesn't take more than her share), there might be a limit to how much I can change the cage setup: I need to have one hay bag, one water bottle, one hidey, and one bowl on each side of the cage so that each pig has everything she needs when the fence is up.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Oct 23, 2021 10:25 am


I'd reintroduce them as if they'd never seen each other before. The one time I tried to divide a pen and then just clean the cage and remove the divider, it didn't go well.

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PooksiedAnimals
Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:43 am


I also did full introductions after my pair of sows had been split for a while. They can get silly notions of what things belong to whom if they're separated for a while.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Sat Oct 23, 2021 5:02 pm


Every effort should be made to keep guinea pigs paired, but some pigs just prefer to be in their own cage. You have to be prepared for this. I've had 4 like this since I started keeping guinea pigs again. 3 of them have since passed with only Mr Bubbles left. It is manageable. You have to become their companion if they won't pair up. They can be completely normal and happy by themselves as long as you give them plenty of attention. Mr Bubbles certainly is.

The other thing that will help a lone piggie is putting them as close to the other cages as possible. Even though he or she doesn't like sharing their space with a cage mate, they still enjoy knowing that the other piggies are there. Guinea pigs in separate cages usually copy and learn behaviors from each other, as it is still a social environment for them. I have 6 cages with 12 piggies in them. 4 of them have a pair of 2, one has a trio and Mr Bubbles is the loner. What I have is basically 6 cages of guinea pigs all doing pretty much the same things.

I'm not telling you to give up, by any means. What I am saying is that you should have a plan in place just you can't get them paired back up. Good luck and I hope it works out for you!

Annapox

Post   » Thu Oct 28, 2021 9:35 am


I wasn't able to block off enough time for the reintroduction until yesterday, but it went great! There wasn't even any chasing or mounting. There were about four minor disputes, but they all got resolved within about five seconds. When I put them back in the cage, everything was back to normal: occasional disputes over personal space, but no intense confrontations. I have no idea which of them is in charge now, because neither of them acted very dominant during the introduction, but I'm assuming they know who's in charge, and that's what counts.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Thu Oct 28, 2021 10:06 am


That is cool! So glad it went well. I hope they continue to get along.

Having guinea pig pals is great.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:35 pm


Thats good news.

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