My new Hollister babies, Rover and Winnie (both named after the Winnebago), are very happy in their new home. They display this happiness with endless popcorning. My husband has taken a special liking to Rover, the underdog. Fido, my 1-year old pig, is a bit bewildered.
We did our big introduction Wednesday and it couldn´t have gone any better. This was my first experience with this sort of thing, and I must say... I´m stunned, shocked, dumb with wonder. My big mean bully Fido was actually humbled by that squeaky little ear-flappin´ Winnie!
The four step introduction method:
Step 1 - Teresa´s introduction suggestion: It was so weird!! Funky animal instinct/communications stuff going on. It was freaky. We have a big stone shower so my stepson, Sean, sat on one end with Fido in his lap and I sat on the other end with the babies. We put towels on the floor between us. Of course Winnie was wheeking up a storm and Fido was all ears and sniffing the air. Fido didn´t move from Sean´s lap but soon the babes were off my lap and exploring. Winnie approached Sean and put his face right up next to Fido who was taken aback (what the hell is this??). Then Fido jumped off Sean´s lap and started to check out his new brothers. Fido and Winnie both had their hair standing on edge!! (I guess it makes them look bigger?). Fido would start chasing Rover and it was like Winnie was protecting him, he´d high-tail it after Fido and distract him from picking on Rover. Then there was growling and chasing, chasing, chasing and humping, humping, humping. Rover just tried to stay out of the way, hiding under my legs. After about 15 mins of that full-on action, Fido was exhausted and laid down. Winnie kept it up - humping his head, his side, his butt. Then when he stopped getting a reaction, he laid down beside Fido to rest. Then round two started. Round two was more of the same but the hair had laid down by then. I was more worried about Fido than I was of the babies!! It was so funny because Fido has always been such a bully. Round two lasted another 15 minutes or so.
Then we progressed to Step 2 , a suggestion from Bats: I sat on the couch, wrapped them in a towel so they couldn´t run around and held them on my chest. The idea is to get them used to being close to one another. I think I did this too soon because they were so squirmy, still wanting to sniff and explore eachother. I only did this for about 5 mins.
Step 3 - I put them in the run together. I wonder if this was the first taste of freedom for the little guys because they ran speedy little laps round and round the run, and in and out of boxes, popcorning and squealing in delight. Fido was having so much fun (Spot was always too calm to play wild with Fido). He chased them and wheeked at them. This lasted a couple hours. I plopped a chair down next to the run and brought a book to read (I just wanted to be near in case something happened) but I didn´t even pick up my book, I was so fascinated by the interaction.
The 4th and final step - I put them in the cage together. Fido had his same house, and I put a large cardboard box in for the babes to share. And Fido did the strangest thing!!! I think it was "Rumble strutting." I´ve never seen that before but read the description on Guinea Lynx. He circled their house in a slow motion swagger, stooped really low, making a low grumbling noise. I thought he might be marking the territory but the bedding didn´t get wet. Then he went back to his own house. Winnie tried to squeeze in with him but Fido pushed him out with his big butt (he does have a definite size advantage).
And that´s it, they are all friends! But I think Winnie is in charge.
He who humps last ... :-)
FYI, Step 2 -- putting the pigs on your chest -- this was what I used to get Piglet to stop attacking Babe and Maaa. The floortime thing wasn´t working: Piglet was hell-bent on searching out the newcomers and attacking.
I did Step 2 with two pigs at a time, no more...
- pigs uncovered,
- holding them side-by-side, heads facing me,
- one hand on each pig,
- keeping them steady to prevent any fights from erupting,
- petting whenever that helped settle them down.
Nobody was allowed to dive under the other one or probe each others underparts.
Eventually they gave up their fussing, lay down, and relaxed next to each other.
30 minutes later I had a wet shirt and two grudging friends.
And I established who was alpha in this house (me).
p.s. The process had to be repeated 3 or 4 times before the lesson stuck.
I guess I´m not the alpha around here. I´ll try to be a little more strict next time.
I ended up with a wet shirt too. I was surprised with all the "scenting" going on. The shower was littered with poops that I tried to keep picked up so they wouldn´t step on them during their chase.
Boy, you were right Bats, that Winnie sure screams when he´s not happy. And watching those ears flap when he wheeks is the funniest thing. New dinner party entertainment.
I can see why people have a hard time with introductions.
I was shocked when Fido and Winnie rested right next to each other.
They get out of the cage to run a couple hours a day. The run is made up of a 7 foot by 4 foot piece of carpet with small cages at either end for litter boxes. I´ve got cardboard boxes and PVC pipes in the run for them to explore and zip in and out of.
Fido is still shell-shocked. He comes to the end of the run with his front paws up on the edge as if he wants to be rescued, but when I pick him up he cranks his neck to look at the babes and just squeals to be put back. Funny boy. He can´t keep up with them but doesn´t want to be left out.
I truly think he´s happy with his brothers. Rover is so timid and sweet but he´s not afraid of Fido. He´ll walk right up to him and put his nose against Fido´s nose. Then turn and walk away.
God, I love those pigs!!
- I GAVE, dammit!
We are doing a quarantine until Aug 17, and will then introduce all of the girls. The 2 Hollister adopted have quite the strong personalities so I have discovered I will be buying a second house for their cage. They don´t like to be separated, but they do like their own house to lounge around in.
Trudy and Gertie are quite sweet when I hold them, they kick their front and back legs out and relax. They are so sweet.
- I GAVE, dammit!
I was a bit worried about the Hollister adopted getting a URI or something on the road trip out here-that´s why I am quarantining. They both seem quite healthy. I also have 3 pigs, so no pig is lonely during quarantine, whereas Sunny had one lone pig. I would ask Ladyveg her thoughts on quarantine of your new additions. By the way, congrats on your adoption(s) SandraVE!
Congrats SandraVE! LadyVeg has some cuties!! Which ones are you getting? I agree with Cordelia, ask LadyVeg if she thinks quarantining is necessary.
I got opinions from Becky and pigpal and they thought that because our pigs both had vet visits and had ivermec (sp?) treatments while at the shelter, they had satisfied the quarantine period. Cordelia is using the safer, less-risky method.
Before I knew about quarantine, both times I introduced new pigs, they got lice. Not a pleasant addition. Well the pigs were great, the lice - yuk.