New Pigs - Fighting

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Post   » Mon Aug 26, 2002 1:22 pm

Well, last night I brought home the 2 new piggies from Ladyveg. One is a 8 week old boar "Sake" as a cagemate for my 4 year old boar "Frosty" . Lots of chasing and sqealing from the boys last night. I didn´t think Frosty would ever let Sake be. He chased him for 2 hours. Finally today, he will let Sake go out of the hut without tailing him. Things are relatively quiet today.

The girls on the other hand turned out just the opposite. Last night, while there was some teeth chattering and chasing, everything was pretty quiet. However, just now as I was at the computer, a huge ruckus was going between the 2 girls. Lady J is a young sow and my Moki is 2 and is a huge pushy pig. Lady J is pretty laid back, but I think Moki pushed her over the brink. Fur was flying, as well as large amounts of carefresh, and they were both interlocked in a tumbling, flying ball of 2 piggers. Lady J is fine, no damage done that I can see. I haven´t yet checked Moki, but she appears OK. I immediately jumped up and clapped my hands so hard they hurt now. I ran and grabbed the dust pan and kept them separate until I could pick up Lady J. I then put up a divider in their 2 x 5 C&C cage. I just hope in time they will be able to get along. I´ve read all the posts regarding this topic lately, but don´t know how soon I should try introducing them again. Since Cocoa my 5 year old sow had to be put to sleep this morning (see post on Ovarian Cysts), Moki and Lady J are all by themselves. All is quiet right now with the divider up and they are both munching on their Romaine.


Post   » Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:28 pm

Keep in mind Moki doesn´t know Cocoa is gone.

Don´t know how you can tell her. When one of our pigs dies at home, we leave the body in the condo in state for a couple of hours so all the pigs can see what happened. Usually a couple will cuddle up as though to keep the gone pig warm but in time will leave. The other pigs do come by and seem to understand. When a pig dies at the vet (surgery)there is always another pig with them for company. I assume the company pig relates the bad news to the pigs at home.

Moki might be holding Cocoa´s place. You will probably have to do a slow introduction to compensate for Moki not knowing what happened to Cocoa.

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Post   » Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:41 am

It´s been 4 days now and I am not yet able to put the girls in the same cage. I have had success with them being on a towel together in front of me while eating a piece of Romaine, but as soon as I put them in a free area, they go at each other fiercely. While in their own side of the cage, they both pace back and forth in front of the cage divider like two angry tigers. They both bite at the bars and try to dig underneath, all while doing the rumblestrut. Moki, my big pushy pig will go after Lady J first, and little Lady J won´t be subordinate and fights back. Moki just sits by the divider all day, as if she wishes she could be with Lady J.

Also, Moki and Lady J are not drinking much water. I am giving them extra romaine because of this. I wonder if they are too busy trying to get at each other, combined with the new situation for Moki that Cocoa is gone, and for Lady J being in a new enviroment. At what point should I be overly concerned regarding the decreased food and water intake for both of them? I don´t know how much Lady J drank before so I have nothing to go on. Moki has lost 2.4 ouces since Sunday.

Pigpal - do you remember how much Lady J ate and drank/day? She is so sweet, but I think she is scared. Any idea about how old she is? She looks so young to have been a mama, but I hear so many horror stories about young ones getting pregnant. She looks to be a baby herself. What fruits and veggies did you give her? So far she likes romaine, baby carrots and cucumbers, and her vitamin C tablet. Anything you can tell me about her would be appreciated.

I don´t know if these 2 will ever get along. Does anyone know if this pacing back and forth will cease or do I need to make separate cages, in separate areas?

On a happier note, little Sake gets along great with his new big brother Frosty. I am still syringe feeding Frosty though, it is week 5.
Last edited by SandraVE on Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:56 am

Every time you take them apart from each other when they are fighting, it prolongs the process. As long as the sows aren´t hurting each other (no blood or fur missing) put them together and 24 hours will take care of the problem. (Unless one is pregnant, then I wouldn´t risk the stress on the pregnant sow.) If 24 hours doesn´t resolve it, nothing will. At least that has been my experience.


Post   » Fri Aug 30, 2002 12:16 pm

Sandra, Lady J didn´t drink much water, even when she was nursing four babies. I wouldn´t worry about the drinking and eating as long as her poop and pee output look normal. They all got fresh veggies twice a day, the staples being parsley, Romaine, kale, chard, broccoli, carrots, green grapes, canteloupe and apples. How much she ate? As much as she could grab before the others got it!! Lady J was crazy for the canteloupe, in fact all the Moms were.

She has always been used to living in group (herd) situations, so it may be rather difficult at first to adapt to being with just one other. The herd dynamic is very different from a cage with just a couple of pigs. How large is the cage they´ll be in and how many houses etc.? I wonder if a cozy would help her feel more secure, something she could snuggle in?

She was a very efficient and protective Mom, and could be a little snippy with the other Moms if they interfered with her while she was busy with her babies. However, she let her babies nurse from the other Moms and was always snuggled up in a house with at least one other Mom. Lady J was best buddies with Big Black Mama, who was the last to have her babies and spent a lot of time hanging out in the houses while the others were busy nursing. I still have poor shy Black Mama and her babies and am trying very hard to find a way to keep her myself.

All the Hollister pigs I fostered seemed to need physical contact with other pigs, they huddled a lot, both in and out of the houses. I think the motivation for her to settle down and work out a relationship is strong, but they will have be together to do that.

In my opinion a barrier is just frustrating their efforts. Do you have a large neutral area you let them loose in for an extended period of several hours? Maybe a bathroom or kitchen floor? I would try to let them have some time to work on this, without intervening if possible. You would need to keep an eye on them, just in case of serious trouble. Short of tearing each others throats out I would try to stay out of it, though I know that´s easy to say and very hard to do.

Keep us updated and feel free to email me if I can be of further help.

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Post   » Fri Aug 30, 2002 1:39 pm

Pigpal -

When they are together (without me holding them) they soon get into a fur flying brawl. I have NOT seen any wounds, only 1 hunk of fur and some loose hair in the bedding. They sound and act like they want to kill each other when they are fighting. I want to take down the barrier so bad. They also seem like they want to be together, as they both hang out at the divider almost all day.

Thanks for the veggie and fruit info. It makes it easier if I know what she likes. I will make a new cozy for her today. I must have upwards of 20 yards of Polar Fleece so I´m certain I can find her the right color she likes! There are 3 huts in the cage when the divider isn´t in.

I will try the bathroom floor later today. It is a large bathroom with a tile floor. When they get into the rip roaring fight, should I separate them totally or just put the dust pan in so they can´t get to each other for the moment and then let them stay together to try again?

Oh, and they are in a 2 x 5 C&C cage (with a divider right now though).

While Moki has lost a few ounces, Lady J has remained at 1# 12.8 ounces since I got her on Sunday. She is the smallest "adult" I´ve ever had. Any idea about her age?
Last edited by SandraVE on Fri Aug 30, 2002 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:40 pm

Agewise - I really don´t know for sure, but I got the same impression you have, that she´s still a youngster herself. Her nails were short and pointed, not long and curled, which seems to indicate to me a pig no more than a year old.

I would use the dustpan to separate them only if I saw blood. Otherwise let them break apart naturally. Loose fur is not so bad in the grand scheme of things. Let them try again as soon as they have regained their composure.

A 2 X 5 cage should be fine, I missed that in your earlier post, sorry.

I also forgot dandelion leaves and chickweed, big favorites.

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Post   » Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:54 pm

Boy, it´s going to be hard to stand by and watch and hear them fight it out. I love them both, and don´t want to see either of them get hurt, but I guess you who have been through it know best. But it is hard.

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Post   » Sat Aug 31, 2002 2:58 am

I put them on a towel on the bathroom floor and they just sat there together for a whole hour without moving. They obviously were scared, and didn´t even interact with each other. I finally left to get a leaf of romaine. They then both ate it peacefully together. After another 1/2 hour with nothing happening (good or bad) I took them back upstairs and put them back in their cage. I clipped open the cable ties holding the center divider of their cage together and let them interact. Some rumblestrutting, a little teeth chattering, and chasing, but nothing more. All has been quiet now for about 45 minutes. I think I will close up the divider before I go to bed though.

Maybe there´s hope yet!!! THanks for the suggestions Pigpal.


Post   » Sat Aug 31, 2002 1:46 pm

Good luck Sandra!

I´d encourage you to keep the divider down today. As long as you can hear from another room, you don´t need to be right there watching over them. The divider is reinforcing any tendency they might have to protect "their own" territory.

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Post   » Sat Aug 31, 2002 2:13 pm

The divider is reinforcing any tendency they might have to protect "their own" territory.

It´s interesting to hear Pigpal say that. I agree. I have heard others say that dividers help pigs get used to each other´s smells during introduction... but in my experience, dividers don´t do much to settle warring parties down. They remain at odds when put back together again.

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Post   » Sat Aug 31, 2002 2:27 pm

I opened the divider this morning and put in some romaine. They shared nicely for a while and then started to go at each other. They did fight several times. Pigpal, you say to be able to listen from another room, but how do I know when things are out of hand? When the fight lasts more than a minute or so? Exactly how long should it last before I separate them with the dustpan? Their cage is just a mess, carefresh and hay all over the place. I think I might switch to towels for now. If I have to leave for a while, should I put the divider back up?

Thanks for all the help. I´ve never encountered 2 pigs that really fight each other. I thought I would have problems with Frosty and Sake not the 2 girls.
Last edited by SandraVE on Sat Aug 31, 2002 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Sat Aug 31, 2002 8:11 pm

It´s been about 6 hours since I opened the divider, and they´ve been fighting all day basically. They do take time out to eat when they are not chasing and chattering. Right now Moki has chased Lady J up into the hay rack. I think that is the only place she feels safe. Is this going to far now? Should I put the divider back up? It is so frustrating, more so for the pigs, especially Lady J. It looks like Moki has a scratch wound beween her front toes. Not bleeding though. I cleaned it out with bactine. What should one clean scratches or wounds with? Hydrogen peroxide? Boy can little Lady J jump high, and she sure runs fast to get away from Bully Moki. Should I put the divider back up at night?


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Post   » Sat Aug 31, 2002 8:45 pm

I´m not going to give you any advice (never had to deal with this). Sure hope your girls calm down. I sometimes think this kind of behavior is tougher on us than it ever could be on them.

You´re there. Guess it depends on how brave you are. I would make sure the hay rack was quite comfortable.

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Post   » Sun Sep 01, 2002 1:05 pm

I didn´t put the divider up last night as things had calmed down some. When Lady J is threatened she will get away by jumping up in the hay rack. I do keep the hay rack filled so she can also eat while she´s up there laying in the hay.

Things are much better, and maybe Moki will learn not to be such a bully. She really needs Lady J to be her friend, as I believe she misses Cocoa. Could the chasing without the teeth chattering actually be playing?

I took the towels out I had put in the cage yesterday, and will switch back to the carefresh. Towels just smell too yucky in such a short time. I guess that is a benefit with carefresh. I think I will sew up some small towels to go under their huts and under the hay rack to keep the carefresh cleaner longer. With 2 big cages now, that´s 2 bags of Carefresh a week.


Post   » Sun Sep 01, 2002 1:55 pm

Hang in there Sandra and try not to intervene. It sounds as if they are finally getting somewhere with their discussions. The teeth chattering and chasing is all part of working out their relationship. I sincerely doubt it´s "playing", though I can see how you would hope it might be! Things will likely settle soon, as long as Lady J continues to run away and/or back down rather than challenge Moki.

I know this must be very hard for you, but they´re guinea pigs and this how they often deal with new relationships. It would be nice if they could sit down and have a civilized airing of their concerns and reservations about each other instead!

Hydrogen peroxide can be rather harsh, I like to use hibitane and put a very little triple antibiotic ointment on scratches and small bites. Is bactine something like hibitane?

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Post   » Mon Sep 02, 2002 10:58 pm

Thanks Pigpal and Bats. Both girls have finally settled down and have pretty much accepted each other. When my husband came in this morning, both girls were in the same hut together, sitting there peacefully. They will also happily share a leaf of romaine and eat from the same hay rack together. Oh, sweet harmony!!!

You were definitely right about not putting the divider back up.


Post   » Tue Sep 03, 2002 12:38 pm

I´m so glad to hear they´re getting along better now. I the peace continues, life´s too short for such discord.


Post   » Tue Sep 03, 2002 12:39 pm

Sandra, did you have any further thoughts on adding Lady J´s babies to the mix, or is that more than you want to deal with?
Last edited by pigpal on Tue Sep 03, 2002 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Tue Sep 03, 2002 1:04 pm

I am somewhat apprehensive about putting 4 pigs in a 2 x 5 C&C cage. Also, I don´t have the extra time right now to devote to extra cage cleaning, and I am somewhat of a perfectionist in that I must clean up pretty much everyday. Maybe one extra female would be better for all the sows. 3 in a cage that size is better than 4. I will have to wait for a single female youngster instead of taking Lady J´s babies. I keep checking Ladyveg´s site for new piggies all the time. Rachel, if you get a new little female in that hasn´t bonded with another, keep me in mind.

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