Thursday, October 13, 2011

Readjusting to the Neighbors

I spent part of my last two Saturday afternoons rearranging the cages because Willow seemed a little lonely.  She couldn't easily interact with the other pigs except when they were outside or during floor time.  I wanted to give her more contact with Bertie and Pinniped.

They entered the new cage layout after spending an afternoon together eating grass.  Initially, Bertie and Pinni were too preoccupied checking out their clean cage to even notice there was a wall missing on the far side of the cage.  Willow, though, immediately discovered the difference and appeared both fascinated and terrified by the lack of the wall.  She taste-tested some of the coroplast and watched Bertie and Pinni cautiously.

Pinni was the first Newbie to realize that she could see and hear Willow.  The hackles went up and she was all set to chase Willow out... until she bumped into the grids between her and Willow.  Willow seemed a bit intimidated, but didn't budge from the grid wall.  There was nose sniffing and Pinni went off to examine the rest of her clean cage.  Bertie came over to chew the bars a few times and touch noses and also lost interest.

Certainly not the reaction I had anticipated, although I guess I'm not too surprised.  Willow's behavior reminded me of when the three of them lived together:  she moved as little as possible lest she draw attention to herself and get attacked.  But by morning she was eating her pellets pressed right up against the shared grid wall.  A few days later, it's back to business as usual.   Pinni and Bertie largely ignore the missing coroplast.  Bertie checks out the grids a few times a day, but Willow isn't always nearby to notice that Bertie is looking for her.  Willow occasionally chews the bars when she wants their attention.

I had expected Willow to sleep against the grids more often, like she had with Vicky, years ago.  She and Bertie seem the most sociable and I'm still hoping to see more interaction between the two of them.  That corner is one of Bertie's favorite places to snooze, so I wonder if Willow will eventually move her napping spot to be closer to her.

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