Saturday, January 3, 2015

Volatile Introductions

Little did I know, when I wrote Cage Match, that I had picked a title that so accurately described introductions.  Good grief!

The first hour of introductions at the shelter went very well, I thought.  I knew things would intensify a bit once we got Boadicea home in Cannoli's home turf.  It was relatively quiet for first few hours.  I set them up on the floor with tons of space.  I gradually shrunk their introduction area down to a 2x4 gridded area.  There was lots of talking from Cannoli, some teeth chattering from both pigs, a little snapping, but nothing too concerning.  Cannoli was acting as the submissive pig and I was expecting more of the same for the next day or so.

Their interaction became a bit more heated before bed.  I divided the cage overnight.  They both stayed on the floor - I didn't want Cannoli back in her cage until they could go in together.  I wasn't sure if I'd make things worse by splitting them up.  But I needed my sleep, so they got separate sleeping quarters.

Inotroductions started again on Saturday morning.  I opened up the cage to give them plenty of room to chase each other.  But whoa!  I had not been prepared for flying, biting, ninja leaps!

I had the Dustpan of Doom in hand.  You can hear me sigh from time to time as I debated if I should intervene.  This whole sequence lasted about 15 minutes, with that agitated whining and chattering the entire time.  The worst spats were when Noli got tired of being chased and held her ground.  They both managed to pull a mouthful of fur from each other.

Poor Noli.  I try to give her a friend and she gets beat up.  I was so discouraged.   I posted on the Guinea Lynx forum for some support.  I read through other people's introductions and reviewed Pinniped and Cannoli's first days together, hoping things weren't as bad as they seemed.  Did I misread the situation at the shelter?  Was there a reason Boadicea was in a cage by herself?

The fighting decreased (nothing as bad as what I videoed) and the pigs calmed down over the day.  By late afternoon I was able to shrink the introduction area back to a 2x4 gridded area.  Cannoli and Boadicea stayed together overnight.

Sunday started out with lots of yelling and rumblestrutting, mostly by Cannoli.  The tables had turned and Cannoli was the aggressor.  But I still managed to shrink the introduction area to 2x3 grids.  The peace held.  I cleaned the cage out thoroughly, blocked off the upper levels and rearranged the water bottle and hay.  At noon I plopped them in.  This was taken an hour later.

I was shocked.  And so relieved.  What a difference 24 hours makes!  I let them access the upper level late afternoon.  Boadicea was fascinated.  By dinner time I had put in cozies (until that point, they had no dead-ended hiding places).

Since then there's been yelling, humping and the occasional drive-by biting.  Cannoli rumblestruts every day, but often in another part of the cage than Boadicea.  It's like Noli is convincing herself that she's a bad ass.  It's pretty funny.  In between the ruckus there are long stretches of quiet.  They eat, they sleep (sometimes within inches of each other).  Sometimes I hear them chasing each other and discover it's not as it sounds - they're actually popcorning or running around.

Whew!  We all survived introductions.  I hope it will be years and years before I have to face this again.


  1. What piggy parents have to endure for their babies! Good luck to you and the girls.

  2. Glad to read that they are doing better together. The things we do for our fur babies! Looking forward to reading up on the new adventures of Noli & Bo... or is it Bo & Noli? Guess it'll depend on who is the dominant pig that day :-)

  3. My, that chattering! Hope the ceasefire holds.

    And people think that guinea pigs make easy starter pets...!

  4. When I adopted Phoebe this past summer, there was similar behavior between her and Luna when I first put them together in a pen on the floor. There was a lot of chattering and fighting. We kept trying for short periods of time over several days, and at one point I was very concerned I might never get them together. When they finally stopped fighting and were in one cage, Phoebe was so afraid of Luna she refused to budge much from bags or tubes where she could hide. Luna would occasionally harass her. Luckily, after a few weeks they became very good friends, and now I even see them snuggle together sometimes. So I can appreciate how difficult a time you had.

    It's good to hear Cannoli has a new friend. Good luck!

    Colin Adams


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