7 Tips For Introducing a New Skinny Pig To Your Herd
Just like us, skinny pigs are nervous when meeting new friends and just like us it takes a bit of time to get to know someone new and be fully comfortable in their company.
Here are 7 great tips to help you introduce a new skinny pig safely and with the maximum chance of successful bonding.
Quarantine and Health Check
Before introducing new skinny pigs, it's essential to isolate the new arrival for at least 7 to 10 days. This allows you time to ensure the new skinny is healthy and gives them time to de-stress before being added to a group or bonded pair. This step must never be skipped.
Pairing skinny pigs is a delicate process and should always be supervised, however, often skinny’s, if left to it, will establish a natural social hierarchy within the group. Be prepared for some squabbles or dominance behaviors as they establish their roles. To minimize these occurrences, ensure there are enough resources for all group members. There should be plenty of food and water to discourage competition for these and there should be one more safe hiding spot than you have piggies to reduce risk of resource guarding.
Space and Housing
Ensure the cage or enclosure is spacious enough to accommodate the number of skinny pigs in the group comfortably. Provide multiple hiding spots and shelters, as skinny pigs like to have private spaces to retreat to if they need a break.
To prevent unwanted pregnancies, ensure any skinny pigs sharing an enclosure are the same sex. Please be aware, that guinea pig pregnancies are not something for the untrained nor faint of heart, many sows (female guinea pigs) require emergency medical attention during birth and will often die in birth. If you are introducing a female to a bonded pair of males, this can lead to mating conflicts. If you would like to house a male and female together, you must bring your male guinea into a qualified exotic animal veterinarian to be neutered to avoid pregnancies.
Neutral Meeting Space
You should never add a new pig to the existing pig’s enclosure as this may result in territorial behaviors. Introduce your skinny pigs in a neutral space and gradually work at getting them in the same living area. You can put their cages side by side so they can get used to the sight and smell of the other while still feeling safe and secure.
Keep a close eye on their behavior during the introduction process. Positive behaviors like grooming, sharing food and water, and resting together indicate a successful introduction. Be prepared for initial conflicts, including teeth chattering, biting, hiding, and chasing. While some of these behaviors are normal as they establish a hierarchy, watch for signs of severe stress or aggression. If aggression becomes concerning, end the session and try again the next day. If one or both piggies seem especially stressed, you can give them some calming herbs before each introduction to facilitate success.
The process of introducing new skinny pigs may be stressful for both you and your pets. However, patience is key. Your pigs are likely to be happier with a companion (insert link to previous article once live) and so investing effort into introducing them gradually and carefully is worthwhile for their long-term happiness.
By following these tips and being attentive to your skinny pigs' behavior, you can facilitate a smoother and more successful introduction of new members to your herd and help them to bond with each other.
Keep giving your pets the best of natural life!
April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H