Sunday, 12 February 2012

Day 12: Bonding

What a day. I've been busy introducing my neutered male pig Rodney to his future lady friends Moneypenny & Honey.

Moneypenny & Honey were rescued from the Rochdale area. Lots of pigs had been left to breed and the situation had got completely out of hand. The RSPCA inspectors came in and removed them all. I adopted Moneypenny directly from an inspector (she was keeping them at her home until she could find rescue spaces for them all). I was told she 'might' be pregnant. As soon as I heard the situation they were rescued from I knew she would definitely be pregnant, low and behold 2 weeks later 3 little piglets were born. Honey was one and I kept her with her mum, rehoming her brothers to a good friend of mine.

I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of seeing 'freshly born' piglets but they are ridiculously cute. Fully formed, with hair and eyes open but tiny and very squashed looking. Here's a few pictures of Moneypenny's babies that were born last year...

They were only a week or so I think at this point. They have massive elephant ears! You can get such myriads of colour with piggy youngsters - can't wait to see what Mouse has in store for us! I'm secretly hoping there's a grey one lurking - they are beautiful.

Anyway, back to bonding. Rodney had his neuter op done 4 weeks ago so he can't be introduced until he's 6 weeks post neuter (they can remain fertile until then). So to get everyone used to the idea I've been putting them side by side once a week. This 'slow bonding' isn't always needed with piggies. In a neutral territory with the right pairing or grouping they tend to work it out for themselves.

Rabbits are far worse and you have to slow bond them ie. have them living side by side for a good few weeks before intros on a neutral ground. Most rabbits will just fight if introduced straight away - hence why 'Speed dating'  rabbits is a very bad idea. Piggies on the other hand are usually easier to bond because they aren't as territorial. I'm just a bit wary because I did try and introduce Moneypenny to my larger herd and I had to intervene before she took a chunk of top pig Hera! We left them living side by side for a good month but it wasn't meant to be. Sometimes you just have to admit defeat.

I'm hoping that with a nice, submissive male it will be different and that they can be happy together. When putting together pigs you have several options, 2 males/any amount of females/1 neutered male and as many females as you like. Introducing males is tough and I would always neuter and pair with a female rather than putting with another male (unless they were brothers together since birth). It just works better in my experience. More than 2 males together rarely works without oodles of space.

Here's a little video of bonding this evening. Rodney is very happy as you can see (he's the single pig on the left):

Mouse is still being brave (she's got a right pair of lungs on her) but refusing to eat anything but carrots and dried food - it's very frustrating! I really do think it's going to be anyday now....

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