This is the method we use and have great success with. It is one we highly recommend, although we do understand that others may have success using other methods. Why we recommend 48 Hour bonding:
- Reduces stress by not forcing the animals to be reintroduced over and and over and over and over again
- Doesn’t force them to start all over in their process
- Allows them the uninterrupted time to get acquainted rather than separating them in the middle of the process
- When bringing in any new animal to your home, it is always best to quarantine them for a minimum of 7 days. This allows them time to adjust to a new environment and monitor for any illnesses that could be passed to the other animals in the home. This also gives you time to bond with your new pet.
- There is still the chance that they may not bond. But that does not mean they can or should ever be isolated from others of their species. Some animals just like their space and do best with neighbors rather than cagemates.
- Please keep in mind that it is best to introduce a younger pig to an older pig for a higher chance of successful bonding. Older pigs tend to be more territorial or aggressive and harder to find their perfect match. Also keep in mind that once the baby pig reaches maturity, this can also affect their current bond. Unless your pig is sterilized, it is best to keep herds of the same gender. It is not a common practice to sterilized pigs although there are benefits to doing so. This all depends on the individual personalities of the pigs.
- Rabbits do not care about breed or size. It all has to do with personality. It’s best to try to pair two that compliment each other, such as one dominant and one docile. This helps reduce aggression and fighting that may occur. It also is often easier to bond names and females rather than bonding two of the same gender. This is because rabbits are known to “fall in love at first sight” in a sense. All rabbits should be sterilized prior to any bonding, regardless of gender. For successful bonding,, it all depends on the individual personalities of the rabbits.
Now let’s get to bonding!
Prior to starting: Please be sure to have two appropriately sized enclosures ready in case they do not bond. This is good to have on hand incase their bond breaks or one of them becomes sick and needs to be separated. Allowing both enclosures to be side-by-side can help them still have socialization with one another, and still be neighbors instead of cagemates. Some prefer to have their animals live side by side prior to introducing them, and that is up to you. When looking at adopting an animal, this step may not always be possible because we want to do our best to find their forever home with as little chances of the animal being returned to us due to not bonding.
Step One: Neutral Territory
- Create a space, like using a playpen or a different room of the house, to allow them to bond in. Everything in this space should be clean, new, and neutral of any scent. The first 30 mins are the most telling.
- Some choose to start in a smaller space and increase that space as time goes by. This is more recommended for rabbits rather than pigs. The issue with this is that you may increase space too quickly and that can cause them not to bond. If choosing this route, using an exercise pen that can be easily extended is best and allow a few hours to go by before increasing starting to increase their space.
- Provide multiple (at least two) of everything such as hides, hay piles, water bowls, beds, etc. We do not want them fighting over food or shelter.
- Put the two of them into the neutral space. Be sure to have a towel or oven mit ready on hand to use to break up any fights if needed. Do not interfere with them. Many try to pet them or scoot them closer to one another, do your best to be hands off. Let them do this on their own.
- Many can debate about this time set aside to supervise. We like to keep it at 24 hours but the first 48 hours is the best in determining if they are a good match. Always keep an eye on them for the next few days. *It isn’t as common but remember that bonds can still be broken at any time.*
- Between 12-24 hours, we transition them to their new clean neutral permanent appropriately sized enclosure. Continue to supervise. Give lots of hay and fresh veggies to help distract them.
- Butt sniffing, butt nudging, butt dragging
- Loud squeaking/cries
- Nose face-offs (whoever’s nose is higher wins, one must lower their nose/submit)
- Throwing their head back
- Rumble strutting (shifting weight from one back leg to the other)
- Teeth chattering
- Raised hair on the back of the neck/spine
- Bites, nipping, hair pulling
- Positioning to attack
- Head butting
- Wide yawning showing teeth
- The general “rule” we go by, is if blood is shed, separate. When they start fighting with intent to harm (such as tornado fights when they will not release one another), that’s a sign they are not a good match. These balls of fit fights can be very serious.
- Grooming one another
- Falling asleep together
- Eating together
- Happy squeaks
- Playing together
- Mounting without fighting