Fomerly best mates fighting!

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Smileforthecamera
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Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:56 pm

Fomerly best mates fighting!

Post by Smileforthecamera » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:22 pm

Six weeks ago we adopted a 9yo sow and a 4yo castrate - aunt and nephew - as companion pigs.

They have always lived, and slept, very happily together and were completely fine here up until a week ago. Something has changed, but we're not quite sure what. A week ago we noticed that they were being "off" and seemingly grumpy with each other (still completely fine with us though). Then a few days ago we were very aware that the grumpiness had turned to physical aggression with both pigs now trying to attack each other - to the point of bleeding flesh wounds and we think the sow has lost a tooth in the fights.

We immediately separated them into adjacent paddocks; yet they now run up and down opposite sides of the dividing fence, trying to nip each other. We hoped it was a glitch and tried to reintroduce them after the first day, had to quickly re-separate them. With us they are still completely the same and will take as much attention and belly rubs as we can give.

We have checked with previous owner and this behaviour had never been witnessed before - although they've always been a little "nippy" towards each other at food time. Hence we've always scattered food widely.

Any thoughts, suggestions and solutions would be very gratefully received; as we don't like our once v loving pigs being apart and it's not much fun to watch!

simon
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Location: Yorkshire Dales
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Re: Fomerly best mates fighting!

Post by simon » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:26 pm

This isn't something I have experienced, so I can only speculate.

I have seen sows act like this when they are on heat. They get a hormone rush and 'hassle' poor castrates who are in no position to help out.

We know from breeding records that 9years old is about the maximum age for a sow to conceive. Is it possible shes hit a kind of piggy menopause?

Smileforthecamera
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:56 pm

Re: Fomerly best mates fighting!

Post by Smileforthecamera » Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:20 am

Hi Simon,
Very many thanks for your thoughts on this.

As well as the "being grumpy leading to fighting" issue they had been rooting up the paddocks which, according to their old owner, they never did until the depths of winter. Our own initial thoughts were:
1-hunger/lack of food (although we'd been expressly told don't over do the additional feed or they'll get lazy and ignore the grass!) or
2- she's in season, as we noticed her "displaying" her rear end toward him (she was indeed "hassling him" as you so aptly described it!) for a few days early in their seperation.

So we:
1- upped the feed quota significantly (the rooting has ceased) and
2- discounted the season theory, as the breed season length is just 8-48hrs from the research we've seen, ie significantly shorter than the length of time we've been having problems.

Your theory of a kind a pig menopause therefore makes complete sense to me; as it'd be a larger scale and longer lasting hormonal disruption.
However my web research uncovers that pigs are NOT one of the 3 mammalian species (humans, Killer & Pilot Whales only) to under go menopause and have any significant life expectancy beyond the end of their fertility. So now I'm hoping it's NOT pig menopause at all and just a overly long season... we've only just got them and the thought of losing one already is terrible. Would be grateful and heartened by any evidence from anyone ref "retired" old KK sows living happily into their barren dotage!!

In positive news there was definitely less pig on pig agression through the fence yesterday. Indeed at one point they were sleeping nose to nose, trotter to trotter (ie as they always used to) just with the fence line running straight down between them! Which was lovely to see and gives some hope that this too will pass and we maybe able to try reintroducing them into the same paddock again soon.

Thanks again ever so much for your response and menopause theory, we all (2 & 4legged beasties alike!) appreciate it.

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