Grumpy Sow

General chat about kunekune pigs
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Amanda R

Grumpy Sow

Post by Amanda R » Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:02 am

Background: We bought three KKs in 2006 two gilts and a castrated boar. They were all very happy and got along famously and we enjoyed having them. In 2007 we brought on a boar and both the gilts had a litter each, we kept one of the pigs (a gilt) from the litters and then they were four, still very happy, although one of the two original gilts/sows started to get a bit grumpy with everyone else. She would shove them out of the way for food and bark/growl at them.

We also bought an uncastrated boar of a different bloodline to keep in a separate enclosure to put with the sows at our leisure. In order to stop him being lonely we put our castrated boar with him. Everyone was happy again.

Earlier this year we did a swap and one of our sows (Janis) went down to the 'love shack' and uncle went in with the two other ladies so that he didn't have to be bothered by the late night lovin'.

This did not go smoothly and grumpy sow (Cassie) was very bad tempered with him for the whole of his stay, which was a few months. There was shouting and shoving and she never let him get in the nest with her and her daughter, he slept off to one side in the stable in his own nest.

Problem: Yesterday, we took uncle back down to his enclosure with the full boar and brought Janis back up. There was uproar. Despite separating the ladies so that they could just see each other through the stock fencing for a bit Cassie still tried to go for Janis through the stock fencing and ended up having to be cut free. We shut Janis (the pregnant one) up in the stable with some water and went to our prearranged appointment.

When we came back we tried to introduce them again, under supervision as they really needed to get things sorted out before bed time. Again, it was uproar! With Janis being punted across the field by a very annoyed Cassie. (The other gilt in the meantime looked a bit confused by all this and carried on munching apples)

In the end we took Cassie down to stay with the boys, as they are both bigger then her and are not pregnant, and she was pretty well behaved - although still a bit shovey - and this means that she will end up being pregnant (which we didn't want yet). The two ladies left up in the other enclosure are getting on okay, although they slept on separate sides of the stable last night.

We are now wondering what on earth we should do with Cassie. We don't have room to keep her completely on her own, and I don't think this would be fair on her, and we can't allow her to keep bullying/attacking the other pigs.

Question: Does anyone have any experience of this type of behaviour, helpful suggestions, advice - or want a lovely (honest) black kunekune, who will probably be in pig shortly!?

She is absolutely fine with us by the way.

Thanks
Amanda

Darrell
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:03 pm
Location: East Sussex

Post by Darrell » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:59 am

Hi Amanda, I keep kunekune boars and sows.I drift <term used for changing your pigs around> mine on a regular basis.Your grumpy sow sounds like she is number 1 pig<top of the pecking order>to a pig certain things are very important as territory,:the boundary,the sleeping quarters,the wallow.What we do here is put the new pigs in separate paddocks next to each other for a couple of weeks then leave the gate open between them,they then check out each others territory but go back to their own arks to sleep,some will sleep separately for a few nights others have taken weeks.If they can move in and out of each others territory freely fights are kept to a minimum.The more space you can give them to escape each other the better.Its a shame you are so far away,I would give your sow a good home if things don't improve.

Amanda R

Post by Amanda R » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:56 am

Darrell,

I think East Sussex is quite close in kunekune world terms. Everyone else seems to be in Wales!

My husband wondered if she was defending her daughter. Do you think there might still be a bond even though the daughter is nearly year old.

Unfortunately we don't really have enough room to set up separate sleeping areas, but we had separated them for the re-introduction with stock fencing between them, they were actually fighting so much over the stock fencing that we had to cut Cassie free of it after she got her mouth trapped in it. None of the others behave like that and she has gone down to the full boar's paddock without any trouble from her or him.

We are thinking that sale might be the best option, although we don't want to. She is still a real sweetie with us.

Thanks anyway

Amanda

Darrell
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:03 pm
Location: East Sussex

Post by Darrell » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:04 pm

Hi Amanda, I don't think your sow is defending her daughter<mine dont>I think your sow Janis wants to be the new leader,that's why the fighting is serious.As you say your other gilt is not interested in fighting,that's because she does not want to be top pig so she is not a problem to Janis or Cassie.Obviously you cannot risk pregnant Janis getting upset or injured so you have done the right thing to separate them.I do think that grumpy Cassie could live happily with other sows if the introduction was done slowly in a large paddock with extra sleeping quarters.I rescued what was described as a psycho pig,she is now living happily as a group of eight and she is number 2 in the pecking order.

redgeorge
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:01 am
Location: shropshire
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Post by redgeorge » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:39 pm

I agree its definately an issue with heirachy, my girl Rocket was always top dog (well top pig lol) when our boar arrived on the scene she really wasn't happy and saw him as a threat to her position and so attacked him! After a few days they settled down and within 3 months were sharing sleeping quarters. Then Rocket had her litter and was seperated from the other sows for a couple of months, in her absence and delicate physical condition having not long ago had a litter, my other sow Scratching made a play for the position of top pig and started fighting with Rocket. Again they sorted it out between themselves and the fighting has stopped. I think the fights aways look worse than they are with lots of noise and bravado, mine have only ever suffered bites to the ears, however having said that don't underestimate them and never stand in between them!! make sure you use a board if you need to split them up.

Anyway I have gone on a bit, in short what I am trying to say is any changes - new pigs, piglets, movement of quarters etc can upset the heirachy, but given a few days usually calms down again.

Amanda R

Post by Amanda R » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:41 pm

Thanks for your advice. We have tentative peace at the moment, although it's likely to result in an extra litter of piglets next year that we hadn't planned on. Reintegration will begin in a month or so.

Thanks

Amanda

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