jocelynclarke

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Hi all,

Apologies for the lengthy message in advance:

Call me crazy but I have three male young boars. One of them is cookie which I have had since he was little he’s just over one year old and now moo and ginger who are a pair and their ages are undetermined but they look about 6 months old. Everyone at several stores told me to get 3 guinea pigs as it would be easier for dominance since I was weary cookie was the dominant one with his last friend but now realise it’s one of the worst combinations to apparently have so I’m becoming really worried.

So when I first adopted moo and ginger I placed them in a separate cage close to cookie’s and they found each other eventually and cookie seemed super excited popcorning etc and the other two looked really curious climbing the side of the cage to see him squeaking etc

I left it another day and then introduced them which didn’t go so well at first. Ginger is definitely very submissive and just sat out of the drama eating him and squeaking whilst moo was trying to challenge cookie and looked like he was really getting on his nerves. No blood bite marks or any of them but definitely a couple of scraps I don’t really know how to define it but moo was humping cookie like crazy and then they got annoyed and started to fight but it lasted only 4 or 5 seconds. During this cookie lunged at him once after a lot of teeth chattering but nothing came from this and I read they do this without actually harming the guinea pig.

After that I they settled down and they were eating together and being pretty chilled out with each other eating from the same hay bale etc. I read that when they are more chilled you should put them in the cage because you can’t reintroduce them? When I put them in the cage moo chased cookie and had a little tiff at first but that seemed to calm again quickly.

It’s been about 3 days since and I keep checking them if there is any wounds etc but they all seem pretty fine. The first morning I found them all together and they do have times where they separate and chill on their own and then come together to chill out and eat out of the same bowl together a lot. Other times when they’re more active I see moo following cookie sniffing his bum and the odd hump. I’ve not seen cookie mount moo since the introduction but Moo squeaks when cookie did hump him but every time moo mounts cookie he looks pretty unbothered and carries on doing what he’s doing.

I’m wondering if they’re going to be okay? I’m very paranoid in general as I got them so cookie would be happy and have a few friends but I’ve been given the wrong advice off the pet stores about the mix and now really worried I might have to separate them.

They’re all pretty quiet around each other so I’m wondering if that’s because they don’t get on or not? ginger still seems scared of the new environment but him and cookie get on well but moo seems he just wants to be dominant

Is this normal and any advice on what I can do if I need to do anything?
 

Wiebke

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Hi all,

Apologies for the lengthy message in advance:

Call me crazy but I have three male young boars. One of them is cookie which I have had since he was little he’s just over one year old and now moo and ginger who are a pair and their ages are undetermined but they look about 6 months old. Everyone at several stores told me to get 3 guinea pigs as it would be easier for dominance since I was weary cookie was the dominant one with his last friend but now realise it’s one of the worst combinations to apparently have so I’m becoming really worried.

So when I first adopted moo and ginger I placed them in a separate cage close to cookie’s and they found each other eventually and cookie seemed super excited popcorning etc and the other two looked really curious climbing the side of the cage to see him squeaking etc

I left it another day and then introduced them which didn’t go so well at first. Ginger is definitely very submissive and just sat out of the drama eating him and squeaking whilst moo was trying to challenge cookie and looked like he was really getting on his nerves. No blood bite marks or any of them but definitely a couple of scraps I don’t really know how to define it but moo was humping cookie like crazy and then they got annoyed and started to fight but it lasted only 4 or 5 seconds. During this cookie lunged at him once after a lot of teeth chattering but nothing came from this and I read they do this without actually harming the guinea pig.

After that I they settled down and they were eating together and being pretty chilled out with each other eating from the same hay bale etc. I read that when they are more chilled you should put them in the cage because you can’t reintroduce them? When I put them in the cage moo chased cookie and had a little tiff at first but that seemed to calm again quickly.

It’s been about 3 days since and I keep checking them if there is any wounds etc but they all seem pretty fine. The first morning I found them all together and they do have times where they separate and chill on their own and then come together to chill out and eat out of the same bowl together a lot. Other times when they’re more active I see moo following cookie sniffing his bum and the odd hump. I’ve not seen cookie mount moo since the introduction but Moo squeaks when cookie did hump him but every time moo mounts cookie he looks pretty unbothered and carries on doing what he’s doing.

I’m wondering if they’re going to be okay? I’m very paranoid in general as I got them so cookie would be happy and have a few friends but I’ve been given the wrong advice off the pet stores about the mix and now really worried I might have to separate them.

They’re all pretty quiet around each other so I’m wondering if that’s because they don’t get on or not? ginger still seems scared of the new environment but him and cookie get on well but moo seems he just wants to be dominant

Is this normal and any advice on what I can do if I need to do anything?
Hi!

You have to play it by ear, but in the longer run you might need to consider whether it would be better to split your boys in two.
How old are your boys?

If you have just recently bonded, then your boys are still in the dominance phase of establishing a relationship; a bonding can still fail. On average, this phase lasts around 2 weeks.

The other critical time is when your boys go through the teenage months; that is the real touchstone. The more boys you have in that phase, the higher your risk of fall-outs as a trio is the most difficult combination in whatever form to get right in the first place. Trios that work out are great, but they are the minority. Most end unfortunately with some kind of outsider scenario or other.

These guides here tell you all about bonding dynamics and the teenage months:
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

jocelynclarke

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Hi,
Thanks for your response.

Like I said one of them is just over a year old and the other two we don’t know for sure because they were adopted but we would say about 6 months which I am aware is their teenage years. The pet store told us that younger guinea pigs are best for establishing dominance - ah I just feel like they’ve told me everything wrong and I’m really concerned, I just want my guinea pigs to be happy!

If after the two week period my guinea pigs were still acting the same way, would you separate them?
 

Wiebke

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Hi,
Thanks for your response.

Like I said one of them is just over a year old and the other two we don’t know for sure because they were adopted but we would say about 6 months which I am aware is their teenage years. The pet store told us that younger guinea pigs are best for establishing dominance - ah I just feel like they’ve told me everything wrong and I’m really concerned, I just want my guinea pigs to be happy!

If after the two week period my guinea pigs were still acting the same way, would you separate them?
Unfortunately 6 months is the time when testosterone output is at an all time high and boars are generally at their most trickiest to bond in their whole lives because of it. That is the reason why so many good standard guinea pig rescues are increasingly switching to have single incoming boars neutered to be bonded with sows; the majority of them are unfortunately fallen-out and/or no longer wanted teenage boys.

Pre-teenagers (under 4 months) are generally easier to bond as they strongly rely on the guidance and company of others, but you then still face the teenage months - and it is mainly then when it decides whether a boar bond is stable enough to withstand the extreme stress or not.

The safest place is a good standard rescue with mandatory quarantine/vet care that offers boar dating at the rescue under expert supervision. This means that you come home with a companion only if acceptance has happened and you have the backing of the rescue for the life time of your adopted piggy. These rescues know the personalities of their piggies and will try to find a suitable match if at all possible. They are also experienced enough to spot quickly when things are heading in the wrong direction.
If you rehome from shops or the free-ads, the risks are all on your side. Shop personnel (although there laudable exceptions) are generally not known for their knowledge of the species they sell in their shop and people desperate to get rid of an unwanted pet can be very economic with the truth. And as anybody can call themselves a rescue or a breeder without licensing or control, finding a good standard rescue is not always easy or possible, very much depending on where you live. A few US and Canadian rescues have spayed sows for boar dating, but the majority don't.
These are the canvassed rescues we can vouch for:
REcommended UK rescues: Recommended Guinea Pig Rescues
REcommended rescues in some other countries: Guinea Lynx :: Rescue Organizations
 

Little Piglets

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Unsure how big your cage is, but literally, the bigger, the better. You absolutely do NOT want 1 opening hiding spaces (3 or 4 openings is better as it can quickly exit if a more dominant pig wants in) for boars, and should carefully lay out the stuff they have access to so as to avoid "bottlenecks" in the flow of the cage. So, if you have a food dish or water bottle that they need to navigate around obstacles where 2 of them might get within a couple inches of each other, because both are trying to squeeze through the same narrow area, that might cause an issue. Also, I'd install 3 water bottles and 3 food dishes. IF they keep tipping them over, go buy a Frisbee and flip that over. Most are dished and tilt. I switched to Frisbees and my sow herd took to them and each boar cage has one. Can also add their hay to that too.
 
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