Advice with bonding please!

EddyNoble

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Hi, I'll try to keep this as short as possible but i feel it'll be quite long! I love my guinea pigs so much but i am by no means an expert so any help would be so appreciated.

So i got Eddy, about a year old, in late March. We got very close and he has almost complete reign of my home, gets lots of love and attention. Soon I will be going back to classes and cant spend the up to 6 hours recommended time with him a day. I decided to get another guinea pig. I figured it would be best to get a younger male, so Eddy wouldn't feel threatened and the younger would submit.

I got a one month old male, Noble, on July 1st. I kept him in a separate room and cage for 2 weeks as recommended. One important thing is that I believe he can only have young guinea pig food. Alfalfa hay and pellets for calcium. Eddy can't share this food because he could develop stones, very dangerous. So my plan was to keep Noble in a separate cage but connect their play areas and let them play together then have them eat and sleep in their respective cages.

I had Noble in my room for a few days, maybe about a week, and everything was fine, they didn't really seem to notice each other's presence unless they were squeaking together. However, yesterday I decided to let Noble out of his cage at the same time as Eddy. This did not bode well. It was normal bonding introductions, Eddy obviously the alpha. He was purring and rumblestrutting and scenting everywhere, and he tried to get into Nobles cage.

However, I think I made a mistake because Noble got scared and went back into his cage. I did not want Eddy going in there, so I closed it, but Eddy didn't like that. Every time I let him out now he tries to knock down Noble's cage, and if i lock Eddy in his own cage, he gnaws on the bars very aggressively trying to get to Noble. I think if I just had one cage for both of them, the introductions would have played out normally and eventually they'd be ok, but since I have them in 2 cages, it seems like an issue. I also regret not "formally" introducing them elsewhere, like in the living room where neither have ever been. But what's done is done.

Does anyone have recommendations for my situation? I feel that Eddy is very mad at me for putting him in this situation. I don't like locking him in his cage as he enjoys running around and playing with me, but now he cannot be out without knocking down Nobles cage and trying to steal his alfalfa hay. It is concerning me. (Noble, on the other hand, seems pretty much ok with everything. He seems to quite like the company and happily popcorns and squeaks when Eddy is near.) I apologize for the long post, any advice would be so helpful for me!
 

Piggies&buns

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Your young piggy does not need to have young piggy pellets and alfalfa. Alfalfa is not recommended in any event (to piggies other than pregnant/nursing sows and very young babies). Your young piggy can have normal adult pellets in the strictly limited amounts of one tablespoon. Since for all piggies their main diet is hay then there is no need for the worry over eating different food - both noble and Eddie should be eating the same thing - access to hay constantly, one cup of veg per day and one tablespoon of pellets per day.

The success of a bond comes down to character compatibility not age. If you buy a new piggy on spec then there is always the risk of a failed bonding if the two piggies simply don’t like each other.

Piggies do not do play dates, particularly boars - once you put them together, you cannot separate them again unless the bonding is a failure. You need to carry out the bonding in a neutral territory and see it through to conclusion. If successful then both piggies need to live together permanently from then on and not be separated again. You did right by keeping the new piggy quarantined for two weeks but following the bonding procedure is important. However, rumbling, chasing, mounting is all entirely normal and what piggies will do to establish their relationship and hierarchy.

I suggest you create a neutral area, Carry out the bonding following the procedure and if successful allow them to be together, don’t separate them if they are getting on ok. There is no issue over food as I mentioned above.

Please read the guides to ensure you know what is normal for behaviour and when to spot if there is a problem.

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
 

EddyNoble

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Your young piggy does not need to have young piggy pellets and alfalfa. Alfalfa is not recommended in any event (to piggies other than pregnant/nursing sows and very young babies). Your young piggy can have normal adult pellets in the strictly limited amounts of one tablespoon. Since for all piggies their main diet is hay then there is no need for the worry over eating different food - both noble and Eddie should be eating the same thing - access to hay constantly, one cup of veg per day and one tablespoon of pellets per day.

The success of a bond comes down to character compatibility not age. If you buy a new piggy on spec then there is always the risk of a failed bonding if the two piggies simply don’t like each other.

Piggies do not do play dates, particularly boars - once you put them together, you cannot separate them again unless the bonding is a failure. You need to carry out the bonding in a neutral territory and see it through to conclusion. If successful then both piggies need to live together permanently from then on and not be separated again. You did right by keeping the new piggy quarantined for two weeks but following the bonding procedure is important. However, rumbling, chasing, mounting is all entirely normal and what piggies will do to establish their relationship and hierarchy.

I suggest you create a neutral area, Carry out the bonding following the procedure and if successful allow them to be together, don’t separate them if they are getting on ok. There is no issue over food as I mentioned above.

Please read the guides to ensure you know what is normal for behaviour and when to spot if there is a problem.

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Thank you so so much for this information. I had no idea he was able to have regular food, that makes a world of difference. I feel horrible for interrupting their bonding, I'm going to create a neutral space in the living room ASAP.
I so appreciate your response! Thank you so much for the advice and I hope things go well when I put them together again!
 

Piggies&buns

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Bonding can look very dramatic so it is important you don’t panic and step in too soon when bonding boars. There will be mounting, chasing, chattering, rumbling and hopefully you will hear submission squealing. Do completely read those guides and make sure you are familiar with what is a good sign and what is a warning sign.
It will still take around two weeks following the bonding session for them to fully establish their relationship, but you will continue to see these behaviours throughout their entire lives, particularly once your youngster is fully in his teens.
You will also need to be aware that once the youngster does hit his teens then things can change. While more boar pairs make it together than not, it is always important to have a plan to separate them should their relationship fail.
The cage for two boars needs to be 180cm x 60cm so do ensure they have plenty of space for times when they are locked in the cage as lack of space can cause problems.
Also ensure you have two of every item (bottles, hay piles, hideys) and no enclosed hideys in the cage (all hideys need two exits to ensure no piggy can get cornered). It can help to scatter feed veg and pellets rather than using bowls as it means no piggy can hog food
 

EddyNoble

New Born Pup
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Ewing, New Jersey
Bonding can look very dramatic so it is important you don’t panic and step in too soon when bonding boars. There will be mounting, chasing, chattering, rumbling and hopefully you will hear submission squealing. Do completely read those guides and make sure you are familiar with what is a good sign and what is a warning sign.
It will still take around two weeks following the bonding session for them to fully establish their relationship, but you will continue to see these behaviours throughout their entire lives, particularly once your youngster is fully in his teens.
You will also need to be aware that once the youngster does hit his teens then things can change. While more boar pairs make it together than not, it is always important to have a plan to separate them should their relationship fail.
The cage for two boars needs to be 180cm x 60cm so do ensure they have plenty of space for times when they are locked in the cage as lack of space can cause problems.
Also ensure you have two of every item (bottles, hay piles, hideys) and no enclosed hideys in the cage (all hideys need two exits to ensure no piggy can get cornered). It can help to scatter feed veg and pellets rather than using bowls as it means no piggy can hog food
Thank you so much!
 

EddyNoble

New Born Pup
Joined
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Ewing, New Jersey
Bonding can look very dramatic so it is important you don’t panic and step in too soon when bonding boars. There will be mounting, chasing, chattering, rumbling and hopefully you will hear submission squealing. Do completely read those guides and make sure you are familiar with what is a good sign and what is a warning sign.
It will still take around two weeks following the bonding session for them to fully establish their relationship, but you will continue to see these behaviours throughout their entire lives, particularly once your youngster is fully in his teens.
You will also need to be aware that once the youngster does hit his teens then things can change. While more boar pairs make it together than not, it is always important to have a plan to separate them should their relationship fail.
The cage for two boars needs to be 180cm x 60cm so do ensure they have plenty of space for times when they are locked in the cage as lack of space can cause problems.
Also ensure you have two of every item (bottles, hay piles, hideys) and no enclosed hideys in the cage (all hideys need two exits to ensure no piggy can get cornered). It can help to scatter feed veg and pellets rather than using bowls as it means no piggy can hog food
Just wanted to give an update - I followed your advice as well as read all the information you linked and it turned out very nicely. I am so happy i reached out to this forum and thank you so so much for all of your advice. :) the piggies are acting normal, mounting each other, sniffing butts, and such. I think I'm going to wait until morning before placing them into the neutralized and rearranged cage 20200720_202557.jpg
 

Piggies&buns

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Just wanted to give an update - I followed your advice as well as read all the information you linked and it turned out very nicely. I am so happy i reached out to this forum and thank you so so much for all of your advice. :) the piggies are acting normal, mounting each other, sniffing butts, and such. I think I'm going to wait until morning before placing them into the neutralized and rearranged cage View attachment 148783
I’m glad to hear things have gone well.
 
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