Bad Reintroductions And When To Stop Trying

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Annelle

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My name is Annelle - an enthusiastic new Guinea Pig parent. I have two little boys (less than 6 months old,) named Banjo and Snoopy. I intended to stop there until I was at a Petco and felt horrible for a bigger male who was being kept alone in the small cage. My heart when out to him and I adopted him on the spot. I took him home to my two other babies.

Things were real at first. I introduced them in a neutral space, with lots of food for distractions and let them figure it out. I waited about an hour and while there was some rumble-strutting from my bigger male, (who I named Suess,) everyone seemed fine. I put them in their new cage, a large, 2x6 C&C with an extra 1x2 "L" shape at the end. There were three waters, three beds, three food dishes, and plenty of space to run around.

Suess developed an abscess on his throat due to a cut that had been festering in the pet store. I had to take him back, and Petco paid for the treatment and kept him there for 2 weeks for antibiotics, despite my willingness to give him the medication myself.

When the time came to take Suess back home, I put all three of them back in a neutral space like before, and went to clean out and rearrange their cage while they got reacquainted. But to my shock and horror, Banjo lunged out at Suess and the two of them rolled around tearing hair out of one another. I threw a towel on them and separated them to make sure there was no blood. I tried again, and after lots of rumble-strutting, chattering, raising of hackles, yawning, and nose raising from both of them, they got into it again. I panicked and ended the session.

The next day I decided to attempt a buddy bath. My boyfriend and best friend came over to help, and we gently washed all three boys in the kitchen sink. I used the gentlest ferret shampoo I could find at a store (nothing I found was intended for guinea pigs.) Regardless they didn't love the experience, but there was no fighting in the bath. We tried them off with towels and they all huddled together while we did. I put them back in a new neutral area (a large play pen) after they were dry, and gave them romaine lettuce and hay in the middle. We watched, and after a while the bickering started again. My friend and boyfriend tried their best to stop me from breaking everything up, and I didn't touch them until I noticed Suess had gotten cut on his mouth. Nothing bled badly, but I saw red and couldn't do it anymore. They had been in there 3 and a half hours.

Since then, I have tried putting them together in the play pen outside, so they could graze. They seemed perfectly happy then. But I tried again inside the same day in the play pen and Banjo and Suess were fighting almost immediately. My theory is that in Suess' absence, Banjo became alpha, and is now challenging him. Neither seem to relent.

I am faced with a difficult decision. I don't have the space or money right now to make another cage for Suess. He has a 30 day warranty and I have been advised to just take him back, because they don't get along. I love the guy so much - he's black and white with longer hair, and looks kind of like "Sylvester" from Tweety Bird. He's a gem when I take him out, and likes to talk to himself. He loves his Kale, has a great temperament and will let anyone pet him anywhere. But I really need them in the same cage. And if he doesn't fit in with my herd, I don't know what to do.


I am so sorry for this long message, but I don't know what else to try to get them to co-exist. Any advise at all would be so appreciated.


Annelle

Pictures of the boys: (Snoopy: white cowlick on his head, Banjo: grey and white, Suess: seriously looks like Sylvester.)

SnoopyBanjoSuess.jpg SnoopySuessBanjo.jpg
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but three sub-adult boars have a fail rate of around 90% before they reach a hormonally more settled adulthood. Even then, trios and quartets are the most difficult constellation to get right. If you cannot afford a second cage and if necessary a second pair of boars, then please leave be! Things are not going to get better in the longer term. :(

Your boys are gorgeous, and there is nothing to better designed to make you feel bad tlike a bonding that has not come off and a piggy that you cannot keep. Unfortunately, you need to think with head as well as with your heart. Your two six months old boars are currently at the most difficult and unstable stage in their lives as their testosterone outbput is at an all time high. Adding a third, as tempting as it, is is a recipe for disaster and can lead to all three boars falling out with each other. We've had that happen more than once to forum members with boar trios!

For the long term, it would be best to concentrate on a working boar couple and to save up for a vet fund, so you can afford vet care whenever needed. Emergencies never happen at a good time, and guinea pigs can go downhill very quickly. Overall, vet cost will make the largest part of your guinea pig budget; it is not an aspect that you necessarily think of when getting guinea pigs, but it can create huge rows and family rifts, especially if you are a minor and have to beg for it.
Boars: A guide to successful companionship.
Boars: Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Guinea Lynx :: Rescue Organizations
Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List
 

Annelle

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Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but three sub-adult boars have a fail rate of around 90% before they reach a hormonally more settled adulthood. Even then, trios and quartets are the most difficult constellation to get right. If you cannot afford a second cage and if necessary a second pair of boars, then please leave be! Things are not going to get better in the longer term. :(

Your boys are gorgeous, and there is nothing to better designed to make you feel bad tlike a bonding that has not come off and a piggy that you cannot keep. Unfortunately, you need to think with head as well as with your heart. Your two six months old boars are currently at the most difficult and unstable stage in their lives as their testosterone outbput is at an all time high. Adding a third, as tempting as it, is is a recipe for disaster and can lead to all three boars falling out with each other. We've had that happen more than once to forum members with boar trios!

For the long term, it would be best to concentrate on a working boar couple and to save up for a vet fund, so you can afford vet care whenever needed. Emergencies never happen at a good time, and guinea pigs can go downhill very quickly. Overall, vet cost will make the largest part of your guinea pig budget; it is not an aspect that you necessarily think of when getting guinea pigs, but it can create huge rows and family rifts, especially if you are a minor and have to beg for it.
Boars: A guide to successful companionship.
Boars: Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Guinea Lynx :: Rescue Organizations
Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List
Thank you for the response! I have been doing some reading on the site about Boar Trios and discovered the news almost as soon as you responded. Agh! It kills me to let Suess go - but I also have been worried about my submissive angel, Snoopy, and him getting overly bossed around. He and Banjo have gotten along great so far, and both boys popcorn and eat well. They cuddle at night. But whenever Suess is in the mix, Snoopy shuts down. He's terrified of everything and tries to climb the houses and cage bars to get away.
It will be a difficult goodbye, for sure, because Suess is so mellow when you hold him, and is probably the pretties guinea pig I've ever seen in my life.
 

Wiebke

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He is gorgeous! I have included a link to the list of good standard non-kill guinea pig rescues for the US. Do you have one within your reach? I assume that you are in the US, as you are mentioning petco?
 

Freela

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As Wiebke has said, unfortunately boar trios, especially with hormonal adolescent boars, are extremely unlikely to work out. I'm so sorry that you will have to look into rehoming a pig you have obviously become attached to. That must be awful. Best wishes that things continue to go well with Banjo and Snoopy in the future.
 
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