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Bickering Boys

catcrunchies

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We have two pairs of brothers (cousins too, actually!), just over 3 months old, who've started having some more aggressive squabbles between themselves. So far, we've already had to stop all four spending time together after Pooka was getting bullied and I'm not quite sure where to go from there. Apologies in advance for the essay.

The older pair, Pepper and Pooka, have been pretty chill with each other. Most of the time there isn't even any dominating going on, but all of a sudden there's been some facing off and Pepper has cornered Pooka and been snapping at him a bit. Just a bit worried as Pepper's normally the calmest of them all.

With Fandango and Quill, it's been escalating a bit from the normal rumblestrutting. We've recently moved them to a bigger hutch and since then, they've started chattering and lunging at each other out in the run. These two are long haired and tend to get more aggressive with each other and me when I've brushed or bathed them.

For both pairs, we have two of everything and we've made sure there's open ended hides so they can't corner each other as much. Any advice would be really helpful - I'm worried about trying to swap them around since we've had blood drawn between a couple of them and I'm not quite sure we can afford any more to try new pairs!
 

Jesse's pigs

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Hi yes a group of four boars is almost never going to work out and it's good you've separated them into two pairs with two of everything :)

The two that are fighting - if blood is being drawn then I don't think the bond is working and you should separate. Or try and separate them for a while and see how they react. If they act calmer and seem happier without the other piggy then yes that pair isn't working. If however they appear worried and are trying to find the other piggy then perhaps it isn't totally ruined- they're just going through a rough patch.

If it is the case that they cannot stay together could you try pairing them with an abyssian each?

If blood isn't being drawn and you don't feel a piggy is in danger then don't separate as it's likely they're just restablishing dominance.

Hope this helps :)
 

catcrunchies

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Hi yes a group of four boars is almost never going to work out and it's good you've separated them into two pairs with two of everything :)

The two that are fighting - if blood is being drawn then I don't think the bond is working and you should separate. Or try and separate them for a while and see how they react. If they act calmer and seem happier without the other piggy then yes that pair isn't working. If however they appear worried and are trying to find the other piggy then perhaps it isn't totally ruined- they're just going through a rough patch.

If it is the case that they cannot stay together could you try pairing them with an abyssian each?

If blood isn't being drawn and you don't feel a piggy is in danger then don't separate as it's likely they're just restablishing dominance.

Hope this helps :)
Thank you for your advice! We've been keeping a close eye and there's been no blood drawn - just some lunging and the odd patches of mysterious white mess in their fur, which they HATE me cutting out.

With separating them, do you think putting them in separate runs next to each other would work? They're in a two tier hutch at the moment, but we've got no way to block off the ramp safely to keep them apart. And I'd feel a bit mean splitting them up so they can't even say hi :(
 

Jesse's pigs

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Thank you for your advice! We've been keeping a close eye and there's been no blood drawn - just some lunging and the odd patches of mysterious white mess in their fur, which they HATE me cutting out.

With separating them, do you think putting them in separate runs next to each other would work? They're in a two tier hutch at the moment, but we've got no way to block off the ramp safely to keep them apart. And I'd feel a bit mean splitting them up so they can't even say hi :(
I would only do that if you feel absolutely neccessary. If no blood is being drawn then I wouldn't do it yet unless a piggy is getting hurt or is being shoved away from food. Nipping is a dominance behaviour and is something I've seen with my two boys- I'm new to having two boars too! :)

But yes if you were to temporaily separate (to see how they react) then a run would do fine where they could still see each other. And I think I know what mysterious white substance you are on about...
 

sport_billy

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Rarley more than a pair of boys will ever work, it makes no difference if they are litter mates or anything.

My advice would be to go for the pairings that seem to work and rebond them if possible. Then don't mix them again as a four each time you mix you can break established bonds that have been forged.

Who is with who now? Any blood been drawn?

Have a read of these threads
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Introducing And Re-introducing Guinea Pigs
Boars: A guide to successful companionship.
 

Swissgreys

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I agree with sport-billy - you need to decide on 2 pairs and keep them totally separate from each other.
'Play dates' involving the four of them won't work, and will upset the bond between the pairs.

I originally had my piggies as a foursome, but it didn't work out, so they are now split into two pairs and have settled down quite happily.
 

catcrunchies

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Rarley more than a pair of boys will ever work, it makes no difference if they are litter mates or anything.

My advice would be to go for the pairings that seem to work and rebond them if possible. Then don't mix them again as a four each time you mix you can break established bonds that have been forged.

Who is with who now? Any blood been drawn?

Have a read of these threads
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Introducing And Re-introducing Guinea Pigs
Boars: A guide to successful companionship.
We only tried them as a group when we first got them, mainly because they'd been together since they were born and we didn't know any better! The second we saw bites on one, there was a speedy vet trip and they got split into pairs.

Now, we have them each with their brother. The two Abyssinians are good as gold most of the time, just with a couple of sharp nips when one gets annoyed with the other. They absolutely adore each other and hate it when they're apart for more than about a minute.
The longer haired two are the ones I worry about. They don't seem too fussed about being apart and we've seen a lot of lunging and rumbling between them - especially last night, which is when I panicked and posted this! They only seem to do this in the run though and not so much in their hutch.

No blood has been drawn since we split up the foursome at least!
 

sport_billy

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We only tried them as a group when we first got them, mainly because they'd been together since they were born and we didn't know any better! The second we saw bites on one, there was a speedy vet trip and they got split into pairs.

Now, we have them each with their brother. The two Abyssinians are good as gold most of the time, just with a couple of sharp nips when one gets annoyed with the other. They absolutely adore each other and hate it when they're apart for more than about a minute.
The longer haired two are the ones I worry about. They don't seem too fussed about being apart and we've seen a lot of lunging and rumbling between them - especially last night, which is when I panicked and posted this! They only seem to do this in the run though and not so much in their hutch.

No blood has been drawn since we split up the foursome at least!
Make sure they have two of everything, and as much room as possible. Could be a particulary hormonal time which hopefully should quieten down.
 

catcrunchies

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An update on the squabbling with Fandango and Quill - it escalated to biting and then an out-of-hours vet visit for Quill. Poor little guy's got a hole bitten in his ear and a really nasty bite into the base of it. We've separated and we're going to try swapping them around when he's a bit more healed up :(
 
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