Boars not getting on so well...

Watsoon

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Hiya,
I’m just looking for some advice.
I have two boars, brothers; Winston and Wilbur. They are now about 2 and 1/2 years old and have been together since birth. Recently I changed their cage around, I have a 3x5 c&c grid and just made it so it was 1 level lifted off of the ground with one of the coroplast bases (for storage reasons and my family has now got a puppy so if she ever gets upstairs she can’t get to the piggies).
I don’t know what has happened but since this Wilbur has been constantly chasing around Winston. He was always the more dominant before and they had little chases every now and then but this seems to be constant. He’s also humping him all of the time and Winston is rumbling a lot.
Poor Winston was then injured in his back legs (not sure if it was from Wilbur but is quite likely). We have seen a vet and he has some pain killers and she said he was lame in his back legs- follow up appointment is tomorrow. They are now separated with a divider but Winston is constantly chewing at the bars to try and get to Wilbur, he managed to sneak under once or twice!
I am unsure what has caused this sudden aggression from Wilbur. They used to get on so well. There has been no blood or chunks of fur or anything like that, it just seems to be the chasing.
I did used to have a 2x3 loft made from c&c grids on top but they never really used it, maybe Wilbur feels vulnerable without so much cover and hiding spaces? I’m unsure. This was taken off a good few weeks before I elevated the cage and they seems fine.
I'm really confused as to why this has happened all of a sudden. I’d be really sad if my boys had to live as neighbours and not “roomies”.
Just wondered if anyone has any advice or experienced something similar.
thanks I’m advance!
 

Piggies&buns

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Changing their cage around constitutes a change in environment. Changing environment which will cause an increase in dominance while they reestablish their relationship in a new territory, and as such it’s why it’s best to keep their environment the same, or if a change is necessary to ensure soiled bedding is used in the new set up so it will still smell of them so they will still see it as their territory. This isn’t normally a long term problem in bonded boars, they’ll settle back down if they really do want to be together.

Now you have separated them, you will need to go back through the steps of neutral territory rebonding. If they still want to be together, then it’ll be clear. You can then thoroughly clean down their cage, remove the divider and out them back in the cage together. You will see the same increase in dominance while they reestablish themselves again.
If something has gone wrong in their relationship, then it’ll show when you put them back together in the neutral territory pen and that means that they will need to live as neighbours.
It’s important you dont misconstrue normal dominance for aggression though - chasing, mounting, rumbling is normal behaviour and isn’t a problem. It’s only an issue if bites, fights, blood occur.

The guides below will help with further information

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

Watsoon

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Changing their cage around constitutes a change in environment. Changing environment which will cause an increase in dominance while they reestablish their relationship in a new territory, and as such it’s why it’s best to keep their environment the same, or if a change is necessary to ensure soiled bedding is used in the new set up so it will still smell of them so they will still see it as their territory. This isn’t normally a long term problem in bonded boars, they’ll settle back down if they really do want to be together.

Now you have separated them, you will need to go back through the steps of neutral territory rebonding. If they still want to be together, then it’ll be clear. You can then thoroughly clean down their cage, remove the divider and out them back in the cage together. You will see the same increase in dominance while they reestablish themselves again.
If something has gone wrong in their relationship, then it’ll show when you put them back together in the neutral territory pen and that means that they will need to live as neighbours.
It’s important you dont misconstrue normal dominance for aggression though - chasing, mounting, rumbling is normal behaviour and isn’t a problem. It’s only an issue if bites, fights, blood occur.

The guides below will help with further information

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?

Thank you for your reply! ah okay! I see.
I had so separate them unfortunately due to Winstons injury and the vet also recommended this. Wilbur was trying to chase him about and jumping him when he couldn’t walk properly so sadly they had to be separated as Winston heals.
How long would it usually take for them to settle? This was about 2&1/2 weeks and the chasing was constant until Winston could no longer walk properly:(
He’s improving whilst being separate! Luckily they’ve been neighbours before and reintroduced fine so hopefully I can again.
 

Siikibam

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I don’t know that you can be 100% sure that the injury was due to Wilbur chasing, mounting and humping him. It’s not a good idea to separate ill piggies as that can sometimes change the bond.

Once they’re moved in again, it may again take two weeks for them to settle their hierarchy and relationship. Hopefully it will go well.

Humping is normal. Wilbur was just asserting his dominance is all. It can look worse than it is to us humans. I remember when Toffee and Fudge hit their teens. There was one evening where Toffee was incessantly humping, chasing and mounting Fudge. He’d stop for a minute or so and go at it again! Went on for some hours. I couldn’t keep watch as I had to get some rest before work that night.

The important thing is that one of them submits and accepts being the underpig.

You can continue this thread for support when you’re doing the bonding. Read the guides linked above and watch the videos in the introduction thread as well.
 

Watsoon

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I don’t know that you can be 100% sure that the injury was due to Wilbur chasing, mounting and humping him. It’s not a good idea to separate ill piggies as that can sometimes change the bond.

Once they’re moved in again, it may again take two weeks for them to settle their hierarchy and relationship. Hopefully it will go well.

Humping is normal. Wilbur was just asserting his dominance is all. It can look worse than it is to us humans. I remember when Toffee and Fudge hit their teens. There was one evening where Toffee was incessantly humping, chasing and mounting Fudge. He’d stop for a minute or so and go at it again! Went on for some hours. I couldn’t keep watch as I had to get some rest before work that night.

The important thing is that one of them submits and accepts being the underpig.

You can continue this thread for support when you’re doing the bonding. Read the guides linked above and watch the videos in the introduction thread as well.

considering the vet said his injury was potentially spinal I definitely stick by the decision to separate them. The vet said even if it wasn’t caused by Wilbur the constant humping would not help him heal, especially when he can’t remove himself away as he couldn’t walk properly (he was sort of dragging himself by his front legs).

I’m hopeful things will go well with the reintroduction. Sadly they had to be separated previously as one had a URI that could have spread to the other:( luckily I know how to reintroduce piggies as I’ve done it plenty in the past:)

I’m glad to hear someone else had the chasing and humping on a constant! I did try and wait it out and that’s why I didn’t separate until Winstons injury.
Winston has usually been fine at being the submissive piggie so hopefully that will continue:)
 

Piggies&buns

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All the best for his recovery and the rebonding.

As a side note, it is not recommended to separate for a URI. A healthy immune of a companion is usually strong enough to fend off a URI, so transmission from one to the other is not a given. Also, by the time symptoms are present in one piggy, the companion is already exposed to the bacteria anyway so separating at that point is futile.
 

Siikibam

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Is he likely to get full use of his legs back? Was the injury before separation?

Fingers crossed bonding goes well.
 

Watsoon

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All the best for his recovery and the rebonding.

As a side note, it is not recommended to separate for a URI. A healthy immune of a companion is usually strong enough to fend off a URI, so transmission from one to the other is not a given. Also, by the time symptoms are present in one piggy, the companion is already exposed to the bacteria anyway so separating at that point is futile.

ooh brilliant, I didn’t know that so if (heaven forbid) a piggie ever gets one again I won’t separate, thanks for the advice!
 

Watsoon

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Is he likely to get full use of his legs back? Was the injury before separation?

Fingers crossed bonding goes well.

they are unsure if he’ll ever get the use back properly:( he’s got another follow up appointment tomorrow at midday so I shall see what the vet says. He’s doing better though, moving about and he does run every now and then but sort of bunny hops his back legs together.

And yes the injury was before the separation. I separated as soon as I saw him like that and called the emergency vet because he was very unresponsive. I’ve never seen a piggie like that.
Wilbur wouldn’t leave him alone just trying to chase and hump him but the poor boy couldn’t go anywhere:(
Winston is so desperate to get back to Wilbur though, Wilbur doesn’t really seem bothered.
 
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