• UK storm warning - Danger of unseasonal high winds and falling trees! Please secure any hutches and sheds, and bring your guinea pigs and rabbits indoors if possible! Click Here for info

Do I Seperate My Boars And Get Them Girlfriends?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Nina

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jan 28, 2015
Messages
39
Reaction score
25
Points
175
Location
Norfolk, England
Hi everyone,

I'm in a bit of a predicament and was hoping for some advice from people with more experience. I have 2 boars (Dexter a Texel and Munroe a Peru) they are approx 5 and a half / 6 months old. Initially Dex was the more dominant of the two, but around Christmas the dynamic began to change. Dominant behaviour began to appear and got worse and worse until Christmas week I thought I was going to have to seperate them as they had progressed to serious dominance and lunging at each other. I persevered and sat next to the cage for hours when they were having an awkward moment but wanted to give them a chance. And slowly, things improved and Munroe took the dominant position however the dominant behaviour has never disappeared competely. I'm worried that Dexter isn't completely happy, there is still teeth chattering (mild), yawning, some chasing and mounting. When they have floor time, Munroe chases Dex about and mounts him. Whilst they aren't at a point where they NEED to be seperated as they're going to hurt each other I'm worried that Dexter isn't happy. He's also not putting weight on in the same way Munroe is (they have 2 of everything and he is definitely eating food/veg/hay in the right quantities) whilst he isn't underweight, I'm not sure if he's just a different build being a Texel?

Their new cage is two stories so could be split into two quite easily with enough room. Today I've found two gorgeous eight week old females (and obviously I've fallen in love!) but I want to make the right decision for my boys, it has to be for them not me. Whilst I wouldn't go as far as saying they're both very unhappy, could they be happier?

The hormonal phase started the same week Munroes balls dropped and I'm worried I could have further problems when Dexters do (or maybe his just won't!) But I know it's a strong possibility. I don't want to let the opportunity pass whilst I have it (although I always know there will be piggies looking for a home) but I want what's best for the boys, I would feel mean splitting them as they do love each other when they want too lol. But at the same time I want them to both be happy - whilst I hadn't planned to have four piggies, the dynamic with my set up is doable and other than extra cuddles (oh no!) I'm not worried about them being much more work than my boys.

I just really wanted the opinions of others with more experience than me, as honestly I'm in a bit of a dilemma and I want my boys to be happy.

Thanks in advance!

Nina
 

Nina

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jan 28, 2015
Messages
39
Reaction score
25
Points
175
Location
Norfolk, England
I should have added that obviously the boys would be castrated well before they would be put with the girls!

Nina
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
66,434
Reaction score
32,701
Points
3,456
Location
Coventry UK
The best way to check whether a boar bond is still working is a short-term trial separation. If Dexter is perking up very noticeably when away from Munroe, he is clearly not happy in that relationship. If the boys want to be back together, then you also have got your answer. You can try these trial separations sparingly when things are touch and go between hormonal boars, but you cannot do them all the time or they will become an additional strain on a fragile bond.
You can reintroduce the boys back again on neutral ground.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/

I would recommend to serve any food and pellets in several smaller servings rather than one or two big ones that are left to sit in the cage. See whether that makes a difference with the weight. Please weigh all healthy guinea pigs once weekly. Your boys should now be past the phase of the initial major weight gain. You can adjust the gradual decrease of the amount of pellets to the handful or half per piggy per day that mature adults need (from ca. 15 months old) with the help of regular weighing, too.

Crises in teenage boys generally happen around 4 months at the onset, then there is often a difficult time at 6 months old (where you are now) and another one between 8-10 months of age. It is more boars that have so far gotten along rather peacefully that can hit a snage around 12-14 months of age. This is my observation after several years of being on guinea pig forums and trying to coach members through the tricky months. Most fall-outs/fights of boars that are not character compatible happen either at 4 months old or at 6 months old. After that, things can be touch and go, but they can often be got through.
 

Nina

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jan 28, 2015
Messages
39
Reaction score
25
Points
175
Location
Norfolk, England
Thanks Wiebke! I really appreciate your advice!

Mum and I were just talking about it and she summed it up perfectly when she said it's like they tolerate each other. Where all our previous GP's have always called for each other when apart, the boys really dont. Granted they are both very quiet boys anyway compared to my past pigs. Dexters actually more likely to talk to the dogs when out (he has a particular romance with one of my Poms!) and far more likely to nuzzle with one of the dogs than Munroe. When one does nuzzle it's normally rebuffed by the other. During floor time, Dex actually seems quite happy by himself (I often get him out first) and he popcorns his way around the room, but once Munroe comes out he just gets chased down and mounted until Munroe gets bored of it. Then Dex is quite happy to potter around without looking to Munroe for comfort whilst Munroe is sleeping in the corner.

We're actually feeding them like you suggested, I think I saw the advice on here before I became a member myself and the growth spurt has definitely slowed down now. Maybe Munroe is naturally just going to be a bigger piggy, but honestly my gut is telling me part of the issue with Dex is just that he isn't as happy as he could be.

That timing sounds spot on, they would have been 4months when it all kicked off, poor Dex has actually got a little scar by his eye from the first time they flew at each other. Once things calmed down I was hoping I'd see improvements over time, but honestly things have just stayed the same, they've just been out for their evening lap time / brush together and as soon as they've been put back in the cage I've had bum wiggling, some teeth chattering, yawning and the like, before they've eventually plonked themselves seperate ends of the cage. We're now at 6th months and there really hasn't been any change.

I guess my main concern is that I'm either going to have to seperate them and I know I don't want them living individually. Which leaves me either rehoming one (which would break my heart) or getting them casterated and putting them with ladies. My main concern is the casteration and whether I'm putting them at unnecessary risk - although saying that we do have an incredible vet...

If I'm being honest, I think I know what the answer is in my gut it's just my human sentiment that feels like it would be mean to seperate them as they've always been together! It's amazing just how madly you can fall for these little rodents!

Nina
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
66,434
Reaction score
32,701
Points
3,456
Location
Coventry UK
I am very sorry for your worries; you are a very caring mummy and only want your piggies to be happy. I've spent many a sleepless night over piggy dynamics and relationships myself, so I feel for you!

If you are looking at neutering, please be aware that this includes ideally a full 6 weeks post operation wait until they are 100% safe. I have the unplanned daughter of a supposedly safe over 5 weeks post op boar living with me, so it can really happen as late as that! I have since heard some more cases. I have yet to hear of an over 6 weeks post op pregnancy even though all the good standard rescues with a neutering policy practice the same recommended deadline - and believe me, word would make the rounds! ;)
We can give you tips on how to best prepare for post op care and what you need to look out for. Because it is an elective operation, it is one which is much harder to take if it goes wrong.

The current age is probably the most difficult to rebond any fallen-out boars; they are at their stroppiest right now. Unfortunately, your closest recommendable piggy savvy rescue is Wood Green in Godmanchester, but if you and your mum can make it a day out to find a new mate of their choice, be it boar or sow for added stability and the sake of getting guaranteed healthy and not pregnant mates, then it may be well worth it!
 

Nina

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jan 28, 2015
Messages
39
Reaction score
25
Points
175
Location
Norfolk, England
I'm glad its not just me! I sat up until the early hours over Christmas to make sure they weren't going to hurt each other. Like I said I had never intended to have four pig's but I honestly don't think I could face the other option of rehoming one of them, and as we technically have the space for two more... (although I'm not quite sure if dad would agree with us on that one!) The only other issue will be limiting floor time, as I'm assuming that will have to be done in pairs too...

I woke up this morning to teeth chattering, so I definitely think I'm doing the right thing, if they haven't settled in the two months since it all came to a head, will they ever settle? Whilst neutering has its risks, if they'll be happier in the long run I think it'll be worth it for them both. I have had a boar castrated in the past and it all went along without a hitch, even post op we had no problems at all. So its really good to know that advice will be there, is it common for there to be issues? I'm just very lucky that I'm in a position with an excellent vet who honestly I would trust with my own life, that makes the decision far easier from that perspective!

Unfortunately Wood Green is just that bit too far for us in our current situation, although I have been watching their website closely over the last few weeks! Getting there would be a big big issue :/ Godmanchester also seems to pair all their piggies up before they go up for adoption too. Luckily the place I got my boys from is excellent, there are A LOT of places in our local area I wouldn't go near with a barge pole - in fact pretty much anywhere else! They also had an older pair who have been in since christmas that they can't rehome - apparently one keeps getting accused of biting, having handled her I can honestly say she doesn't, she just likes to explore with her mouth! However they've been having dominance issues with them, so probably not ideal for the boys given their current predicament. Thank you so so much for all the advice, its been a few years since we last had cavies and i've never had issues like this in the past, so its been very reassuring - especially the dominance threads I read over christmas before I joined which saved me from having a complete meltdown!
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
66,434
Reaction score
32,701
Points
3,456
Location
Coventry UK
I'm glad its not just me! I sat up until the early hours over Christmas to make sure they weren't going to hurt each other. Like I said I had never intended to have four pig's but I honestly don't think I could face the other option of rehoming one of them, and as we technically have the space for two more... (although I'm not quite sure if dad would agree with us on that one!) The only other issue will be limiting floor time, as I'm assuming that will have to be done in pairs too...

I woke up this morning to teeth chattering, so I definitely think I'm doing the right thing, if they haven't settled in the two months since it all came to a head, will they ever settle? Whilst neutering has its risks, if they'll be happier in the long run I think it'll be worth it for them both. I have had a boar castrated in the past and it all went along without a hitch, even post op we had no problems at all. So its really good to know that advice will be there, is it common for there to be issues? I'm just very lucky that I'm in a position with an excellent vet who honestly I would trust with my own life, that makes the decision far easier from that perspective!

Unfortunately Wood Green is just that bit too far for us in our current situation, although I have been watching their website closely over the last few weeks! Getting there would be a big big issue :/ Godmanchester also seems to pair all their piggies up before they go up for adoption too. Luckily the place I got my boys from is excellent, there are A LOT of places in our local area I wouldn't go near with a barge pole - in fact pretty much anywhere else! They also had an older pair who have been in since christmas that they can't rehome - apparently one keeps getting accused of biting, having handled her I can honestly say she doesn't, she just likes to explore with her mouth! However they've been having dominance issues with them, so probably not ideal for the boys given their current predicament. Thank you so so much for all the advice, its been a few years since we last had cavies and i've never had issues like this in the past, so its been very reassuring - especially the dominance threads I read over christmas before I joined which saved me from having a complete meltdown!
Many rescue places advertise only their paired up piggies, but they often have singles for dating. it is always best not to just go on what is on the website and to contact them directly. ;)

Wishing you all the best with your boys and finding them suitable friends.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top