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Does the fight for dominance settle?

HudsonRose

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Nov 9, 2018
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#1
Hi, we have had out 2 male piggies for 2 weeks and both are around 12 weeks old. We bought them from a garden centre where although they are not technically brothers they had been together since young babies and were assured it would be ok. One piggy (he is half teddy breed) is constantly strutting his stuff, low growling and was preventing the other from getting food and water (we now have 2 of everything which helps). I'm concened though his behaviour is ramping up and really worried they will have a full on fight. Last night they were in their play pen and I added 2 new tunnels. In my eyes Teddy wanted to claim this he kept mounting the other one (Aladdin) he managed to knock him over some how onto his back and Aladdin ran away frightened. My question is is this normal? At what point do I stop it? I had 2 male rabbits when I was young who had a big fight and really hurt each other and I desperately dont want the same thing to happen here.Will the behaviour settle? My other question is we have been keeping them inside over the last 2 weeks to keep warm while young and over bonfire night etc but now intend to move them into a big hutch outside. Will the power struggle start all over again to claim dominance of the hutch and this time could be worse as they are 'teenagers'? Sorry for the long post, any help and guidance would be appreciated! Thanks
 

Piggies&buns

Teenage Guinea Pig
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#2
Being together since very young, whether they are related or not, is no guarantee that they will be able to remain together. Teenage hormones kick in and it can unsettle the relationship.
They are at an age where hormones are starting and will continue until around 12-15 months of age. dominance behaviour, chasing, mounting etc is perfectly normal. They have to establish who will be the boss. Hopefully one will back down into a submissive Position in the hierarchy and things will calm temporarily but There are spikes in hormones through out the time so often even if they do settle down between periods, there can be the odd time when things happen again. Do not separate them unless there is a full on blood drawing fight. Separation and reintroduction is incredibly stressful for piggies and causes them to go back to the start and reestablish all over again. If there is a full on fight, then their relationship will not work and they will need to be separated and will need to live apart. Boars who have had a blood drawing fight will not go back together. I have two teenage boars and even though their bond is stable, I am always prepared to separate them and have a spare cage on standby in the event that their relationship turns.
Making sure they have a lot of space, boars need a large cage, to get away from each other is important. A six foot by two foot cage is important for boars. two of all equipment can help.
If you change their environment, then yes, it starts all over again. However, given their age and the fact that they have been inside since you’ve had them and before you got them, now is not the right time of year to be putting them outside. It is too cold for previously indoor piggies to be moved out, it will need to wait until it warms back up in spring time.

Read the guides on here about boar behaviour so you can get an idea of what is normal and when to step in.
 

HudsonRose

New Born Pup
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#3
Thank you for your response. Will it be the case that every time they move to a new environment - outdoor run or indoor run etc they will then have to fight over it? What happens if one has to spend time away from the other at the vet etc could that also cause problems? Should I be careful which one I pet first etc? Thank you
 

Wiebke

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#4
Hi, we have had out 2 male piggies for 2 weeks and both are around 12 weeks old. We bought them from a garden centre where although they are not technically brothers they had been together since young babies and were assured it would be ok. One piggy (he is half teddy breed) is constantly strutting his stuff, low growling and was preventing the other from getting food and water (we now have 2 of everything which helps). I'm concened though his behaviour is ramping up and really worried they will have a full on fight. Last night they were in their play pen and I added 2 new tunnels. In my eyes Teddy wanted to claim this he kept mounting the other one (Aladdin) he managed to knock him over some how onto his back and Aladdin ran away frightened. My question is is this normal? At what point do I stop it? I had 2 male rabbits when I was young who had a big fight and really hurt each other and I desperately dont want the same thing to happen here.Will the behaviour settle? My other question is we have been keeping them inside over the last 2 weeks to keep warm while young and over bonfire night etc but now intend to move them into a big hutch outside. Will the power struggle start all over again to claim dominance of the hutch and this time could be worse as they are 'teenagers'? Sorry for the long post, any help and guidance would be appreciated! Thanks
Hi and welcome!

Please be aware that it is a persistent but long since debunked myth that brothers don't fall out. Key to any successful boar bond is character compatibility and mutual liking - age and being related are not really factors that count. If anything, having just one of a apri going through the teenage at any given time is.
Whether your two boys have the first ( character compatibility) will show when they go through the teenage months between 4-14 months of age; they start with the descent of the testicles and are characterised by intense testosterone flares.

Rumblestrutting and mounting are normal boar things which they do on a daily basis, including all my neutered boars; it is part of their normal social interaction. It is only very mild dominance behaviour and can range from a 'hey, bro, here I am' to showing off their various boy bicepses and muscles (to use comparable human behaviour) to some more meaningful measuring up in terms of strength or the gonads taking over during a testosterone spike.

What I would recommend is that you make sure that your boys have plenty of space, no hideys with just one exit and everything in twos. If you want to move them to a larger space or extend their cage, better to it now before the teenages hormones hit and a stable environment is very important. I would also strongly recommend that you have a cage divider ready and handy, which is going to take quite a bit of any stress out when you know you don't have to scramble if things get on the somewhat dodgy side in future months. but they are going to be on a holly different level of intense. The teenage guide also contains tip on how you can strenghten a bond and minimise any potential flashpoints. ;)

Please take into account that guinea pigs should be treated like tender plants; now is not the time to plant them out!

Please take the time to read these guides here. You will hopefully find them helpful:
Bonding: Illustrated Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Boars: A guide to successful companionship.
Bonding: Illustrated Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?

Cold Weather Care For Guinea Pigs
Tips for fireworks season

Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 

Piggies&buns

Teenage Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
877
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874
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475
Location
Cambridgeshire
#5
Thank you for your response. Will it be the case that every time they move to a new environment - outdoor run or indoor run etc they will then have to fight over it? What happens if one has to spend time away from the other at the vet etc could that also cause problems? Should I be careful which one I pet first etc? Thank you
Not always. i can move my two from outside to inside without any trouble now, but they are used to they’re environments. (Although, my two are outdoor (shed dwelling) piggies and during winter they don’t come inside at all due to the temperature fluctuations, so come next late spring/summer when they do come indoors for playtime, a long time will have passed since they were last in, so I will prepare to see dominance behaviour)

Yes if one has to spend time at the vets, then it can cause issues. If it is a significant time away, then when one comes back you would have to go through bonding on a neutral space etc all over again as if they have never met. If it is just a quick vet visit, or if one has to stay in for a day, then it is usually best to take them both in and have the healthy pig stay at the vets as well.
 

HudsonRose

New Born Pup
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Nov 9, 2018
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#6
Thank you to both of you for your replies, very helpful information though we did our research before buying them we didn't realise how much of an issue this would be. The piggies could potentially go in our shed during the colder nights but it only has small windows so would light levels be an issue? Thanks
 

Piggies&buns

Teenage Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
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#7
Light can be an issue but as long as they get some sunlight during the day. The problem is if leaving a shed door open will let cold in. You cannot put them out in a run on grass during the day this time of year.
The biggest issue with keeping them outdoors (again to reiterate, you cannot put them outside now, not even in a shed unless it is fully heated and insulated, they need to stay indoors until spring) is keeping them warm. Just putting them inside a shed or having a hutch cover is not enough. My boys are used to being outside now and shed is actually a summer house so they have plenty of windows. However, it is unheated and uinsulated and is used primarily to keep them dry and out of the wind. They have, within their hutch, mountains of hay, beds covered with fleece blankets, four snugglesafes between the two of them. Over the hutch I have an old thick blanket, a thermal hutch cover and then a duvet which I can pull over all of it. Things are absolutely fine at the moment but guinea pigs need to be kept between 15 and 25 degrees so I have a plan b and can bring them in if a ‘beast from the east’ winter situation happens again as it will be too cold for them to stay outdoors.
 
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