Dominance? Bonding? Fighting?


New Born Pup
Aug 3, 2020
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I need help. I am new to the guinea world. I will tell you that I researched and read like crazy, but I know that is nothing in comparison to having actual experience with piggies. I just adopted 2 new Guinea pigs that are skinny pigs (for my kids but cared for and supervised by me) and both are boys. One is 7 weeks old and the other is 11 weeks old. We have had them for about 3 weeks. The first 2 weeks were uneventful, they seemed to be really fitting into our family, were great with my kiddos (who are 7 and 9). The kids hold them at their chest and they seem to like it. Then we went on vacation for 6 days and my neighbor who did a great job watching them let me know that it looked like they but each other on each others cheeks this past Thursday. (I checkered and she said they had enough food and water each day when she would check on them 3-4 times each day). We have been home since Friday morning and we had another instance overnight that looked like bites (no gouges, just pin needles) on the 11 week olds butt. So all this time I have been doing some research and I have cleaned their cage again, made sure they have had an ample amount of food and water, and then last night I finally decided to put a separater in their cage over night and then took that out in the morning so they could be together while we were home. It was all good till this evening when the 7 week old had another mark on his cheek, so now I have them separated again. I have never witnessed any aggression that I know of (only a little purring, but no teeth chattering or lunging) just climbing over one another and a little butt nudging, etc. What do I do? I have not slept as I do not want any harm to come to either and am reaching at straws...all I have done is read and watched videos all day. I emailed the breeder and sent pictures and she said it looked like normal dominance claiming and with skinnies they will show more because they done have hair. Please help. What am I missing? Is this normal and I just need to relax (I have gone into freak out mode as I just hate to see pain for any animal) I am new to this and need to learn.


Forum Donator 2020/21
Aug 2, 2018
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As skinnies don’t have fur, any little nip will show up more.
Please don’t keep separating them and putting them back together though. The 11 week old is approaching his teens and will start to show more dominance as hormones rise but separating them mistakenly or prematurely can upset their bond. You need to let them sort out the hierarchy between them. If you do see fights then it is immediate and permanent separation. However, if they are in fact bites it could mean they are fighting rather than a well judged nip so you do need to keep an eye on them. As youngsters, there is no guarantee that they are compatible so you have to keep an eye on them once they hit their teens, know the behaviours you are seeing and when their bond is or isn’t working.

Is their cage big enough? Two boars need 180cm x 60cm/6ft x 2ft. Lack of space between boars can cause problems. Always ensure there are two of every item - two food bowls, bottles, hay piles. Ensure at least one hidey per pig and that they have two exits. Don’t use enclosed hideys as it means a piggy can get cornered. Always ensure you handle the dominant piggy first to respect their hierarchy.

I’ll add in some guides below which may help you.

I’m also going to add in another member who has a skinny and may be able to help further @PigglePuggle

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs