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Macy&Penelope

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A few months ago I got my two year old female Guinea pig, Macy, a companion. I got a 2 month old female, Penelope. Penelope was naturally submissive to Macy and was actually only comfortable when with Macy. Penelope is still extremely dependent on Macy (she doesn’t like to move too much if she doesn’t know where Macy is). In the first few weeks, Macy was expressing dominant behaviors as expected. Then eventually the aggression died down after another week or so. Lately, Macy has been acting up. If Penelope goes near her (beside her but not always even touching) Macy will jab her and chase her away. When Penelope runs away, Macy will sometimes run to chase Penelope even more. There is also difficulties with eating. I give them both lettuce and generally give Macy a slightly larger piece so Penelope will have time to eat since she is slower. Macy will still finish first then steal Penelope’s. Sometimes Macy will eat a bit of her own then abandon it JUST to steal the baby’s.

I heard that when babies reach a certain age they will try to gain dominance, however I have never once seen the baby do anything besides walk next to or behind Macy. It has always been Macy to bite, chase, and lick (I heard that’s also sign of dominance) Penelope. I would be okay with all of this if it was occasional but this happens countless times a day. Sometimes even affecting my sleep due to how loud they are.
I have a 3.5x2 C&C cage with two water bottles and two food sources on different sides of the cage. And two sources of hay on one side of the cage but still a good 8 inches apart. I have an igloo, a hay hut, tunnel, and willow bridge.

Also the baby doesn’t use her hidey house (the hay hut since Macy has claimed the igloo as her own) at all, she may occasionally take her food into her hay hut but generally sleeps outside in the open which makes no sense because she is really skittish, running if I do so much as sit up or stand up from giving them their treats.

So as for dominance is there any “bonding exercises” for guinea pigs 😂? Or am I overreacting? For food should I maybe put a large pile in the middle of the cage for them to take as they please and so they have an equal chance? And is there anything wrong with my guinea pig avoiding the hut? Please help, thank you!
 

Lady Kelly

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Guinea pigs will steal food from each other, it's a statement of dominance. Oddly the one I see so the most isn't dominant buts that's probably why I see it as she will try to steal from her two cage mates mouths unsuccessfully before taking from the bowl (maybe it's because she doesn't yet trust me and knows the food is safe).
When you say Macy has been acting up do you mean she is displaying more aggression? Sows can go through strong dominance behaviours when in season especially if they are having a strong season but this usually lasts a few days (I spent a good hour at a time with short peaceful intervals for a whole day with Bumble persistently chasing Jemima and trying to hump her and they were both very vocal about it). However, increased aggression can also be a symptom of ovarian cysts so it's worth keeping an eye out for other symptoms of you feel it's prolonged aggression.
 

Freela

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They sound quite normal to me. One of the perks of being the top pig is the ability to grab food from underlings, and also the ability to kick underpigs out of preferred hiding spots. Sometimes underpigs will take food from the boss pig too. Sometimes this goes better than others! Chasing and mounting is also very normal, sometimes with a 'shriek' from the underpig (which basically just means they are not challenging the dominant pig.) With sows, a strong hormonal season can kick normal dominance behaviors into overdrive, but that should subside fairly soon. It's also pretty normal for some pigs to doze out in the open if they feel comfortable doing so. Mine often share a pigloo at night, but will take turns during the day... with the underpig being the one who gets turfed out most often! It certainly sounds within the range of normal behaviors. Some dominant pigs are bossier than others as well... our present boss pig, Hadley, is pretty much a benevolent ruler, our last head pig (Linney) was absolutely a tyrant queen! LOL!
 
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