Extremely wary boar getting very dominant/aggressive after adding a companion

nlk417

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Edit: title error, it's "wary" not ware. :(

Sorry for the long post, but I'm a new guinea pigs owner and.. I don't know to how ask for advices for my current situation.

About a month and a half ago I got my first Guinea Pig (male), which at the time was about two months old (or so I was told). I did some researchs before taking one of them as I've never had experiences with piggies before. However I was not confident enough to take a couple straight away since I was unsure on how to keep them.. happy? The cage I bought however was quite big for a single one.

However, and right now I think this was a big mistake, I took the one that lookest the most scared and least desired (I waited for a couple weeks and nobody came to take him, while the others were going away every time) than the others out of pity.

He was and still is extremely wary. He never explores but searches for the best place to be left alone. He seems to HATE being near a human, being watched by a human or hearing someone talking. He barely ever accepted food from hands and never, ever, made a "pop" sound. However, he never bite or reacted "aggressively" in any way.

So a few days ago I decided to go and get him a friend. I was quite scared because he kept thinking that I was doing everything wrong with my current one. But since "guinea pigs are social animals" or so I've kept reading online, I tried. I got another male, which is again about two months old. The new one was istantly, COMPLETELY, different. He is very curious and very very open to human contact. His reactions are the complete opposite of what I've been experiencing all this month.

Relieaved, I tried to put them together in a neutral space with the idea of well cleaning the cage before putting them together. This is were problems started. My older one IMMEDIATELY started trying to harass and mount the new one right away, with the little one running around and screaming. I did stop him the first time as I got quite scared by the behaviour and double checked that I got a second male.. which is the case.

So, all this to say: It's been a few days now, they do live together in the same cage. They seem to share food fine. They tend to be together even if they have two hideouts. However, the big one KEEPS doing the rumbling-mating sounds, shaking his butt, and try to mount the little one. This happens every about.. two minutes? All the day long, without interruption. The more time passes the more aggressive he becames and today he started "biting" the fur of the other one, causing a very loud scream.

I have no idea on what to do and how to improve this situation. The little guy is extremely lamblike, even outside of the cage. My older one does NOT want any kind of human contact and at this point I guess no kind of pig-contact as well.. If I take out both of them, they tend to stay together but the older one is pretty much immobile. If don't take out my elder, the other is very active, curious and friendly.
 

Piggies&buns

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Rumbling, mounting are all perfectly normal dominance behaviour and is nothing to worry about. It sounds as if they are doing exactly what they should be doing and establishing their hierarchy. the screaming is probably just the piggy submitting to the now dominant piggy (it may sound like a scream of pain to us but to the piggies it means something different). Once the hierarchy is established then the mounting etc will settle down but it will take time. Leave them together to let things establish. Do not separate them unless there is a full on fight and blood is drawn (Male guinea pigs needs to be kept together permament or separate permamently, so don’t panic, separate them and then try to reintroduce because it often doesn’t work). If it becomes clear that their bond is not going to work - a full on, rolling around fight, which results in injuries and blood, then the bond has failed they will need to be immediately separated and must never be put back together.
Read the guides on this site about boar behaviour and bonding to check what you are seeing matches the descriptions in the guides. You can find them in the guinea pig guides tab in the banner at the top.
 

nlk417

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Oh good spot @sport_billy! That’s something I normally remember to ask!
3ft by 1.5ft is too small for a pair of boars. They need 6ft by 2ft
Cage is far too small you need 140cm x 58cm for two boars
Thank you both for your input, I will look into fixing that asap.

But is it normal or related to that the behaviour of my elder? Aside from the dominance, he does really look like he's under torture and freezes everytime he can hear or see a human while the other is so much more open to contact.
 

Piggies&buns

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It’s probably just his character. Spending time with him, speaking quietly, offering food, no sudden movements usually work and they come round with time but for some piggies, it just doesn’t. I have one such piggy.
I have two boars. One of them is more than happy to chat with me, be out and about when I am around their cage and doing things in their cage, he will take food from my hand and let me touch him (on his terms!). The other one runs for cover as soon as I go near, he has never taken food from me, won’t let me touch him voluntarily. I have followed all advice on how to get him used to me, but he just won’t. I have just come to the conclusion that he is just so much more shy and has a stronger prey instinct - he constantly thinks he is going to get eaten and try as I might, he doesn’t trust me.
 

nlk417

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It’s probably just his character. Spending time with him, speaking quietly, offering food, no sudden movements usually work and they come round with time but for some piggies, it just doesn’t. I have one such piggy.
I have two boars. One of them is more than happy to chat with me, be out and about when I am around their cage and doing things in their cage, he will take food from my hand and let me touch him (on his terms!). The other one runs for cover as soon as I go near, he has never taken food from me, won’t let me touch him voluntarily. I have followed all advice on how to get him used to me, but he just won’t. I have just come to the conclusion that he is just so much more shy and has a stronger prey instinct - he constantly thinks he is going to get eaten and try as I might, he doesn’t trust me.
Thank you again. One last question if you can, should I take them out always together or can also do it separately, at least sometimes? The little guy tend to be much more happier and explorative if he's alone.
 

sport_billy

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You can take them out separately to each other.

I would advise getting a bigger cage and rebonding them Bonding: Illustrated Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics

Your piggy just sounds timid, some piggies are and it can take ages to gain their trust

Guinea Pigs are prey animals which means they have a huge prey instinct, some piggies have this stronger than others.

My advice would be to start trying to hand feed in cage to build trust. Start off putting some nice veggies to your piggy when they are in their hidey, and walk away, after a few times offer the food in the hidey by holding it - if they take it great - if not just pop it down in the hidey. Keep doing this till they take from your hand hopefully they will take it off you as you hold it in for them... after a while try offering it a little further from the hidey so they edge out and take it from you.

You'll have to do this for a few months before attempting lap times again we then attempted laptimes again using a similar method to hand feeding in the cage - We worked at it and would take her out for 30 seconds then pop here home, we did this 3 times a week for around two months, then slowly increased it up to 5 mins via 30 second increments . Each lap session she'd have a sprig of coriander.
But some piggies really hate lap time and we as owners have to respect that, we'd all but gave up with Vimto and used to interact at the bars with her in the cage rather than lap times but by the time she hit 3 she was much tamer
 

Lady Kelly

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Don't separate them unless they have a full on fight. Guinea pigs don't do play dates and every time you separate them and put them back together they have to start dominance from scratch which is extremely stressful for them.

Have you read our bonding threads to check what you are seeing and when to know when a boar pairing is in trouble?
Bonding: Illustrated Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Introducing And Re-introducing Guinea Pigs
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Boars: A guide to successful companionship.
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?

There is also guidelines on cage sizes Cage Size Guide
As you will see the guidelines give a minimum 2x4ft cage for 2 piggies, however, it is widely acknowledged that boars need more space in order to be able to calm down if things get tense etc. The best thing you can do with cage size is go as large as possible in excess of the minimum size and have plenty of two exit hideys - these can be the tunnels, play logs, little plastic footstools - basically anywhere that no pig can be cornered by the other
 

Piggies&buns

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I agree with what lady Kelly has said regarding going bigger for boars. I had a 4ft x 2ft cage for my boars but had to go bigger to stop their bickering and give them more space to get away from each other.
 

Merab's Slave

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Welcome to the forum
I can’t add to the advice you’ve already been given.
Hope it all works out
 

Siikibam

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The dominance behaviour can appear excessive for a first timer. But once you know the purpose of it you can just let them get on with it, as long as no blood is drawn. Our boys didn’t start it until they hit the teenage phase. There was chasing, rumble strutting and mounting/vigorous humping by the dominant pig that went on for at least 2 hours, five or take a few mins when he would stop and ‘rest’. It’s happened twice since they hit the teenage phase, but otherwise they’re settled. Hopefully a bigger cage should help solve some of it. Two of everything as well, in different areas of the cage, should help. Our two have their food in the same area but there are two bowls and I always put in two heaps of hay. All the best.
 
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