Fighting guinea pigs

Pigglespie

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My guinea pigs, we think are female, are just 11 weeks old and are fighting a lot of the time. Up 'til now they have been rumbling and facing off at each other but this morning it got a bit physical. Is this normal for females? Are there any tips for dealing with this?
 

Siikibam

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Wiebke

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My guinea pigs, we think are female, are just 11 weeks old and are fighting a lot of the time. Up 'til now they have been rumbling and facing off at each other but this morning it got a bit physical. Is this normal for females? Are there any tips for dealing with this?
Hi!

Please double check the gender of your piggies. It is likely that one of the sows is coming into season but you need to make sure. Mis-sexing is sadly very common.
Here is the link to our sexing guide: New guinea pigs: Sexing, vet checks&customer rights, URI, ringworm and parasites

Please also be aware that it takes on average two weeks (but can take longer) until a group is fully established in any territory and that you see a lot more dominance behaviour in insecure leaders by default or when the leadership is very much still in dispute; we call the post-intro phase the dominance phase.
It is unfortunately a myth that all sows will get on; mutual liking and a personality match is as important for them as for boars. Sadly most people who buy their pets by them for looks and not for who they hang out most and get on best with. :(
Please take the time to read up on guinea pig behaviours so you can understand and jusdge what is going on:
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

All the links in this thread are part of our much more comprehensive practical new owners information collection, which makes a very useful resource as we address specifically all the areas that we get the most questions and concerns about in the kind of practical and precise detail that doesn't skim over the all the little sticky points. We have also included guides that address the most common pitfalls for new owners and guides that help you learn what is normal and what not.
You may want to bookmark this link here, browse and use it at need. There is some very interesting stuff in there as well!
Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 

Pigglespie

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What do you mean by physical? Apart from rumbling what else are they doing? How big is their cage? And when did you get them and where from? You really need to double check their sex as it seems you’re unsure. Have a read of the links below regarding sow behaviour and dominance behaviour.
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonds In Trouble
By physical I mean they launched themselves at each other. Though they seemed to have calmed again now. We were assured by the breeder they were both female but I wasn't expecting this sort of behaviour from 2 females from the research I had done before hand, so am wondering if there could have been a mistake. Their cage was bought from Pets at Home bought just before we got the guinea pigs and I was advised is the recommended size for 3 adult guinea pigs. Thank you for the links, I'll read through them and will be double checking the sex too
 

Piggies&buns

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Please do check their sexes yourself. Mistakes happen.

Most pet shop bought commercial cages are too small. What are it’s measurements?
For two sows, the minimum a cage should be is 120cm x 60cm but bigger is better. Cage Size Guide
 

Pigglespie

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Turns out that our piggies are both male. Now renamed Bubble and Squeak. Have taken them to the vets and they are booked in to be neutered as soon as they are big enough. In the meantime we have extended our cage which is now 100cm by 130cm and has two sleeping bays and feeding stations. Thank you to everyone for your assistance.
 

Eddie & Elvis

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Hi I just wanted to ask what's the reason for neutering them? Neutering won't change their behaviour in any way so unless a boar is living with sows neutering is not strictly necessary.
 

Piggies&buns

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Turns out that our piggies are both male. Now renamed Bubble and Squeak. Have taken them to the vets and they are booked in to be neutered as soon as they are big enough. In the meantime we have extended our cage which is now 100cm by 130cm and has two sleeping bays and feeding stations. Thank you to everyone for your assistance.
There is no need to neuter two boars who live together, it won’t change their behaviour. All neutering does is stop pregnancies.
The benefit of doing it now is that they will undergo surgery while young so will be stronger for the anaesthetic but also that when the time comes that one passes, you will have the option to bond the piggy left alone with a sow immediately.

The cage extension means their cage is now 14 sq ft (if I’ve done the conversion properly!) which is a much better size for two boars. Ensure all the hideys have two exits, so they can’t get cornered by the other piggy. Ensure you respect their hierarchy by handling the dominant piggy first. I’ll add in some boar guides below

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Neutered / De-sexed Boars And Neutering Operations: Myths, Facts and Post-op Care
 

Siikibam

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:agr: I wouldn’t neuter them unless they don’t get on. Their behaviour won’t change, and if the vet has told you that then you need to find another.
 

Pigglespie

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There is no need to neuter two boars who live together, it won’t change their behaviour. All neutering does is stop pregnancies.
The benefit of doing it now is that they will undergo surgery while young so will be stronger for the anaesthetic but also that when the time comes that one passes, you will have the option to bond the piggy left alone with a sow immediately.

The cage extension means their cage is now 14 sq ft (if I’ve done the conversion properly!) which is a much better size for two boars. Ensure all the hideys have two exits, so they can’t get cornered by the other piggy. Ensure you respect their hierarchy by handling the dominant piggy first. I’ll add in some boar guides below

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Neutered / De-sexed Boars And Neutering Operations: Myths, Facts and Post-op Care
Thanks for the extra info I will look at cancelling the appointment. They were getting very aggressive with one another but this has calmed down and I was having second thoughts.
 

Piggies&buns

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Thanks for the extra info I will look at cancelling the appointment. They were getting very aggressive with one another but this has calmed down and I was having second thoughts.
It’ll only be aggression if they aren’t compatible and if they aren’t compatible, they won’t be able to sort out their relationship and will need to be separated. Otherwise it’ll be normal teen boar dominance behaviour (mounting, chasing, rumblestrutting, teeth chattering). As mentioned though, neutering will not stop this behaviour.
 
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