Guinea pigs have started not getting along

kapbob8

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Hello,
I will try to offer as much information as possible. I have two boars (Oliver & Jackson). They are both unneutered. I have had Oliver for 10 months and Jackson for 8 months.
Oliver has always been extremely friendly, always wants to cuddle. Runs up to the side of the cage when I walk in the room to get petted on. Overall loves people. I purchased Oliver from a small family run petstore in my town.
Jackson I found on craigslist from somebody looking to get rid of their animals. When I arrived to pick him up he was extremely tiny for his age. He was about 320 grams and was born in August, I bought him in December. So he was roughly 4 months old. His ears had also been chewed off by his other cage mates (he still had blood on him when I picked him up). Jackson has never liked people. He doesn't like being petted, touched, or anything. Occasionally he will take food out of my hand but he avoids me at all costs. I try to get him used to it, I pet him everyday and gives him treats but its been 8 months and he is still not getting used to me. What else can I do?
Originally I quarantined Jackson in case he had anything wrong with him before introducing the two. When I first put them together they got along super well! Now that Jackson has gotten bigger and has improved health, hes been trying to challenge Oliver by jumping at him and biting. They also have started teeth chattering at each other.
Cage setup is a 6 ft long by 2.5 ft wide c and c cage. They have 24/7 access to timothy hay, water and timothy hay pellets. They also get their daily veggies. I feed them romaine lettuce, carrots, green pepper, orange, parsley, etc. They get a different mix of stuff daily depending on what I have. They both have little hide boxes and things to play with.
I'm unsure of what to do next because I would like to be able to enjoy both my guinea pigs, not just one of them. I am hoping to gain some insight on how to better bond with Jackson.
Thank you!
 

Piggies&buns

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Welcome to the forum.
Not wanting to be touched is entirely normal for guinea pigs. They aren’t cuddly creatures.

Teeth chattering in itself is an entirely normal dominance behaviour. The guides below explain what is normal behaviour and the last guides gives details of when their relationship could be in trouble. It’s important to be able to decipher the difference between normal dominance (mounting, chasing, rumbling, teeth chattering) and when things are becoming more serious (aggression, fighting). If they are fighting, biting each other and drawing blood then that is likely the end of their relationship and they would need to be separated and live in different cages (but next to each other)

Do read the guides below and if you need more help do ask. We would need to know a bit more about what is happening between the two piggies to be able to comment on what to do next.

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

Fantasimo

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When my boys went through their teens (6 months - 12 months ish) they really got on each other’s nerves. LOTS of teeth chattering, rumbling, squeaking. One lunge, but nothing worse. I found giving them things they could go up onto helped. Like houses with ramps etc. Maybe the added height made them feel more manly 😂🤷🏻‍♀️

Hopefully it’s just growing pains and they will even out with a little bit of time, but it can be tense for a while. As you say, now that Jackson is healthier, they are probably doing the dominance dance.

My boys are 18 months old now and get along just fine 👍🏻
 

kapbob8

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I think that I jinxed myself making this post lol. Late last night they got into a pretty violent fight with each other. They were both basically rolling around the cage biting at each other and screaming for over a minute before I could finally seperate them. In the process Jackson bit me pretty good, might need to have it stitched. Not sure yet as I still have to go get it looked at this morning. The boys are in seperate cages now and I'm not really sure what to do. I don't think they will be able to be housed together after what happened last night. I have seen them try to hump each other and have seen a little bit of teeth chattering between the two but I didn't really expect a violent fight like that to break out. I checked them both over for injury and other than some pulled out hair, it looks lile they didn't get any puncture wounds.
 

Piggies&buns

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I think that I jinxed myself making this post lol. Late last night they got into a pretty violent fight with each other. They were both basically rolling around the cage biting at each other and screaming for over a minute before I could finally seperate them. In the process Jackson bit me pretty good, might need to have it stitched. Not sure yet as I still have to go get it looked at this morning. The boys are in seperate cages now and I'm not really sure what to do. I don't think they will be able to be housed together after what happened last night. I have seen them try to hump each other and have seen a little bit of teeth chattering between the two but I didn't really expect a violent fight like that to break out. I checked them both over for injury and other than some pulled out hair, it looks lile they didn't get any puncture wounds.
I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you are ok.

Sadly now that a full on fight has occurred, they cant ever live together again. Their bond is broken.
They must now remain in separate cages but be kept side by side so they can still interact through the bars so that they don’t get lonely.

Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

Diane H

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So sorry to read your thread. I’ve just had to separate my boys, one inside one outside as of now. May try a reintroduction when they have cooled off but both already seem much happier In their own spaces. I’m heartbroken. I’m sorry you’re going through the same. I hope you get something sorted so everyone is happy eventually. We too will have to now explore our options.
 

kapbob8

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Thank you everyone for your kind messages. I had a smaller kaytee cage for vet trips and stuff like that, so I took the grated top off of it and put that inside their larger cage. I put Jackson inside of the "cage top" portion. They are seperate but can still interact and see each other. They both seem a lot more relaxed and happy now. I caught them sleeping next to each other almost touching through the grates. This might work out as a solution for now. However, occasionally Jackson lunges himself at Oliver pretty viciously so I believe they truly won't ever be able to go together again.
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you everyone for your kind messages. I had a smaller kaytee cage for vet trips and stuff like that, so I took the grated top off of it and put that inside their larger cage. I put Jackson inside of the "cage top" portion. They are seperate but can still interact and see each other. They both seem a lot more relaxed and happy now. I caught them sleeping next to each other almost touching through the grates. This might work out as a solution for now. However, occasionally Jackson lunges himself at Oliver pretty viciously so I believe they truly won't ever be able to go together again.
As long as both of then have enough space - that is each piggy needs a cage of 120cm x 60cm

Sitting next to each other through the bars can be a hostile sign - it can be a territory marking act rather than affection.
 

Siikibam

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It’s good if they’re both now relaxed. Just bear in mind that sleeping next to each other near the grids may just be them each marking their territory, and not a positive sign! Piggies eh 🙄
 

kapbob8

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Oh okay I didn't know it could be territorial! And yeah right now Jackson doesn't have enough space, I need to order some extra grates to be able to divide the cage in half. For a week or so though the cage top should work, I feel bad its a little smaller of a space though!
 

kapbob8

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Also please everybody exercise caution with guinea pig fights, I was wrong in how I handled it and should have been safer. As you know, guinea pig teeth are long, and i would say Jackson's bottom tooth went all the way into my finger. This resulted in my having emergency surgery around 5pm last night to get rid of infected material and to fix a severed tendon.
So please be more careful than I was! Never again will I get between fighting animals with just a thin towel
 
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