Guinea pigs not getting along

MERV_CUFC

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Good evening, I dont believe my guinea pigs are getting along, we have a 120cm cage and 2 or more of everything for 2 guinea pigs but 1 will constantly grunt and chase the other one and it has been 3 weeks and they are sisters born together. My children are so upset and I don't know what to do. We get them put for exercise everyday using a wooly hat to move them as to get used to us and they get more than enough veg etc. The one being chased also has bits missing out of her ear. I am at a loss and am fearing that they won't get along and need to make the sacrifice of rehousing the aggressor and having a single guinea pig as she is much happier without the other one around. Please help?
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
13,571
Reaction score
16,540
Points
2,125
Location
Cambridgeshire
How old are they?

You need to work out whether what you are seeing is actually them not getting on or whether it’s dominance.
Do all your hideys have two exits? An enclosed hidey is a prime place for problems to occur if one piggy feels cornered.
As a 120cm cage, it does meet minimum size requirements but could it be a space issue. While it does meet minimum size, some piggies just need more room - but with that said if two piggies don’t get on then no amount of space will solve that.

As above though, if they don’t get on then they need to be separated but you can’t keep one piggy alone. You would have to keep them side by side or if you are going to surrender one, then you’d have to arrange a new friend for the one you keep.

Bonds In Trouble
 

MERV_CUFC

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
10 weeks old there hides have an entrance and exit. I have ordered a 2 tier cage now to see if that is the problem. However the dominant one is relentless over everything constantly on her if she goes in one hide she chases her out into the other chases her out. Food bowls etc, whilst the less dominant squeals ro high heaven all the time this is happening and is really rough on the bumping and I have noticed there is bits missing out of her ears. It is that bad the dominant one can rush past her when out and the other one squeals like something is coming her way. The dominant one also makes this grinding sound constantly, best way to explain the noise is like the predator from the film.
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
13,571
Reaction score
16,540
Points
2,125
Location
Cambridgeshire
What size is the new cage? Is it any bigger on the ground level? Unfortunately being two tier does not make the cage bigger - upper levels don’t count so they need their space to be large enough on a single level.
The squealing is submission squealing. it sounds dramatic, but it is a good thing - she is telling the dominant piggy that she knows her place and that she is no threat to the hierarchy.
The dominant also has her pick of hides so chasing the other out is normal.
It’s about deciphering whether it’s going beyond dominance and into bullying though.
is the submissive putting on weight and allowed to eat and rest?
 

Free Ranger

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,237
Reaction score
1,517
Points
650
Location
South Oxon UK
The predator noise might be teeth chattering (a threat - it sounds just like a very aggressive pair of those fake false teeth) and the bits missing from ears isn't a good sign. If it's more of a deep throaty rumbling noise accompanied by an entertaining bum-rolling walk that's rumble-strutting and it's a dominance thing but not so much a direct threat... boars do it to show off to the ladies but sows do it too. And it's awful if the children are upset by what's going on. You might find that even with a larger cage where they can get right away from each other then that's exactly what they do... and they sit alone as far away from each other as possible. I was recently talking to a lady who had a 2-tier cage and that's apparently what her girls did - her neutered boar divided time between them but the dominant sow was a bully and the little sow stayed little, as she was constantly getting chased away from food bowls.

If you get them out and put them in a huge space - maybe on the floor (bathroom?) with dangers blocked off and only 2-exit hideys how does it go? Is one still fearful and the other merciless or does it calm down? And if you've had them for three weeks(?) has it been like this all the time or has it got worse? Does it calm down at night or do you hear things still going on?

If you do get a bully and you end up removing the other one to keep them safe, you'd expect the under-piggy to perk up - sometimes they do but sometimes they cry to be back with the only other pig they know which is sad. And if you give up and put them back together things don't improve. If you adopt from Blue Cross they have animal behaviour experts to support you through things like this for the life of the piggy... I'm assuming these weren't rescue but they might still be able to give advice if you have one near you? (Sorry, don't know where you are in the UK) or you might contact the pet shop to see if they can advise? There are always options to explore. Well done for noticing this because seriously not everyone would and some pigs can be miserable for a long time x
 

MERV_CUFC

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
She does eat but it is only in small doses and it doesn't take long for the other one to notice and chase her away. We get them out in a large pen on the living room floor daily and the submissive one stays under the bridge we have for them while the dominant one runs around. From the beginning to now I would say it has gotten worse, I have not heard them through the night however my wife has but states it is not as bad as through the day. We just feel really bad for the submissive one and we can feel the tension between them if you know what I mean and am worried that we will come down one morning and find there has been an attack on the submissive one.
 

MERV_CUFC

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
Unfortunately we do not have the floor space for a larger singular floor cage. We do plan to put them outside once able in a larger cage with a run, however fear we won't make it until then.
 

Siikibam

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
16,995
Reaction score
20,501
Points
2,125
Location
Kent
What is her weight like? Is she putting on or losing? Has this been happening every day since they came home? Is there any way for you to stretch the space to 140x60cm? Or to connect the playpen to the cage so they have constant access? I’m wondering if more space would help. Have a read of the guide below and see where the behaviour sits. The issue is you don’t want to separate too soon.

Unfortunately being sisters doesn’t mean anything. They have to like each other in order to live together. Being related is no guarantee.
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
13,571
Reaction score
16,540
Points
2,125
Location
Cambridgeshire
The issue with switching your cage for a two tier cage is if it is still a 120cm then it’s not given them any more room but also because it’s two levels they’ll actually lose floor space on the bottom level because of the ramp taking up some space. If your dominant is hogging things and claiming areas as her own then a ramp can become such a point - if she claims the ramp as hers then she can stop the submissive ever using it anyway. As I said, a 120 is the minimum for two sows and in theory it should be ok, but sometimes they just aren’t And they need a little more room. However, if there truly is a problem between them then giving them any more space isn’t going to fix it.

The submissive’s weight is a factor here , if she is losing weight through constantly being chased away from food, or is appearing withdrawn and depressed, then that is a sign that there is bullying going on which means separating them. You will then need two side by side 120x60cm cages. They will need to be able to interact through the bars. (Although is sometimes easier to spot in boars than sows).

Bonds In Trouble
 

MERV_CUFC

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
She isn't losing any weight in fact the submissive one is the bigger of the 2, but the dominant one has always been more petite shall we say, i wouldn't say she hides all the time either. Is it weird that the more submissive one is used to us and the dominant one is more scared of us? Could this be a factor?
 

MERV_CUFC

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
25
Location
UK
We do make sure there is plenty of food and water at all times also.
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
13,571
Reaction score
16,540
Points
2,125
Location
Cambridgeshire
She isn't losing any weight in fact the submissive one is the bigger of the 2, but the dominant one has always been more petite shall we say, i wouldn't say she hides all the time either. Is it weird that the more submissive one is used to us and the dominant one is more scared of us? Could this be a factor?
No, its not weird. The dominant is the more nervous of my two when it comes to human interaction

If she isn't losing weight and is allowed to eat then that's good. I would keep a close check on her weight and their behaviour in general. It can be trickier to determine bullying in sows - with boars is a more full on fight and that's the end of their relationship, but with sows they can be bit more underhand about it! They are approaching their teens and its possible its just hormones. Read the links we have added in and see if anything stands out in terms of what you are seeing in their behaviour.
 
Top