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Help! Do My Piggies Get On And Can You Explain The Strange Behaviour

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Amyscoobybarnie

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Hi, Havent posted for a while.

I have had scooby and Barnie for 1 year 4 months.
I cant work out who is the dominant one. Scooby often shows the signs by mounting Barnie and rubble stutting around him but when food (veggies) is involved Barnie will take food off Scooby or if I put my hand out with some food on it Barnie will nudge scooby away with his nose and his paw. My confusion is if Scooby was the alpha male would he allow Barnie to do this?
Scooby usually does his "wiggle bottle" walk just before going to sleep (usually snuggled into Barnie) or when Barnie is washing himself, or, if Barnie is sat in scooby's "area". I understand why he would do it if he thinks Barnie is in his "area" but why does he do it when Barnie is washing himself or before goiing to sleep. Also Scooby is the one that grooms Barnie, if he is Alpha male then wouldnt he be the one being groomed?

My conclusion so far is that secretly Barnie is the alpha (being the bigger one of the two) but plays like an "older brother role" and just allows scooby to do all his stuff and only cares that he has his tastey veggies so only shows his role then. And scooby just (bit like a typical man) likes to think his in control, but actually if Barnie fights back would back down quite quickly as Barnie is the bigger and stronger one. Any more ideas? And why is Scooby always insistant of doing his "wiggle walk" before nap time, only to snuggle into Barnie and when Barnie is having a clean?

Any suggestions as to who is my alpha piggy?
 

sport_billy

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As regards to our sows, when in Season even our bottom piggy will mount those above her in the hierarchy.

Cookie was always second to Treacle and she used to rumblestrut (wiggle walk) to Treacy who just used to ignore her :))

It could be as you say Barnie is extremely chilled and only exerts any authority over food
 

Freela

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It can sometimes be hard for the humans to tell who the alpha pig is, although the pigs themselves know. Some pigs are far more obvious about throwing their status around than others. Some things, like grooming, are not always hierarchical (I've seen our past very dominant pig, Linney, groom a cagemate, particularly if they were ill or had been away for a long time.) Sometimes submissive pigs will rumblestrut and mount their cagemates, particularly if hormones are in play (one of my submissive pigs was a whole different creature when she in season!) Different head pigs have different levels of tolerance when it comes to challenges from the pigs beneath them... whereas Linney was really bossy, our current boss pig, Hadley, is a lot more mellow. The same under-pig (Sundae) gets away with more with Hadley than she did with Linney.

Who follows who if they piggy-train around. I have noticed with my own various pairs over time that most of the time, the boss pig leads the way, both literally and figuratively, especially in new or scary situations. Sundae, for instance, doesn't get out of the cage until the boss has gone. Hadley will come and go without Sundae, but Sundae really doesn't go out alone. Before we got effective baby gates to cordon off a safe zone, Linney and companion used to sometimes make an escape into unknown territory, and it was always Linney in the lead and Frenzy/Sundae behind. When they are outside and hear a strange noise, both will freeze, but Sundae will stay frozen until the other pig goes back to eating. Hadley is never bossy, but Sundae is still obviously watching Hadley for cues to relax, where to go, etc. Just a thought... my guess would be that the pig who goes first most of the time is more likely to be the alpha.
 

Gimz

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I agree with Freela above. With ours, which ever pig is in season tends to be the dominant pig at that time and the others try and get out of their way. Otherwise it depends on the situation.

If it is about sleeping / chill out arrangements then Luna is not to be trifled with and all the other piggies will move out of a hidie if she doesn't want them with her. However she is my most skittish piggie and is always under cover, she is the last to turn up for food and likes to dart out of a hidie, grab food and then dart back in again. The others will all nibble out in the open. Luna will take food off the others if it's a quicker way to eat without coming too far out of a hidie and apart from Treacle, if Luna wants their food then they let her have it and back down. But most of the time she will tolerate sharing chill out space with the other piggies, is pretty placid and is the most likely to be cuddled with another piggie. She also is the most relaxed of my piggies at lap time too, loves being stroked and is very quiet around food time. She is the only one of my piggies that doesn't squeak when the crinckle of the kale packet can be heard by all.

Most other situations then Bella is the most dominant piggie. She barges around making the others give way, turns the other piggies out of a hidie if she doesn't want them in there (except Luna), irrespective of whether she wants to sit in it herself. If a cardboard box is upended then Bella caused it nine times out of ten. She always tries to take food off the others and she is the biggest diva when in season. But in chill out time she is frequently on her own in a hidie. Bella is my biggest piggie.

Ruby is next in line and she will occasionally turf the least dominant piggie Treacle, out of hidies. Her biggest problem is with Bella and they have regular dominance battles (nothing more than a bit of stroppiness). She always backs off from Bella though when push comes to shove, but with lots of indignant squeaks. Strangely Ruby and Luna seem to get on well and have none of these issues and will happily share food and chill out space without a squeak of issue. I think Luna is just more chilled out than confrontational Bella and Ruby likes this.

Treacle gets pushed around by all the other piggies, except at meal times - for some strange reason she holds her own then and will steal food from the others and nose barge them out of the way if they are intruding on her eating range! She gets into food grab battles on stalks of parsley and is more often than not the winner. But in everything else she backs off and it is her loud squeals of resentment that are heard most when someone wants more stretch space and a piggie has to be shoved out. Treacle can get very excited and is always the first to popcorn, always the first to food and always the first to explore something new. She doesn;t really like lap time though - prefers to disappear into the dark recesses of a blanket rather than sit on your shoulder like my other piggies. SHe also doesn't settle anywhere for long - I rarely catch her napping, she is always eating, scratching or mooching about, even if all the others a sleeping.

So in a very long winded way, they all have their quirks, they all have moments when they will become dominant and even though there is a definite hierarchy it depends on the situation and the temperament of the piggie. Your situation will be the same.
 

Amyscoobybarnie

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Thank you for your comments. I found the one about watching who takes the lead and found it very interesting, as it is always Barnie. I had presumed that was more of a confidence thing as Barnie is always the one that enjoys exploring and company. Scooby is a bit of a mommy's boy and has never liked anyone handling him other than me and used to show it by weeing on anybody that tried to hold him (although got better over time) and Scooby usually takes alot more encouragement to come for food. Example I go to the fridge and there kale (Favourite snack) Barnie will run and follow me around squeeking loudlly until I give him some whereas Scooby tends to sit back a bit and I will have to have some in a separate hand a little bit closer to him for him to come get some. When exploring new play areas its Barnie that always takes the lead, and Scooby does that really cute thing where he is a few steps behind and if he stops briefly will run back after Barnie (cant fully explain how cute iit is via message ... but it is very sweet lol)

Overall I think they get on very well together and I am so pleased as they were both the "outcasts" of the group of piggies at the pet shop. Neither of them had there siblings left and I just felt sorry for them but I was concerned being Boars that they would just not get on, but that couldn't be more from the truth! They are so cute together!
 

Freela

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I think it's often that the bolder pigs are more apt to WANT to be the boss than the shyer, more skittish pigs. I can tell you that our submissive pig, Sundae, doesn't even want to be her OWN boss, let alone anyone else's! After spending 4.5 years as the younger companion to our very dominant Linney, Sundae was really distressed when Linney passed away and was very fearful. She wouldn't settle down, she wouldn't leave the cage, and she would wheek for us to come over and pick her up (something she never did when she had a guinea pig companion.) She really seemed not to know what to do with herself. We got her a friend and though that this would give her an opportunity to be the boss, as she was 4 years older and her new companion was a 12-week baby half her size, but she fell quite happily in line behind Hadley (the baby) on first meeting. Some are made to lead, some are made to follow! LOL!
Thank you for your comments. I found the one about watching who takes the lead and found it very interesting, as it is always Barnie. I had presumed that was more of a confidence thing as Barnie is always the one that enjoys exploring and company. Scooby is a bit of a mommy's boy and has never liked anyone handling him other than me and used to show it by weeing on anybody that tried to hold him (although got better over time) and Scooby usually takes alot more encouragement to come for food. Example I go to the fridge and there kale (Favourite snack) Barnie will run and follow me around squeeking loudlly until I give him some whereas Scooby tends to sit back a bit and I will have to have some in a separate hand a little bit closer to him for him to come get some. When exploring new play areas its Barnie that always takes the lead, and Scooby does that really cute thing where he is a few steps behind and if he stops briefly will run back after Barnie (cant fully explain how cute iit is via message ... but it is very sweet lol)
 

orangeinepig

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I think it's often that the bolder pigs are more apt to WANT to be the boss than the shyer, more skittish pigs. I can tell you that our submissive pig, Sundae, doesn't even want to be her OWN boss, let alone anyone else's! After spending 4.5 years as the younger companion to our very dominant Linney, Sundae was really distressed when Linney passed away and was very fearful. She wouldn't settle down, she wouldn't leave the cage, and she would wheek for us to come over and pick her up (something she never did when she had a guinea pig companion.) She really seemed not to know what to do with herself. We got her a friend and though that this would give her an opportunity to be the boss, as she was 4 years older and her new companion was a 12-week baby half her size, but she fell quite happily in line behind Hadley (the baby) on first meeting. Some are made to lead, some are made to follow! LOL!
I agree with this statement so much that some are made to lead and some are made to follow its just like humans :D. When my guinea pig Mars' sister died when she was 2 she moped around all sad until we got a new piggie but she never used to be the boss but held her own with the new pig that was bigger than her and became boss for a bit but now we have a trio it seems to be the middle aged one that is the lead out of all three. :)
 
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