Help! Four girl guinea pigs all fight

Ruderadrienne

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Hello,
Background:
I have been a guinea pig owner for 1.5 years now. I am 21 years old, I’m a pre vet student at MSU, and I’m dedicated to the health and well being of animals. I LOVE each of my guinea piggies so much that’s why this is stressing me out so much. I have had them checked up at the vet multiple times, the vet confirmed they are all girls and they are all healthy. They are all around 1.5 years old.

Problem:
1.5 years ago I got 2 of them. They always would have dominance battles, and I had to separate them once they drew blood. Months later, I got a 3rd guinea pig. I tried pairing her with each of the others, but they were trying to draw blood constantly. Months ago, I got my last and 4th guinea pig. She lived decently happy with the 3rd one for several months. A couple weeks ago, they started having dominance battles. I let them as they did not draw blood. Then it started becoming very concerning with constant hissing, teeth chattering, rumbling, and launching at the other CONSTANTLY. I had to separate.

**now I have all my 4 guinea pigs separated with bars in between them so they still see, smell, and hear each other**

Each one has 8 square feet to themselves, constant hay supply, water, yummy veggies, nice fleece bedding and toys.

Question:
my guinea pigs seem SO happy individually living, I mean SO happy. They love cuddling with me, popcorning around their cage, making cute noises, etc. Can they really live individually like this for the rest of their lives? I don’t want to risk another blood fight.
 

Siikibam

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As long as they have interaction through the bars are not alone ‘alone’ then it can work. Have you tried different pairings, except the ones that really don’t get on?
 

Wiebke

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Hello,
Background:
I have been a guinea pig owner for 1.5 years now. I am 21 years old, I’m a pre vet student at MSU, and I’m dedicated to the health and well being of animals. I LOVE each of my guinea piggies so much that’s why this is stressing me out so much. I have had them checked up at the vet multiple times, the vet confirmed they are all girls and they are all healthy. They are all around 1.5 years old.

Problem:
1.5 years ago I got 2 of them. They always would have dominance battles, and I had to separate them once they drew blood. Months later, I got a 3rd guinea pig. I tried pairing her with each of the others, but they were trying to draw blood constantly. Months ago, I got my last and 4th guinea pig. She lived decently happy with the 3rd one for several months. A couple weeks ago, they started having dominance battles. I let them as they did not draw blood. Then it started becoming very concerning with constant hissing, teeth chattering, rumbling, and launching at the other CONSTANTLY. I had to separate.

**now I have all my 4 guinea pigs separated with bars in between them so they still see, smell, and hear each other**

Each one has 8 square feet to themselves, constant hay supply, water, yummy veggies, nice fleece bedding and toys.

Question:
my guinea pigs seem SO happy individually living, I mean SO happy. They love cuddling with me, popcorning around their cage, making cute noises, etc. Can they really live individually like this for the rest of their lives? I don’t want to risk another blood fight.
Hi and welcome

What were their ages and backgrounds when you got your girls?
They sound very fear-aggressive to me, which is not at all uncommon. Depending on the age, ovarian cysts can also cause interactive problems. It is sadly an urban myth that sows get on, as I know from my own experiences with adopting some trickier piggies...

If they are happy with having their own territory but can interact through the bars by scent/pheromones body language and voice, then there is nothing you need to worry about.
At one time, I've had my own quartet of widows refusing to live with any of the others despite all of them having a group background and three of them having actually lived together in the same large group at some point. Eventually I managed to get three of them to accept company again (two became friends and the third moved in with her sister and her sister's new husboar after several tries over a number of months. The last one died as a single...
And my dumped single lady Beryn has taken me 1 1/2 years and I don't know how many different failed bonding attempts with neutered boars, groups, sows and even babies (which scared her literally stiff!) to work past her fears and social deficits to finally shack up with a totally non-aggressive bereaved group undersow. I am still amazed that they are actually still together and getting on well (although Beryn has her moments and I have to take care that there are always two of the favourite fabric tunnels...)

You may find these links here helpful and informative to hopefully understand better what is going on and what you are up against:
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Moody guinea pigs: Depression, Bullying, Aggression, Stress, Fear and Antisocial Behaviour
 

Ruderadrienne

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Hi and welcome

What were their ages and backgrounds when you got your girls?
They sound very fear-aggressive to me, which is not at all uncommon. Depending on the age, ovarian cysts can also cause interactive problems. It is sadly an urban myth that sows get on, as I know from my own experiences with adopting some trickier piggies...

If they are happy with having their own territory but can interact through the bars by scent/pheromones body language and voice, then there is nothing you need to worry about.
At one time, I've had my own quartet of widows refusing to live with any of the others despite all of them having a group background and three of them having actually lived together in the same large group at some point. Eventually I managed to get three of them to accept company again (two became friends and the third moved in with her sister and her sister's new husboar after several tries over a number of months. The last one died as a single...
And my dumped single lady Beryn has taken me 1 1/2 years and I don't know how many different failed bonding attempts with neutered boars, groups, sows and even babies (which scared her literally stiff!) to work past her fears and social deficits to finally shack up with a totally non-aggressive bereaved group undersow. I am still amazed that they are actually still together and getting on well (although Beryn has her moments and I have to take care that there are always two of the favourite fabric tunnels...)

You may find these links here helpful and informative to hopefully understand better what is going on and what you are up against:
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Moody guinea pigs: Depression, Bullying, Aggression, Stress, Fear and Antisocial Behaviour
Thank you so much for your response, it means a lot! It sounds like you can understand my situation really well because of your piggies. Thank you for bringing up the ovarian cyst thought, because I have a slight feeling that one of them may have that, which may have caused the most recent arguments and separation. I made a vet appt for her for Saturday and we will see how it goes.
 

Ruderadrienne

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Thank you so much for your response, it means a lot! It sounds like you can understand my situation really well because of your piggies. Thank you for bringing up the ovarian cyst thought, because I have a slight feeling that one of them may have that, which may have caused the most recent arguments and separation. I made a vet appt for her for Saturday and we will see how it goes.
I got 3 from the pet store as babies but I rescued one from a Craigslist ad, and she’s the one I’m taking in to get looked at for a possible ovarian cyst.
 

Wiebke

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I got 3 from the pet store as babies but I rescued one from a Craigslist ad, and she’s the one I’m taking in to get looked at for a possible ovarian cyst.
Please read up on fear-aggression in bonding. It is a very common problem, especially with sow bonding.
 

Ruderadrienne

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Will do! Thank you so much. I’m very grateful to finally get advice from someone who knows what their talking about
 
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