Help Guinea Pigs Fighting!

Isabela

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Hello, I need serious help.

Lounge Small Pet Cage | Free P&P on orders £29+ at zooplus! This is my cage. It's big and has two floors. My pigs are 4 months old, bought together 3 weeks ago and are both females. At first they were afraid and were always together and hiding and in some time they discovered the second floor. They were each on her own floor and the dominance started. Lola seemed dominant but Luna was not giving up and they were both chattering their teeth and wigling butts. It was lound and Lola started to chase Luna around the whole cage and then I discovered that Luna had a scratch below her eye. I've separated them and each is on her own floor. They seem okay with it. But because I want them together and that they use the whole cage and they are social animals I need your help. I've tried to get them together and they jumped at each other and it was scary. They were also on the floor in my room and since they were out of their cage for the first time and exploring the new area they were fine together. But in about half and hour Lola started to chase Luna again and Luna was afraid again. And yes they each got their own food bowl, hay area and their own bed when they started fighting and it didn't stop. Now this is some serious agressive behaviour that I'm seeing but they loved being together before that happened. I'm so sad that they do that and I really could use some help. People told me on the forums that I need to keep them together, but they could seriously hurt each other and I couldn't live with myself if one got really hurt. Do you think I should try with a divider in the cage and try with that? Because I can't think of anything else I could do. Thank you very much for your answers.
 

Julie M

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They sound as if they have to sort out their dominance phase. Are they actually fighting or just chasing/ nipping at each other.

Your cage is very pretty but I'm afraid it's on the small side. It's floor space on a single level that Guinea pigs need, multiple levels don't count as extra space.
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome

Give your two girls some out-time to calm down. See a vet if necessary for the scratch. it is likely that one of the grils has come into a strong season and that has triggered a new dominance spat.

I am sorry to disappoint you, but what p@h sells as large overpriced cages still doesn't comply with minimal welfare recommendations. Sadly, unless the law changes and councils will enforce animal welfare, far too many people will fall into the shop's money making trap. :(
Guinea pig are ground roamers by nature, so it is the main floor space that counts. Upstairs are welcome extras, but they do not necessarily count towards the overall total. Your cage is at least one of the better small cages.

Please take the time to read this guide here. You should find it very helpful.
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Cage Size Guide
 

RingoandOlly

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I'm sorry but I would definitely get them a bigger cage. Do you think the scratch was accidental or are they actually fighting each other? If they are fighting, you could try a divider but if not they are probably just going through a phase and you should leave them together and keep an eye on them. Make sure to read through those threads linked above ^!
I hope this helps and good luck! x
 

Isabela

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Thank you all for the answers. I can't get a bigger cage, they are given floor time a lot. And I've looked it up and my cage is still okay and big enough for them. It is in the required minimum standards. They loved to run up and down the stairs and exercising. So please don't tell me to buy a bigger cage. I will look up the links you sent me and see what I can find. They jump at each other and it looks like they fight, yes. They are chattering their teeth and standing still and then they jump at each other. So it looks like fighting. I can try to divide the cage with something. But I don't have any grinds for the divider. Can anybody help me? What should I use? And how long should the divider be up when I can try to remove it and try again? Should I try bonding baths?
 

Scooby& Shaggy

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Thank you all for the answers. I can't get a bigger cage, they are given floor time a lot. And I've looked it up and my cage is still okay and big enough for them. It is in the required minimum standards. They loved to run up and down the stairs and exercising. So please don't tell me to buy a bigger cage. I will look up the links you sent me and see what I can find. They jump at each other and it looks like they fight, yes. They are chattering their teeth and standing still and then they jump at each other. So it looks like fighting. I can try to divide the cage with something. But I don't have any grinds for the divider. Can anybody help me? What should I use? And how long should the divider be up when I can try to remove it and try again? Should I try bonding baths?
Hey Isabelle, as someone who dealt with 2 piggies fighting (granted mine are boars) i can say that the bigger the cage the better. Your cage may meet the minimum requirement, but if they have more space they will 100% be happier and also gives each other room when they are going through phases.
As for bonding bath, my experince was thus, it initially worked and seemed like a god send and then within half an hour (after being dried off) they were back at it, a bonding bath is a temp solution in my opinion.
What helped with my 2 boars was time, patience, not forcing them back together until they stopped being aggresive after being split up in honesty this was at most about a month of being seperated but next to each other.
They now share a c&c cage and all is well.
I actually think part of the problem is when they are young and work out who is in charge, this changes when underpig gets bigger than boss pig and decides it's their time to be in charge.
The type of fighting you described doesn't seem that bad IMO, when they are rolling around fighting you'll know its time to seperate, if you do need to intervene have a towel ready.
good luck and please remember people on here are telling you to buy a bigger one because that generally is the best course of action don't be offended.
 

Isabela

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Hey Isabelle, as someone who dealt with 2 piggies fighting (granted mine are boars) i can say that the bigger the cage the better. Your cage may meet the minimum requirement, but if they have more space they will 100% be happier and also gives each other room when they are going through phases.
As for bonding bath, my experince was thus, it initially worked and seemed like a god send and then within half an hour (after being dried off) they were back at it, a bonding bath is a temp solution in my opinion.
What helped with my 2 boars was time, patience, not forcing them back together until they stopped being aggresive after being split up in honesty this was at most about a month of being seperated but next to each other.
They now share a c&c cage and all is well.
I actually think part of the problem is when they are young and work out who is in charge, this changes when underpig gets bigger than boss pig and decides it's their time to be in charge.
The type of fighting you described doesn't seem that bad IMO, when they are rolling around fighting you'll know its time to seperate, if you do need to intervene have a towel ready.
good luck and please remember people on here are telling you to buy a bigger one because that generally is the best course of action don't be offended.
Thank you very much that was helpful. And what do you think about the picture above? Do you think that would work? it would be a lot more space and they can start on the floor and have a temporary home there and then they can use all three floors. It would be very big, bigger than on the picture.
 

Wiebke

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What if I would do something like this? This would help with the space. But first I need to get them to like each other..

View attachment 73730
That would be great and will give them more space - they are obviously going to need any space you can afford to give them, which is why we are bringing it up. It can help to stabilise the bond. it is obvious that you are a caring owner and have looked for a cage that gives your girls as much space as you can.

Jumping at each actually is a very strongly worded "stay away from me" in piggy language unless it really is a full-on flying tackle. It depends on the reaction of the other piggy whether there is going to be a real fight or not. (you can find it explained in the bonding/social behaviours guide I have link into my first post.
Sows generally prefer not fight outright, but yours seem to have not resolved the dominance issue and are obviously not the happiest of pairings, so there is always a risk that these issues can flare up again. Sow bonds end up in failure much less often than boars, but it can unfortunately happen that the personalities just don't mesh and that both of them want to be top and are not willing to give in. :(

When you bond at some point in the coming days, please follow the tips in our bonding guide and use the run grids to form a bonding pen well away from the cage, so it counts as neutral territory. With sows a bonding bath is not necessary (and with boars only in very limited circumsances). It is usually just an added stress factor in a situation where you want to have as few stress factors involved as you can.
Buddy baths have unfortunately become the cure-all "insider tip" online over the ast few years, but have in our practical experience not contributed in any positive way to the ultimate outcome of a bond. When the chips are down, it is the piggies who decide whether they want and can get on with each other or not. there is nothing you can do about that apart from removing any external stress factors.

You may want to get some cheap sheet plastic, old cotton towels or disposable puppy pads and some acrylic fleece bedspreads to use in the roaming pen in order to prevent your floor being messed up and soiled.

Please give your girls time to calm down again; that can easily take a day or two after they have really worked themselves up. Have you got some cardboard that you can use as a temporary divider?
 

Julie M

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What if I would do something like this? This would help with the space. But first I need to get them to like each other..

View attachment 73730
That looks fantastic. They would love that. I would also put down some sort of coverage on the floors. Good luck and if you follow the bonding guide above you won't go wrong. It will either work and they will live together or they will be unwilling to live together.
 

Isabela

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That would be great and will give them more space - they are obviously going to need any space you can afford to give them, which is why we are bringing it up. It can help to stabilise the bond. it is obvious that you are a caring owner and have looked for a cage that gives your girls as much space as you can.

Jumping at each actually is a very strongly worded "stay away from me" in piggy language unless it really is a full-on flying tackle. It depends on the reaction of the other piggy whether there is going to be a real fight or not. (you can find it explained in the bonding/social behaviours guide I have link into my first post.
Sows generally prefer not fight outright, but yours seem to have not resolved the dominance issue and are obviously not the happiest of pairings, so there is always a risk that these issues can flare up again. Sow bonds end up in failure much less often than boars, but it can unfortunately happen that the personalities just don't mesh and that both of them want to be top and are not willing to give in. :(

When you bond at some point in the coming days, please follow the tips in our bonding guide and use the run grids to form a bonding pen well away from the cage, so it counts as neutral territory. With sows a bonding bath is not necessary (and with boars only in very limited circumsances). It is usually just an added stress factor in a situation where you want to have as few stress factors involved as you can.
Buddy baths have unfortunately become the cure-all "insider tip" online over the ast few years, but have in our practical experience not contributed in any positive way to the ultimate outcome of a bond. When the chips are down, it is the piggies who decide whether they want and can get on with each other or not. there is nothing you can do about that apart from removing any external stress factors.

You may want to get some cheap sheet plastic, old cotton towels or disposable puppy pads and some acrylic fleece bedspreads to use in the roaming pen in order to prevent your floor being messed up and soiled.

Please give your girls time to calm down again; that can easily take a day or two after they have really worked themselves up. Have you got some cardboard that you can use as a temporary divider?
Thank you very much for your answer. I've read your links and they are amazing, I will save them. I agree with your post and will try to do as you all advised.
I also have another question. Let's say that they use this new floor space and get along with some dividers. When I'll add the hutch ramp so that they can use the whole cage again do you think they will fight over the ''new space''?
And as for the floor bedding goes, I'll use fleece and old towels. I'm very happy with that and am using it already. I want to recommend also pvc tablecloth that I use underneath the towel and fleece. I love it.
I will use the divider once the new floor is ready and I will buy the grids. How long should I keep the divider up? Up to one day or more? Should I try a couple of times to remove the divider to see if they get along already?
 

Isabela

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That looks fantastic. They would love that. I would also put down some sort of coverage on the floors. Good luck and if you follow the bonding guide above you won't go wrong. It will either work and they will live together or they will be unwilling to live together.
Thank you very much. I'm so happy that all of you are so friendly and are helping me. It's sucks to see your pets fighting and it would be great if all of this would work. I'll let you know :)
 

Reenie

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Good luck! I hope it all goes well. I'm using a plastic table cloth under towels and fleece at the moment for a couple of my guys, and you're right - it's great.
 

Isabela

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Good luck! I hope it all goes well. I'm using a plastic table cloth under towels and fleece at the moment for a couple of my guys, and you're right - it's great.
Thank you! I'm happy you're satisfied too!
 

Scooby& Shaggy

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.

Jumping at each actually is a very strongly worded "stay away from me" in piggy language unless it really is a full-on flying tackle. It depends on the reaction of the other piggy whether there is going to be a real fight or not. (you can find it explained in the bonding/social behaviours guide I have link into my first post.
Hey @Wiebke , after watching my two more rambunctious boys for hours on end when I was having difficulty I noted that a lunge from one pig to the other is tame when it comes to a proper fight. I know you mentioned the it also relates to how the other piggy reacts but surely there is different classifications of a lunge.
I say this because the two bad boars still have their fallouts but happily share food bowls and beds now.
I think what I was trying to say is when you have seen the very extreme end of the scale a lunge isn't that bad and breaking them up on what might be an owner's caring over reaction could have further detramental effect.
 
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