Help With Bonding

Molly123

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Hi there,

I recently got a cage mate for my 3-4 month old boar. My new piggy is about 2 months old. I have had them separated and have just started to introduce them on neutral ground.

Marble, my older male, has continued to live in his hutch while Jinx, my new male, has been living in a cage placed next to Marble. I take them out and place them in a pen with lots of treats, toys, and hideys for about 1-2 hours a day. This is the third time I’ve done this (they’re in there now as I’m typing). Marble chases, humps, and licks Jinx even as he runs away. I know this is normal, but I am curious as to how long this behavior will last. I would like to have them in a cage together eventually.

Tonight is the first I’ve seen Marble rumblestrut. They’re interactions have not been aggressive but I’m afriad they may become so - I’ve been supervising per the forums.

About how long will it take, or does it usually take, for Marble to completely establish dominance and will cease these behaviors? How long until I can keep them in the same cage?

When they’re in the pen Jinx makes submission noises the entire time until I take him out. He’s accepted Marble as the dominant but Marble continues to chase, hump, and drag his bottom for the scent. Are we on the right track here?

Jinx follows Marble around and squeaks constantly. I don’t want him to be traumatized. Jinx is quite a bit smaller than Marble.

Marble’s scent he releases when the two of them together is awful. I’m guessing it’s his testosterone?

So again, my questions are:
How long does it usually take for two male guinea pigs to adjust to one another?
Even though Jinx has seemed to take the second role, Marble is not convinced. Will he ever realize he is officially the dominant?
When will I be able to tell they get along well enough to live together?
Is keeping them separated and doing 1-2 hours in a pen together a good idea? Or does taking them out and keeping them separated otherwise set back any potential progress?

I am going to try a buddy bath either tonight or tomorrow.

Any answers and advice would be appreciated. I just want them to be happy. It’s hard to watch Jinx be treated this way. I keep myself from separating them, as no blood has been drawn and no biting has occurred.

Best,
Molly
 

Pluto&Astro

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From what I read online it could go up to two weeks maybe longer in some cases. Really my piggy sometimes doubts it when the less in control piggy get more attention. From what I think give it a few days let them interact and see if he accepts.

Best of luck!
 

Molly123

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From what I read online it could go up to two weeks maybe longer in some cases. Really my piggy sometimes doubts it when the less in control piggy get more attention. From what I think give it a few days let them interact and see if he accepts.

Best of luck!

Do I keep them together constantly during this period? Or separate cages and have supervised interactions?
 

Pluto&Astro

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At first I'd place them on nuteral ground and then try a cage with a divder leave them at that and keep placing them on nuteral ground and once you and the piggies comfortable with them being next to each other try letting them meet in the cage.
 

Wiebke

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Hi there,

I recently got a cage mate for my 3-4 month old boar. My new piggy is about 2 months old. I have had them separated and have just started to introduce them on neutral ground.

Marble, my older male, has continued to live in his hutch while Jinx, my new male, has been living in a cage placed next to Marble. I take them out and place them in a pen with lots of treats, toys, and hideys for about 1-2 hours a day. This is the third time I’ve done this (they’re in there now as I’m typing). Marble chases, humps, and licks Jinx even as he runs away. I know this is normal, but I am curious as to how long this behavior will last. I would like to have them in a cage together eventually.

Tonight is the first I’ve seen Marble rumblestrut. They’re interactions have not been aggressive but I’m afriad they may become so - I’ve been supervising per the forums.

About how long will it take, or does it usually take, for Marble to completely establish dominance and will cease these behaviors? How long until I can keep them in the same cage?

When they’re in the pen Jinx makes submission noises the entire time until I take him out. He’s accepted Marble as the dominant but Marble continues to chase, hump, and drag his bottom for the scent. Are we on the right track here?

Jinx follows Marble around and squeaks constantly. I don’t want him to be traumatized. Jinx is quite a bit smaller than Marble.

Marble’s scent he releases when the two of them together is awful. I’m guessing it’s his testosterone?

So again, my questions are:
How long does it usually take for two male guinea pigs to adjust to one another?
Even though Jinx has seemed to take the second role, Marble is not convinced. Will he ever realize he is officially the dominant?
When will I be able to tell they get along well enough to live together?
Is keeping them separated and doing 1-2 hours in a pen together a good idea? Or does taking them out and keeping them separated otherwise set back any potential progress?

I am going to try a buddy bath either tonight or tomorrow.

Any answers and advice would be appreciated. I just want them to be happy. It’s hard to watch Jinx be treated this way. I keep myself from separating them, as no blood has been drawn and no biting has occurred.

Best,
Molly
Hi and welcome

Please carefully read our bonding guides. You have to accept that every bonding includes a dominance phase that lasts on average about 2 weeks during which guinea pigs establish a working hierarchy and a group identity, which is at the core of all their social interactions. You have to sit out that phase, as hard as it is, and not interfere unless there is a real fight, or your piggies are never going to bond.

Please also be aware that you cannot bond piggies with short meetings; they never get the time to work through the whole bonding process and get more and more frustrated. Especially boars have to start right from square after every separation.

I know that buddy baths are still touted online as a fail-safe magic bonding trick. However, as our members can attest, this is not true. They do not contribute to the ultimate outcome and are in fact, counterproductive rather than helpful apart from one very limited situation where removing the testosterone stink in nearly fallen-out and short-term separated teenage boars can help re-intros after a night apart. In all other cases, a bonding bath is not necessary.

Please also be aware that boars mainly bond by rumblestrutting; this allows them to measure up against each other and resolve dominance without fighting; it is something most boars do all the time. Mounting, whether that is mutual or one-sided is also a typical male bonding behaviour. if both sides accept it, then you are fine. If one side isn't, then a bond fails.

Whether your boys will gel depends ultimately on whether they are character compatible and want to be together. There is no trick that can force them to - the same goes for humans. You won't like somebody just because you are told to be friends, and the more you are pushed, the less you will. The same goes for guinea pigs.
Give them the best setting and plenty of time in the bonding pen (not their cage) and if necessary even an overnighter in the bonding pen until everything is settled and stable enough for a transfer to the cage. or if there are fights with bites, accept that it is not going to happen.

Please take the time to carefully read our very detailed illustrated bonding guide that talks you through the whole process step-by-step, from the preparations to the end of the dominance phase: Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
 

VickiA

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All the behaviour you describe sounds perfectly normal but please don’t separate them UNLESS there is a full blown fight & blood drawn. With boars you must start the bonding & see it through to the end regardless of the outcome.
Please read the guides properly and see it through to its conclusion whether that’s a bond or no bond.
 

Molly123

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All the behaviour you describe sounds perfectly normal but please don’t separate them UNLESS there is a full blown fight & blood drawn. With boars you must start the bonding & see it through to the end regardless of the outcome.
Please read the guides properly and see it through to its conclusion whether that’s a bond or no bond.
I do think they are bonding. The dominant behaviors are not constant throughout their interactions. They do and snack on things next to each other. They have even cuddled next to each other.

Marble has not shown any signs off aggression. I’m just worried if I put them in a cage together too soon the outcome could potentially be bad - as I’ve scared myself reading all these posts. Everyone who sees them in the pen together assumes they’re friends but I know they’ve only met each other a couple times. I have their cages set next to each other. I think I’ll try the divider in the hutch tonight or tomorrow. I clean Marble’s hutch completely once a week and I do spot cleans and bedding changes a few times throughout the week. Before putting them both in there I’m going to use the vinegar suggestion to clean the cage and eliminate some scents. Is that a good idea?

I bought a second set of everything when I got Jinx (water bottle, bowls, toys, bed, etc.) to eliminate potential fights when they are together. I don’t think there will be a problem with them bonding; I waited until I found the right piggy for me and Marble

So what I’m gathering and observing is they’re on the right track. I should probably stop separating them after the interactions (which seem to be going well per the threads). I’ve not been pulling off Jinx while they’re together, rather separating them when it’s time for bed (for me) since I obviously can’t watch them while I’m alseep.

Thanks for all the help!
 

Molly123

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Hi and welcome

Please carefully read our bonding guides. You have to accept that every bonding includes a dominance phase that lasts on average about 2 weeks during which guinea pigs establish a working hierarchy and a group identity, which is at the core of all their social interactions. You have to sit out that phase, as hard as it is, and not interfere unless there is a real fight, or your piggies are never going to bond.

Please also be aware that you cannot bond piggies with short meetings; they never get the time to work through the whole bonding process and get more and more frustrated. Especially boars have to start right from square after every separation.

I know that buddy baths are still touted online as a fail-safe magic bonding trick. However, as our members can attest, this is not true. They do not contribute to the ultimate outcome and are in fact, counterproductive rather than helpful apart from one very limited situation where removing the testosterone stink in nearly fallen-out and short-term separated teenage boars can help re-intros after a night apart. In all other cases, a bonding bath is not necessary.

Please also be aware that boars mainly bond by rumblestrutting; this allows them to measure up against each other and resolve dominance without fighting; it is something most boars do all the time. Mounting, whether that is mutual or one-sided is also a typical male bonding behaviour. if both sides accept it, then you are fine. If one side isn't, then a bond fails.

Whether your boys will gel depends ultimately on whether they are character compatible and want to be together. There is no trick that can force them to - the same goes for humans. You won't like somebody just because you are told to be friends, and the more you are pushed, the less you will. The same goes for guinea pigs.
Give them the best setting and plenty of time in the bonding pen (not their cage) and if necessary even an overnighter in the bonding pen until everything is settled and stable enough for a transfer to the cage. or if there are fights with bites, accept that it is not going to happen.

Please take the time to carefully read our very detailed illustrated bonding guide that talks you through the whole process step-by-step, from the preparations to the end of the dominance phase: Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics

Thank you! So helpful.

I’ve had small animals for about 7 years, mainly rats. After my last rat Turnip passed away I’m August I couldn’t bring myself to get another rat. She was the absolute best. She was arthritic and old for a rat. I took her to a vet specializing in small animals (same one for the boys as she is awesome), and all we could do was make her comfortable until it was her time.

When I met Marble I was smitten. And since I rescued him I have been looking for the right match. I believe Jinx is a great fit.

I’ll try the overnighter tonight and hopefully tomorrow night too. Would you advise me bathing them separately? Or no baths at all right now? I don’t generally bathe Marble as he does a good job cleaning himself. If he’s stinky I’ll just wipe him with a warm cloth and make sure his cage is super clean.

So the separating after their interactions is a set back? I was afraid of that.

Guineas are a who new territory to me. I’m excited to learn more and more each day. There’s a ton to learn and it’s been very interesting.

I still give Marble bonding time with just me. He likes to be held - he will wheel when he wants to come out and I usually pet him and snuggle him while he purs a bit. Then I’ll put him back in his hutch or in a pen if I can tell he wants to be active. If he’s falling asleep (being super still - eyes open [which I’ve found is the usual way they sleep]) I’ll put him in his bed and have his fleece semi- over him.
I do the same with Jinx but I haven’t snuggled with them simultaneously yet. I do change my shirt because I read that the smells left on clothes can be a bad thing. Is that true?
 

Wiebke

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Thank you! So helpful.

I’ve had small animals for about 7 years, mainly rats. After my last rat Turnip passed away I’m August I couldn’t bring myself to get another rat. She was the absolute best. She was arthritic and old for a rat. I took her to a vet specializing in small animals (same one for the boys as she is awesome), and all we could do was make her comfortable until it was her time.

When I met Marble I was smitten. And since I rescued him I have been looking for the right match. I believe Jinx is a great fit.

I’ll try the overnighter tonight and hopefully tomorrow night too. Would you advise me bathing them separately? Or no baths at all right now? I don’t generally bathe Marble as he does a good job cleaning himself. If he’s stinky I’ll just wipe him with a warm cloth and make sure his cage is super clean.

So the separating after their interactions is a set back? I was afraid of that.

Guineas are a who new territory to me. I’m excited to learn more and more each day. There’s a ton to learn and it’s been very interesting.

I still give Marble bonding time with just me. He likes to be held - he will wheel when he wants to come out and I usually pet him and snuggle him while he purs a bit. Then I’ll put him back in his hutch or in a pen if I can tell he wants to be active. If he’s falling asleep (being super still - eyes open [which I’ve found is the usual way they sleep]) I’ll put him in his bed and have his fleece semi- over him.
I do the same with Jinx but I haven’t snuggled with them simultaneously yet. I do change my shirt because I read that the smells left on clothes can be a bad thing. Is that true?
No baths. Whether you need to leave your boys in the bonding pen overnight or not depends very much how well the bonding goes. You can move your boys into the neutralised and cleaned cage anytime after they have had a nap together and are still fine with each other afterwards.

Please do NOT bathe and do not change the shirt. They are fine with smelling each other - please read the bonding guide (chapter about the run up to a bonding); you can find all the relevant information in there. ;)
 

Molly123

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44DA77D4-01C0-4898-9D13-4653EAD18BCE.jpeg 44DA77D4-01C0-4898-9D13-4653EAD18BCE.jpeg Update: the boys did really well on they’re first night together in the pen! I’m so excited. Anytime I woke up I would check on them and they were in bed together. This morning when I was getting ready for work they were running around and playing. Jinx seems to love Marble and will follow him around and make little noises. Marble doesn’t seem to mind being followed. They will even snack next to each other now.

Marble is still mounting but not as much as the first times I had them in the pen together. I’m not worried about that anymore since it’s normal. Gave them both pets and attention separately before leaving for work.

I’m looking into constructing a large hutch for them that can open up and lead out into the pen. I would prefer a hutch that I could close off while I’m gone since my roommate has a dog. The dog has met both Marble and Jinx and the boys aren’t scared by him. Marble has known the dog since I got him. Since Finn (the dog) has lived with small animals all his life (I think I had mentioned I had rats for quite a few years before my last rat passed away in August), Finn isn’t aggressive with any of them. I would still like to have something to close off while I’m gone; I do close my door when I’m not home. Been doing a lot of research on hutches and Marble’s is only big enough for him - I’ve been looking for commercial hutches but I’m a sculptor and know how to work with wood so I feel I can build one myself (probably enlisting the help of some friends) that I can customize completely and make the most of the space inside.

09D530CB-C4DA-4196-A8A6-422B35AC446B.jpeg
 

VickiA

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Good to hear they had a peaceful night together.
Is that a salt lick in the photo? If so, I would recommend that you remove it as piggies don’t need salt licks and there is some evidence that they can be detrimental. I know that pet shops still sell them but I wouldn’t give one to my piggies.
 

Molly123

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Good to hear they had a peaceful night together.
Is that a salt lick in the photo? If so, I would recommend that you remove it as piggies don’t need salt licks and there is some evidence that they can be detrimental. I know that pet shops still sell them but I wouldn’t give one to my piggies.
Oops! Thanks for letting me know!
 
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