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Help With You Fighting Boars - Phase - Or Worse?

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rufcjoe87

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Hi

Apologies for the long post!

I'm looking for a bit of help with fighting boars. I have read other posts and the sticky's but I would love a little clarification if that's ok? :)
I have 2 boars, Henry and Arthur both 4-5 months old. We bought them together from the same pet shop about a month ago. They have been fine and steadily getting more confident.

Yesterday I came home from work to teeth chattering, up on the haunches etc. Arthur then chased Henry round (Arthur is slightly bigger and looks to be the dominant one). After a minute or two and a few nips they came together and fought, only for about 30 seconds and there was no blood. (Arthur does sometimes jut nip at/mount Henry, who takes it - think he just decided to fight back!)
Anyway they stood there chattering and did the same again so we separated them into their play pen.

After about an hour we put Henry in the play pen too (they are still wary of the pen and the hope was they would bond together over both being a little wary).

We went and bought 2 separate pigloos (rather than the 'communal' bed in the cage. Put them back after cleaning cage out and they were fine - ate together - slept separately, lovely.

This morning however, they were in the same piglloo and scuffling again, so we separated them. Then both in the play pen, seemed ok, Arthur a little irritated at sniffs from Henry, I then put them both back and Henry went into his bed and Arthur stood chattering his teeth in the doorway. I managed to get Athur into his bed and a few mins later Henry came out and Arthur could see him n didnt do anything - then i left for work.

My question is this - is this normal behaviour for this stage (i know the phases etc - just not sure at what point it's more than dominance behaviour) if so am i dealing with it correctly?
If it is not normal behaviour for this stage - how long do we give it until we separate them permanently. Obviously i don't want to do this and hope it's just 'a phase'. I have read a tonne of stuff on it but wonder if you guys could help.
Should i buy a new cage with a separator - will they grow out of it - should I leave them to it etc?

Any help appreciated n thanks for reading :)
 
How big is the cage - they always say bigger is better.

What I would definitely do is remove the hides as from your description they don't have two exits and I'd hate for one piggy to get cornered during these periods of aggression. Tunnels could be a better idea as the non dominant piggy can escape if cornered inside.

Also add two food bowls and scatter feed so neither can prevent the other from eating.

It may well be the boys are taking a dislike to each other, it is however good blood has not been drawn.

Hopefully other's will have some more advice.
 
hi

it is L95 x W57 x H46cm. I'll take out the beds and maybe put a few tubes in. They seemed to have 'their own' beds last night but Arthur was going into Henrys this morning.

We have 2 of everything already and always place fresh veg etc apart so they can both get some (we did notice Arthur trying to stop Henry eating)

No blood or even injuries as yet - so am still hopeful just a phase - but definitely more than just a chattering and they are coming together.

Thanks for you advice - any further would be appreciated :)
 
Hi!

Your boys have unfortunately hit the big teenage hormones, which generally last between 4-14 months of age. Whether they will actually last the whole distance is very much up in the air and depends on how dominant/character compatible they are in their adult male identity. It is going to be a long haul for you with several periods of rampaging hormones still in the offing. The fact that they are the same age and have not been paired up for character compatibility means that you are facing a somewhat higher risk of a fall-out.

Please try not to interfere too much unless there are real fights or impending real fights; this can additionally unbalance things. Please always use oven gloves when handling riled-up boars. A full-on instinctive bite can permanently damage your hand.

I would strongly recommend to plan for a bigger cage that can be easily split and rearranged if you need to separate your boys at any stage. Have a look at adaptable and extendable C&C cages in our housing section, which are not any more expensive than overpriced, too small traditional pet shop cages.
Please be aware that a move to a new territory is going to trigger another bout of dominance. Use some soiled bedding and uncleaned hideys to make the new place as much "theirs" as possible and also use the same layout of their things to keep things low key.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/cage-size-guide.120795/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/member-gallery-c-c-cages-homemade-cages.53210/

Sadly, unlike rabbits, neutering guinea pig boars will not help as it doesn't curb personality clashes.

As we have members from all over the world, we find it very helpful in adapting any advice and recommendations to what is available or possible where you are straight away if you please added your country, state or (for the UK) your county or major city to your details . Please click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. In your case, it would enable us to go through your specific options in case things don't work out, as they depend to a large extend on your location.
 
Hi

Thank you for your response. I am more than happy to put the work in and don't mind the long haul - in the hope they come out of the other side!

We have started seperating them a few times a day regardless - i can see form your advice this is not a good idea - only if they fight? Perhaps I won't interfere - other than usualy daily cuddles as part of taming process, unless they look about to fight. I will also get a couple of tunnels to replace the pigloos so they can escape. I have checked on them at lunch and all seems to be calm (of course I can't know what they have been like during the morning) so they are not constantly fighting, which is a good thing. Maybe there is still hope?

I will look to get a bigger cage with a divider as this would be an easier way of separating them.

I really hope they can come out of the other side as friends - other than not interfering and 2 of everything - is there anything i can do to stop them falling out completely?

Thank you all again for your time.
 
Hi

Thank you for your response. I am more than happy to put the work in and don't mind the long haul - in the hope they come out of the other side!

We have started seperating them a few times a day regardless - i can see form your advice this is not a good idea - only if they fight? Perhaps I won't interfere - other than usualy daily cuddles as part of taming process, unless they look about to fight. I will also get a couple of tunnels to replace the pigloos so they can escape. I have checked on them at lunch and all seems to be calm (of course I can't know what they have been like during the morning) so they are not constantly fighting, which is a good thing. Maybe there is still hope?

I will look to get a bigger cage with a divider as this would be an easier way of separating them.

I really hope they can come out of the other side as friends - other than not interfering and 2 of everything - is there anything i can do to stop them falling out completely?

Thank you all again for your time.

Please observe piggy protocol and always feed, cuddle and handle/groom the more dominant of the boys first. Try not to interfere with their dynamics if possible.

All you can do is to minimise any flash points for altercations, like having everything in twos, each same item spaced well away from the same item, so it can't be hogged. Please the hay rack or hay tray in the middle or even have two of them, so both boars can always have access and not hog it all. Boars at that age really need all the space they can get, so they can get away from each other and have their own little "territory". That is the biggest help you can give them.

Sadly, guinea pigs are not the easy living cuddly toys as which they are widely sold. Considering that they are social animals, they have distinct likes and preferences. Right now, the testicles have stared to descend, so that is sending them off. There will be other spikes, another bad one generally around 6 months and then an often very difficult period around 8-10 months old. Fall-outs over a year old usually happen only between boys that have had a very peaceful ride right until the last minute; any others will have found out whether they ultimately get along or not during the earlier spikes.
By about 15 months of age, boars reach their hormonally much more settled adulthood. Fall-outs after this time are fairly rare and usually caused by external circumstances (change of territory/home/illness etc.); they can often be mended with a short-term separation to let tempers cool down. During the teenage months, a temporary separation can help you determine whether a boar bond is still working or not, but it needs to be used as sparingly as possible.

Please weigh your boys once weekly; it is an important tool in monitoring the health, but it can also help you to spot any problems early on. Thankfully, unlike sows, boars are usually pretty upfront in their behaviour and you usually know where you stand. With our recommendations you are already largely minimising the risk of bullying issues. The top boar has always access to all hideys and first choice. If you find that the is "locking out" the underboar, then you need to either get hideys with two exits or two hay areas, water bottels etc. I would also recommend to split the 40g pellets (ca. 2 handfuls) you are giving each boy daily into two portions, like the veg, so they can eat everything straight away and not get into trouble over leftovers; if necessary, have a third bowl with a little extra ready to distract top boy if he is finished quickly and ready to mug his mate. Hay should make up to 80% of the daily food intake anyway.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...or-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/

Having a plan B at the ready will help you to be less stressed out in case things blow up. It is also advisable to look for a good vet in case there are deep bites to the rump or head. We also have got a piggy savvy vet locator for our UK members on the top bar.
 
Thank you for your response.

I didn't know that about handling the dominant one first - so thank you! Me and my partner have them out at the same time but Arthur (the top boar) is usually picked up first as he is easiest to pick up and doesnt run around so much! We have a cuddle each then swap (so they get to know both our scents) then put them together for a little while.

We have two of everything so that is a good sign. the beds were next to eachother, facing the same way - maybe i'll put them at each end of the cage so they have their own areas - hopefully without the need for a physical cage separator.

Yes Arthur definitely has his 'bits' and likes to show them off but Henry not as obvious. Hopefully we can help them through the difficult period and they can come out of it still as friends and still able to live together. I'll only use physical seperation when absolutely necessary (not a few times a day as once thought) so that hopefully it's a more useful tool.

Went home at lunchtime and had them in their pen - they were fine - talking to eachother, eating from the same bowl - Henry kept sniffing Arthurs chin and Arthur was happy to let him. I put them back and they went into their seperate beds and all seems well. I am hopeful that they aren't fighting all the time and with your new advice, and maybe a bath here and there, we can help them through without too much incident.
I have noticed Arthur taking Henry's food, even though he has plenty - but now ive moved things apart in the cage hopefully that will stop. Arthur peed on Henry's celery (his fave) which I thought was mean!

I really appreciate all the advice here. Thanks for taking the time to write back. I'll keep you posted. Luckily someone is in the house all afternoon to keep an eye on them now. I'm glad there's still hope that they don't need to be permenantly seperated and that I am armed with plenty of toold to help them through their difficult time. Kids eh! Worth every second though!

I may also look into getting a bigger cage - just so they both have more space - as you say the petshop options were very small.

Thanks again :)
 
One thing I am curious about, how long do you give it until you decide it won't work. Eg tonight they have been fine all afternoon and evening and then have just had a fight - so we've seperated them. I know it's early days and they are in hormone stage and I want to give it chance to work - but i don't want either getting hurt. So roughly, how long do you continue the above methods (assuming it gets no better) before resulting to permanent seperation

The other thing of course is being out at work all day and being no-one to supervise during the day

As i say i don't want to be too hasty but I don't want to leave it too long either!
 
It is a very difficult decision for you to make, and each case is different - you have to balance out the level of aggression, the time you can keep them under observation, the boys own feelings and their chances of making it together in the long term.

If could try to keep things going until you can get a splittable cage and then re-evaluate, that may be a practical short term time frame for you. Hopefully, things will settle down again somewhat more eventually. You have to play it by ear.
 
Thankyou - just noticed about 10 minutes after the fight that the top pig had made the underpig bleed. I didnt spot it at first. They are currently in the pen and getting on ok but i know that that is quite serious.

Will work out a temporary solution and try and get a split cage asap.

Thanks again for your help. Keeping my fingers crossed but clearly it's getting worse - though they had been fine all afternoon....
 
Wasn't sure if i should start a new thread or not?
Ok so I have had to seperate my boys - they would not stop fighting - Henry was visibly distressed and even with a cage divider Henry - because he could see Arthur - was not happy so they are now in two seperate cages on top of eachother.

I have a couple of further questions. When they are having cuddles/playtime - can we put them together - so they can interact etc for 30 mins or so a day or do they need to be kept apart at all times?
Is it still worth trying a bonding bath?
Also - once they reach 14 months or so and are out of the 'troublesome' time - is it worth trying to re-introduce?

Ideally they would live apart - see eachother at playtime etc and then be able to live together again once adults? Or is the above not a good idea!

Advice appreciated, as always
 
Wasn't sure if i should start a new thread or not?
Ok so I have had to seperate my boys - they would not stop fighting - Henry was visibly distressed and even with a cage divider Henry - because he could see Arthur - was not happy so they are now in two seperate cages on top of eachother.

I have a couple of further questions. When they are having cuddles/playtime - can we put them together - so they can interact etc for 30 mins or so a day or do they need to be kept apart at all times?
Is it still worth trying a bonding bath?
Also - once they reach 14 months or so and are out of the 'troublesome' time - is it worth trying to re-introduce?

Ideally they would live apart - see eachother at playtime etc and then be able to live together again once adults? Or is the above not a good idea!

Advice appreciated, as always

I have answered on your new thread.
 
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