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Hellopiggies63

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I have two guinea pigs. One is around 10 months (cookie). The other is around 5-6 months. The problem is the 5-6 months (walnut) is obsessively dominant right now. He runs after cookie, teeth chatters, lunges, and forces cookie out of their cage. Their space is good. They have one Midwest cage, one playpen, and a 3 by 6 c and c cage. We also let them free roam once per 1-2 months. Walnut had white crust around the edges of his ears and we recently took him to the vet to see if it was muted or ringworm. The vet said it was neither. Cookie however had no symptoms and since walnut was the one with the crust, we think cookie is fine. Recently these two days, cookie is almost always in hideouts (could be because of walnut) and we found 2-3 tufts of hair on the ground which were cookie’s. Yesterday I was petting him and a few hairs fell off too. Not a bunch though. And because of the constant lunging, yesterday we put a divider in between them for about 20 hours. Then we set them in a neutral area and have them a plate of veggies, hoping it would help. Unfortunately cookie was still scared of walnut and walnut kept teeth chattering. I have some questions and be free to ask for more information.
1. Should we separate them permanently?
2. Should we take cookie to the vet? (The vet is really expensive. About $300 per regular visit not counting any prescriptions or anything. And my mother isn’t willing to spend more money on them for the vet currently since walnut’s visit cost $700 a few days ago. So she said I’d have to spend it
Also walnut has almost always been overweight since we got him from a piggy rescue (1115 grams at 4 months) so could it be the weight? And how do we get him to loose weight without causing any health issues or any pain. Also I forgot to add that earlier walnut scared cookie and cookie ran out and then he kept raising his arm and biting it about 6-7 times.
3. Honestly what should we do
 

Siikibam

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How is Cookie behaving when Walnut chases him? Is the chasing, teeth chattering and lunging constant? How is Cookie’s weight? Is he allowed to eat and putting in weight? And how does he behave in general?

What you want to be careful about is to not intervene too much. But you also don’t want to leave it too long and wait for a ruckus. I think try a temporary separation of a few days and see whether a reintroduction would work. When they’re separated keep them side by side. You then see how Cookie is behaving when separated from Walnut.

Are you sure Walnut is 4 months or 1115g? There is no way he can be 4 months at that weight. Are your scales working properly? What has he weighed the last two weeks?

Have a read of the guides I’ve linked below.
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
 

Hellopiggies63

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Hello! Thanks for replying!
1.How is Cookie behaving when Walnut chases him?
he runs away and goes to hide.
2.Is the chasing, teeth chattering and lunging constant?
not really. They lunged 2 times then stopped. They teeth chatter sometimes but not every second. The teeth chattering ends about 4-5 seconds after it starts.
2. How is Cookie’s weight?
cookie weighs 1,315 grams.
3. Is he allowed to eat and putting in weight?
Yes. I change out hay, water, and pellets daily.
3. And how does he behave in general?
Walnut is very active (popcorning, running around, eating, drinking) and cookie hides more because of walnut

We got walnut in September from LA guinea pig rescue when he was about 1 month old. That means he could be 6 months old. I’m not sure if the scale is working properly but I tried it with a paper bowl and the paper bowl weighed 15 grams. His weight hasn’t changed much.
When cookie is separated from walnut, he doesn’t care much. But walnut is restless when separated from cookie. He constantly chews on the c and c grids when he can’t get to cookie but he also talks to cookie and teeth chatters at cookie. Cookie sometimes chatters back.
 

Free Ranger

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Welcome to the forum (and also Goodnight because I'm just checking in and out... it's bedtime here!)

There is something called 'Barbering' which is when a piggy either over-grooms themselves or their cage mates and pulls out hairs (maybe even eating them). You can search for it on the forum. The reason I mention it is that some piggies self-barber as a sign of pain or stress. I recently introduced my lone older boar to females in the hopes of a good match. Well he's ended up being a neighbour-thru-the-bars to Zara and Louise as Zara fought him and frightened him. I took the girls for a check up to the vets (I was half convinced she might be a boar!) - they're fine - and asked about keeping them as neighbours as I was worried about gentle George: balancing his need for companionship with his scary new neighbour Zara (and Louise, who he loves and who loves him) I asked how would I know if he was stressed and my vet said, "see if he's hiding all the time and look out for barbering - they chew their own hair as a sign of stress".

This is what I'm thinking as I read about Cookie chewing at his arm (I guess you mean front leg?) and finding tufts of cookie's hair. There are other things that can cause scratching/shedding like mites or fungal disease (or turning up the heating!) but there's always a bit of shedding... it's the clumps you need to watch out for. If one pig is getting bullied by the other it's hard because you love them both but you have to keep everyone safe - even if that means splitting.

Wow US vets are expensive - are there not any cheaper ones near you!? Is there maybe a rescue near you that you can phone and find out what vets they use? The one thing I can say is that if either pig has got something contagious like fungal infection or mites they'd probably both have it (certainly if you're going to treat one you need to treat both). But if something is in the very early stages it might be too early for a vet to spot symptoms so you're kind of wasting a visit if you go too quick, if you see what I mean. I mean, you don't want to leave things so long it causes discomfort, but at the same time you need definite symptoms to diagnose something so I'd be tempted to see if the hair loss is caused by stress right now by seeing if it changes if they are separated? (the crusty ears I would have got checked out like you did) If they are scratching more and shedding more in 2 or 3 weeks I'd think again but if things stay pretty much the same with no further 'symptoms' that might just be a normal level of shedding for your pigs.
 

Siikibam

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Either your boys are older than they seem out your scales aren’t working. When you put the container you need to tare the scale - set it to zero. Are they digital scales?

Does Cookie allow himself him to be mounted? Have a read of the guides I linked to earlier.
 

Hellopiggies63

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Welcome to the forum (and also Goodnight because I'm just checking in and out... it's bedtime here!)

There is something called 'Barbering' which is when a piggy either over-grooms themselves or their cage mates and pulls out hairs (maybe even eating them). You can search for it on the forum. The reason I mention it is that some piggies self-barber as a sign of pain or stress. I recently introduced my lone older boar to females in the hopes of a good match. Well he's ended up being a neighbour-thru-the-bars to Zara and Louise as Zara fought him and frightened him. I took the girls for a check up to the vets (I was half convinced she might be a boar!) - they're fine - and asked about keeping them as neighbours as I was worried about gentle George: balancing his need for companionship with his scary new neighbour Zara (and Louise, who he loves and who loves him) I asked how would I know if he was stressed and my vet said, "see if he's hiding all the time and look out for barbering - they chew their own hair as a sign of stress".

This is what I'm thinking as I read about Cookie chewing at his arm (I guess you mean front leg?) and finding tufts of cookie's hair. There are other things that can cause scratching/shedding like mites or fungal disease (or turning up the heating!) but there's always a bit of shedding... it's the clumps you need to watch out for. If one pig is getting bullied by the other it's hard because you love them both but you have to keep everyone safe - even if that means splitting.

Wow US vets are expensive - are there not any cheaper ones near you!? Is there maybe a rescue near you that you can phone and find out what vets they use? The one thing I can say is that if either pig has got something contagious like fungal infection or mites they'd probably both have it (certainly if you're going to treat one you need to treat both). But if something is in the very early stages it might be too early for a vet to spot symptoms so you're kind of wasting a visit if you go too quick, if you see what I mean. I mean, you don't want to leave things so long it causes discomfort, but at the same time you need definite symptoms to diagnose something so I'd be tempted to see if the hair loss is caused by stress right now by seeing if it changes if they are separated? (the crusty ears I would have got checked out like you did) If they are scratching more and shedding more in 2 or 3 weeks I'd think again but if things stay pretty much the same with no further 'symptoms' that might just be a normal level of shedding for your pigs.
Okay thank you! Yes they are quite expensive . Should I separate them again? And for how long? I’ll check if cookie still has hair falling off if I separate them (since it’ll be easier to figure it out) And how much do the piggies she’d normally? Also should I worry about the weight because it seems like they are overweight. Cookie: 1,300 grams at a year old
Walnut: 1,100 grams at about 7 months old
 

Hellopiggies63

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Either your boys are older than they seem out your scales aren’t working. When you put the container you need to tare the scale - set it to zero. Are they digital scales?

Does Cookie allow himself him to be mounted? Have a read of the guides I linked to earlier.
Ok! I read the guides and the scales are set to zero. The scale is a digital kitchen scale. The rescue said they aren’t sure how old the piggies are but they were surrendered from a pet store that said they were a month old. So cookie at the oldest should be around a year old and walnut would probably be around 7-8 months. If the weight is correct, should I worry about it and what could I do about the weight?
 

VeeAngel

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Have you tried calling the LA Guinea Pig Rescue for advice, or taking your guys in there for a health check/behaviour advice?
I also believe they will take back Walnut and try to find a better match for Cookie, if you think it's not a healthy pairing for Cookie (and if you don't want to build a side by side c&c cage for them to live as "neighboars").

They might also have a list of lower cost vets. However, I've noticed in many places that a result of the increased adoptions during the pandemic is that it's harder to get appointments, especially with specialist vets.
 

Siikibam

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Have a read of the guide below and see what their heft is like. This is a good way to figure out whether they’re over/underweight or just right.
Weight - Monitoring and Management

I would separate them for a few days and then try again on neutral territory. Do they get closed in the Midwest cage at night, or have round the clock access to the 3x4?
 
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OkiDoki

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Have you tried calling the LA Guinea Pig Rescue for advice, or taking your guys in there for a health check/behaviour advice?
I also believe they will take back Walnut and try to find a better match for Cookie, if you think it's not a healthy pairing for Cookie (and if you don't want to build a side by side c&c cage for them to live as "neighboars").

They might also have a list of lower cost vets. However, I've noticed in many places that a result of the increased adoptions during the pandemic is that it's harder to get appointments, especially with specialist vets.
That's what I was thinking. If you can't afford to go to a vet, you could go to them for a free health check and advice. With the number of piggies they're seeing, they're quite experienced at recognizing different skin problems and other health problems, and might also be able to help with the behavioral problems.
 

Piggies&buns

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If their bond is tense, Cookie seems to always be hiding and he has little to no reaction when they are separated, then their relationship is probably not a good one. It doesn't matter how Walnut reacts to the separation - its never the dominant piggy's reaction which determines the viability of a bond in a trial separation. I would separate them (but keep them side by side) for a few days and then reintroduce on neutral territory. It should be fairly evident relatively quickly upon reintroduction whether they do in fact like each other. If not, then they are going to have to live as neighbours. As Siikibam has said, you do not want to intervene too quickly, but equally if they are not living harmoniously (aside from normal dominance), then there is no point in waiting for things to really break down.
This is the guide which helps determine if a bond is viable Bonds In Trouble

Only a vet is going to be able to help with any health issues. What they cannot do is fix anything in their bond - that is entirely up to the piggies and if they dont like each other there is sadly nothing you can do about that.

In terms of the weight, you need to check their heft (the weight management guide Siikibam linked in explains how) as that is the gauge of what is healthy for the individual piggy. There is such a wide range of healthy weights that its not possible to say whether a piggy is over or underweight by their weight alone. If it is determined that your piggy is overweight, then the safest thing is to see a vet for specific advice, but the important thing is to ensure their diet is a healthy one - ensuring their hay intake is high, veg is kept to one cup per day and that pellets are strictly limited to one tablespoon per piggy per day. Having a large cage and lots of exercise is also very important.
 

Hellopiggies63

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Have a read of the guide below and see what their heft is like. This is a good way to figure out whether they’re over/underweight or just right.
Weight - Monitoring and Management

I would separate them for a few days and then try again on neutral territory. Do they get closed in the Midwest cage at night, or have round the clock access to the 3x4?
The 3x4, Midwest, and playpen are all connected and they get full access to it every hour of the day! Okay I’ll try separating them again
 

Hellopiggies63

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Update! : they’re now getting along I think :). Seems like they figured out who would be the “king” of their cage :hug: No more teeth chattering just sniffing the bum, chin raising sometimes, and rumble strutting! Cookie sometimes rumble struts back at walnut. So I won’t need to separate them! Cookie still has a little fur coming off, but both of their behavior is good. A lot of popcorning, running around, and eating and drinking is normal. I read a few threads on the guinea pig forum about fur falling off, and the fur from cookie doesn’t have any skin specs or stuff like that on it! So I think we’re good. I’ll still get him checked though just to be sure. Thank you so much for all the advice and support! I’ll continue updating.
 
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