I Messed Up The Introduction (2 Boars)

GuineaMom

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I'm desperately trying to repair a botched introduction after doing many things wrong. I let the two exist in a divided cage for a short time (less than a day - they seemed so interested in each other and calm), and then took away the partition so they could properly meet. It didn't go well. First off, meet the pigs: I've had Buddy for a few years. I thought he was kinda dominant, as he's never really been afraid or skittish. I heard older dominant pigs pair well with younger ones, so when I found a 6-month old on Craigslist, I didn't do my research and got him. So now we have Trigger. I think he's entering in his agression/puberty phase, and he's coming off as more dominant than Buddy. Buddy has been staying in a corner and only interacting with Trigger to tell him to go away or when Trigger gets too close and Buddy runs for it. However, Trigger is also showing more interest in being friends. He tries to join Buddy in his corner every few minutes to cuddle before being squeaked and chattered off. Upon first meeting, they'd have fights every few minutes - no "desperately in danger" shriek-squeaks, but thumps and jumps and chattering teeth aplenty. I'm sleeping in the living room in case I need to intervene during the night. I tried the bath thing (during which Trigger was very eager to stick by Buddy) and when I was washing them, I noticed Buddy has at least one thin, short, shallow cut on his rump. He won't really let me inspect the rest of him, but when I try to scratch his rump, which he usually likes and purrs for, he now gives me a "stop that!" squeak. I thought at first it was because Trigger keeps trying to mount him, but now I'm wondering if he's in pain. SO:

Question 1: Is the scratch enough to separate them?
Question 2: Is the situation potentially damaging to Buddy's sweet disposition?
Question 3: How can I redeem this?
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Okay what size is their cage? The minimum recommended for 2 boys is 2ft by 5ft, but if you can give them bigger that will certainly be better.

What have you got in their cage at the moment? If you have hideys please remove them as piggies could get trapped and fights break out. Have you got a pic of it? :)

When you say "fight" every few minutes do you mean just the normal nipping etc?

Keep an eye on the scratch and make sure it doesn't get infected, scratches happen but it's not enough to separate.

This won't change Buddy, if anything it will likely make him more confident and less scared now that he has a friend of his own.

Your best bet is to give them a big run on the floor, give the cage a big clean and make it bigger if possible and then just keep an eye on them. There's no quick fix unfortunately!
 

Wiebke

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I'm desperately trying to repair a botched introduction after doing many things wrong. I let the two exist in a divided cage for a short time (less than a day - they seemed so interested in each other and calm), and then took away the partition so they could properly meet. It didn't go well. First off, meet the pigs: I've had Buddy for a few years. I thought he was kinda dominant, as he's never really been afraid or skittish. I heard older dominant pigs pair well with younger ones, so when I found a 6-month old on Craigslist, I didn't do my research and got him. So now we have Trigger. I think he's entering in his agression/puberty phase, and he's coming off as more dominant than Buddy. Buddy has been staying in a corner and only interacting with Trigger to tell him to go away or when Trigger gets too close and Buddy runs for it. However, Trigger is also showing more interest in being friends. He tries to join Buddy in his corner every few minutes to cuddle before being squeaked and chattered off. Upon first meeting, they'd have fights every few minutes - no "desperately in danger" shriek-squeaks, but thumps and jumps and chattering teeth aplenty. I'm sleeping in the living room in case I need to intervene during the night. I tried the bath thing (during which Trigger was very eager to stick by Buddy) and when I was washing them, I noticed Buddy has at least one thin, short, shallow cut on his rump. He won't really let me inspect the rest of him, but when I try to scratch his rump, which he usually likes and purrs for, he now gives me a "stop that!" squeak. I thought at first it was because Trigger keeps trying to mount him, but now I'm wondering if he's in pain. SO:

Question 1: Is the scratch enough to separate them?
Question 2: Is the situation potentially damaging to Buddy's sweet disposition?
Question 3: How can I redeem this?

Hi and welcome!

Please do not beat yourself up too badly!

Sadly a 'buddy bath' is still widely touted as the magical wand of all bonding tricks, but it has not borne out in our experience; the same as all the other 'surefire' fixes. When it comes down to it, any bond stands or fails with character compatibility and mutual liking. :(

You have to also be aware that 6 months is about the most difficult age to bond any boar; that is the time when testosterone is at an all time high. It is most likely that your new boar has ended up on the free-ads in the first place because he is a full-on teenager no longer a cute little baby. :(

You also have to be aware that your chances of finding Mr Right on your own are about 50% - when boars can choose for themselves in rescue dating, it takes on average 1-3 intros to find a companion. While guinea pigs are very dependent on company, this doesn't mean that they like everypig they are stuck with. They live in larger groups that subdivide into smaller core groups with either sows associating with a boar of their own choice or bachelors deciding to hang out together for a while; but any dispute is generally solved by measuring up and then for the loser to move out of the stronger boar's patch or being repelled by the leader of a smaller group (which can be a dominant sow).
Teenage boars can take a lot more if they are too full-on; many rescues are now switching to having the difficult to bond boars neutered to live with a sow for that reason. Neutering does however not influence boar behaviour or negate testosterone production altogether; it only takes away the ability to make babies.

I would rather concentrate for the time being to keeping both boars as side-by-side companions through the bars for mutual stimulation and round the clock interaction and not push any bonding until you end up with a serious fight with deep wounds, which would be the next step up. A fair number of our members have 'can't live together but can't live apart' bonded boar pairs in adjoining pens.

Look out of needle-prick bites; those are the full-on deep ones that may require an antibiotic. Please disinfect the scratch with salins solution. Either sterile from a pharmacy or homemade by mixing 2 teaspoons of salt into 1 pint/500 ml of boiled, cooled water. If you notice any sudden swellings in the coming week, you need to see a vet promptly for an abscess.

Sorry that I haven't got better news, but right now is not the time for you to push it. Concentrate on making the best of the situation as it is; as long as your two boars have each other for company through the bars, all is not lost. Please do not give your little new boy away again and condemn him to a solitary life; it is not his fault. He has been failed once or twice already.
Bonding: Illustrated Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Neutered / De-sexed Boars And Neutering Operations: Myths And Facts
 

GuineaMom

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Okay what size is their cage? The minimum recommended for 2 boys is 2ft by 5ft, but if you can give them bigger that will certainly be better.

What have you got in their cage at the moment? If you have hideys please remove them as piggies could get trapped and fights break out. Have you got a pic of it? :)

When you say "fight" every few minutes do you mean just the normal nipping etc?

Keep an eye on the scratch and make sure it doesn't get infected, scratches happen but it's not enough to separate.

This won't change Buddy, if anything it will likely make him more confident and less scared now that he has a friend of his own.

Your best bet is to give them a big run on the floor, give the cage a big clean and make it bigger if possible and then just keep an eye on them. There's no quick fix unfortunately!
Hi, thanks for your reply! When I introduced them I took out the two pigloos and added two hideys with multiple escapes. I don't have anything to compare these spats to, so unforunately I don't know if it's normal...it doesn't seem severe anymore, but at first it made me very nervous. Thanks for the tips! I'll let them run around later today while I clean the cage - I wasn't expecting a quick fix, I just wanted some suggestions that would hopefully make it work eventually. :) Thank you!
 

GuineaMom

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Hi and welcome!

Please do not beat yourself up too badly!

Sadly a 'buddy bath' is still widely touted as the magical wand of all bonding tricks, but it has not borne out in our experience; the same as all the other 'surefire' fixes. When it comes down to it, any bond stands or fails with character compatibility and mutual liking. :(

You have to also be aware that 6 months is about the most difficult age to bond any boar; that is the time when testosterone is at an all time high. It is most likely that your new boar has ended up on the free-ads in the first place because he is a full-on teenager no longer a cute little baby. :(

You also have to be aware that your chances of finding Mr Right on your own are about 50% - when boars can choose for themselves in rescue dating, it takes on average 1-3 intros to find a companion. While guinea pigs are very dependent on company, this doesn't mean that they like everypig they are stuck with. They live in larger groups that subdivide into smaller core groups with either sows associating with a boar of their own choice or bachelors deciding to hang out together for a while; but any dispute is generally solved by measuring up and then for the loser to move out of the stronger boar's patch or being repelled by the leader of a smaller group (which can be a dominant sow).
Teenage boars can take a lot more if they are too full-on; many rescues are now switching to having the difficult to bond boars neutered to live with a sow for that reason. Neutering does however not influence boar behaviour or negate testosterone production altogether; it only takes away the ability to make babies.

I would rather concentrate for the time being to keeping both boars as side-by-side companions through the bars for mutual stimulation and round the clock interaction and not push any bonding until you end up with a serious fight with deep wounds, which would be the next step up. A fair number of our members have 'can't live together but can't live apart' bonded boar pairs in adjoining pens.

Look out of needle-prick bites; those are the full-on deep ones that may require an antibiotic. Please disinfect the scratch with salins solution. Either sterile from a pharmacy or homemade by mixing 2 teaspoons of salt into 1 pint/500 ml of boiled, cooled water. If you notice any sudden swellings in the coming week, you need to see a vet promptly for an abscess.

Sorry that I haven't got better news, but right now is not the time for you to push it. Concentrate on making the best of the situation as it is; as long as your two boars have each other for company through the bars, all is not lost. Please do not give your little new boy away again and condemn him to a solitary life; it is not his fault. He has been failed once or twice already.
Bonding: Illustrated Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Neutered / De-sexed Boars And Neutering Operations: Myths And Facts
Thanks for your reply, and for helping my guilt. :( I feel I could have saved Buddy from a lot of undue stress if I'd just done my research.

First of all, let me address your last point: I am in no way considering getting rid of Trigger. He's a sweet, sociable pig and I can tell that if he can calm down and if Buddy will come around, then everything could be great. I was just worried that in getting a new pig I don't know, I'll lose the one I already have and love due to the bullying.

Second, thanks for your suggestions! Should I only put the partition back if Buddy does have those deep needle-prick bites? What's appealing to me is letting them run around while I clean the cage out, and then re-instating the partition so that Trigger can socialize a little, and Buddy isn't constantly being prodded.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks for your reply, and for helping my guilt. :( I feel I could have saved Buddy from a lot of undue stress if I'd just done my research.

First of all, let me address your last point: I am in no way considering getting rid of Trigger. He's a sweet, sociable pig and I can tell that if he can calm down and if Buddy will come around, then everything could be great. I was just worried that in getting a new pig I don't know, I'll lose the one I already have and love due to the bullying.

Second, thanks for your suggestions! Should I only put the partition back if Buddy does have those deep needle-prick bites? What's appealing to me is letting them run around while I clean the cage out, and then re-instating the partition so that Trigger can socialize a little, and Buddy isn't constantly being prodded.

Can yu please clarify whether your boys are currently living with a divider or not?

You can try a re-intro on neutral ground according to our tips; otherwise just let them live with the divider and see how that goes through the bars. Unlike sows, boars are upfront, so you'll know whether you stand a chance pretty straight away. I would give it a few days for any sores to heal and grudges to die down, though.
Excessive mounting during the bonding especially by a hyper-sexed youngster is one of the main reasons why boar bondings fail. It is never a nice sight when an overexcited boar loses the on-switch for his brain. Many boars also do that when meeting sows for the first time... You will have to accept a certain amount, though. And you have to be aware that if the grudge is too big, they will never go together again.

You basically have the choice of trying another bonding (which always has to start right from square one with boars) or to keep them as next door neighbours with a divider and see whether they can tolerate each other better as adults. The teenage months are running for around another 9 months and you will still get the odd hormone spike in young adults that lasts about 1-2 days, so the second option is not a quick one. You'll have some time to mull things over and see how they are with each other through the divider. That will give you an inkling how they stand and which way is the better for you.

Unfortunately, we have occasionally new members that will or actually have bumped back a new guinea pig that has not worked out; because of that I feel obliged to make sure that all piggies are protected. . :(
But I am relieved that you are not one of them! :tu:
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Hi, thanks for your reply! When I introduced them I took out the two pigloos and added two hideys with multiple escapes. I don't have anything to compare these spats to, so unforunately I don't know if it's normal...it doesn't seem severe anymore, but at first it made me very nervous. Thanks for the tips! I'll let them run around later today while I clean the cage - I wasn't expecting a quick fix, I just wanted some suggestions that would hopefully make it work eventually. :) Thank you!
Good idea! Cardboard boxes are the best hides for bonding I've found :))

If you're worried you can feel free to post a video of their behaviour to YouTube and post a link on here, I've done that in the past when I've been concerned about my babies. They worry us so much don't they?

Oh I've always wanted a quick fix when it comes to bonding, I can't stand it :))
 

GuineaMom

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Can yu please clarify whether your boys are currently living with a divider or not?

You can try a re-intro on neutral ground according to our tips; otherwise just let them live with the divider and see how that goes through the bars. Unlike sows, boars are upfront, so you'll know whether you stand a chance pretty straight away. I would give it a few days for any sores to heal and grudges to die down, though.
Excessive mounting during the bonding especially by a hyper-sexed youngster is one of the main reasons why boar bondings fail. It is never a nice sight when an overexcited boar loses the on-switch for his brain. Many boars also do that when meeting sows for the first time... You will have to accept a certain amount, though. And you have to be aware that if the grudge is too big, they will never go together again.

You basically have the choice of trying another bonding (which always has to start right from square one with boars) or to keep them as next door neighbours with a divider and see whether they can tolerate each other better as adults. The teenage months are running for around another 9 months and you will still get the odd hormone spike in young adults that lasts about 1-2 days, so the second option is not a quick one. You'll have some time to mull things over and see how they are with each other through the divider. That will give you an inkling how they stand and which way is the better for you.

Unfortunately, we have occasionally new members that will or actually have bumped back a new guinea pig that has not worked out; because of that I feel obliged to make sure that all piggies are protected. . :(
But I am relieved that you are not one of them! :tu:

I'm glad you're fighting to good fight for the piggies! :) I had a little cuddle sesh with Trigger today, and he's so precious. He's not going anywhere. ;)

I put the divider back! Buddy is doing better - he did have one deep wound when I looked. I disinfected as per your instructions and will continue to disinfect and monitor the wound. He seems fine, but I'm paying close attention to his behavior and energy levels, just in case he needs a vet. While he was in with Trigger he wouldn't move from his litter pan, but now he's moving around, acting more natural, and looking more comfortable. Trigger is a little upset at the divide and chewed the bars a bit, so I went to the store and bought him some chew toys, and I think it's working. I think I'll keep them separated like this for at least a few months and then if things seem right, I'll see if they can bond perhaps in late summer/early autumn (I'm probably moving, so it would be a convenient time to do it as everything will be "new territory").

Thanks again for your help! I so appreciate it.
 

GuineaMom

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Good idea! Cardboard boxes are the best hides for bonding I've found :))

If you're worried you can feel free to post a video of their behaviour to YouTube and post a link on here, I've done that in the past when I've been concerned about my babies. They worry us so much don't they?

Oh I've always wanted a quick fix when it comes to bonding, I can't stand it :))
Haha, let me clarify: I would L O V E a quick fix...I just wasn't holding out hope for one. ;) Keep me updated if you ever hear of some insta-bond trick, won't you?
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Haha, let me clarify: I would L O V E a quick fix...I just wasn't holding out hope for one. ;) Keep me updated if you ever hear of some insta-bond trick, won't you?
Haha oh definitely! I will figure out all the piggy secrets one day if it kills me! :lol!:
 
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