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Issues With A Four Boar Group

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Tybereus

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I’m looking for some advice and help.

I am not sure if this is housing or a behaviour issue so if it’s in the wrong place I’m sorry.

I have four boars Munch, Moe, Dom and Nugget they are between 6-8months, they live together in a C&C cage, all have separate housing, food, hay, water to reduce conflict and have daily floor time of around 5 to 10 hours each day.

However I’ve started having two main issues, which has led to me seeking some help.

Firstly Munch has started rumble-stomping when near Nugget at most this limited to once per day and may occur when they are moved from the cage to the floor area; it never progresses any further than the rumble-stomp. They have never shown any aggression towards, there were a few incidents when Munch would try to mount and hump Nugget this has all but stopped now.

My second issue is the one I’m a little more concerned about is regarding Moe recently he seems to have developed a rivalry with Munch, a large majority of the time the two seem ok with each other, occasionally Munch will sometimes go for Moe. This has produced some loud high pitched squeaks from Moe. I’ve also found a few ‘old’ scabs on Moe’s rear however despite the squeaks I’ve never seen/found fresh wounds or blood on Moe.

Moe has also changed his sleeping/sitting habits before he could be find inside of the igloos or in the wooden housing however now since these issues started he will only stay on top of one of the wooden houses he ventures down for food, water and hay but always returns to sitting on top of the wooden house.

I am intending to move them to a large cage soon but are these issues something I should be concerned about I’m reluctant to separate or split them up as they were bought as a four and have lived as a four for a while now and seem fairly stable and happy. Outside of the two issues mentioned above they all seem to interaction and socialise with each other.

If however it comes to splitting them what is the best way to doing it ideally if it can be helped I would prefer not to have to find a buddy for one of them, I believe there are two stable’ish groups within the four. If I split them to weather this actions which I think are being brought on by puberty/hormones is it possible to reintroduce them later to recreate a four but is that even likely to work.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated
 

Lady Kelly

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From my understanding boar bondings can be very tricky indeed and it's rare to be able to keep more than two boars together. It sounds like your boys are hitting the hormonal stage and so tensions will be getting worse. I'm hoping someone with more experience will help out (I'm sure they will) as I have only ever had neutered boar/female groups.

Would it be possible to consider two pairs in two separate cages?
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Your boys are currently in the hormonal teenage months; there is often a huge spike around 6 months and a very tricky few weeks between 8-10 months of age.

To be honest, I have not yet heard of a quartet of boars apart from some mellowed old age pensioners that have been stable for more than a few months at the best, and that was usually with laid back boars of very different ages. Quartets are about the most unstable of boar combinations, closely followed by trios and quintets. Boars are best kept as either pairs or then as large groups of 10 boars plus with lots of space.

If things get very dogdy, I would consider splitting up your boys into two stable couples and do so as you feel is best; you are a loving mummy who know her boys and cares for them. On your case, it may be best to so proactively, so you don't run the risk of ending up with two single boys or at the worst, four single boys.

As your boys have made it so far together and you have stil not seen the really aggressive stuff, you are in with a very good chance of ending up with two stable pairs. Please brace yourself that you will see some dominance as the split pairs have to establish a new group hierarchy.

You may find these threads here helpful:
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/boars-a-guide-to-successful-companionship.76162/
 

Tybereus

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Yeah I had a feeling that how the response where going to go, I as did a bit of a research about groups of four and they seemed very rare.
The thing that throws me is there is or I haven't seen it any issues within the group apart from these two things.

I take it provided things don't escalate am I okay to keep them as the four or is the that just a lost cause and I would be better off biting the bullet and just splinting them before I get to anything violent and something I can comeback from.

I have an idea of what I think are the more stable coupling withing the group, I was planing on trying a trial separation for a few hours this weekend to check so that I know for the future, in case I need to split them.

One last thing if I split them, during playtime can I have the four together or will they need separate areas there play/floor time area is about 3m x 1.5m.
 

Wiebke

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Yeah I had a feeling that how the response where going to go, I as did a bit of a research about groups of four and they seemed very rare.
The thing that throws me is there is or I haven't seen it any issues within the group apart from these two things.

I take it provided things don't escalate am I okay to keep them as the four or is the that just a lost cause and I would be better off biting the bullet and just splinting them before I get to anything violent and something I can comeback from.

I have an idea of what I think are the more stable coupling withing the group, I was planing on trying a trial separation for a few hours this weekend to check so that I know for the future, in case I need to split them.

One last thing if I split them, during playtime can I have the four together or will they need separate areas there play/floor time area is about 3m x 1.5m.
They are unusually peaceful, so you can see whether you can take them a bit further, but I would make sure to have a plan B at the ready for whenever things get dodgy. There are still some tricky weeks ahead. it is better to break them up before things blow up in a major way.
 

GloriousGuineaGirl

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My two brothers went 5 months then all of a sudden had a massive fall out. I had to split them but they live in a 10x2 split down the middle. They do have floor time together but only about an hour as after this they start to fight again. Then they get another hour each alone out of the cage.

@Wiebke was a great support when this happened, she really does know her stuff!

I would break them into two stable pairs now as the likelihood of it staying peaceful is slim. They all still will have a mate and company :)
 

wendyhouse

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Hi I have had similar problems with triplets born late October. We went from harmony to chaos in a matter of days. Patch, the smallest was bitten, he is now living in a cage next to his mum and aunt with a view to being neutered when he is old enough. Bumble and Patch are more feisty, they have play time together but I can't trust them together at the moment so they are next to each other.

I too received brilliant advice from @Wiebke and the forum, its hard when these little friendships break down. Good luck! :)
 

Tybereus

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Well I tried a trial separation today to check groups and there does seems to be two stable groupings within the four. Moe also seem to be happier when he was away from Munch. I put them back together for food time and I will see how its goes.
 

Wiebke

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Well I tried a trial separation today to check groups and there does seems to be two stable groupings within the four. Moe also seem to be happier when he was away from Munch. I put them back together for food time and I will see how its goes.
If a boar is noticeably perking up when away from another piggy, you know that he is not happy. It is reason enough to consider a permanent separation; we recommend trial separations like yours if you are worried that your sub-adult boar pair is on the verge of a fall-out or that some measure of bullying is going on.

I am happy for you that you can split your four boys into two stable pairs. That is a major relief!
 
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