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Male guinea pigs fighting :(

DCguineapigs

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About 2 months ago we adopted two wonderful guinea pigs. They are both males, are neutered, and are about 3 years old. They have been bonded since they were young (before they came to us). They live in a 2x4 cage and since we are home so much with COVID now, they spend quite a bit of time out of their house running around the room.

They have been arguing a lot lately-chattering at each other, squealing, and rumble strutting, and it seems to be getting much more frequent. Now today, we noticed a small scratch on one piggy’s lip. Any suggestions? We unfortunately don’t have room to make their cage bigger. They have at least two houses in their cage, two food bowls, and one water bowl. They fight even when they are running around on the floor. Thank you!
 

Siikibam

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Fighting is an entirely different thing to dominant behaviour. The scratch may be the result of a misplaced swipe by the other piggy. Rumbling is part of normal dominance behaviour, and teeth chattering can also be part of it. Boars really do need a 2x5 as minimum. Could you make it an L shape somehow? They can be territorial, and by the time you add in two hides etc there isn’t much space for them to run around.

Have a look at the dominance behaviour levels in the guide below.
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
 

Piggies&buns

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:agr:
Are their houses multiple exit houses?
when I first had my Boys (as youngsters) I originally had the equivalent of a 2x4 c&c (150cm x 77cm). It was clearly too small for them so they had to be upgraded. everything them calmed down when they had more room.
 

Wiebke

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About 2 months ago we adopted two wonderful guinea pigs. They are both males, are neutered, and are about 3 years old. They have been bonded since they were young (before they came to us). They live in a 2x4 cage and since we are home so much with COVID now, they spend quite a bit of time out of their house running around the room.

They have been arguing a lot lately-chattering at each other, squealing, and rumble strutting, and it seems to be getting much more frequent. Now today, we noticed a small scratch on one piggy’s lip. Any suggestions? We unfortunately don’t have room to make their cage bigger. They have at least two houses in their cage, two food bowls, and one water bowl. They fight even when they are running around on the floor. Thank you!
Hi!

That is so far just a little spat but not a real fight. the scratch is either from a misjudged backfoot swipe or a from a not really serious glancing bit.


However, it sounds like there is an underlying issue that is being thrashed out here. The lack of space means however that they cannot get away from each other when they need some time out.

Do the hideys have two exits, so no boar can get caught out and locked into one? That is one of the prime flashpoints for a fight as the locked in boar can only fight their way out.
 

DCguineapigs

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Thank you! It’s a little scary when they argue. One hidey is a cardboard box with 4 exits. One is a fleece sleeping bag meant for one piggy, and one is a fleece hidey sized for two piggy but has only one exit. Because of COVID, my teen is doing distance learning and she sits in the living room all day so they spend several hours a day running around in the living room and they fight there too :/ I can take out the two-piggy hidey for a while and see if that help. I could also maybe get a second level over part of it to give them more space.
 

Piggies&buns

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Definitely remove the hidey with only one exit but also ensure you replace it with a two exits hidey. You need st least one hidey per piggy.

adding a second level will give another area, but it won’t make more space. Upper levels don’t increase the cage size. As ground roaming creatures, piggies need their cage to be big enough on ground level.

you say fighting, but it’s not fighting (fighting is a full on blood drawing event which warrants immediate and permament separation), but they do sound if their relationship has problems. If they can sort things out between them, then it’ll be fine, but If they can’t sort it out then they may need to be separated
 

Free Ranger

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Just an added point seeing as your boys are more mature... on other threads people have commented that an underlying ailment can potentially cause issues if it's the established dominant pig who has the problem. In our case the affliction was very obvious to us, as it cause physical difficulties with balance, and two old boys who had previously got on fine ended up having to live as neighbours (albeit happily) because one was challenging for dominance all the time. It sounds like it's more likely to be a space issue (?) but I'd just give them the once-over to make sure there's no weird lumps, bumps or messy back-ends. And check for scratching/hair shedding which can be a sign of lice or mites (these can be easily treated) which can make them irritable. We introduced a male to a female once and it was a real 'distance' relationship until we realised he'd brought his own company... he was from a reputable rescue and had been neutered and vet checked so we never thought to look for anything like that. I just put the shedding down to him moving indoors but after a month I thought' "well he's scratching a lot..?" - down to the vet for a check - got a dose to treat both pigs - suddenly she's hanging out with him and letting him sleep in the same hidey. She knew there was an issue straight away - it was us that took a month to realise!

Good luck and let us know how the boys get on - I hope it settles down.
 

DCguineapigs

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Thank you!
We will check them over carefully for medical issues-that's a good point.
We removed the hidey with one exit and there are now two hideys and each have multiple exits. That night after we switched out the hideys, they were funny-they played slow motion musical hideys for quite a while. They would each get settled in a hidey. Then after about half a minute, the more dominant piggie would rumble and walk slowly over to the other hidey, walk around it, the piggie in that hidey would walk slowly to the other hidey, they would both seem to settle in again, but then the dominant piggie would start it all over. This seemed to go on forever, but they I haven't heard as much arguing since then so keeping my fingers crossed.

Arguing aside, they are both so funny and we are really enjoying them. The dominant piggie is a mischievous explorer, and he does this funny little dance when he gets fed, kind of like a dog-he's so excited about eating that he can't sit still to actually eat so he runs around his bowl, or runs to his bowl, runs around his cage, runs back to his bowl, runs around, back to bowl before he finally eats. (I don't know if it is popcorning-do only babies popcorn?) The other piggie is super snuggly and pretty chill.
 

Piggies&buns

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The running about sounds as if he’s doing zoomies.
popcorning is when they jump on the spot.
not only babies, although they tend to do it less as they get older, but all piggies will popcorn and do zoomies when they are happy and excited!
 

Wiebke

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Thank you!
We will check them over carefully for medical issues-that's a good point.
We removed the hidey with one exit and there are now two hideys and each have multiple exits. That night after we switched out the hideys, they were funny-they played slow motion musical hideys for quite a while. They would each get settled in a hidey. Then after about half a minute, the more dominant piggie would rumble and walk slowly over to the other hidey, walk around it, the piggie in that hidey would walk slowly to the other hidey, they would both seem to settle in again, but then the dominant piggie would start it all over. This seemed to go on forever, but they I haven't heard as much arguing since then so keeping my fingers crossed.

Arguing aside, they are both so funny and we are really enjoying them. The dominant piggie is a mischievous explorer, and he does this funny little dance when he gets fed, kind of like a dog-he's so excited about eating that he can't sit still to actually eat so he runs around his bowl, or runs to his bowl, runs around his cage, runs back to his bowl, runs around, back to bowl before he finally eats. (I don't know if it is popcorning-do only babies popcorn?) The other piggie is super snuggly and pretty chill.
Guinea pigs of all ages can popcorn and do zoomies (run like mad) but they generally become a little more sedate as adults.

My oldest zoomer was Mali who kept on zooming until two days before she suddenly passed away from heart failure, aged around 8 years old. She was so blind from cataracts that she created scent spoor loops she could follow (she'd just created a new loop before she died) and she was also rather arthritic, so it was very much a waddle-zoomie - but, hey, her mind was still young and her zest for life never left her...
You can find a number of popcorning and zooming videos (including one of Mali) in this link here: 'Popcorning' and 'zooming' - joy and exuberance (videos)
 
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