New Cage Mate

Tlong

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Hi there, I really wanted to see if someone could help me with establishing what’s “normal” for male guinea pig bonding. I have a 5mos old boar named Mac and just brought home 3 days ago a 2mos old boar named Monty. Mac is trying to establish his dominance he rumble struts all the time chases Monty around I just worry it is terrifying my little guy. Monty is completely submissive. Mac doesn’t chatter his teeth or show any other aggression where I think they they will fight but I just wanted an idea if this is normal behavior they have slept in the same hideout a couple of times and Mac sometimes lays down outside the little ones hideout . I just worry and want to make sure I do the right thing for both
 

Tlong

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I thought so but I just wanted to hear it from someone else! It probably scares me more than it scares him lol!
 

Piggies&buns

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Yes, dominance can sound and look quite dramatic to us but to them it is just normal!
With two boys, ensure you have a large enough cage - particularly as your older piggy is now in his teens and your youngster isn’t far off entering his teens. A cage for two males need to be 180cm x 60cm to ensure they both have enough space to help prevent fall outs.
As long as the youngster always remains submissive, then everything will be ok, but once he enters his teens, if he also wants to be dominant then there can be problems. With teen boars, having a spare cage on hand is a good idea in case you need to separate them.
Also, have you checked the sex of the youngster yourself to confirm he is indeed Male?
Did you introduce then on neutral territory?

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
 

Tlong

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That was the first thing I did before I got him home. I pushed on his little belly and it popped right out lol. I cleaned the cage and washed the fleece both in The area I introduced them and in the cage they share. I let them have floor time for about 5-6 hours before I put them in the cage and rearranged it so it would be different for Mac too. That was my
Next question right now I have a 2x5 CC cage and we are putting on a 2nd floor so they have more space. I have hideouts for both and have 2 separate food areas. I give them separate veggies too but as it stands right now Mac likes to try and eat both so I’m not sure if I should take Monty out and let him eat in peace ? I work from home
So most days I take them out and give them floor time for about 8-10 hrs a day.
 

Tlong

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If you do need to separate them when the other one becomes a teenager is there a chance you can put them back together? Or will that be the end of their bond?
 

Piggies&buns

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That was the first thing I did before I got him home. I pushed on his little belly and it popped right out lol. I cleaned the cage and washed the fleece both in The area I introduced them and in the cage they share. I let them have floor time for about 5-6 hours before I put them in the cage and rearranged it so it would be different for Mac too. That was my
Next question right now I have a 2x5 CC cage and we are putting on a 2nd floor so they have more space. I have hideouts for both and have 2 separate food areas. I give them separate veggies too but as it stands right now Mac likes to try and eat both so I’m not sure if I should take Monty out and let him eat in peace ? I work from home
So most days I take them out and give them floor time for about 8-10 hrs a day.

A 2x5 is a good size for two boys so that’s good. Adding a second level won’t actually add extra flood space though as ground roaming creatures upper levels don’t count towards the cage size - upper levels are bonus spaces only. If will give them somewhere else to go though

I wouldn’t take him out, they both need to learn how to share but also separating them in such a critical stage of their relationship would not be a good idea. Hay needs to make up the biggest part of their diet in any event so as long as they both plenty of hay then there won’t be any problems. Weigh them both weekly to ensure they are putting on weight well.
Always ensure you handle the dominant piggy first.
 

Piggies&buns

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If you do need to separate them when the other one becomes a teenager is there a chance you can put them back together? Or will that be the end of their bond?

If they turn out to be incompatible and they fight, then that is grounds for immediate separation and then they will never be able to live together again.
 

Piggies&buns

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Please Don’t be overly concerned about this though - if they are compatible then there won’t be any problems between them but it is always a good idea to keep the information in mind when dealing with teen boars.

One other useful guide - Bonds In Trouble
 

Tlong

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Well at this point he is the one that is least terrified of me and easiest to pickup. I have a small scale so weighing them shouldn’t be a problem. I have a spare cage so worst case scenario we could separate them. They have all the hay they could ever want. I have two separate hay areas for them but where one goes the other one follows. I haven’t separated them yet from each other and when I check on them they seem to be relaxed at night.
 

Piggies&buns

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This all sounds good.
That’s quite normal for them to follow - they will be building their relationship and it goes on for about two weeks after they have been introduced. As long as they are allowing each other to eat and rest then that’s fine.
If their relationship is absolutely fine and functioning, then don’t ever separate them. Boars need to remain together at all times - if one goes to the vet for example, then they both go.
 

Tlong

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Please Don’t be overly concerned about this though - if they are compatible then there won’t be any problems between them but it is always a good idea to keep the information in mind when dealing with teen boars.

One other useful guide - Bonds In Trouble
Please Don’t be overly concerned about this though - if they are compatible then there won’t be any problems between them but it is always a good idea to keep the information in mind when dealing with teen boars.

One other useful guide - Bonds In Trouble
I always feel like the more educated you can be the better. I really wanted to adopt a bonded pair but believe it or not I could not find a single guinea pig let alone a pair for adoption within a 4hr drive in the states which is probably a good thing I suppose.
 

Tlong

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That is also good to know. I appreciate all of your knowledge and advice. I’ve spent hours looking online without any really good answers. You have been very helpful and it’s appreciated!
 

Piggies&buns

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Yes absolutely, reading up and education is key! There are a lot of useful guides in every section of the site.

Do keep asking questions if you’re not sure on anything, there is always somebody online who can help.
My own teen boars came through their teens without any real problems (they were bonded before I got them though, and adopted when they were four and five months old), a bit of bickering but nothing lots of space couldn’t solve.
 

Wiebke

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Hi there, I really wanted to see if someone could help me with establishing what’s “normal” for male guinea pig bonding. I have a 5mos old boar named Mac and just brought home 3 days ago a 2mos old boar named Monty. Mac is trying to establish his dominance he rumble struts all the time chases Monty around I just worry it is terrifying my little guy. Monty is completely submissive. Mac doesn’t chatter his teeth or show any other aggression where I think they they will fight but I just wanted an idea if this is normal behavior they have slept in the same hideout a couple of times and Mac sometimes lays down outside the little ones hideout . I just worry and want to make sure I do the right thing for both

Hi!

Please be aware that the post-intro dominance phase lasts around 2 weeks before the group and the hierarchy at its core if fully established. The submission screaming (which is a very effective 'Don't be mean to me' cry, and not an expression of hurt) will become more common towards the end of it at which the underpiggy has their own slot of saying clearly just how far they allow themselves to be pushed.

Please remove all huts with just one exit and have everything in twos. Youngsters are far too agile to get hurt but 'locking in' a piggy in a corner, food hogging or chucking the underpiggy out of a prime spot are all dominance behaviours that are pretty common for this period.

The dominance behaviour you are reporting is on the mild to medium scale.

Please take the time to read these guide links here so you understand better what is going on and can judge the severity for yourself. You will also find more practical information and tips in the guides, which you may want to bookmark for the time your baby reaches the teenage when they become relevant again.
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
 

BrianaB

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Thanks for this! I was having the same concern with my guys that I introduced on Saturday!
 

Julie M

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I personally wouldn't recommend a loft for boars as the ramp can sometimes become a dominance dispute. And one pig can block this area and claim it as their own.
 

Tlong

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Yes absolutely, reading up and education is key! There are a lot of useful guides in every section of the site.

Do keep asking questions if you’re not sure on anything, there is always somebody online who can help.
My own teen boars came through their teens without any real problems (they were bonded before I got them though, and adopted when they were four and five months old), a bit of bickering but nothing lots of space couldn’t solve.
Hi!

Please be aware that the post-intro dominance phase lasts around 2 weeks before the group and the hierarchy at its core if fully established. The submission screaming (which is a very effective 'Don't be mean to me' cry, and not an expression of hurt) will become more common towards the end of it at which the underpiggy has their own slot of saying clearly just how far they allow themselves to be pushed.

Please remove all huts with just one exit and have everything in twos. Youngsters are far too agile to get hurt but 'locking in' a piggy in a corner, food hogging or chucking the underpiggy out of a prime spot are all dominance behaviours that are pretty common for this period.

The dominance behaviour you are reporting is on the mild to medium scale.

Please take the time to read these guide links here so you understand better what is going on and can judge the severity for yourself. You will also find more practical information and tips in the guides, which you may want to bookmark for the time your baby reaches the teenage when they become relevant again.
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Thank you so much for the information! This is all so good to know! I believe education is key so i
Appreciate the links and will be reading them. I have learned so much more on this forum already than I did in hours of researching on the internet. I did change the hideouts so they have exits as I did have a corner hideout previously they have multiple food. Dishes and hay access. And maybe instead of the loft I will increase my current cage to a 2x6 instead of 2x5. The odd thing is they seem to do better in the cage than when I give them floor time? Which I don’t really understand considering the space I give them on the floor is double the space they have in the cage?! Thank you for
The insight I really do appreciate it. This is the first guinea pig I have since I was child so I want to make sure I give them the best life possible.
 

Piggies&buns

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They will do better in the cage because it is their environment, their territories will be set up etc and they both know their ‘place’. When you get them out for floor time, it’s a new environment and new environments can cause a little bit of dominance behaviour. It will settle down though once they get used to each other and to having floor time . Use their hideys from their cage when they on floor time so they can recognise it as being their
 

Tlong

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They will do better in the cage because it is their environment, their territories will be set up etc and they both know their ‘place’. When you get them out for floor time, it’s a new environment and new environments can cause a little bit of dominance behaviour. It will settle down though once they get used to each other and to having floor time . Use their hideys from their cage when they on floor time so they can recognise it as being their
I just wanted to give you an update and thank you for telling me to tough it out! I think I got lucky enough to find a perfect pair (keeping my fingers crossed). My Mac is wound up like an 8 day clock with more energy than he knows what to do with and my little Monty is as docile as they come and just watches him fly around like a mad man lol! He has quit asserting his dominance all the time and each of them have figured out their roles! So I just wanted to say thank you for the reassurance that I was doing the right thing!
 
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