New Owner, Worried About Bullying/unhappy Pig

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Bethany C.

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Hello! I just adopted two guinea pigs about a month ago from different owners. Theo is about a year old (they didn't say the exact month) and Arty (name might change lol), is 6 months now. I did a ton of research before adopting them but I still feel like I was only partially prepared to have them. I wanted to post something to see if I am still doing anything wrong or if I did something wrong I don't know about.

I got them on Craigslist, Theo about a week before Arty. Theo came with his own small cage with a couple toys and all the necessities and lived alone before I got him. Arty lived with his litter, but unfortunately there was a mis-communication with Arty's owners and he came without a cage at all. I had to take a storage bin, put fleece down and put food in it. I know, terrible, and I regret it to this day because he was very unhappy. I got a new large cage and a bunch of new food and other randoms in about 2-3 weeks, just enough time to quarantine them.

So yesterday I didn't have a gate to put them in so I ended up using the gate from my new cage to put Theo in, and I had also given each of them floor time in the gate previously, so I'm guessing it smelled like both of them. I thoroughly washed all of Theo's things with vinegar and water and (somehow) combined his old cage and the new big cage, making the old cage the "kitchen", so Theo was sitting in the gate the whole time. Meanwhile, I tried to get Arty to come out by getting a box and putting it in his bin, then taking the fleece completely out, which actually worked better than I thought because he became less scared of me and everything as time went on.

(Sorry I know this is long) I read somewhere that It's a good idea to put two huts in the gate when they meet each other so they will have their own stuff, then section the gate in half so they can see and not touch. BAD IDEA. Arty immediately got extremely excited and started trying to get to Theo and Theo just sniffed him, so I removed the barrier (possibly also a bad idea). Arty was instantly in love... but Theo wasn't that happy. They both tried to go in each other's hide outs and Theo was the only one rumble strutting. Arty didn't care about dominance and submitted instantly. I finally took both hidies out but Theo was still being territorial over the spots he peed on, so I rolled up those parts of the fleece and he calmed down a little, but not much.

After 3 and a half hours then things seemed to calm a bit, I put them in the new cage. Maybe it was too early. For a while Theo didn't understand the bridge to the large side and Arty did immediately and started using the blue igloo that Theo came with. But once Theo got over there, he quite literally pushed him out of it and continuously rumble strutted. I put the box I used for Arty's hideaway in there as well, but Arty for a long time just sat outside the igloo while Theo sat in it. Then Theo tried to claim the box. And the hay wheel. And when Arty uses any of it, rumble strutting, and a couple times teeth chattering.

There hasn't been any fights, no blood, just Arty being pushed around, mounted, and intimidated. Arty follows Theo around and huddles with him when he's scared sometimes, but Theo hardly pays attention to him unless he's using something Theo thinks is his. I'm not sure what to do at this point, I don't know if this is normal or not. Also, Theo doesn't seem as happy as he used to be, but I catch Arty pop-corning sometimes. Confusing guys... please tell me if anything ^^^ is a warning sign, and ask question. Much appreciation!

BTW, I have carefresh and fleece, oxbow hay (two kinds), and give them different veggies twice a day. Theo is usually too busy eating to stop Arty from getting veggies, mostly.
 

Maisy and Poppy

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Hiya and :wel:!
I recommend Fitch and Aubiose they are much less expensive than care fresh! I think your piggies are getting on okay. Remove them if you see severe fights or blood. I am not very experienced with this!
Good luck,
Hint, Hint, Hint ... hoping to see pigtures of your piggies!:)
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Dominance behaviour is par for the course while a hierarchy is being established; this stage can last around two weeks, but mild dominance behaviours like rumblestrutting, mounting and chucking the underpiggy out of hideys and food bowls or any other prime spots can be daily behaviour. Have a look at these threads here. they can help you distinguish what is serious and what not. You have to sit through any mild and medium behaviours, I am afraid.
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/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/

Here are our diet recomendations, which you may find helpful:
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...or-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/
 

Wiebke

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PS: could you please add your state to your details; it makes it a lot easier for us to adapt any advice to your local possiblities in view that we are dealing with members from all over the world. Click on your username on the top bar, then to go personal details and scroll down to location. In the same section you can also upload your avatar; that is the picture that appears with every post you make.
Thanks!
 

Maddykins

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They will probably calm down with time once they get more used to their surroundings. Also they're both teenager piggies so will be a bit hormonal and grumpy now and then. Unless they actually get into a fight you should just let them get on with it really. It is normal to have one pig dominant and rumble strutting and the other one more of a softy...or at least that's what it is like with my two boars. Though you do feel sorry for the submissive one because mine does what Arty does, when he gets scared he runs to hide behind his dominant buddy, who promptly gets annoyed and rumbles at him!
 
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