Not Sure If I Should Separate My Boars

Cheesybiscuit

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We rescued some 14 week old boar guinea pigs for our children back in May, so they're now 6/7 months old, although we don't know exact ages as we don't know when they were born. They've never really seemed that fond of each other, more that they tolerate each other - one is grumpier than the other. Last week, we heard a ruckus coming from their cage (they live outside) and when we went to see if all was okay, one (the less grumpy one) was bleeding from the mouth. We've also since found bite marks on this guinea pig, and a lump with pus, which I assume is an infected bite - we're going to take him to the vet today to get this looked at.

I've read the sticky posts on this site about boar behaviour/bonding but I don't know what to do at this point as I don't want to separate unnecessarily, but I'm so worried about them seriously hurting each other and don't know when enough is enough and if they just don't get on.

I know they're both in the tricky teenage stage right now and it's not ideal having two the same age but I'm unsure if it's going to get better or not or if we should just try and work out how to put up a cage divider in their hutch so they can be together, but not get at each other. I think grumpy pig would be okay with this but I think the other one might find it harder.

They seem to have calmed down a bit since the big fight, but they're still yawning at each other with occasional teeth chattering and one is sometimes chasing/darting at the other, so I don't think things have entirely relaxed and I'm concerned they might go for each other again.

They have a large, 6ft, single storey cage, and 2 food bowls, water bottles, hideys, hay piles etc, so I don't think it's space or sharing that's the issue as we've done all those things that people suggest.

We don't want to get more guineas either, so neutering/sows isn't really an option.

Can anyone offer any advice on what to do please? Would you separate now, or give it a few more days, or would you give them a bath to see if that helps? I'm really concerned :(

Thank you in advance for your help.
 

Piggies&buns

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If you are finding bite marks, then It sounds like they are fighting and likely their bond is tense and they need to be separated. If a fight has broken out then you can’t leave them together.
Bonding baths aren’t recommended. It won’t solve their relationship problems.
However, if you split a six foot hutch in half, each half is going to be too small. A single piggy needs a space of 120cm x 60cm (4ft x 2ft), so you will need to find a way to give them more space each but be separate and next to each other to enable through the bar interaction.
 
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Cheesybiscuit

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Is that the case even if they've been together since the bigger fight last week and don't seem to have had another big fight since? I don't know when the bite marks were from.
Is there no chance at all they'll settle down, or is it just a matter of time until they fall out again?
The position of the cage is going to make adding more space in is going to make things a bit tricky and I'm not sure how we'd do it (I hoped the cage was big enough we could put a mesh divider down the middle but it doesn't sound like that's the case), but obviously if that's what needs to happen we will work something out, I don't want them to be unhappy/injured.
 

Piggies&buns

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Normally if bites have occurred enough to cause injury and draw blood then we advise separation, usually it’ll happen again. They need to be character compatible to have a successful bond and if there is an underlying rift, dominance battle etc, it’ll just flare back up. It may be that they both had a hormone spike at the same time and that they may be ok for a while but there is another spike at around 9-10 months of age. If they fight again and have tensions then I wouldn’t not hesitate to separate.
If there relationship is strained and they aren’t happy, then you don’t need to wait for a fight to call it a day.
It’s the submissive piggy’s behaviour which needs to be the deciding factor - if this piggy is unhappy then they need to be separated. You need to weigh them both each week as part of routine care, but a bullied piggy will sometimes show weight loss due to being unhappy, not being allowed to eat etc.
It’s never an easy decision but if a fight has occurred, don’t hesitate. We obviously can’t see them and can only go by what you are telling us

The guides below give more detail. I know you’ve read them, but it never hurts to re read!

Bonds In Trouble
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

Cheesybiscuit

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Thank you, I really appreciate your help.
Can I just ask - if they're kept in a cage with a divider where they still see each other, but can't get at each other, so they're still together, once the hormones have died down and they've become adults can you try reintroducing them or is it the case once you've separated them they always have to stay apart?
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you, I really appreciate your help.
Can I just ask - if they're kept in a cage with a divider where they still see each other, but can't get at each other, so they're still together, once the hormones have died down and they've become adults can you try reintroducing them or is it the case once you've separated them they always have to stay apart?
As character is most important, most often, if they’ve made their minds up about each other, they wont change their minds back no matter how old they are. If their bond is broken, I personally wouldn’t attempt a reintroduction, however, the choice is yours but you would need to be prepared to step in with oven gloves on if a fight broke out. It would have to be done on neutral territory and I wouldn’t attempt it before they are 18 months/two years old.

If you haven’t separated yet, then keep a close eye on them and be prepared.
For a bond to work they need to be able to come to an agreement about hierarchy between them, if they can’t do that, then their long term prospects aren’t good.
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you.
I’ve just had a thought, do you have enclosed hidey houses or do they have to exits?
you don’t want a piggy being cornered in a hidey as that can result in defensive wounds and accidental injuries. If there are clear problems in the relationship then it’s different though and separation will be needed
 

Cheesybiscuit

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We had a pigloo in there, in the main section, which we took out yesterday which only had one exit, and replaced it with a box which has two exits. We did this as we wondered if that might have been causing a problem. The bitten pig used to like the pigloo a lot.

The pig who bites is now in the main area, not lurking in the sleeping area where he usually spends most of his time, and has been hanging out in this two exit hidey most of the day so far, which is really unusual, we never usually see him out! So usually they're in separate compartments (one in the sleeping, one in main), but since we changed this hidey, they've been together in the main area.

They're now mooching around in the main area together, no signs of upset or bother at all, which is what's confusing me, as right now they seem pretty chilled? Not even any rumblestrutting or anything going on.
 

Cheesybiscuit

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The pig who bit generally seems more timid, he spends a lot of time hiding away - and squeaks constantly when held, too.
 

Roselina

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Fingers crossed they might have settled but .....I would keep a close eye on them and weigh them everyday and check for new bite marks etc......just as you know anyway !
also well done for removing the pigloo so no piggie can be barricaded inside.
 

Siikibam

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How many hides do you have in there? And how many hay areas and bottles?
 
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