Please help: Keep working on bonding or separate

georgebebe

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Hello everyone, I really need some help from you all. I adopted my two male piggies almost two years ago (at which they were about 1 year old at the time), so they are almost 3 yrs. old now this summer. I adopted them as "bonded buddies" meaning they were required to be adopted out together. When I got them home initially, they were fighting - chattering, lunging, and locked in a "ball of fur" together - so called the shelter's small animal contact who said to separate them or get larger cages. At the time thought my 8 sq. foot cage was big enough for both of them, but then separated them into two cages - each one 8 sq. feet.

I had tried a couple times in the past to re-introduce and bond them, but had only let them be together briefly until the similar behavior broke out and there was tufts of fur and blood. I realize now, I shouldn't have kept trying to bond and then separate again.. I think they really do enjoy each others company, and since I adopted them as a bonded pair it feels cruel to not try to let them be together. But it also breaks my heart seeing the fights and scabs.

So fast forward to within the past month. Their cages have been side by side, and they were sleeping by each other on either side of the bars. One would constantly be gnawing on the bars trying to get to the other one. So I tried again having them out together on the floor together - and this time tried riding it out with the mounting, lunging, interlocked ball of fur, tufts of fur on the ground, chattering, etc. I also have tried the bonding bath, which seemed to help some as well. And I combined their cages into one big 16 sq. feet square. It's been a week now, and they seem to be getting along better. But these same behaviors do continue to happen, although less frequently that I can observe.

I took them both to the vet today for check ups, as my one seemed to be having issues swallowing. Now the vet and I think it could have been due to all the scabs we discovered near his mouth and eye/face area - that it probably just hurt, as it had only been happening earlier this week. Both of my piggies have pretty big and relatively deep scabs/wounds - which appear as though they are from the initial fighting, and not recently like in past day or so.

My question is if I should continue letting them live together and work out their issues? Monitoring them? Or if they really need to be in separate cages for good now? The vet suggested neutering them both, but I don't think I want to do that as I've read the surgery can have risks, and may still not mean they wouldn't fight. Any suggestions for me?

Thank you so much for your help!
 

Reenie

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It's really difficult to say in this case what you should do so I'm tagging @Wiebke who's the expert in such things.
What I can say, with total confidence is, don't get them neutered as this will not make any difference. The only reason for neutering is to stop them breeding, it has no effect on behaviour. Some vets think piggies are like rabbits and neutering calms down this type of behaviour, but it doesn't.
I hope you get it settled. X
 

Swissgreys

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Sadly once blood is drawn between piggies it is highly unlikely that they will ever live together peacefully again.
You sound like you have done an amazing job giving your boys every opportunity to live as a bonded pair, but they have clearly decided otherwise.
It really its time to separate them permanently now - they have made up their minds.

However living in large cages side by side is a great way to ensure they still have piggy contact while being kept safe and happy.
I had one guinea pig who didn't want to have a new friend living with him, but loved his contact through the bars with other guinea pigs.
All attempts to bond him failed, but he would often be found laying next to the bars with a piggy from the other cage on the other side.

@Reenie is correct when she says that neutering will not change their behavior or feelings towards each other - it just stops them makng babies, and would only be something to consider if you wanted to paiur them each with a female further down the line.
 

Siikibam

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It’s difficult when piggies don’t get on. But they can interact through the divider. They may not be in the same cage but they still have the contact with their own kind that they need. Sorry things didn’t work out - it can be fraught with boars who are in their teenage years.
 

georgebebe

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Thank you all, for your kind words and support. It means a lot, and I feel more assured that housing them separately but so they can interact through the divider is the best, and safest option for them now. I had tried a couple other suggestions from Guinea Pig Cages forum over the past week and thought maybe things were going better as I observed popcorning and chirping and otherwise seemingly happy interactions. However, tonight I found fresh wounds on one of my boys - and he was looking so tired and just seemed worn out from it all :( So I know it is definitely time to separate them permanently. Thanks again for all your support and input. I really appreciate it. <3
 
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