Should I Separate My Boars?

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Squeakums

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I'm hoping some of you could give me some advice please. My two boars have begun fighting a lot more frequently in the past few days and today Leonard my older pig has visibly injured Butternut, he has a small cut under his mouth which looks bloody although isn't actively bleeding and a swollen lower lip.
From what I have read in past posts on here I should separate them as soon as blood is drawn. But it seems like a drastic and irreversible decision that I'm worried to make on my own, not being an expert in guinea pig behaviour.
Other than asserting his dominance when the pair were first bonded 4 months ago (boar date at the Potteries gpr) Leonard has been friendly with Butternut. Last weekend we took them both on a car journey during which they had a fight in their travel box but I couldn't see any injuries on either pig other than a small tuft of fur missing from Butternut. I think perhaps the car journey unsettled them and has caused the recent fighting but Butternut is also about 6 months old now so this behaviour may only get worse.
I'm thinking I should separate them tonight (with cages next to each other so they can still communicate) but I'm worried whether they can or should be put back together again after this. They seem to be completely fine apart from the occasional fight these past few days so it would be a shame for them to be on their own, especially for Leonard who is quite old at 4 years and has only recently lost his first piggy friend who died in October.

I would appreciate any advice you may have, thank you.
 

Wiebke

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It sounds rather like a scratch, so you can try a cool down separation, but I wouldn't yet permanently separate. 6 months old is one of the most difficult times during the teenage period, and it doesn't take a lot to upset the apple cart. Hopefully, you can get them through this! While I am not usually a fan of buddy baths, a re-introduction after a short separation is the one occasion where it has a place in that you are washing out any remnants of an excess of testosterone out of their coats, so they can't set each other off literally at first sniff. Please conduct any re-intros on neutral ground and put them back into a totally cleaned cage (including hideys, walls/grids and any soft furnishings.

Here are our tips: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/
 

Wiebke

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P.S. what should I put on Butternut's cut to prevent infection?
If you do not have a disinfectant like hibiscrub or sterile saline from the pharmacy at home, you can always make your own saline solution by mixing 1 teaspoon of salt into 1 pint/500 ml of boiled, cooled water. ;)
 

Yasmin Marie

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I had this problem with my two boars, growing up together than soon as they hit teens they fought!
My vet said that they can have scuffs at that age. It went on and on then Lupin really hurt Tyrion so I separated them, broke my heart but they are much better now and I got them neutered and some ladies (Rosie and Juno). Now they are all happy piggies! Just monitor it, see how it goes you will know when its too much xx
 

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Hi there, i have 4 boars (soon to be 6) and feel that boar dynamics can be challenging sometimes when any pigs reach "teenage" years. I think you should watch them carefully, and give them as much space as possible and one each of everything to avoid squabbles.
Keep a towel and oven gloves by the cage/enclosure so that you can separate them immediately if they do have a massive fight.

I was having "issues" with Jack (18 months) and Hector (6 months) a few weeks ago and worried that they would need separating as they had a couple of quite drammatic fights (though no blood was drawn) but what seemed to diffuse the situation was moving them from their 120cm cage into an 8 sided metal framed pen permanently- a much large space. They did a lot of running around and had a few scuffles then settled down. They are now back in the cage when we are around after work and when the children are playing in the house but are in the pen when we are out during the day or night time when we are all in bed. I think that 120cm cages are just not enough for young hormonal boars :(
 

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Thanks Yasmin and Goth Mummy. Good to hear that your piggies have got through it one way or another and are happy now, gives me hope :)
Leonard bit Butternut again a couple of weeks ago on his front paw, it didn't look too bad or bleeding but he was limping. We tried to keep it clean but a few days later it looked worse and had swelled up so we took him to the vet. The vet told us it had developed into an abscess which he managed to get some pus and blood out of (and sent a sample for testing) then prescribed some antibiotics and painkillers. I explained about the two of them having regular fights and asked if I should separate them but he advised to try and keep them together so they wouldn't get lonely. Back home we set up a big floor pen for them but as soon as I turned away and came back a few minutes later, they had had another fight - Butternut had a bleeding gash above his nose (not deep thankfully) and a bite on his side which looked scary but (fingers crossed) has almost healed a couple of days later.
Obviously that was the last straw and they now have one cage each, but next to each other so they can still see and wheek to each other. Leonard doesn't seem bothered at all, Butternut seems fine but sometimes stands against the bars between them and looks wistfully at Leonard, who ignores him.
I don't think it's a good idea to try and reintroduce them given the injuries that Butternut has suffered, and I'd be constantly worried that even if they seemed fine I'll come home one day to find one or both of them seriously hurt. I don't think we could cope right now getting them both neutered and getting two new ladies for each of them, so I hope they will be ok in adjacent cages :(
 

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So sorry that you've had to split them up, it's not nice to make that choice but you know when enough is enough. My Tyrion used to climb up to try talk to Lupin and would ignore him. They were on their on for a while with having them snipped and to getting girlfriends. They still were happy piggies but I'm a soft touch and wanted to make sure they had someone to play and cuddle with when I wasn't there. Take it one step at a time you've done the right thing. I was heartbroken and tried having them sat next to each other and straight away went each other and they have never been near each other since. X
 

Yasmin Marie

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Thanks Yasmin and Goth Mummy. Good to hear that your piggies have got through it one way or another and are happy now, gives me hope :)
Leonard bit Butternut again a couple of weeks ago on his front paw, it didn't look too bad or bleeding but he was limping. We tried to keep it clean but a few days later it looked worse and had swelled up so we took him to the vet. The vet told us it had developed into an abscess which he managed to get some pus and blood out of (and sent a sample for testing) then prescribed some antibiotics and painkillers. I explained about the two of them having regular fights and asked if I should separate them but he advised to try and keep them together so they wouldn't get lonely. Back home we set up a big floor pen for them but as soon as I turned away and came back a few minutes later, they had had another fight - Butternut had a bleeding gash above his nose (not deep thankfully) and a bite on his side which looked scary but (fingers crossed) has almost healed a couple of days later.
Obviously that was the last straw and they now have one cage each, but next to each other so they can still see and wheek to each other. Leonard doesn't seem bothered at all, Butternut seems fine but sometimes stands against the bars between them and looks wistfully at Leonard, who ignores him.
I don't think it's a good idea to try and reintroduce them given the injuries that Butternut has suffered, and I'd be constantly worried that even if they seemed fine I'll come home one day to find one or both of them seriously hurt. I don't think we could cope right now getting them both neutered and getting two new ladies for each of them, so I hope they will be ok in adjacent cages :(
Also wishing a speedy recovery for Butternut! And also a cuddle for Leonard x
 
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