Should we separate two fighting boars?

Should I separate my two fighting boars?


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rachhebblewhite

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Hi there, any advice would be much appreciated - we are ‘new’ to guinea pigs and are debating permanent separation for of our two boars, due to daily fighting. We arrived home today, to find one guinea pig in the kitchen. He would have needed to have jumped about a foot and a half, to have gotten free from the cage. He was clearly escaping pursuit from our other cavie. We bought them as babies from a farm park. Unfortunately, the two never hit it off and 11 months on, are now not only chasing, but also biting each other, mainly when they are in the run together or on the carpet in the lounge, where we let them run around. It appears to be a bid for territory, made worse by the fact that they sadly don’t like each other. The guinea pig who escaped had always been the alpha male, but recently the tables have turned, where the other has begun nipping and jumping on him. Both want to be Alpha male and this changes on almost a daily basis currently. We have tried to allow them to sort out their differences on their own in the past, but recently we noticed a couple of scabs on them and have put a cage divider between them for a few hours or over night, where there has been frantic chasing round and round the cage, lasting several minutes, where the previously dominant male has tried jumping up to get out. My gut feeling is permanent separation, but I would really appreciate the opinion of an experienced owner, as I have read that boars often resolve their issues after the teens and that guinea pigs should remain as a pair as much as possible. I hope you can help! Many thanks, Rachel x
 

Piggies&buns

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If they don’t like each other and they can’t work out which is the dominant and are fighting, then yes they sadly must be permanently separated.
 

Siikibam

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:agr: Just make sure that they live side by side so they can still interact through the bars.
 

rachhebblewhite

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If they don’t like each other and they can’t work out which is the dominant and are fighting, then yes they sadly must be permanently separated.
Hi, thanks so much for your advice. That was my gut feeling 😞. Do you happen to know what the recommended
:agr: Just make sure that they live side by side so they can still interact through the bars.
Hi, thanks so much - will do that x
 

Wiebke

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Hi there, any advice would be much appreciated - we are ‘new’ to guinea pigs and are debating permanent separation for of our two boars, due to daily fighting. We arrived home today, to find one guinea pig in the kitchen. He would have needed to have jumped about a foot and a half, to have gotten free from the cage. He was clearly escaping pursuit from our other cavie. We bought them as babies from a farm park. Unfortunately, the two never hit it off and 11 months on, are now not only chasing, but also biting each other, mainly when they are in the run together or on the carpet in the lounge, where we let them run around. It appears to be a bid for territory, made worse by the fact that they sadly don’t like each other. The guinea pig who escaped had always been the alpha male, but recently the tables have turned, where the other has begun nipping and jumping on him. Both want to be Alpha male and this changes on almost a daily basis currently. We have tried to allow them to sort out their differences on their own in the past, but recently we noticed a couple of scabs on them and have put a cage divider between them for a few hours or over night, where there has been frantic chasing round and round the cage, lasting several minutes, where the previously dominant male has tried jumping up to get out. My gut feeling is permanent separation, but I would really appreciate the opinion of an experienced owner, as I have read that boars often resolve their issues after the teens and that guinea pigs should remain as a pair as much as possible. I hope you can help! Many thanks, Rachel x
Hi!

How old are your boys and how big is your cage?

Please take the time to carefully read these guides here. They take you in detail through all the aspects of teenage, how you can work out whether their bond is dysfunctional or not and your options afterwards. Teenage is not a straight 10 months, it has clear peaks and troughs. The guides will also help you understand their behaviour better, so you can make an informed judment.
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs

Unfortunately we can't make any valid independent assessment ourselves just based on your words and the filter of your own perception. Please take the time to read the guides (which have taken me days to write, so I can't repeat all the information just two sentences) so you can make an informed decision yourself.
 

rachhebblewhite

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Hi!

How old are your boys and how big is your cage?

Please take the time to carefully read these guides here. They take you in detail through all the aspects of teenage, how you can work out whether their bond is dysfunctional or not and your options afterwards. Teenage is not a straight 10 months, it has clear peaks and troughs. The guides will also help you understand their behaviour better, so you can make an informed judment.
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs

Unfortunately we can't make any valid independent assessment ourselves just based on your words and the filter of your own perception. Please take the time to read the guides (which have taken me days to write, so I can't repeat all the information just two sentences) so you can make an informed decision yourself.
Hi there, thanks so much for your help. Our boys are roughly 11 months old. Their cage is 4ftx2x2. Do you think a bigger cage might be worth a try? Many thanks, Rachel x
 

Piggies&buns

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Hi there, thanks so much for your help. Our boys are roughly 11 months old. Their cage is 4ftx2x2. Do you think a bigger cage might be worth a try? Many thanks, Rachel x
Sadly a 4ft x 2ft cage is too small for two boars as lack of space can cause problems - Boars need a 6ft x 2ft cage
If you do change then cage size, then you need to do it carefully as a change in territory will cause an uptick in dominance behaviours. You need to Reuse soiled bedding in the new cage so that it still smells of them.
 

rachhebblewhite

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Sadly a 4ft x 2ft cage is too small for two boars as lack of space can cause problems - Boars need a 6ft x 2ft cage
If you do change then cage size, then you need to do it carefully as a change in territory will cause an uptick in dominance behaviours. You need to Reuse soiled bedding in the new cage so that it still smells of them.
Thanks very much for your help. Good to get some advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about 😊👍.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks very much for your help. Good to get some advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about 😊👍.
PLEASE read our boar guide chapter 3 when extending the cage, plus the other links. A cage extension done wrongly can lead to a new hierarchy sort-out and cause a fight/fall-out. All the tips are in that chapter about specific boar do's and dont's. Chapter 2 has description of how the teenage months run.
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars

Boars who have mainly got through the early stages of teenage well without problems can often suddenly 'wake up' around a year of age when most other pairs have long since parted ways or (more often) are coming out of the worst of it. Yours sound like they are late wakers.
Give them time out when a strong hormone spike hits (extra grids for a cage divider will help) and re-introduce outside the cage.
The exact detailed how to can be found in the teenage guide. It is well worth reading!
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?

Things will get eventually easier, especially the older boars get and less testosterone output there is but you are right in the thick of it now. All you can do is ride the tiger for as long as possible.
 

rachhebblewhite

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Hello! I’ve read through the advice you sent - much appreciated 😊. It is fair to say that we haven’t had any major issues for ten months, so I think I’ll have a go at re-introducing them. Hopefully it’s a spike in testosterone on the usually submissive Guinea pig’s part. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post x
 

Wiebke

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Hello! I’ve read through the advice you sent - much appreciated 😊. It is fair to say that we haven’t had any major issues for ten months, so I think I’ll have a go at re-introducing them. Hopefully it’s a spike in testosterone on the usually submissive Guinea pig’s part. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post x
Give it about two days for the hormone spike to settle down. If the bond is no longer viable, you will see tensions build up very quickly again. The good thing about boars is that they are generally upfront, so you know where you stand; unlike sows!

All the best! I sincerely hope that you can get them through the critical weeks.
 
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