Single Boar Bonding

DontPanic

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Hello! I have some questions for everyone concerning my single piggie, Sir Black Butt (my boyfriend named him, I would have picked "Smores" lol!). He recently came to live with me in August. Prior to that, he lived with my boyfriend for about two and a half years. He has been kept single all of his life, so it was my hope that by taking him in I could find him a companion. A few weeks after he got settled in, I adopted another boar around one year old. I would like to preface this by saying that none of the shelters near me allowed bonding to be done at the shelter; I had to do it in my home. I waited a day for the new guinea pig to be comfortable before I introduced them. However, when they were introduced it inevitably turned into a fight and they had to be separated. I thought I did the introduction properly. I set up a neutral area for them to meet, and I waited hours until their chattering (and dominance dancing) calmed down. Once they started cuddling under their hidey, I figured they had been successfully bonded. However, when I put them into their cage (freshly washed) they immediately started showing signs of aggression. Eventually, they got into a fight. I attempted to split their cage, and I even tried to make sure they were hidden from each other's view. Unfortunately, they continued to be aggressive towards each other. I inevitably made the tough decision to surrender the new guinea pig back to the shelter; I didn't think they would be able to live happy lives constantly stressed about one another. I feel incredibly guilty about this, I know I should have been more prepared for that outcome.

So, I arrive at my current situation. I'm still hesitant to try again because of what happened. I don't think I could handle another fight like that. I know it's very cruel for them to live alone, but the fact that none of the shelters near me do in-shelter bonding is concerning to me. Boar dating is difficult: what if my past situation repeats itself? Where do I go now? Is it better to keep him single? The reason I took him into my care was that I wanted him to have a friend (and a better cage). He loves his new cage and our new routine (veggies everyday, cage cleaning daily), but will that be enough to keep him happy?

I also just generally feel horrible about what happened. I feel like I did something wrong. Maybe I didn't clean the cage well enough or they didn't have enough room. I definitely want to upgrade his current enclosure from a 2x4 to a 2x5 before trying again (even if I don't I'd still love to). The fight just happened so fast that I can't help but blame myself. I also just feel terrible for the other piggie. I really need some advice (criticism is encouraged too!) and encouragement. 😞

Thanks, guys. Also here are some pictures of my lil guy:

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Siikibam

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I’m sorry it didn’t go the way you wanted. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do if they don’t like each other. It’s a bit like us humans where you just don’t like someone.

I would look into rescues further afield and see if any would be able to bond him themselves. Sometimes it takes a few tries before they find the one, even at a rescue.

He’s been alone up to now but I would strongly recommend you do try to find him a friend. Even living next to each other is better than being solitary.

Boars are more territorial so I’d advise you to upgrade to a 2x5 as soon as possible. You only need 2 more grids.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

DontPanic

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I’m sorry it didn’t go the way you wanted. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do if they don’t like each other. It’s a bit like us humans where you just don’t like someone.

I would look into rescues further afield and see if any would be able to bond him themselves. Sometimes it takes a few tries before they find the one, even at a rescue.

He’s been alone up to now but I would strongly recommend you do try to find him a friend. Even living next to each other is better than being solitary.

Boars are more territorial so I’d advise you to upgrade to a 2x5 as soon as possible. You only need 2 more grids.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Unfortunately, I live in an area where guinea pig rescues are not common. The closest one is over an hour and a half away (and this is the one that doesn't allow in-person bonding). I wouldn't be opposed to driving further, but I feel like travel time would start to become an issue for my little guy (distance there and back). It's just frustrating. I'm constantly checking for new rescues though, or just anyone who is looking to rehome their pet. Hopefully, I can find someone who is willing to do in-person bonding soon.
 

Siikibam

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Piggies actually travel very well. There have been people here who have travelled on trains etc from one end to the other without issues. He would be just fine.

Good luck finding him a friend! It’s difficult in these times but fingers crossed.
 

Wiebke

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Hi!

I have travelled repeatedly over 2 hours on the train for some rescue bonding and even longer for a special adoption. Unfortunately, some long term single piggies can be harder to bond because they feel insecure around other piggies.

Looking for a baby mate can work - it has for my ex-single Dylan, who was neutered at the rescue before I adopted him. His first mate was a baby boy but their relationship foundered when Dylan kept insisting on abject submission the more teenage Llelo refused to so although he is by nature a submissive boy but also a quietly confident one. Dylan has been living with a runty sow for the last 1 1/2 years and is very stably and happily bonded.
You can find both bonding videos in the baby bonding chapter of our bonding guide. Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

My single Beryn only ever accepted one mate - gentle and very submissive older Betsan after a search of 1 1/2 years. Betsan sadly passed away unexpectedly from a sudden heart attack at the start of February, so Beryn has been on her own with companionship through the grids again. She was found dumped on the grounds of a cricket club but must have once been some somebody's very much loved single companion. She is very human orientated and very insecure with other piggies.

You may find the information in these guides here helpful:
Travelling with guinea pigs

Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities (contains a chapter about the more specific challenges you are facing with singles in a range of situations and a chapter on various companionship options)

Our boar guide also has a chapter on companionship: A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
 
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