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Smelly boar

Mynsii

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I have a 3 year old boar (Dale) who's suddenly developed a bit of a whiff. A few weeks ago his cagemate from birth (Chip) died, and he was devestated. I had to syringe feed him critical care to get him to eat (which admittedly gave him cowpat stools), as he refused to eat by himself. He wasn't grooming either, so he got kind of skinky and I had to give him a few baths to clean him up. On my vet's advice (as lab results said his stool was fine, and he wasn't ill, just pining/sensative to critical care), I switched up his food to a smoothie blend of nuggets and veg, as well as brown cardboard in his run, and his poops returned to normal.

Again on my vet's advice, as he was pining so hard and really struggling to live alone, I got him a companion - a six week old boar (Cooper) with a personality similar to our lost piggy. They don't share the same cage yet (the baby is so tiny, and I want to be 100% certain they'll get on before housing them together for good), though their cages are side by side, and they have regular play times in a neutral space.

Almost immediately (pretty much the same day) after bringing Cooper home, Dale started eating, drinking, and grooming again. He started talking to me (he'd been silent since his cagemate died), and regained all his enthusiasm to play and run around.

BUT he's suddenly really stinky, though different from when he had looser stools. While that smelt very obviously like poop, this is a really pungent, musky smell that is back within 24 hours of cleaning his cage. Dale was always the dominant boar, but he never marked his territory, and so I'm confused as to why he'd suddenly start now, having never done it in the three years previous, or whether that's even the source of the smell at all. He had a day or two before we brought Cooper home where he smelt like this (say day 8 and 9 after Chip died), but we took him for a health check and the vet found nothing wrong with him, and after his next cage clean the smell went away until we brought Cooper home.

I grew up only having sows, so boars are still a new experience for me, especially bonding two of them together. I had heard that boars can be smellier, but like I said, my original pair were pretty much odorless until Chip died.

If anyone can offer me any advice, it would be much appreciated!
 

Piggies&buns

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Regarding the bonding, you can’t be sure they get on until you do the bonding. Be aware that guinea pigs do not do playtime. Each time they meet they are starting to bond and if you then separate them, it all gets interrupted, meaning they have to start all over again and it is incredibly stressful for them. They can live in side by side cages for a while but they should not have physical contact until the actual day of bonding and then from then on they need to be permanently together.
To bond, You need to put them together in a neutral zone for a few hours. While they are in there, you clean out the cage they are going to live in and then when they are ok together after a few hours in the bonding pen, then they need to go back into the same cage and not be separated again (unless there is a problem with the bond).
It may be the constant introduction and separation that is upsetting him and causing him to need to scent mark.

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
 

KathT

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I placed a three and a half week old boar with my bereaved 3 year old boar and didn’t have any problems. The older boar more or less ignored the baby but tolerated him if he came close when he was scared. They now get on really well - the younger boar is now 6 months old and even though his hormones have kicked in, I haven’t seen much dominance behaviour. I would just get on with bonding them and let them settle with each other.
 

KathT

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Oh, I forgot to say to check your boar for impaction, which can sometimes happen when their eating is off. It could be he has some poop stuck in his anal sac, which is what’s cause the smell. I think theirs a guide to cleaning out impaction somewhere in the Health section.
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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I once had a guinea pig that had cow pat stools after feeding critical care, it turned out when my vet had a proper look at the cow pat, it was purely critical care gone straight through
 

Mynsii

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Thanks everyone. The problem solved itself immediately as soon as I housed the boys together. He definitely seemed to be marking more due to them not living together.
 
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