Taming rescued boars

JakeJasperGingernut

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Hi all,
We rescued 3 boars about a month ago from a couple that didn't realise how much they needed to do. We are new to this, so we are learning as we go and hopefully make the little guys as happy as can be. We are struggling to tame them, as far as we know, they are about 7 months old. One seems to be a bit of a bully to one of the others but is the most timid with us. We can get near them to pick them up and we are starting to worry if we will ever tame them. We've tried the youtube videos and had no luck, could anyone help? They all seem healthy and eating well.
 

Piggies&buns

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:wel:

It takes weeks to months to get them to settle and be comfortable around humans. Time and patience is needed here. Some will settle quickly and enjoy being handled, some will tolerate it in time and some will never like it. They usually won’t like being picked up directly out of the cage as it cuts too close to their prey instinct. Herding them into a carrier is the easiest way to pick them up. Ill add some guides below to help further.

Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig Safely

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news for your first post on the forum, but your biggest problem is going to be that you have three boars together. Boars need to be kept in pairs as three together almost always fails and they generally do not make it out of their teens with their relationship as a trio in tact. The space required to attempt a trio is very large - they need a cage covering at least three square metres of flat single level space to give each one enough territory. However, even a large space won’t be enough to make it work if they don’t have character compatibility and getting compatibility in a boar trio is incredibly difficult.
I note you say one is bullying the others - what is actually happening? I am afraid this is the usual consequence of having a boar trio. Sadly, separation into a pair and a single is the most likely outcome of a boar trio, particularly if they are already having problems.

Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

JakeJasperGingernut

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Thank you for responding, we didn't initially intend on getting three, but as they were together, we thought it would be mean to split them. Jasper is the bully and he is the biggest, he makes like a rumbling noise and comes out to annoy the ginger one (profile pic), the worst thing that has happened is ginger nut had a bite taken out of his ear, but he now seems to just keep out of the way. I'm glad you've said it can take months, as I was worried if it didn't happen in the first few days, it never would. I saw some videos of owners having them on their knee etc and thought no chance! They have quite a big cage (I think it came from pets at home), but I'd happily replace the cage if you think this could help and have any suggestions. Do you think I'd be better getting a bigger cage and adding a fourth piggie?
 

Piggies&buns

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One of my boys settled and was happy to be around me after six weeks, he was taking food from me and came out to see me. It took the other one a year and a half to stop running away from me. They’ve been with me for three years and now both take food from my hand, and are happy to potter around me But they both do not like being handled and held.

Its nice you want to keep them together, it does feel sad to separate them but that is from a human point of view. Actually, separating them, particularly now one has sustained an injury, would be best. Boars very rarely function as a trio. Separating them into a pair and a single would be best now sadly.
While dominance behaviours such as rumbling are normal, when things turn to the extent that an injury occurs, then it is the end for them. Any fights which cause injuries or blood mean they do not like each other And do not have a functioning hierarchy.

A Pets at home cage isn’t likely to be big enough, not even for two let alone a teenage boar trio. Two boars need a cage measuring 180cm x 60cm. Do give the cage a measure and check it.
Three boars would need a cage measuring 300cm x 100cm (three square metres) but space alone will not fix a dysfunctional relationship or heal rifts. So even if you get a bigger cage now, they likely will not be able to remain together now injuries have occurred.

Commercial cages are rarely big enough for boars. The biggest commercial cage is the ferplast plaza 160 which measures 160x60cm so can still be a little on the tight side for two boars (particularly as teenagers). A c&c cage is a good option for boars as they can be made bigger to be more suitable (a 5 grid by 2 grid cage is recommended for two boars)

Please do not add a fourth In with the three of them. Adding a fourth is even worse than three. You can cause even more major issues by doing so and you could end up with four single piggies (all needing their own cage and their own new friend) if you were to try it.

As I said, given injuries have occurred and this doesn’t sound like a harmonious living arrangement (a functioning pair with a good relationship don’t try to stay out of each other’s way), then the best thing would be to split them into a pair and a single - choosing fhe two piggies who get on best to remain together. The single piggy will need to be kept alongside the pair for interaction through the bars only to stop loneliness. Then work on getting two 180x60cm cages. It would then be best if you could then take the piggy who ends up single, boar dating at a rescue centre to find him a new friend. That way he can choose his own friend and you can be assured of compatibility. The rescue can carry out the bonding process for you. You can then keep two separate pairs. This will work out much better than trying to keep a trio. (With the pandemic, dating has been suspended in some rescues, so you would need to check what options you have with a rescue centre - provided the single is kept alongside the pair, then he won’t be lonely so you would have time to get things sorted for him)
Buying piggies on spec can mean you run the risk they won’t be compatible and therefore wont be able to live together. This is even more of a risk given your piggies are hormonal teenagers. This is also why getting the help of a rescue centre is valuable. Bonding teen boars can be harder.

Once the single piggy has a live in friend of his own, then he no longer needs to be kept alongside the others so to save space if necessary, then you can stack cages (either one on the floor and one on a table; or if you do use a C&c cage then they can be stacked)

Do read the green links I added in above (and below) as they explain things more fully.

Cage Size Guide

Member Gallery: C&C cages/homemade cages

Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
 
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JakeJasperGingernut

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Thank you so much for this advice. I've just ordered a bigger cage kit which I think will be bigger than our house! I'll be able to create a separate granny flat within it, hopefully that will ease tensions. I totally understand now that the cage is far too small for them. Can't believe a major store sold them this kit. I'll get gingernut on plenty of guinea pigs .com to sort him a date and get them their own place when they hit it off.
 

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Piggies&buns

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Sadly, you will find lots of things in pet shops which are unsuitable.

It’s great you’ve been able to get a bigger cage and can separate them. It really will be best all round.

Our rescue locator is the best place to look to find a recommended rescue to get in touch with to find him a new friend. Any piggy from any other source, private owner, rehoming website, pet shop etc, does come with the risk of a failed bond (along with other issues) which could complicate your situation further.

Do ensure you keep the two piggies together who get on best - you need to keep one dominant and one submissive piggy together. You say Jasper is the bully and Gingernut is the injured one but that Gingernut is the one you will separate. - does the third piggy (I'm guessing his name is Jake) get on with Jasper? Do Jake and Gingernut get on?

Rescue Locator

They are gorgeous boys!

To assist further, can I also recommend you switch the food in the bowl to a plain hay/grass based pellet. The muesli in the bowl in the picture isn’t an ideal food. Unfortunately muesli contains lots of unhealthy and high sugar items which aren’t good for piggies and can lead to selective feeding. Even plain Pellets should be kept limited to just one tablespoon per pig per day as they are the least healthy part of the diet.

Pellets Or Muesli / Dry Mix?
Nugget Comparison Chart
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets

We are all more than happy to help you as you go along!
 

flowerfairy

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Lots of good advice. Just wanted to add, what gorgeous boars you have! Best of luck with boar dating for Gingernut when the time comes.
 

Little Ones

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To add onto what has already been said, Palace Piggie Rescue in Hornsea is a good, reputable rescue located near to you (it’s also featured on the rescue locator). They offer boar dating, it just depends on the piggies they have available when you’re ready
 
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