Teeth Chattering, Bullying And General Aggressive Behaviour :(

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winchester182

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Hello all!
I am new to this forum and decided to post here as I am close to my wit's end!

I own 2 piggies (boars) that we bought from a breeder last year in June, they are (or were) a bonded pair of brothers from the same litter.

We have Seth who is a dark brown, possibly part long haired boy and Castiel who is a ginger, much smaller male (we think he was the runt of the litter)
When we got them everything was great, they used to cuddle together, share food and play together during floor time.
We then got them a larger cage (ferplast 100) because Seth had grown a lot, he is a big piggie! We noticed when in the smaller cage there was a lot of rumbling and chasing so we figured they needed more room.

It seemed to work for a little while, the new cage had a second floor with a second food bowl and a second water bottle too, but recently things have gone really bad!
Castiel prefers to sit on the shelf to eat, we think because he is out of Seth's way, but whenever he tries to get down from the shelf, Seth will nip him, forcing him to jump back up out of reach.
Then Seth started with the teeth chattering, I know quiet, short bursts of teeth chattering isn't so bad, but this was loud and going on for 30 seconds to a minute, after Seth bit Castiel's ear, enough to draw blood, we separated them for a short while, but they were still within sight and sound range of each other.

We then tried to bathing technique and cleaned the cage and everything in it with white vinegar, we the rearranged the cage, added toys, chew sticks, newspaper balls, the works!

This unfortunately still didn't work, Seth continued his bullyish behaviour to a point where he wouldn't let Castiel eat from a bowl and treats had to be hand fed as Seth would steal them and take them under the shelf into the hidey hole and when Castiel popped his head in to see where his treat had gone, Seth would respond by chasing and teeth chattering.

We have now taken the shelf out of the cage as we thought Seth saw this as his territory, but things still haven't inproved, infact Seth now chatters his teeth at me when I reach in the cage to fill the bowls, he does it when I fill the water and even when I just walk past the cage he will chatter loudly for a minute or so, he has even charged towards me and grabbed my arm with his teeth (luckily I was wearing my hoodie)

This behaviour has had a profound affect on little Castiel who is a lovely, friendly piggie, who will greet you with wheeks, purrs and licks, but now he is constantly on edge, he shys away from affection and is super jumpy when you try to stroke him and give him cuddles.

We have tried almost every option that we have read online and been advised, we feel castration will not work because our vet advised it will have no affect on his behaviour at all.
The only thing we can think of is building a divider because Castiel, even though bullied, still loves the company of another piggie, but we have no idea how to build one into our cage, unfortunately we do not have the money to buy a big c&c cage at this time, we don't think plonking Seth in a cage alone will do him any good either as his aggression has spread to humans (me, my partner, our 4 year old, even my mother!) but also because of this, we feel rehoming him wouldn't work either.

Do we just have a grumpy, unsociable piggie?
Can anyone give us any advice on this? Or something we haven't tried before?
We love Seth, but we are worried he will seriously hurt Castiel or bite our 4 year old!

Please help! :(
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry for your trouble; it is a common problem with sub-adult boars.

Unfortunately, boars go through a long hormonal period between 4-14 months of age. You usually get spikes around 4 and 6 months and then a very difficult period around 8-10 months. Space is plays a huge role as boars can be very territorial. Make sure that you have everything in twos, each item well away from the other same item. that goes for hideys, bowls, water bottles and access to hay (which should make up to 80% of the daily food intake). Weigh your boys weekly throughout their lives, but especially to make sure that Castiel is not suffering from any bullying.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/boars-a-guide-to-successful-companionship.76162/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/cage-size-guide.120795/

Please trial separate your boys. If Castiel is perking up noticeably when separated by a divider from Seth, then the relationship is no longer working and you are better off looking at other options. When re-introducing, you always need to do so on neutral ground (see our tips in the introduction link).
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/

If things don't work out and you are dealing with a dysfunctional bond, you can either look at dating your two boys at one of our recommended piggy savvy rescues with a character compatible rescue boar each or you can look at neutering in order for each boy living with a sow. What does NOT work is neuter boars so they can go back living together; it works with rabbits, but not guinea pigs. the key to any happy piggy bond is mutual liking and character compatibility. Piggies can be as choosy about who they get on with as humans!

If you are looking at neutering, you also have to take into consideration that finding a either a general vet with lots of practice in guinea pig neutering or an exotics specialist with practice in small furry operations is crucial in order to prevent the otherwise still rather all to common risk of especially post op complications. You are also looking for a full 6 weeks post operation wait until a boar is 100% to go with sows. I have the daughter of an over 5 weeks post op boar (not one of mine) living with me, just to prove that particular point. Again, I would recommend to date your boys for character compatibility at a rescue. Cross gender bondings are the most stable relationship, once the important initial acceptance has happened.
We have got a recommended good standard rescue locator as well as a piggy savvy vet locator on the top bar for our UK members. We may be able to provide contacts for other countries.

As we deal with members from all over the world, we find it very helpful if you please added your country, state or (for the UK) your county or city so we can tailor any advice or recommendations to what is available or possible for you straight away. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thanks!
 
P

piggyfan

Hello and welcome to the forum. I see you have already been given advice but I just wanted to let you know that the minimum cage size for two boars is actually 140 cm by 60 cm so sadly your cage is too small for the boys.
 
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