Three Males, Possible Bullying, Fighting, Please Help!

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Kirstin

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I own three male guinea-pigs consisting of two brothers and a half-brother. I've had them for over a year now, and they're around 12 - 13 months old. These guys have got on pretty well without any arguing or squabbles, but suddenly, out of nowhere, the half-brother has randomly turned on one of the brothers and will not leave him alone. There is never any tumbling, biting or scratching involved, just a lot of noise and chasing. The only thing I could really do was separate the half-brother from the group. After a night of being separated and reintroducing them, things have quietened down but the atmosphere is a little tense. I've read that neutering them will very likely lead to no changes whatsoever, and at the moment the most likely option is to give the half-brother away. It certainly does look like the half-brother is trying to hump the other one, but it never leads to any violence.

It's now morning, and after a little arguing all three of them are getting along fine, but I'm pretty certain it'll kick-off again at some point during the day. I'm worried that the half-brother (Thorin) is a bully, picking on one of the brothers who is the least dominant male in the group. Is there anyone who can help me with this issue? What could be causing this to happen all of a sudden? Are there any solutions or will it simply be a case of finding Thorin a new home?

These guys live in a 160 Ferplast cage. I've leant a ramp on the other side as a second shelter, and so far this has shut them up. Currently, the two at loggerheads are eating together from the hay bag silently. Thank-you to anyone who can help me. I hate to see these guys so stressed out, and if it is a case of finding Thorin a new home, I'm prepared to do so for him to be happy. I just don't want that to be the answer, yet.
 

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It's so stressful when you have a harmonious herd, and then one falls out and all hell breaks loose. Sadly it's a common issue with three boars, even in a lovely large set-up like yours. However, it sounds like all isn't lost. I'm tagging @Wiebke
 

Kirstin

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It's so stressful when you have a harmonious herd, and then one falls out and all hell breaks loose. Sadly it's a common issue with three boars, even in a lovely large set-up like yours. However, it sounds like all isn't lost. I'm tagging @Wiebke
Thank-you very much for your fast reply. The sooner I find an answer the better. I hate the idea of these poor guys getting so stressed out - thank-you!
 

Wiebke

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Hi! It is somewhat rarer, but sadly not unusual for three sub-adult boars that have so far got on pretty well to get into trouble just when they start coming towards the end of the teenage hormones at around 14 months of age. By that, most sub-adult trios have already failed and have ended with a massive fight, bullying and a separation. About 90% of sub-adult boar trios don't make to adulthood together.

At the moment, it is still very touch and go whether things are going to escalate further or not. They have not yet quite reached the stage whether you need to separate asap.
There is no saying whether they will be able to stay together or are better off as a pair, but you can separate them overnight and see whether the trio is still functional or whether the boys are happier apart. According to that, you can then think about a re-intro or not. There is a good risk that they won't go together and will end up happier living side by side having their own territory.
Here are our detailed tips: Boars: Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

Kirstin

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Thank-you for your quick response.
I'll keep an eye on them over the next few weeks. But yes, this fighting literally came out of nowhere. It was such a shock and it's equally bizarre now watching them all eat and lay down together as though nothing occurred the night prior. It seems a second shelter is easing the tension, at least.
If it comes to having to find the little one a new home, that's fine but it's very upsetting to think about. Would he be happier with a spayed sow if someone was happy to take him? It's pretty likely he wouldn't be happy alone.
Thanks again for all your help.
 

Wiebke

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Thank-you for your quick response.
I'll keep an eye on them over the next few weeks. But yes, this fighting literally came out of nowhere. It was such a shock and it's equally bizarre now watching them all eat and lay down together as though nothing occurred the night prior. It seems a second shelter is easing the tension, at least.
If it comes to having to find the little one a new home, that's fine but it's very upsetting to think about. Would he be happier with a spayed sow if someone was happy to take him? It's pretty likely he wouldn't be happy alone.
Thanks again for all your help.
You can consider keeping him as a living alongside companion to the other (ideally with interaction through the bars for stimulation) or finding him another boar friend in a few weeks if you can travel a bit further to a good piggy savvy rescue. Spayed sows are unfortunately about as rare as gold dust in this country!

Please make sure that you have got everything in threes, so they have all got their own little space and can get away from each other if necessary. Hopefully, that is going to diffuse the situation enough for them to make it through as one of the very few successful trios.
 

Kirstin

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Thanks for all your help. I'm not sure if we'd be able to divide the cage simply due to space, but fotunately we do have a 120 cage if things don't work out.

Thanks again! x
 

Wiebke

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Thanks for all your help. I'm not sure if we'd be able to divide the cage simply due to space, but fotunately we do have a 120 cage if things don't work out.

Thanks again! x
Two traditional cages pushed together will do the trick as long as they can see and sniff each other. If necessary, you could create a little mezzanine area in each cage with a hay loft where they can meet through the bars.
 

Kirstin

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Thought I'd give a quick update. :)

Since the incident, all has been peaceful within the heard. At this point I'm not quite sure what their thoughts are with each other. I caught the two of them spinning around in chase, but it quickly turned into popcorning and squeaking playfully, and they normally do this a lot when they know dinner time is near. I also made a couple of changes to their home:

- I have bought a third bed so that they now have one each. The group have managed to make their own 'routine' and take turns in the beds and the indoor house without squabbles.
- There's a second feeding point; one on the upper level and the other on the floor, there's no longer any bickering squeaks.

When it comes to pellet feeding, I sprinkle it into the bedding as opposed to leaving in the bowls. This way they're able to forage and it's also a good way to get them to bond, as well. The arguments have died completely since their row. The incident I posted about was literally the first time two of them ever fought, so I'll have to keep an eye on them over the next few weeks.

I want to thank-you for all of your help and advice, everyone. If you're interested, I'd be happy to post another update in a couple of weeks time?

Thanks again! :)
 

Wiebke

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Thought I'd give a quick update. :)

Since the incident, all has been peaceful within the heard. At this point I'm not quite sure what their thoughts are with each other. I caught the two of them spinning around in chase, but it quickly turned into popcorning and squeaking playfully, and they normally do this a lot when they know dinner time is near. I also made a couple of changes to their home:

- I have bought a third bed so that they now have one each. The group have managed to make their own 'routine' and take turns in the beds and the indoor house without squabbles.
- There's a second feeding point; one on the upper level and the other on the floor, there's no longer any bickering squeaks.

When it comes to pellet feeding, I sprinkle it into the bedding as opposed to leaving in the bowls. This way they're able to forage and it's also a good way to get them to bond, as well. The arguments have died completely since their row. The incident I posted about was literally the first time two of them ever fought, so I'll have to keep an eye on them over the next few weeks.

I want to thank-you for all of your help and advice, everyone. If you're interested, I'd be happy to post another update in a couple of weeks time?

That is great news, and yes, please keep us updated! We give advice so often without ever hearing how it has turned out!

Thanks again! :)
 
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