trouble in paradise + hair ring

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we had 2 five year old male guinea pigs - reece and robin. they had been together since they were little and they were not neutered as they never fought. robin died two months ago and reece was losing weight - our vet was not able to find anything wrong with him.

so we rehomed two male guinea pigs, about four months old, bill and ted. the introductions were very successful, they snuggled up together straight away and reece even nibbled on bill's ear (he didn't even do this with robin!)

but when we got home, after a few days, trouble started. ted, the smallest of them all, started being rather boisterous, mounting, humping and chasing - as there was no fighting, we left them to it. it calmed down after about two days and all seemed to be good - reece even started to put weight on.

but, recently we discovered that bill doesn't get down from his hammock and has not been eating properly - i am sorting this out, i have removed the hammock and placed him to food repeatedly and while he did run away as soon as ted as much as looked at him, he has been eating quite a lot today and hopefully he'll start eating normally soon.

ted has started humping reece again and it really does scare both bill & reece, reece has started losing weight again.

i did take ted out of the cage today and noticed his penis was protruding and he had quite a substantial hair ring around the base. i have chinchillas and knew they could have these but never knew guinea pigs could too and i can't find that much information.

could this explain his behaviour? as soon as i put him back after removing the hair ring, he went into the house to see reece but didn't try to hump. there's also been no squeaking since (reece would normally squeak when humped).

i would imagine the ring was formed when he was doing his initial 'dominance' humping & he was just trying to let the other two know he was suffering?

if this is not the cause of his behaviour, would neutering him help?

sorry about the essay! thank you :)
 

Shellza

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I've heard that neutering does not affect their behaviour at all. As for the hair ring, I don't know as I've not experienced this problem before. It could just be because he is going through his hormonal stage, how old is he? Hopefully they will all settle down soon. Good luck with them. Sorry I can't help any more. :)
 

clairelove

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first off neutering does not alter their behaviour at all, this only stops them from getting a sow preg..

secondly, its very hard to keep a trio of boars together, and in a lot of times unsuccessful, the younger boys are starting to get very hormonal now so will compete for dominance(boss) which can start fights..

it sounds like your boy who is loosing weight is getting really stressed out buy it which could cause problems in the long run and even kill him if the weight loss and lack of eating continues,

i think you can either add more bowls of food, water bottles and hidey houses and see if this helps but more than likely you will need to remove the dominate young one thats causing all the problems..

but i would only remove him if none of the above work!
what size cage/hutch are they in? really need to know this!
 
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thank you. he's about four months old so the right age for shenanigans i guess. i would let them get on with it if the situation was different but the weight loss does worry me a lot, and the fact that reece lost weight before we got the little critters means i really do not want him to lose any more weight...
 
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hey claire,

they are in a large cage but what's happening is reece hides in the house and he feels safe there so doesn't come out to eat. bill stays in his hammock because he feels safe there and if he can't reach food, he won't go out to eat. we have been putting food in his hammock but i think that just made it worse as he felt there is no need for him to go down and get hay or nuggets.

when i removed the hammock and placed him near hay, to start with, he ran away if ted got anywhere near him - he did not actually mount or attack him in any way. once he realised it was quite safe, he stayed there and ate but then ted started mounting reece and bill wasn't happy.
 

clairelove

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emotional bullying is just as bad as actual fighting!

this is why he was sitting in the hammock! i think taking the hammock away could only add fuel to the fire as it was a place he felt safe!

on a personal view if it was my guinea pig i would take the bully out! then get the bully neutered and get him a female after 4-6 wks ...
 

clairelove

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with your other one losing weight i would be inclined to take the bully/dominant on out and house him next to the others so he can still see them and talk to them, or even divide their cage...

hey claire,

they are in a large cage but what's happening is reece hides in the house and he feels safe there so doesn't come out to eat. bill stays in his hammock because he feels safe there and if he can't reach food, he won't go out to eat. we have been putting food in his hammock but i think that just made it worse as he felt there is no need for him to go down and get hay or nuggets.

when i removed the hammock and placed him near hay, to start with, he ran away if ted got anywhere near him - he did not actually mount or attack him in any way. once he realised it was quite safe, he stayed there and ate but then ted started mounting reece and bill wasn't happy.
 
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bill's weight loss has actually slowed down significantly since i took the hammock out. i know emotional bullying is just as bad but i really do think he did get really frightened when this whole dominance fight was going on weeks ago, now he's learning there's actually no danger and he can go eat without anyone doing him any harm.

they did seem happy together after the initial two day meaningness. i'll give it a couple more days and if there's no change, i will separate them.
 
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you were so right claire! i went to check on them after posting the last message and bill (i think i'll rename him to ginger!) looked really scared so i took him out to give him cuddles and he bit me. he is very sweet natured and never showed this kid of behaviour before so i thought there must be something really wrong and there was, he was bitten. i took ted out and he had to spend the night in the carrier, i got another cage in the morning and in a day, bill/ginger put on 70g!

thank you for all your help.
 
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