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Meganroseanna

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I have two male guinea pigs who were getting on fine until about four weeks ago when they started loudly teeth chattering at each other. It then progressed into one of them occasionally lunging at the other, before they both ran off. Usually when they're like this it's when they're having floor time, however, I sometimes hear the teeth chattering when they're in the cage together. Generally, they just run away from each other and they never actually fight. Unfortunately today I heard a lot off noise coming from their cage and I found them both having a fight. There was quite a bit of fur strewn across the cage and one of the pigs has had a large clump of fur pulled out and you can see his skin. It doesn't appear to be bleeding but it does look quite red, although I'm not sure if that's just the colour of their skin or if it's sore from having hair pulled out. Besides that, I've found no other injuries on either of the pigs, although one is long haired so it's difficult to inspect him.

I've separated them now because I don't want either of them to come to any harm. I have separated them before for a few hours and once for a day but they always squeak at each other as though they're missing each other; so, I've always put them back together again because I don't want them to get lonely.

I'm not really sure what to do with them now. Should I keep them permanently separated for their own safety or should I just give them a few days of separation?

As a side note, I've had them for four months so they're approximately 5 months old. One of the pigs was bought a week later than the other but was from the same litter. The pig who was hurt used to be the submissive pig, however, I think he's starting to assert some dominance and that's why they're fighting.
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Your boys have unfortunately now all reached the teeange hormones. It is a persisting breeder myth that brothers won't fall out. In fact, it all hinges on the character combination when it comes to boars.

Please let your boys coold down overnight and give them another chance tomorrow as there has not been a full-on bite; this has be be on neutral ground. You will see soon whether they are willing to back together or not and have to take it from there.

Please carefully read this very detailed guide and any other links dealing with introductions. This will help you understand what your boys are up with; it also contains tips and links on how to best stage re-introductions, as well as spelling out your options if things don't work out. Boars: Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?

In order to help you most effectively, we would be grateful if you please added your country, state/province or UK county to your details. We have got members and enquiries from all over the world. Please click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!
 

Keiko The Pig

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Sounds like teenage hormones kicking in. I also have two young boars, one is approx 3-4 months the other is a month today. It seems like no blood has been drawn so that is a good sign at least! If the submissive, or injured pig is still calling out for his friend during the time outs then that seems to imply the bond is still working on some level. If the injured pig perked up upon separation then that would be a clear indicator he is no longer happy in his relationship. Please do be careful how often you separate, as boars need to restart the bonding all over again. As for floor time what I do is I use a blanket that both have scented and i plan to rub this blanket after washing with two towels that smell respectively like each of them. This may help diffuse some tension during floor time if the area has their combined smells. If your previously submissive boar is trying to challenge the others dominance then that could easily be the cause for this sign of aggression. How big is your cage? Is there any way to make it larger? Perhaps right now during these testosterone filled months they just need more space so they don't have run ins as often. If you use a communal kitchen area perhaps try splitting it up so they are not forced to cross paths to get food. For my boars there are food/hay bowls, and a water bottle on opposite ends of the cage so they each have their own little area. Perhaps this may be the time to stage a formal reintroduction on neutral ground, and maybe you might look into giving each boar a bum bath. Get some of that testosterone stink off and clean that grease gland. This may have been the breaking point for high hormones, and they might very well be ready to settle down again after that scuffle. I hope everything works out with your boys
 

Meganroseanna

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I didn't realise that they had to restart the bonding on neutral ground when they're separated but I'll make sure I do that this time. I think my cage is about the minimum suitable size for two pigs, I would definitely love to have a bigger cage for them but I just don't have the space. I've heard about giving them a bath together so I'll try that too before I reintroduce them. If they show signs of aggression but don't fight when I reintroduce them tomorrow should I leave them be and just keep an eye on them or is it just not going to work out between them?

I should also mention that my mum bought a new guinea pig a few days ago. He sleeps in a cage in a different room, however, all three pigs have had floor time with him and have had cuddles together separately with him. Do you think that this could have encouraged the full blown fight? And should I keep that third pig away from them?
 

Keiko The Pig

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All dominance behaviour aside from fighting, as scary as it may sound, you must let it happen. If they wanna chatter loudly and chin raise and chase you must let them. I don't know if bathing together is a good idea if you plan to do a formal reintroduction perhaps one by one would be best. Also if they're still aggressive, I can't imagine bathing them together would be an easy task! Trios of boars almost never work out. You can have a pair, or one boar with multiple wife pigs, but 3 really does not work. Try the formal reintroduction of the two you currently have living together, keep your third pig out of the picture for now. If the bonding works that is great! Clean the cage throughly, use vinegar to remove the smells, and place them back in preferably after they have both napped and awoken on the neutral ground. Monitor them again after to make sure the dominance they displayed on neutral territory is about the same level they are displaying in the cage. If it does not work, perhaps stage an introduction with your currently lone pig and the pig you feel would be best suited to be his friend. Or try both (on neutral ground each time!) with the lone boar and see who gets along best. Hopefully you have one stable pair out of your three boys!
 

Meganroseanna

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Okay, I'll bath them separately tomorrow and then try a formal reintroduction, fingers crossed it works out! Thank you all for the replies, they've been very helpful!
 

Wiebke

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I didn't realise that they had to restart the bonding on neutral ground when they're separated but I'll make sure I do that this time. I think my cage is about the minimum suitable size for two pigs, I would definitely love to have a bigger cage for them but I just don't have the space. I've heard about giving them a bath together so I'll try that too before I reintroduce them. If they show signs of aggression but don't fight when I reintroduce them tomorrow should I leave them be and just keep an eye on them or is it just not going to work out between them?

I should also mention that my mum bought a new guinea pig a few days ago. He sleeps in a cage in a different room, however, all three pigs have had floor time with him and have had cuddles together separately with him. Do you think that this could have encouraged the full blown fight? And should I keep that third pig away from them?
Please read all the details about intros and re-intros carefully before attemtping to bond. You will find all the necessary information via the link I have given you. It can make all the difference! Don't run just with an idea-and-a half!

Please be aware that lack of space is the biggest trigger of fights in hormonal boars because they can't get away from each other.
 

Meganroseanna

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Please read all the details about intros and re-intros carefully before attemtping to bond. You will find all the necessary information via the link I have given you. It can make all the difference! Don't run just with an idea-and-a half!

Please be aware that lack of space is the biggest trigger of fights in hormonal boars because they can't get away from each other.
Yes I've read it, thank you.
 

Meganroseanna

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They've spent an hour bonding on neutral ground. They've expressed all dominance behaviours aside from actually fighting. They slept about 10cm away from each other, which isn't something they've done in a while, usually they sleep in separate places. I've managed to make a bit of extra space for them to run around in, although I'm not sure if they'll be able to have this extra space at night or just during the day. So, so far so good. Hopefully another fight doesn't break out.
 

Julie M

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Good luck. Hope it goes well. I think cage Space is definitely a key part of boars getting along. 2 of my boars are in a 2x6 c&c cage and I think they really do need that amount of space so they can get away from each other. As one of them can be quite dominant.
 

Wiebke

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They've spent an hour bonding on neutral ground. They've expressed all dominance behaviours aside from actually fighting. They slept about 10cm away from each other, which isn't something they've done in a while, usually they sleep in separate places. I've managed to make a bit of extra space for them to run around in, although I'm not sure if they'll be able to have this extra space at night or just during the day. So, so far so good. Hopefully another fight doesn't break out.
All you can do is give them another chance and ride the tiger! Teenage months can be a very difficult time. :(
 
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