Worried about behaviour of two boys who live together

footwo

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Hello there.

We have had our pigs for around 2 years now and there has never been any problems with them until tonight.

They are brothers from the same litter, and have never fought with each other before but after giving them a bath and a haircut tonight one of them seems to be harassing the other. I've posted some videos below showing whats happening.

The grey haired one seems to be chasing, mounting and nibbling(?) the other one, who keeps running away. There's a lot of squeaking and what sounds like teeth chattering every now and then. This has been going on for about an hour. No blood or any yelps that sound like pain though, just what you see and hear in the videos.

We had given them a bath and a cut tonight because they were due a grooming, and we have done this several times in the past without any issue. We also did a deep clean on the hutch. Could this have had any effect on the pecking order if we've washed and cut their fur?

Are they fighting and do we need to separate them or is this looking like normal (albeit never seen before) behaviour?

Thanks for any advice.

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Wiebke

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Hello there.

We have had our pigs for around 2 years now and there has never been any problems with them until tonight.

They are brothers from the same litter, and have never fought with each other before but after giving them a bath and a haircut tonight one of them seems to be harassing the other. I've posted some videos below showing whats happening.

The grey haired one seems to be chasing, mounting and nibbling(?) the other one, who keeps running away. There's a lot of squeaking and what sounds like teeth chattering every now and then. This has been going on for about an hour. No blood or any yelps that sound like pain though, just what you see and hear in the videos.

We had given them a bath and a cut tonight because they were due a grooming, and we have done this several times in the past without any issue. We also did a deep clean on the hutch. Could this have had any effect on the pecking order if we've washed and cut their fur?

Are they fighting and do we need to separate them or is this looking like normal (albeit never seen before) behaviour?

Thanks for any advice.

20200706_233512
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20200706_233801
20200706_233936
Since smell is not the strongest human sense, we tend to underestimate its importance in guinea pig society. It sounds like your utter removal of any scent marking has triggered a renewed hierarchy sort out as the two boys are re-establishing their group in new territory. Some boars can more sensitive to this aspect than others but major changes to the territory is one of the few things that can lead to fall-outs among adult boars with an underlying rift if you are unlucky. Hopefully they get over it without things going to far and settle back down together.
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars (see chapter 3)
Bonds In Trouble
 

Siikibam

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Fab advise given above. I’d remove the plastic shelf thing on the left and put in another hide with two exits - a cardboard box will do the trick. How big is their cage?
 

footwo

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Since smell is not the strongest human sense, we tend to underestimate its importance in guinea pig society. It sounds like your utter removal of any scent marking has triggered a renewed hierarchy sort out as the two boys are re-establishing their group in new territory. Some boars can more sensitive to this aspect than others but major changes to the territory is one of the few things that can lead to fall-outs among adult boars with an underlying rift if you are unlucky. Hopefully they get over it without things going to far and settle back down together.
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars (see chapter 3)
Bonds In Trouble

Thanks for the response I'll be sure to check out those links, but after a brief glance at the 'bonds in trouble/bullying' section this appears to be what I'm seeing tonight.

What I don't understand is that we've done this before several times and it's never been an issue. I clean their lower hutch with vinegar to remove the urine scaling that builds up. But I only do this once every couple months as I usually just clean out the cage manually each night, replacing their hide area with fresh bedding and removing poops/soiled areas in the rest of the hutch when it becomes too much.

We have washed and groomed them several times also, because their hair gets so long that it trails on the bottom of the hutch and gets stuff stuck in it. Also we don't want to let their grease glands get too bad/dirty which is another reason we give them a wee bath. Are we doing this wrong?
 

Siikibam

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I wouldn’t give a bum bath unless really necessary. Just try to keep their bum skirts short and that should hopefully help keep them clean. Grease glands also can be left unless you think it’s looking very greasy and mucky. Over cleaning can lead to that kind of behaviour in boars, even if they’ve not done it before.
 

footwo

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I wouldn’t give a bum bath unless really necessary. Just try to keep their bum skirts short and that should hopefully help keep them clean. Grease glands also can be left unless you think it’s looking very greasy and mucky. Over cleaning can lead to that kind of behaviour in boars, even if they’ve not done it before.
Many thanks for the advice. I would assume that wetting/shampooing the rest of them isn't necessary then? If we just shave off the skirt areas and give them a dry trim on the rest of their coats (which get exceedingly long) would that be better?

We usually get a bit of coconut oil and use that on the grease gland but that then of course means having to rinse the oil off with water. We will avoid the grease gland unless it looks clogged/nasty and refrain from using small animal shampoo.
 

Piggies&buns

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Many thanks for the advice. I would assume that wetting/shampooing the rest of them isn't necessary then? If we just shave off the skirt areas and give them a dry trim on the rest of their coats (which get exceedingly long) would that be better?

We usually get a bit of coconut oil and use that on the grease gland but that then of course means having to rinse the oil off with water. We will avoid the grease gland unless it looks clogged/nasty and refrain from using small animal shampoo.
Yes - don’t bathe them often, it’s not necessary unless for a medical need or if they are extremely dirty. Dry trimming the hair is absolutely fine - that’s all I do with my two.
 

footwo

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Thanks for all the responses guys.

I'm happy to report that for the time being they seem to have settled down. There have been no more incidents of aggressive behaviour since I initially posted so I think they've gotten used to one another again. Both are snug in their hidey and eating next to each other etc, so it looks like they are brothers again :)

We will be sure to change the way we groom them in the future.
 
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