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Michellekoelle
09-01-11, 03:22 pm
Hello,
These are my boys 3 guinea pigs. Their names are Spike, Peanut, and Scooter. 149481494914950 We got them in June and are having a few problems. Searching for answers online, I found this group and thought it might be a good place to search for some help.

CavyMama
09-01-11, 04:26 pm
Your pig are adorable! Your post was a little vague as far as what kind of problems you are having and what kind of answers you need. If you could be more specific, we can figure out how to help you.

bpatters
09-01-11, 04:52 pm
Cute pigs! What kind of problems are you having?

Michellekoelle
09-01-11, 05:21 pm
Hello... thanks for such a quick reply. Sorry I was a little vague with our situation. I was not sure I was posting correctly, so thought I would introduce myself and get into the problems later. LOL

I really tried to adopt pigs, but the right situation did not come about. I even was in contact with a lady from a rescue and did gets lots of information. I was in a pet store for some other items and stumbled across these. We were all ready and set up for them, so I decided to get them. They were all very young. ( The store did not know how old, but they had just got them in) They were all of the same age and already together, so we were hoping they would continue to get along) They were all good together till about 3 weeks ago. What is happening is that one seems to get along with both of the other 2, but 2 of the 3 look like they are having issues with each other. I started to notice that one was always up on his house and was having some wounds on his back. It looks like the one is starting to bully him even more. I am not sure at what point I should seperate them? I would really like to keep them together since they do better in groups. I really hate to set up another cage and have one alone. They are currently in a 2x5 C & C cage. I have double and triple of everything. ( Litterboxes, houses, food, hay) Last night I even experimented with adding a second level to the cage hoping they would just keep apart, but the one that is doing the bulling chased the one around up there too.

My question is, should I give it a little more time or seperate? I feel bad for the one that is trying to get away all the time, but I know they do better living with a partner. I really do not want to get a 4th. ( By the way, they are all males)

Thanks for any help you might have !

Michelle

bpatters
09-01-11, 06:01 pm
Well, the general rule is not to separate them unless someone's bleeding, but sometimes it's necessary to do it anyway.

I'd definitely check out the one with wounds on his back and see how serious they are. A puncture wound, such as a bite, can turn into an abscess, and is more serious than a scratch. And you need to check very carefully, smoothing his fur backwards, so you can see all of his skin. If you find a puncture wound, get him to a vet in case he needs antibiotics.

The second thing to do is to weigh them all at least weekly, and the one who's being bullied more often. You want to make sure he's getting enough to eat and drink, and that he's not losing weight.

Third, since they were pet store pigs, I'd treat them for mites. They can make all the GPs irritable, and it's possible that the wounds on the one's back are self inflicted and caused by him trying to scratch.

All that said, you've got three teenage males, and you may not be able to keep them together until they've outgrown their adolescence -- probably around 18 months to two years, although it varies with the pig. If you've got room, you might try expanding their cage rather than putting a second level on it -- more room means less opportunity for squabbles.

There's no guarantee that adding a fourth would work. It may be that your dominant one would bully any other pig that you get, and two pairs might not even work. If you want to stick with three but decide they can't safely live together, you can divide the cage with grids -- maybe make it a little longer and give them all some more space. Then, you can try various combinations of pigs -- the bullied one by himself, but next to the other two, or the bully alone, and the other two together.

Sometimes a pig just needs to be a loner -- they don't ever settle in with any other pig. Others will eventually settle down, once their hormones calm down. But you'll know better than anyone when it's time to separate -- onepig is always being bullied, chased, and nipped, or the other(s) will never let him alone even to sleep. Then it's time to try some form of separation. Many folks have pigs who live happily in adjacent cages, and yours may be part of that bunch.

SweetiePig
09-01-11, 06:54 pm
Welcome. bpatters seams to have covered it all. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. You got some cute pigs by the way!

Michellekoelle
09-01-11, 07:01 pm
Thanks for all your great advice. I took them to the vet the 2nd day we had them just to get them checked out. The vet thought they all looked good and were healthy. The wounds are coming from the one guinea pig. I have seen him go after him. He has started to get worse the last few days. His wounds are pretty good at this time, but if things continue I am sure it is a matter of time before he has more. Is there anything when they have a scratch or wound that is safe to put on to keep it from getting infected or worse? Or... do they need to go to the vet? Peanut... the one that is being bullied seems to still be eating ok. I make sure to watch him eat, or give him a safe place to eat. Scooter, the one that is bulling seems to be going after him much more though when trying to eat. I will keep a eye on that, and I do have something I can weigh him with.

I tried putting grids across the cage to give Peanut some rest. My problem is that I am not sure who to put Spike with. He so far gets along with both. Scooter gets really mad when Spike and Scooter are by each other and he just trys shaking the grids to get to him. My idea of putting the second floor on the cage was that Peanut is a good climber and jumper and Scooter seemed to not be able to get at him when high, so I put a ramp that could be gotten to from the top of the house he sits on, figuring that he could go to the second floor when needing to get away or rest. It took Scooter all of about 2 minutes to figure out how to get up there and it was less space, so it was worse.

My dilema with seperating is that I do not really have 1 pig that wants to be alone. It is almost like it is 2 is company, 3 is a crowd. That is when Scooter seams to be the worst is if they(Spike and Peanut) are by each other. I am not sure who to keep alone. The cage thing would be hard too. To have to set up 2 larger cages. I really do not have room to make the one they are in longer and divide. I guess I will have to make one of the ideas work though. I have 3 boys and one belongs to each. We would have to keep all 3. Scooter seams to be worse if I seperate them for a bit and then try to put them back together. I think it is getting close to needing to seperate. It is good to know that eventually they might get along. I just did not want to jump the gun too soon and then ruin a chance of them ever being together.

Those are all great suggestions. I will weigh all of them and try to come up with some solution. Let me know if you have any other thoughts. We are a new family to owning guinea pigs, so it is always helpful to have other people give their thoughts and ideas.

Thanks Again !

SweetiePig
09-01-11, 07:08 pm
Just keep an eye on them and do what you feel is right. If they are fighting to the point that the other pig cant be happy then you know they should be kept apart regardless. Try what you can and hope for the best. Keep us informed. I am sorry Im not much of a help, I dont have boys and never had this problem so I dont really know what to say.

kathlaaron
09-01-11, 07:20 pm
WELCOME Michellekoelle ! :)

Wow, what an awesome response you got from bpatters Michellekoelle !:cool:

According to their pictures and if they had just arrived at the pet store, they were most likely to be 6-7 weeks old. Normally adolescence begins around 3 months and usually ends around 12 months, so I believe your boys are just sorting out who's going to be the Boss pig. Check out this link on dominance behaviour, it will help you understand a lot ! It's 3/4 a ways down the page.
Guinea Pigs Social Life (http://cavyspirit.com/sociallife.htm)

After you've read up on their social life and about dominance behaviours, I would give it a good try, but like bpatters said, it is always a risk to pair them up so young, for once puberty hits you take a chance that they may not get along well enough, to cohabit the same cage.

So just gird yourself with all the accurate sound knowledge that you can from this site. Read, read and read. In gaining knowledge you gain confidence. The more you learn, the more confidence you will have, to help steer you through this sometimes, turbulent teen period ( approx.3-approx.12 mos.).

I too strongly suggest treating them all for mites, it doesn't hurt them any, so why not ? I would only separate if there is blood shed...are the wounds on his back "puncture wounds" ? Most piggies learn to get along, so I would give it more time....I really would. Good luck !

kathlaaron
09-01-11, 07:28 pm
While I was writing you...you guys had already posted, so sorry about the timing ! :melodrama

kathlaaron
09-01-11, 07:45 pm
You mentioned wounds, and what you could use to clean them...here is a small excerpt of what you can safely use to cleanse a small wound below, from the guinea lynx medical website that we all turn to.

Povidone Iodine (Betadine) -- topical antiseptic microbicide. Safe to use near the eyes. Can also be diluted to a "weak tea" concentration (40 parts water to one part povidone iodine) and used to clean injuries or soak feet. Povidone iodine is less drying and also readily available at any pharmacy.

Salt Water Solution -- Sterile saline solution can generally be purchased at any pharmacy. In a pinch, a teaspoon of common salt can be diluted in a pint of warm water (per V.C.G. Richardson in Disease of Domestic Guinea Pigs) and used to rinse injuries if an antiseptic solution is not available. Josephine recommends a sterile saline solution for flushing abscesses.

Michellekoelle
09-01-11, 08:58 pm
Wow... Thanks everyone ! You all have such great information.

Kathlarron... That would make sense that they are just about 3 months now and everything is starting with them. I will look at that link you sent tonight. Do you think if it usually ends around a year or so that it is better to seperate until then, or keep trying? Looks like he nipped him pretty good in the back again this afternoon. I will do some more reading tonight. I did not realize that you take a chance trying to pair them up at a young age. The people from the rescue did not mention it with the babies they had, so I never took that into consideration. We were originally going to adopt older ones, but long story and it just did not work. These guys that we have are so wonderful though, and they are sooo... good with my boys. Just wish they would get along. They have never bitten and love to be held. Even by my 6 year old. Thanks for the tip on cleaning the wounds. Looks like I will have to use your suggestion. I would hate for something to turn more serious.

Thanks everyone for great info and making me feel welcome. I might take him to the vet for check up and mite issue. I was not really impressed with the first vet, so might be good to try someone else.

Michellekoelle
09-01-11, 09:00 pm
PS... Forgot to mention how adorable all your piggies are! It is amazing how different and cute they can all be.

kathlaaron
09-01-11, 09:31 pm
I forgot ( I honestly cannot believe, I did that !) to mention in my welcome post to you, how cute your little boys are !

Just wanted to tell you that it is nearly impossible to get a reliable test, even from a skin scraping, to check for mites. Usually we treat according to their current symptoms, which you can find out here:http://www.guinealynx.info/mites.html

As far as find a good exotics vet in your area, you could try checking here, below: Vets and Clinics

And as far as whether or not to separate, or try later on when they are older:

Well, how serious are his (Peanut is the one, being bullied right ?) wounds ? Has there been any bleeding ?

After reading about their social life and establishing their heirarchy, you are the only one who can make that decision. Try to spend time just "watching" their interactions, but WITHOUT any interference from you unless of course, again, there is blood drawn and serious "posturing" for a full on attack.
(http://www.guineapigzone.com/vets)

suzilovespiggie
09-01-11, 10:26 pm
Welcome! Your pigs are adorable!
I had a boar that I could not pair with anyone. He bullied and bit everyone I tried to pair him with. He bit one of the others and he did get an abcess, so that is a real possiblity.
I made him a c&c cage of his own. The c&c cage shared a wall together. That way he could put his nose thru and smell, he could still rub backsides. Talk to the others. Do everything but beat the others up. It worked.
You said you cage is a 2x5. Is there a way to put a grid in just to close off an area and see how that goes?
Keep us posted.

Michellekoelle
09-01-11, 11:30 pm
Kathlaaron, thanks for saying they are cute. I think so, but I am a little partial. They are all also very sweet and we love them.

I am not sure what the vet checked for. I think it was ring worm. He said the same about the scraping. He looked with a blue light and gave me a little medication. He felt at the time what he had was a cut. He really looked them over pretty well, but do not think he took me seriously on some of the issues we had, so might try someone else in the future. I will check that site. Thanks!

Peanut is the one being bullied. He is the middle one in the photos and the top one is scooter. He has grown much bigger than peanut too. I saw Scooter go after him today and he really squealed. He has a nice little chunk out of his back right now. That is how I noticed it was going on. I never saw them fight, but noticed Peanut was on top of the house all the time. I thought he just liked sitting upt there until one day we were petting him and he shreaked in pain. Was sad how much I could tell it hurt. That is when I started to keep a eye on things. I have been watching them, and I can see it is starting to get more hostile. I feel bad that Peanut has no where to sleep but on the house for fear of attack. Just afraid one day when I am not at home it could turn really bad. Had some other issues to deal with tonight on kids, so did not get to the reading yet. I will do that, so I know more. At this point I pulled peanut out so he could rest. Their behavior today really scared me today. They seamed like they were both at that point right before it could get ugly.

Michellekoelle
09-01-11, 11:37 pm
suzilovespiggie... Not sure if 2 posts will show up, but not seeing my response. The problem is we have 3. If one did not get along with the other 2, it would be easier to pull him out. The problem is I have 1 that gets along with the 2 that are fighting. I do not know who to leave alone. I did put up a grid for a few days and move the one that gets along with both back and forth. The funny thing is that the one that kind of bullies hated that. He would try to knock down the grid when the other pig was over with peanut.

suzilovespiggie
09-02-11, 12:06 am
It will be worse if you keep seperating them and putting them back together. Everytime you seperate they have to establish who's boss again. Maybe you could put the grid up to seperate and put Peanut in there. He could still be near the others but not be bullied or bit.

kathlaaron
09-02-11, 01:08 am
It's hard to go through this, I know ! Some of us, have had it worse than others, in going through this "Dominance Dance" with our piggies. It is so much harder on us Piggie Parents, than it is on our piggies, I think. It's a very normal process that these cute little animals go through, in establishing hierarchy, which dates back to thousands of years. It's so hard to "watch them" and do nothing. Hang in there, things will work themselves out, one way or another !

Only going by what you have shared with us, it sounds like you may indeed, need to decide how you want to separate them, and with who. Use your gut instincts (after reading the links I gave you) to guide you in your decision. Whatever set-up/pairing you do decide on though, make it their last. For as mentioned above, Introductions done over and over again causes even more stress, even greater hostility and unrest for your piggies. Ideally, intro's should only be done ONCE. Good luck and do keep us posted !:o

Michellekoelle
09-02-11, 07:55 am
Hello Kathlaaron... OK, sounds good. I will do some reading today. I was worried about the whole thing and seperating them. It did seam to get worse when they were apart for a bit and then put back together. My ultimate goal was to have them together, so maybe since they seem to be at the worst age for dominace behavior I will give it a bit of time. I hate to pull him out too soon and then they will never be able to live together. I also do not want anything to happen.

Have you ever heard of it working out if given time? Any ideas on cage set up to help with the situation? At least now I have something I can use on wounds to help prevent infection. Guess I should do some more reading before asking more questions.LOL

suzielovespiggie-Thanks for the tip. That was my main reason for starting the question. I did not want to pull him out too soon and cause more problems. He is still in the same cage, just trying some different seperating ideas to let him get off the house for a bit. I did run the grid, tried the second level to give him more space, and also hung a bed which he seamed to like. Would that not still cause the same issues when wanting to try to put them back together? If I have to eventually keep them apart, that is what I will try to do for the new cage design. Was trying to avoid that due to space issues.

bpatters
09-02-11, 08:12 am
Heads up to you on treating with Ivermectin -- they need to be around 350 grams before using it on them.

kathlaaron
09-02-11, 01:43 pm
Hello Kathlaaron... OK, sounds good. I will do some reading today.

Have you ever heard of it working out if given time? Any ideas on cage set up to help with the situation? At least now I have something I can use on wounds to help prevent infection. Guess I should do some more reading before asking more questions.LOL


Good, I am glad that you will take the time to read ( I know how hard it is to do that with little ones underfoot though...:crazy:) because it will explain a lot, give you confidence to deal with your little boys, and best of all, educating yourself will give you peace.

Teresa, is the owner of this site and has been a Cavy Spirit Rescuer since 1998 and can tell you that more often than not, given time ( providing that the aggression doesn't escalate into full on attacks) they DO eventually settle down and learn to get along. :)

On occasion, it happens that you end up with two dominant piggies were neither pig, will back down. How big did you say your cage was ? The bigger your cage ( esp. length-wise) is - the lower their stress levels will be, and the easier it is for your piggies to establish hierarchy. Boys are especially territorial, ample space gives them enough room, to get away from one another, as well as running for fun and to let off some steam !

* Like another poster mentioned, make sure that all your pigloos DEFINITELY have 2 exits so that no piggie gets trapped, and has a means of escape, very important. And gardening shears work great for that !

Michellekoelle
09-02-11, 03:43 pm
He is about 740 grams, so we are good to go.

Michellekoelle
09-02-11, 03:51 pm
Kathlaaron... I am a big reader, so will get on that as soon as possible. Had lots of fires to put out this week, so I am hoping to get to it soon. Good to know that there is a chance they will work it out. I just did not want to be wrong with my call. Sounds like it happens often around this age, so I think I will keep a close eye on things.

Our cage is 5x2 grid. I was going to put a second floor on ( Smaller one) too. Have decided to wait using my second sheet of coroplast till we figure things out. I will also modify the pigloos.