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Thread: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

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    Cavy Slave saresare93's Avatar
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    Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Long story short: my three-month-old sisters have been extremely aggressive since they were six weeks old. It does not seem to be dominance related; they don't mount or rumble or lift their heads or anything like that, it is literally just aggression. It is not about cage space, because they have an L-shaped 2x12 with two 2x2 hay lofts and one 1x2 hay loft. It is not about hideys, because they have heaps. It is not about hay or food or water, because they have plenty of it in various places throughout the cage. It is not environmental stress because they have their own air conditioner (it is summer here). One of them, all 460g of her, even tried to attack the 1.1kg neutered boar I introduced in an attempt to calm them down. They won't get along with anybody. And when I say they're fighting I mean biting, scratching, fur flying, blood and scabs.

    They've had to be separated into partitioned parts of the cage, which is something I really wanted to avoid, but their safety is my main priority. My point in posting this is: is it puberty? Will they calm down? Please for the love of god someone tell me that it's puberty or something I can fix. I have tried everything - bathing, fleece swaps, neutral territory, grass time, lap time, through-the-bars living, neutered males, submissive 'buffer' females. I know that boars have a rough time through puberty, but I've never heard of it happening to females, particularly this badly.

    Do I have any hope at all?

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Can you post a photo of their cage and its surroundings? It might be something environmental. Have you had them from birth?

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    Cavy Slave saresare93's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

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    Notes:
    - They have two more fabric hideys but they were in the wash when this photo was taken. I try to leave open spaces and not clutter it because they love to run around and popcorn.
    - There is also normally another 2x2 hay area beyond that owl canopy (the canopy is normally underneath the overhang where the hammock is in the photo) but I had to separate it for an emergency isolation cage when Tango was shredding Puffie's ear.
    - That 1x2 is full of hay and has a hidey, if you can't see it.
    - I was cleaning their dishes at the time of the photo, so there are normally more in the cage.

    I can only post 5 photos so more information in the next comment...

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    I'd take out the tunnel and orange thing. Keep the area completely open so none of them can get trapped. If they can hop over the edge of the hay bin, I'd remove the wood ramp. Same with the pigloo. Is there a particular section where they fight? If one is possessive of the loft, take it off. A 1x2 loft is too small to accommodate 3 guinea pigs, plus the area underneath and under the ramp are spaces where they can get trapped. Completely open spaces work the best. I have 3 females in a 2x5. I don't even have a hay bin. I put the hay in a mound where they can all eat from whatever angle they like. I didn't add pigloos until I knew they wouldn't fight over them.

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    Cavy Slave saresare93's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    I adopted them when they were 5 weeks old along with their mother. The mother is a very chilled out piggie, so if it is genetic it must be recessive or from their father's side, and if it's environmental it must be only affecting the babies. The mother was bought from a produce store with her first litter and pregnant again with her second (these girls). Not sure if environmental factors while mama pig was pregnant could affect their temperament now? They were born at the shelter on hay, though the cage they were in was underneath a table and admittedly it wasn't terribly clean under there - cobwebs and dirt and such. There have been hundreds of guinea pigs born at that shelter, however, and based on what the rescuer said they have never had such terrible behavioural problems.

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    From left to right: Cinnamon (mother), Puffie, Kepler (neutered boar), Tango, Latte, Ella (submissive buffer). At the moment I have Cinnamon and Ella together in one section. Tango is by herself in the 2x2. Puffie, Latte, and Kepler are in the rest of the cage - Puffie and Latte are just scraping by with tolerating each other, and consist mainly of chasing and teeth chattering at the moment, but if they start attacking each other again I will partition them off as well.

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    They became aggressive before I got this cage or the bedspreads - beforehand they were on a 2x8 homemade base with fleece on top of puppy pads (they couldn't get to the pads). They had different bowls and were in a different area of the house as well. Really the only thing that is the same is the oaten hay (though it is the only non-lucerne hay available here that doesn't cost $100 a bag [yay Australia] so I don't have the option to change it anyway), the green pigloo, and the air conditioner. The only environmental factor I can imagine would be mould from inside the air conditioner affecting their development, perhaps? It seems a stretch though.

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    Cavy Slave saresare93's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    I have tried going without hideys and having hay everywhere and they still fight. I've also tried it with other combinations - no hay, on grass, with veggies, without veggies, covering on most of the cage so they're not exposed and scared, etc.

    It doesn't seem to have anything to do with dominance, territory, or resources. They will walk up to a random pig and bite them. It's like they're just angry all the time. The hideys are actually reducing the fighting in this case because the pigs have somewhere to hide and relax without bumping into each other.

    They also had two 2x2 hay lofts, not just the 1x2.

    They have a vet appointment tomorrow so I will see if I can get their hormones checked or something and make sure there are no gynecological problems. My main hope is that they will calm down once they finish puberty.
    Last edited by saresare93; 03-06-16 at 09:47 am.

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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Is the white one a lethal? Sounds like the conditions at the shelter might be the root of the problem if they were all housed in crowded conditions. They probably already established a hierarchy. You can try and start from scratch in a neutral area. Completely clean out and disinfect the cage and everything in it. I'd take out the loft and cage accessories, leaving multiple food dishes and water bottles in different areas. I'd keep the hay bin. I wouldn't put them back in the cage until you see that they've gotten along in the neutral area for hours. Once they're really tired out, transfer them back to the cage, along with a good amount of fresh veggies cut in small pieces that you spread throughout the cage. You can also try giving them a buddy bath to see if that helps. That works sometimes as does adding a tiny dab of vanilla on the bridge of their nose and tail bone.

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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Quote Originally Posted by saresare93 View Post
    I have tried going without hideys and having hay everywhere and they still fight. I've also tried it with other combinations - no hay, on grass, with veggies, without veggies, covering on most of the cage so they're not exposed and scared, etc. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with dominance, territory, or resources. They will walk up to a random pig and bite them. It's like they're just angry all the time.

    They also had two 2x2 hay lofts, not just the 1x2.
    The ramp itself can be a spot they get territorial with. Nipping is normal. Rolling around in a ball fighting is reason to separate. Mine nip at each other a lot. They're pushing each others' buttons to see how far they can go. They probably haven't figured out who's the alpha pig yet and want to get that established. They have to work it out.

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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    With that many pigs, I'd take out almost everything in the cage except food dishes, leaving only some very sparse fleece forests so I could keep an eye on what's going on. I'd also block off the lofts to get rid of the ramps until they can get along better. You could also try a wide ramp up to the other leg of the cage so that the ramp isn't an issue in going from one level to another.

    The white one does look lethal. Are her eyes smaller than normal? Is she blind? Deaf?

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    Cavy Slave saresare93's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    She's not a lethal, but I did think she was blind for a while. I'm fairly certain she can see now - she is a very exuberant and adventurous piggie, to say the least, so I think the reason she never reacted to me moving around is because she just didn't give a crap and has no fear. Seriously, when we were moving the grids and bases tonight and making lots of clanging noises (to partition it), everyone was scared except for her - she came up to us and was like, "Hey guys, can I join in? Oh what's this, can I jump in it? Can I eat your mallet? Can I climb onto your hand? Are you busy, can you pat me? Can I eat your finger?" So cute. XD

    I will let them calm down on their own for a few days, because I think they've been stressing each other out a lot. But I will set up a pen in the loungeroom, as big as I can, and make it neutral and open and everything. I don't have high hopes, because this will be the fourth time I've done this, but I'll try again. And I'll give the vanilla a go.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    How do you know she's not a lethal? Her eyes are small and she's a red eyed white. Blind guinea pigs adapt quickly to their environment so she might be blind but still able to navigate around. Guinea pigs can often sense when one is more vulnerable than them. You'll find that certain ones will take them under their wing while more assertive ones will pick on them. If she is a lethal, that might be part of the issue.

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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Quote Originally Posted by pinky View Post
    How do you know she's not a lethal? Her eyes are small and she's a red eyed white. Blind guinea pigs adapt quickly to their environment so she might be blind but still able to navigate around. Guinea pigs can often sense when one is more vulnerable than them. You'll find that certain ones will take them under their wing while more assertive ones will pick on them. If she is a lethal, that might be part of the issue.
    I'd want to see more pictures of her before making a judgement. From the one photo, she seems to be crested, and the extra fur can hide their eyes a bit.

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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    What does lethal mean?

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahotchicken View Post
    What does lethal mean?
    A lethal (also know as lethal white) is a deformed guinea pig that is white in colour (due to lack of pigmentation), they are often blind, deaf, and have missing/deformed teeth amongst other problems. They are a potential result from breeding two roan/dalmatian guinea pigs together. Not all white guinea pigs are Lethals, you can also get PEW (pink-eyed white) and DEW (dark-eyed white) guinea pigs that are perfectly healthy.

    See this page for more information https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...al-guinea-pigs

    I do strongly doubt the white guinea pig in the photo is a lethal due to there being a dark pigment apparent on the margins of the ear.
    Last edited by Soecara; 03-07-16 at 01:14 am.

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    Cavy Slave saresare93's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    She is not a lethal. The mother is not a roan, and neither are any of the siblings - as shown clearly in the photo. She has quite a lot of black on her ears. Her eyes are normal sized. She is neither blind nor deaf. She has perfect teeth. She has no neurological or heart problems. Even if she was a lethal that does not explain the aggression of the other guinea pigs toward each other, or her own aggression toward them as well. But I assure you she is not a lethal.

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    I had an appointment with the vet today and she witnessed them attacking each other without motivation. She also checked them over for all the cuts and scabs they got from fighting before I separated them (it is not just nipping, it is bloodshed). She agreed that it was probably puberty and that they would hopefully calm down by the time they are fully mature. I just have to be patient until then.

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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    I have 6 piggies too and I have food at each end of the cage along with water bottles and hay. It's hard to bully a pig from one of those if there's another so far away. With the size of your cage, you could do that too.

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    Cavy Slave LifeAsItMayBe's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Quote Originally Posted by saresare93 View Post
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    The speech bubble position in that pic is perfect!

    Anyway, I have no advice but I wish you and your herd luck! Sometimes I think my girls only tolerate each other because Elli is too lazy to chase anyone and Peach doesn't know she can fight back.

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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Your pigs are so adorable and it sounds like you are really trying and are providing them with a good home. I don't have any advice to add but I just wanted to chime in and say that it's really great to see people do right by their piggies and care so much!

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    Cavy Slave saresare93's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Okay, I have managed to successfully pair up four of the pigs and now have Puffie and Latte left. I brought a 10-week-old sow (Vera) home to trial her with Puffie, which failed miserably, but she seems to get on alright with Latte. Latte behaves immeasurably better with Vera than she does with the other pigs, but she still isn't particularly nice so I just want to verify that her behaviour isn't too aggressive. She pecks Vera (like literally just jabs her face at her), perhaps 1-3 times, usually on the face, and Vera will squeak, but she won't run away. As far as I can tell Latte's not actually hurting her, but then again Puffie bit Vera on the face and Vera just continued to sit there until Puffie bit her again (she's not the brightest pig). Latte will also lunge at her - no biting - and when Vera doesn't run off, Latte will either snuggle up to her or toddle off. If Vera comes up behind her sometimes she will turn around and nip Vera on the mouth, or she will chase Vera around the cage. It seems to be that if Vera runs into Latte's hidey because she's scared, then Latte will let her stay, but if Vera just wanders in there, she'll get chased off. They do eat together but often Latte will chase her away from the food. I know piggies nip and chase as a dominance thing, but I'm still not sure just how much is too much. Latte does seem to pick on Vera a lot, and although I can't find any injuries, Vera does squeak at every nip and peck. I would also hate to be stuck in a room forever with someone who only tolerates me, and is not a friend, so I'm worried about their interactions in that regard, too.

    As I'm writing this, Latte nipped Vera and then sprawled out, snuggled up to her, rumbled the rumble my boy does when he wants affection, and placed her sleepy head underneath Vera's. It's weird. I want to say they are not getting along but then I see that and I don't know what to think!

    They've been together for about 2 1/2 days now.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Very aggressive female babies won't get along with anybody - is it puberty?

    Quote Originally Posted by saresare93 View Post
    Okay, I have managed to successfully pair up four of the pigs and now have Puffie and Latte left. I brought a 10-week-old sow (Vera) home to trial her with Puffie, which failed miserably, but she seems to get on alright with Latte. Latte behaves immeasurably better with Vera than she does with the other pigs, but she still isn't particularly nice so I just want to verify that her behaviour isn't too aggressive. She pecks Vera (like literally just jabs her face at her), perhaps 1-3 times, usually on the face, and Vera will squeak, but she won't run away. As far as I can tell Latte's not actually hurting her, but then again Puffie bit Vera on the face and Vera just continued to sit there until Puffie bit her again (she's not the brightest pig). Latte will also lunge at her - no biting - and when Vera doesn't run off, Latte will either snuggle up to her or toddle off. If Vera comes up behind her sometimes she will turn around and nip Vera on the mouth, or she will chase Vera around the cage. It seems to be that if Vera runs into Latte's hidey because she's scared, then Latte will let her stay, but if Vera just wanders in there, she'll get chased off. They do eat together but often Latte will chase her away from the food. I know piggies nip and chase as a dominance thing, but I'm still not sure just how much is too much. Latte does seem to pick on Vera a lot, and although I can't find any injuries, Vera does squeak at every nip and peck. I would also hate to be stuck in a room forever with someone who only tolerates me, and is not a friend, so I'm worried about their interactions in that regard, too.

    As I'm writing this, Latte nipped Vera and then sprawled out, snuggled up to her, rumbled the rumble my boy does when he wants affection, and placed her sleepy head underneath Vera's. It's weird. I want to say they are not getting along but then I see that and I don't know what to think!

    They've been together for about 2 1/2 days now.

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    I'd let them be. They're establishing their hierarchy. I've had a trio together for some time and they still go through phases where they test one another. It's normal.

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