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Thread: Trouble the piggie is a bully?

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    Question Trouble the piggie is a bully?

    I bought 2 female guinea pigs from Petsmart (Trouble & Rexy) who I suspect are no more than 2-3 months old. I had them for a few days now and I have been noticing that Trouble has been bullying, or at least what I think is bullying, poor little Rexy. They both came from the same habitat at the pet store so I thought maybe they were already familiar with each other and would be suitable living together in the same cage, but I am starting to think maybe I was wrong. Rexy would come out of the hideout to eat the hay and Trouble would come up to her and get in her way, almost as if she is trying to keep her away from the food. Trouble would jab Rexy with her muzzle and push her out of the way, which would make Rexy squeal really loudly as if she is crying out of fear or pain. Trouble would also chase her into the hut and make her feel trapped which would make Rexy squeal even more. Every time I hear her squeal like this I always feel like I have to intervene and check on her to make sure she is okay. Trouble doesn't seem to be trying to hurt her. I keep checking to see if Rexy has any bite marks or hair loss, but she seems perfectly fine. What really worries me is that Rexy tends to stay in one corner while Trouble eats, almost as if she is afraid to leave the hut. Although, what I find weird is sometimes I'll walk in and they both will be out eating together side by side then later, Trouble will be back at it again terrorizing Rexy. I don't understand this behavior. Is this a display of dominance? I feel like I should separate them, especially since it seems like Trouble is being a little too protective over the food. I wouldn't want anything to happen to Rexy in case Trouble oversteps her boundaries or Rexy starves or something. Should I separate them? Are they a bad match? Should I find them more suitable cage mates?

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    Re: Trouble the piggie is a bully?

    First, get rid of any hidey that only has one door. Either throw it away, or cut another door in it. A hidey with only one door is just a good place for one pig to trap another and get its face slashed for its efforts.

    I'd get rid of any huts altogether, and change to fleece forests or fleece draped across the corner of the cage. Once they've settled down, you can consider putting a hut back in.

    Make sure there are multiple hay piles, pellet dishes, and veggie dishes. Check Rexy daily to make sure she's not being bitten. Otherwise, let them alone to work it out. Stop interfering when you hear a squeal. And definitely don't try to fix it by getting more pigs -- there's absolutely no guarantee that the next two will be any better.

    You're right that it's a dominance struggle. It may go on for a while, but will eventually settle down.

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    Re: Trouble the piggie is a bully?

    To add to what is above, how large is your cage? A cage that is too small is probably the biggest reason why guinea pigs don't get along. If you bought it at Petsmart with your pigs I can almost guarantee that it is too small.

    The recommended size for a pair of female guinea pigs is just over 10.5 square feet.

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    Re: Trouble the piggie is a bully?

    Thank you, bpatters. I am glad this is normal behavior. I was worried they couldn't be together. It's going to take a lot of courage not to come to Rexy's rescue every time she cries. I am going to take your advice on the fleece forest. When you say to drape the fleece at the corner of the cage, how much coverage am I doing with the fleece? Like just a small corner edge of the cage or a whole side? Half the cage? I have made separate hay piles on opposite ends of the cage already, as well as a small bowl of pellets and a water dish.

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    Re: Trouble the piggie is a bully?

    sallyvh, their cage is a Living World Deluxe Habitat, Large (37.8 L x 22.4 W x 22 H inches). I know that 2 guinea pigs living together need about 4 feet of space length-wise, but I hope for now this cage will be okay until I can save money to buy a bigger one.

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    Re: Trouble the piggie is a bully?

    Just a corner.

    And that cage isn't really large enough for one pig, much less two. So I'd get as much furniture out of it as possible and just provide a couple of forests to break up the sight lines.

    In the meantime, this is an election year, which means that free coroplast is everywhere -- it's what most outdoor candidates' signs are made of. For a $25 box of grids and some good tape, you could have a huge cage.

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