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Thread: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

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    Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Long story short: we lost our beloved first guinea pig to a sudden illness. That was in May. We waited a bit before adopting our new pig. He was an adorably shy 4 month old pig who came to us with an eye infection from an overactive tear duct.
    Proper medical treatment had it promptly cleared with no reccurance, and 2 weeks later he was cleared for introduction

    His shy little persona quickly gave way to a feisty little teen pig.
    Our older pig, Bilbo, is normally incredibly laid back. Ginger (the little one) has been dancing on his last nerve.

    They are fine in my kitchen. 35 sq ft of neutral territory. Who wouldn?t be fine with that. Once in their cage, less fine. We can?t keep them in the kitchen. I need it. Their cage is currently 11sq ft floor 2x4 c&c) space plus a recently added 1x2 c&c hay loft. Funny thing... they tolerate each other just fine in the loft.

    After the cage was expanded to include the loft, there was a noticeable decline in fighting. It picked up again today. Until now, it?s always been surface scratches that heal quickly. But they just got into it and now Gingers ear is bitten.

    At at what point do I just separate them?

    I mean, I feel like it will eventually work. We had a thunderstorm the other day. Apparently Ginger is afraid of thunder. He let out the most terrified squeal and dove under Bilbo. Bilbo let him.

    Ginger is initiating the fighting. Bilbo goes with it until Ginger makes a power play and then snaps him into line. Bilbo starts nothing. He just finishes it.

    So what do I do? Leave them because teenagers gonna teenage and Bilbo has it under control? Separate them because Gingers constant power plays are causing trouble?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Your cage isn't large enough. A 2x4 is the minimum for two sows, and boars need more room.

    Also, take a look at your cage furniture. If you've got hideys with only one door, either throw them out or cut another door. Give them as much uninterrupted room to run as you can. Replace hideys with fleece forests strategically placed to break up the sight lines in the cage.

    But it does sound like they'll eventually settle down. I wouldn't give up yet.

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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Binky and Bilbo got along great in a 2x4? Then again, I suspect they were always a bit of an exception to the rules.

    as for hideys. I got rid of the pigloos. Those were definitely problematic. At the moment, I have these awesome locker shelves with c&c type tops. I drape fleece over them for a 4-exit hidey.

    Advice on expanding the cage given that we’re in the middle of renos and they are maxed out on the space I have available. I might be able to swing a 3x3 in the fall, in which case I can do two 1x3 lofts.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Actually, a 1xAnything loft can be problematic, because there's not enough room for one to get by the other. If it were me, I'd do one 2x2 loft rather than two 1x3s.

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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    The boys are now separated. ��
    Ginger is back in the MW cage he did his quarantine time in. Bilbo has the big cage... for now.
    They got into a big squabble (I assume overnight) which ended in poor Gingers ear being bitten through. It’s torn slightly at the edge now, but too wonky for a stitch, which the vet just thinks he’d fiddle with anyway. I have an antibiotic ointment to put on it every day. It’s healing quickly, but he’ll have a wonky scar.

    Vet wants them permanently apart. But vet also thinks it’s rare that boys live well together. I want to give it one more try.

    so... 1) I’m getting more cubes for a bigger cage. 2) I am desperately searching my house for a place to PUT a bigger cage.
    3) How long should I wait before trying reintroductions? Bilbo is bored and sad today. He hasn’t come out of his cage all morning.
    Obviously I have to wait until Gingers ear is at least mostly healed. I don’t want Bilbo licking the ointment off.

    If possible, I desperately need them getting along by November. I’m going away and it would be just so much better for the sitter if she just had one cage.

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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Take a look at the photo galleries on this site for creative cage placements to maximize space.

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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Definitely been doing that! I think I have a good spot, but it is going to require moving or selling my sewing machine table. I wish renovating was done. Once renos are done, I?ll have the whole living room. And they can have as much of it as they need/want. It?s almost 300sq ft. Once I have the upstairs rec room done, 90% of the living room furniture is going up there. I mean, if they need 30sq ft to be happy, I?ll be able to manage that. But I?m still months from being able to give them that.

    Any suggestions on how long to keep them apart?

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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Update:
    I am officially done trying to bond the boys. They are not compatible. The last effort resulted in a deep gash in Ginger?s shoulder. The hair around the wound has been shaved and I have to keep it clean and apply ointment twice a day. It?s really ugly. I freaked when I saw it and was so sure he needed stitches.

    I love them both dearly and have them in a 3x4 cage with a wall. Each boy has 2x3. I?d love to give them more, but that maxes my space for them.
    In the meantime, Ginger is rumblestrutting back and forth in front of the wall, while Bilbo just eats his hay and stares at him.
    For goodness sake, I didn?t adopt a guinea pig... apparently I adopted a chihuahua in the shape of a guinea pig. He has a big nasty wound in his shoulder that is only *just* starting to heal, narrowly avoided needing stitches, has the added indignity of his gorgeous mane being partially shaven, and he is still trying to do the ?king of the castle? dance.

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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    I’m curious...

    is is it normal for a guinea pig to continue to try establish dominance through a fence?

    They’ve been separated for 12 days, sharing a large cage with a wall. Ginger continues to strut back and forth in front of the wall with his bum lifted as high as possible, rumbling as he goes. Bilbo mostly ignores him and will just keep eating or stare at him or just walk away.

    There is no chattering or hissing. Just a sloooooow rumblestrut back and forth in front of the wall. Like he really, really has something to prove.

    Ginger is sweet as candy with us. He’s just so aggressive with Bilbo.
    This is just teenage stuff?

    I’ve never had a young male before. I always get rescues over a year.

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    Re: Dominance/adolescence/bonding and when to give up

    Completely normal.

    Once Punkin became a teenager and was aggressive with Sly, the two young fellas were separated from him.

    Sly knew they were separated and couldn't hurt him, and yet he loved to troll them at the fence. He'd walk along back and forth like a prison warden, and Punkin would go nuts. When Scooter tried to come over and say hello to Sly, Punkin would often chase him away, teeth bared.

    The barrier didn't stop Sly from having brothers and trolling them, but it did stop any injuries from happening.

    What I would worry about, IF it starts to happen, would be bar chewing. You don't want Ginger to injure his teeth chewing the bars.

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