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Thread: Please help: Keep working on bonding or separate?

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    Question Please help: Keep working on bonding or separate?

    Hello everyone, I really need some help from you all. I adopted my two male piggies almost two years ago (at which they were about 1 year old at the time), so they are almost 3 yrs. old now this summer. I adopted them as "bonded buddies" meaning they were required to be adopted out together. When I got them home initially, they were fighting - chattering, lunging, and locked in a "ball of fur" together - so called the shelter's small animal contact who said to separate them or get larger cages. At the time thought my 8 sq. foot cage was big enough for both of them, but then separated them into two cages - each one 8 sq. feet.

    I had tried a couple times in the past to re-introduce and bond them, but had only let them be together briefly until the similar behavior broke out and there was tufts of fur and blood. I realize now, I shouldn't have kept trying to bond and then separate again.. I think they really do enjoy each others company, and since I adopted them as a bonded pair it feels cruel to not try to let them be together. But it also breaks my heart seeing the fights and scabs.

    So fast forward to within the past month. Their cages have been side by side, and they were sleeping by each other on either side of the bars. One would constantly be gnawing on the bars trying to get to the other one. So I tried again having them out together on the floor together - and this time tried riding it out with the mounting, lunging, interlocked ball of fur, tufts of fur on the ground, chattering, etc. I also have tried the bonding bath, which seemed to help some as well. And I combined their cages into one big 16 sq. feet square. It's been a week now, and they seem to be getting along better. But these same behaviors do continue to happen, although less frequently that I can observe.

    I took them both to the vet today for check ups, as my one seemed to be having issues swallowing. Now the vet and I think it could have been due to all the scabs we discovered near his mouth and eye/face area - that it probably just hurt, as it had only been happening earlier this week. Both of my piggies have pretty big and relatively deep scabs/wounds - which appear as though they are from the initial fighting, and not recently like in past day or so.

    My question is if I should continue letting them live together and work out their issues? Monitoring them? Or if they really need to be in separate cages for good now? The vet suggested neutering them both, but I don't think I want to do that as I've read the surgery can have risks, and may still not mean they wouldn't fight. Any suggestions for me?

    Thank you so much for your help!

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    Re: Please help: Keep working on bonding or separate?

    If the behavior is decreasing, and the wounds are older, I'd try keeping them together and see if they can eventually work it out.

    Make sure you've got fleece forests or something like them placed strategically in the cage so they can't always see each other. Out of sight, out of mind is a good adage for boar introductions. Make sure all hideys have at least two doors, and make sure the cage furniture is up against the walls of the cage so they've got plenty of room to run.

    It also wouldn't hurt to do a buddy bath if you haven't already,and to put a teeny drop of vanilla on each nose for a few days.

    Neutering may or may not help. It probably would have worked if they'd been neutered much earlier, but those days are gone.

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    Re: Please help: Keep working on bonding or separate?

    I would make a wider cage for them. My 4 males did better in a 3x cage, over a 2x cage.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	85777They got along much better than any 2x cage, no matter how long.
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    Re: Please help: Keep working on bonding or separate?

    Thank you for sharing your advice. I tried both of your suggestions - my boys have spent the past week in a 4x4 cage with play time together in a bigger space as well. I also swapped out igloos for fleece forests and tunnels. I thought things had been going better, as I observed popcorning and chirping and otherwise seemingly happy interactions. However, tonight I found fresh wounds on one of my boys - and he was looking so tired and just seemed worn out from it all So I think it is definitely time to separate them permanently now unfortunately, but will put their cages side by side so they can interact through the divider. Thanks again for all your support and input. I really appreciate it. <3

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