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Thread: Aggressive and territorial pig, limited options

  1. #1
    Cavy Newbie
    Dec 01, 2021
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    Aggressive and territorial pig, limited options

    Hey guys, in need of some advice for a particular piggy problem. We're very new to caring for pigs, our first pair, but we've done our fair share of research and have done what we reasonably can for providing them with a comfortable home.

    TLDR: One of the pigs is VERY territorial and grumpy, to the point of separation.

    We adopted the two females appx 3 months ago, an Abyssinian and (what seems to be) an American, unofficially named Fluff Monster and Pigpig, respectively. Both are about 3 y/o, and their previous owners were a bit uninformed about pig care - lots of sweet food, small cage, small children chaos, etc. We continued to use the small cage up until yesterday when we transitioned to a new large C&C cage + wide loft, still waiting on the accessories and fleece.

    About 1 month in, Fluff Monster adopted a bit of rumbling around the cage. Was very difficult to keep the small cage clean, and they had very little room to themselves. We started looking into investing in more space and they were given each their own water/food containers. Rumbling continued, but not disruptive. Over time, this behavior escalated to more of a constant feature, plus lots of teeth chattering, raised hair, and eventually mounting. We monitored, but left it alone. Pigpig seemed largely indifferent to it, though she would nip back in defense.

    Two weeks ago the rumbling escalated to unmistakable aggression. Fluff would prowl the entire cage day and night, rumbling and controlling access to the food area and homes and working herself into exhaustion in the process. Pigpig was submissive and would go wherever she was pushed, but Fluff wasn't content. Eventually Fluff would block her entirely from the food area and from any of the houses, lunging at her and scaring her to the point where Pigpig was visibly shaking and had nowhere to go but to sit uncomfortably in a dirty area of the cage. It was a miserable sight.

    I took Fluff out and set her in the playpen, which was a temporary solution. She was chill. The playpen is collapsible, so it doesn't hold a water bottle and neither of them drink from a bowl. So we had to rotate them to maintain access to water. After a few hours we would put them back together, but the aggression from Fluff was immediate and intense. I tried putting Fluff solo in her original cage. She proceeded to destroy the cage like Godzilla or something. It was ridiculous rampage that was only going to result in injury.

    So we built the new C&C cage, still waiting on the fleece. They refuse to use the new ramp, which defeats the intended purpose of giving them more space, and Fluff is back to guarding the entire bottom area, although (thankfully) with less intensity than before.

    They do sleep together and rarely do they eat together, but there is no sense of peace between them. They have no interest in toys, they're terrified of being held, and they seem somewhat disinterested in exploring new spaces. Monitoring them is an exhausting task, we've spent more than $1k to make them comfortable and to troubleshoot the problem, but, honestly, I've entertained the idea of putting Fluff down. Their company cannot be enjoyed in their current state.

    Would appreciate any help!

    A few addl questions: How does one go about pairing breeds of pigs? Does the Abyssinian simply need more attention that she isn't getting from the other? Or do we simply put two pigs together and hope for the best?

    Thanks! Jake

  2. #2
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
    Sep 23, 2009
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    Re: Aggressive and territorial pig, limited options

    Two things come to mind with her grumbling -- the lack of the space in the old cage, which can make pigs very cranky, and the possibility that she's developing ovarian cysts. I'd take her in to a good exotic vet and have her examined. And I'd give them some time in the new cage to see if that helps things.

    Pigs are wired to establish dominance when they are put with another pig. So it doesn't work to separate them for short periods -- they start all over from the beginning every time. It's stressful for them and for you.

    Make sure they've got two hay piles, two food areas, two or three water bottles. Also, create some fleece forests or drapes and break up the lines of sight in the cage. Out of sight, out of mind often helps with squabbling pigs. Make sure every hidey has at least two doors so that no pig gets trapped.

    Most pigs are not interested in toys, and they don't usually play. They're prey animals, and as such, they're very skittish and afraid. It will take a lot of time and calm patience for them to get used to you. They may never learn to love being caught, but they should learn to enjoy sitting in your lap and being fed tasty treats.

    There's really no significant difference in the breeds. Skinnies need to be kept warmer than haired pigs, long haired pigs either need haircuts or regular grooming. That's about it.

    Give it some time. And here's some recommended reading for new pig owners:

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