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Thread: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

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    Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Hello!
    Recently I've been working towards understanding my pigs more, and I built them C&C cages. They are NOT neutered males, the same age, and very aggressive towards each other (the previous owners didn't notice? I don't know, it seems weird to me, too, don't worry): rumble strutting, yawning, growling, stand-offs, having issues sharing, butt-chasing, etc etc. All very annoying and stressful for both them AND me, too! They're going to hurt each other.
    I thought it was because their cage was too small but they're in a 2X4 C&C right now and they're still doing it. So, I made them each a separate 2X4 C&C and put them in them. The cages are side by side, with the shorter walls facing in, so they can still see each other. John, the LESS dominant one was fine. He was adventured his new home happily, eating the veggies I gave him, doing very well. Paul, however, the dominant one who normally pushes John around, was in distress. He would hardly eat the veggies in front of him, and he checked every corner of the cage, even pulled the fleece up to look under it, and he squeaked out to John constantly, looking for him. He seemed very distressed, while John seemed fine. I put them back together for now, and went to class. So they're home right now in their new C&C, and they started growling at each other right away.

    I don't know what to do. I can't afford to neuter them, and that's not even a guarantee that they will stop if I do. It seems like a lot of physical and financial stress for the possibility of it not helping at all. I really don't want to have to adopt one of them out, because I like having two. But I'm wondering what to do. Should I separate them and just make them deal with it, or should I merge their cages into one, with a hallway between the two (I have some extra grids). They would have plenty of space...

    Help, please. I don't want them to stress, I want them to be happy.

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    Administrator lissie's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Okay, first of all, don't separate unless they're fighting until blood shed. Separating and putting them back repeatedly will do more harm than good. They will have to determine who's boss every time you put them back together.

    If I were you, I'd put both of them into a neutral area. Then completely clean both cages and join them together. Put both pigs back, make sure the houses have 2 doors so they can't trap each other in there.

    See this link.
    http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=46468

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Quote Originally Posted by lissie View Post
    Okay, first of all, don't separate unless they're fighting until blood shed. Separating and putting them back repeatedly will do more harm than good. They will have to determine who's boss every time you put them back together.

    If I were you, I'd put both of them into a neutral area. Then completely clean both cages and join them together. Put both pigs back, make sure the houses have 2 doors so they can't trap each other in there.

    See this link.
    http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=46468
    Thanks Lissie! When I get home I'm going to join the cages together, so they can both retreat to their own area and have lots of space if they need it, but they can still be together. If the dominant behaviour never stops but they don't hurt each other, can they still be together? I'm scared that they're going to be stressed out. or, is it just normal boar behaviour? The cage, joined, would be two large sections of 2X4, joined by a 1X1 hallway (still enough space for them to both move through) that joins it. Does that sound good?

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    Administrator lissie's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    That sounds good. Make sure to completely clean both cages to remove all their scent.
    If they're not shedding blood, and not losing weight, leave them be. They will work it out eventually. Some takes months for the dominance behavior to die down.

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    Cavy Slave CandyApple's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Hi,
    Its completely normal for boars to do that Like... Completely! They are just showing who's boss. Do as lissie said, and as long as no blood is shed, you are fine. That cage has a tonne of space, and gives them time to get away from each other!
    Good luck ;D

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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Quote Originally Posted by lissie View Post
    That sounds good. Make sure to completely clean both cages to remove all their scent.
    If they're not shedding blood, and not losing weight, leave them be. They will work it out eventually. Some takes months for the dominance behavior to die down.
    The only problem with assuming the behaviour will go away is that they aren't newly introduced. They've been together their entire home lives, and if I'm not mistaken, I'm fairly sure they're from the same litter. Should it still die down once they get older and have more space?

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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Quote Originally Posted by CandyApple View Post
    Hi,
    Its completely normal for boars to do that Like... Completely! They are just showing who's boss. Do as lissie said, and as long as no blood is shed, you are fine. That cage has a tonne of space, and gives them time to get away from each other!
    Good luck ;D
    Ah, thank you so much. I think it should be ok. I appreciate your help, and I'll keep everyone posted on what happens later when I put them in the big big cage.

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    Cavy Slave CandyApple's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalene View Post
    Ah, thank you so much. I think it should be ok. I appreciate your help, and I'll keep everyone posted on what happens later when I put them in the big big cage.
    Welcome... Do keep us posted I'de be interested to know if the behaviour dies down

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    Administrator lissie's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Dominance behavior is normal. Trying to eliminate all of it would be impossible. If they can live with each other, and not harming one another. I'd say let them be.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Quote Originally Posted by lissie View Post
    Dominance behavior is normal. Trying to eliminate all of it would be impossible. If they can live with each other, and not harming one another. I'd say let them be.
    Perfect, thank you so much. You have no idea how much this has put me at ease.

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    Administrator lissie's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    You're welcome! Let us know how it goes.

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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Quote Originally Posted by lissie View Post
    You're welcome! Let us know how it goes.
    So it's been a few hours, I got home, and I did some cage reno-ing. I have never seen my boys so happy since I got them! Paul popcorned for the first time, he ate out of my hand, and even begged when I opened the hay bag (something John always did but paul never did.) They ran around and seemed so happy to have the extra space. They've been doing well, only a bit of rumble-strutting and "nose wars" when there was a food dish with more food than the other, they seemed to fight over it. I wil be putting a grid in the hallway to separate them when I feed them from now on to avoid that.

    Paul did do one thing I had never seen before, and he chased Johnny around and mounted him! It went on for a while, chased each other around the cage a couple times, and then John sorta turned around and yawned/bared his teeth and Paul backed off. Right now I can hear a bit of rumbling but I'm definitely not as worried after having your advice and giving them the bigger cage. They're already so happy after 30 mins of their new place that they seem like entirely different piggies. I'm so so happy and I feel like a proud mother turned contractor. i'm so proud of my first C&C cage, even though it's a tiny bit crooked.

    Would you like to see a picture or two?

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    Administrator lissie's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Of course! We'd love to see pictures!

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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sorry the second one is sideways, haha. That's my boy Johnny, thinking my camera was a treat! Lol. Anyways that's the set up! They LOVE it. And I love that even though it takes up most of the space in my bedroom, there's space in the middle for me to store my hay, bedding, pellets, etc.

    Thanks again for you all your help.

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    Administrator lissie's Avatar
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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    It looks great! Glad they like it.

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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    This post was super helpful... I have two boars and they were doing the same thing DRIVING ME NUTS. One would not leave the other alone and I have had them temporarily separated before. They have a super big cage now 2 x 7 plus a 2 x 4 hay loft. I was super worried about them fighting still but this makes me feel better about keeping them together than apart. I am actually adopting another pig (but will quarantine for the first two weeks) this week... three piggies in the big cage will be enough space I hope!

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    Re: Dominance, aggression and SEPARATION ANXIETY?! What?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggie23 View Post
    This post was super helpful... I have two boars and they were doing the same thing DRIVING ME NUTS. One would not leave the other alone and I have had them temporarily separated before. They have a super big cage now 2 x 7 plus a 2 x 4 hay loft. I was super worried about them fighting still but this makes me feel better about keeping them together than apart. I am actually adopting another pig (but will quarantine for the first two weeks) this week... three piggies in the big cage will be enough space I hope!
    I think that will be plenty of space for two piggies, and should probably be ok for 3, though I'm no expert! Good luck

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