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Dominance Advice needed, piggies having dominance issues after move

Spoon27

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Cavy Gazer
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Hello,
I just found this forum and it seems like a fantastic wealth of guinea pig knowledge.
Lovely to meet you all.
I'm after some advice about aggressive dominant behaviour.
We have two piggies a 1.5 year old girl Lizzie and a 6 month old boy Creek. We got Creek 2 months ago after Lizzie's sister sadly died. We are fairly new to caring for guinea pigs and had only had Lizzie and her sister for a couple of months.
Creek and Lizzie took a little while to sort out their dominance hierarchy but after a while were happily bonded with Lizzie on top.
Last week we moved house and they at first seemed very happy in the new house and generally everything was great.
But two days ago they started fighting. I realised that Creek was doing some dominance behaviour (teeth chattering and but wiggling) and Lizzie was responding in kind and then chasing him around and nipping him. I separated them for the afternoon then put them back together yesterday and all seemed good again.
But today they've started up again and it again got to the point that I felt I needed to separate them. They've spent the day in separate areas where they can still see each other and they've been teeth chattering on and off all day.

I'm not sure what's going on or what to do. Both of them seem healthy and fine. Lizzie had a vet check last week and all was good.
I want them to be happy together again. I don't know if I'm just overreacting and they are actually fine together. Or if I need to restart the gentle bonding process we did 2 months ago.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Any change, especially in moving to a new home, can trigger dominance issues. It's really no different than an initial introduction. As long as they aren't drawing blood, you should not separate them. They have to work it out on their own. I would assume that if you have a male and female together, one or both of the pigs have been spayed/neutered?

I would suggest, if it escalates, that you try a buddy bath. That way they are both terrified together and will find comfort in each other when the bath is over.
 

bpatters

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If one or the other isn't neutered, then the male may be trying to mate the female when she isn't in heat. If at least one isn't fixed, please separate them immediately. Guinea pig pregnancies are very hard on the sow and the pups, and the death rate is high. Additionally, guinea pigs have some genetic conditions that can cause deafness, blindness, malformed teeth, and/or lifelong pain.

If somebody is fixed, then the move may have just weirded them out. Even rearranging the cage furniture can do that. How large is the cage? And what kind of furniture arrangement do you have in it?
 

CavySpirit

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Yes, please clarify that you have a neutered male and aren't trying to breed your female. If your male is intact, please keep them separated. This forum is still firmly against breeding. And BPatters questions and comments are spot-on to sorting it out. :)
 

Spoon27

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Thank you all! Yes both of them are neutered. (Definitely didn't want any pregnancies).
I put them back together and they do seem to be doing better. Still the occasional rumble but also lots of zooming around and popcorning especially from Lizzie.
They are in a tray similar to a 2x4 c&c cage. It's lined with towels and they have a couple of hideys (with multiple exits) pellet and water bowls, tunnel stuffed with hay and some chew sticks.
I think you're right and the change just spooked them and restarted the dominance question. I was just surprised that it was delayed a couple of days and also quite likely overreactive to their tussle.
 

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