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Dominance after weeks of quiet, lots of chasing and humping

onefutui2e

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Hi all,

Back in August I reintroduced our two boars together after they spent the last year and change living as neighbors. Things were a bit contentious for the first week or so, but after that, things settled down for the most part. There would be occasional chasing, rumbling, even humping, but it would be over fairly quickly.

Then this morning, I woke up to loud commotion of chirps and rustling. The dominant one, Xavier, was chasing the other one, Magneto around. He would chase him, mount him, chase him again, mount him again, etc. Even when I made my presence known he wouldn't stop. This went on for a solid 15-20 minutes (I really don't know how long it was). When we took them both out to clean their cages, Xavier was still acting very aggressively towards Magneto; they usually eat their vegetables in peace but this morning he walked over the plate and started nosing off with him. After cleaning, we put them both back in and Xavier was at it again. He would chase Magneto around, hump him, then chase him again, etc. Something he'd mount him from the back, then get off and try to mount him from the front. I picked up Xavier and put him on my lap for 10-15 minutes to calm him down a bit and let Magneto eat uninterrupted; he was more jittery than normal and seemed very tense. After I put him back, they were still at it. Eventually it got to the point where I had to sleep in my living room because the commotion was too much.

I woke up an hour later and they were still at it, but to a lesser degree. Is there anything that could explain the sudden burst of aggression from Xavier? I don't see Magneto putting up much of a fight; he seemed more interested in being left alone that being the dominant one. I caught a glimpse of him doing the "yawn" at Xavier, but he never chattered.

There were injuries on wounds on either of them, which is a good thing. But Magneto's chirping and squeaking sounded like he was very stressed out from all of this. Also, for what it's worth we have a 2x4 cage. I know it's on the small side for two boars and we plan to expand it to a 2x5 but we have competing priorities right now. But it's just so strange that they've been getting along for a little while now and all of a sudden this happened.
 

onefutui2e

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Sorry, that should be: There were NO injuries or wounds on either of them...
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Hi all,

Back in August I reintroduced our two boars together after they spent the last year and change living as neighbors. Things were a bit contentious for the first week or so, but after that, things settled down for the most part. There would be occasional chasing, rumbling, even humping, but it would be over fairly quickly.

Then this morning, I woke up to loud commotion of chirps and rustling. The dominant one, Xavier, was chasing the other one, Magneto around. He would chase him, mount him, chase him again, mount him again, etc. Even when I made my presence known he wouldn't stop. This went on for a solid 15-20 minutes (I really don't know how long it was). When we took them both out to clean their cages, Xavier was still acting very aggressively towards Magneto; they usually eat their vegetables in peace but this morning he walked over the plate and started nosing off with him. After cleaning, we put them both back in and Xavier was at it again. He would chase Magneto around, hump him, then chase him again, etc. Something he'd mount him from the back, then get off and try to mount him from the front. I picked up Xavier and put him on my lap for 10-15 minutes to calm him down a bit and let Magneto eat uninterrupted; he was more jittery than normal and seemed very tense. After I put him back, they were still at it. Eventually it got to the point where I had to sleep in my living room because the commotion was too much.

I woke up an hour later and they were still at it, but to a lesser degree. Is there anything that could explain the sudden burst of aggression from Xavier? I don't see Magneto putting up much of a fight; he seemed more interested in being left alone that being the dominant one. I caught a glimpse of him doing the "yawn" at Xavier, but he never chattered.

There were injuries on wounds on either of them, which is a good thing. But Magneto's chirping and squeaking sounded like he was very stressed out from all of this. Also, for what it's worth we have a 2x4 cage. I know it's on the small side for two boars and we plan to expand it to a 2x5 but we have competing priorities right now. But it's just so strange that they've been getting along for a little while now and all of a sudden this happened.

Every now and then, Pooper and Sly would do the same thing. Sly would harrass Pooper to the point that Pooper would cry and cry and cry, and Sly just wouldn't let up. Toward the end of Poopers life, he would do the same to Sly. We always said Poopy grew his balls back.

When it got to the point that it was extremely stressful for either pig, we would separate. Not completely, just put a divider in the cage, and left them that way over night. By morning, they would be lying against each other at the bars and things would almost always be back to normal. Almost always, occasionally they required a second day of separation. There was no mounting, ever, but I believe that that was just their individual personalities. Neither one had ever been a mounter of the other, but their behaviour from time to time mirrored that which you are describing.

I don't know if this was an acceptable way of dealing with it, but it worked for my two boys.
 

bpatters

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I'm not a big fan of the divided cage, even temporarily. But I would expand the cage ASAP, and go even larger than a 2x5 if you can. Also, wider is usually better than long and narrow with boars.
 

onefutui2e

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We usually separate them for about an hour in the evenings to give the other one some time to eat on his own if he's shown signs of weight loss, but we've never left them like that overnight. I may give it a shot if it happens again. It seems that part of the issue is that Xavier is a very active pig while Magneto is a bit on the older side and so wants to chill out and relax.

Aside from competing priorities (the order goes work > school > housework > pets), another obstacle is that we haven't found a table that can accommodate a 75" long cage so that our dog can't get to them. Ideally, if we can find a table that supports a 4x3, that'd be even better. But we're working on it. Would a loft also help?
 

spy9doc

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Most here will say that a loft doesn't count insofar as space is concerned. I beg to differ. A loft can make a world of difference, especially when you don't have room to expand the main level (sounds as though that's not an issue for you). My cavies get far more exercise running up and down the ramp that they ever would with just a main level.

I have a 2x5 with a 2x2 offset loft. Don't even bother with a 1x? loft because it isn't large enough for two cavies. And, they invariably will want to go upstairs at the same time. I have a litter pan, hidey, water bottle and pellet bowl both upstairs and down. My boys have never fought or mounted, even before they were neutered. They are very bonded, but still like to get away from each other. The loft is almost like a penthouse apartment where one can get away from the other.

Forget trying to find a table to fit the cage. Make a grid stand to custom fit the cage. If you have a small dog, a one grid high stand will work well. A larger dog, make the stand two grids high. I built the cage and stand totally separate and then joined them with zip ties. I even put a bottom on the stand to further stabilize it and to create spaces for fabric/canvas bins to hold all piggy items. I went one step further and put casters on the stand so that I can pull it away from the wall to clean behind it.

I'll put pics below so that you can see the difference between a 1x2 loft and a 2x2 loft insofar as room is concerned.

Crowded Loft Loft3
 

onefutui2e

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[MENTION=19714]spy9doc[/MENTION],

I was thinking of just building a 2x5 stand for a 2x5 cage, but my fear is that it's too flimsy. Can you go into more detail on how you keep it stable? Pictures would be great!
 

spy9doc

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I was thinking of just building a 2x5 stand for a 2x5 cage, but my fear is that it's too flimsy. Can you go into more detail on how you keep it stable? Pictures would be great!

Just read your post. I should have time later today to respond. And yes, I can post pics.
 

onefutui2e

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Thanks!

Just an update: they went at it again yesterday night and woke me up. I decided to put a divider down so that I could go to sleep. Once I did, Magneto (the less dominant one) was eating while Xavier (the aggressive one) was chewing on the bars. I actually didn't see it, but past experience suggests that that's what they were doing.
 

onefutui2e

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An update since the last post here:

We finally got around to expanding their cage to 2x5; my girlfriend and I opted to build a new cage rather than add on to the current 2x4. It was also about time for their every-other-month bath, so we washed them up, set up the cage, and dropped them both in. It's been about two weeks now and it seems like they're finally settling in. There is still a lot of dominance by Xavier (he's essentially claimed all the hideys as his) but it appears the extra space allows them to stay away from each other more easily. They've also spent more time near each other, which is always nice. Fewer squabbles overall and they've both put on a little weight since, though it's also close to winter so that might account for that.

Just wanted to conclude this for future reference of other owners who're considering expanding their cage. Sometimes just adding one grid helps a lot!

Also, building a new cage from a sheet of coroplast is super easy. This site here pretty much outlines everything you need to know as far as dimensions: https://www.guineapigcages.com/howto.htm

The hardest part was probably keeping the lines level across 8 feet.
 

kurokatakuri

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An update since the last post here:

We finally got around to expanding their cage to 2x5; my girlfriend and I opted to build a new cage rather than add on to the current 2x4. It was also about time for their every-other-month bath, so we washed them up, set up the cage, and dropped them both in. It's been about two weeks now and it seems like they're finally settling in. There is still a lot of dominance by Xavier (he's essentially claimed all the hideys as his) but it appears the extra space allows them to stay away from each other more easily. They've also spent more time near each other, which is always nice. Fewer squabbles overall and they've both put on a little weight since, though it's also close to winter so that might account for that.

Just wanted to conclude this for future reference of other owners who're considering expanding their cage. Sometimes just adding one grid helps a lot!

Also, building a new cage from a sheet of coroplast is super easy. This site here pretty much outlines everything you need to know as far as dimensions: https://www.guineapigcages.com/howto.htm

The hardest part was probably keeping the lines level across 8 feet.

For anyone in the future, a cheap chalk box from Home Depot or Lowe's makes creating level lines, extremely easy.
 
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