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Dominance Angsty Pig

Wodentoad

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So I think my middle pig, Zane, is having :melodrama "teen angst."

Bear is three years old, and lost his cage mate who was a couple of weeks younger. We adopted an 8-month old Zane, and his 6 week old friend Duke, now 2 months old. Duke has made fast friends with Bear and is curious as a--well, as a guinea pig. But Zane continues to separate himself from the other two. Duke who he first protected and snuggled with before the adoption is now subject to his angsty nipping, and Zane and Bear are engaged in a seeming constant struggle for power. Dogs I can deal with. Birds I can deal with. Cavy Dominance confuses me. :confused:

Any advice for reuniting them as a herd? Is it possible?
 

akstrohm

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Are they still together? Was there any blood from fighting? If there is no blood, leave them alone. They should work it out. Zane is probably going through puberty and may settle down in a few months.
 

Wodentoad

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There's no blood, though biggest pigs (read: humans) are quick to separate them. Bear has taken to staying up in the top floor, and there is plenty of room for them to separate (2x4 C&C with a top floor equal to 1x2).

Rascal (the lost cage-mate) and bear went through it at the same time and it took them six months to settle out who the bigger pig was.
 

akstrohm

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Do NOT separate them unless there is blood. Separating and reintroducing them makes it less likely that they will get along. It is very stressful for them to continually have to re-establish dominance.
 

Wodentoad

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I should have been a bit more clear when I meant separate. We allow them time to posture and pose, but half a second before it comes to piggie blows, we put hands on or move them a few inches away from each other.

About 90% of the time, they are in separate parts of the cage, worst was when we got swirling piggies inside the pigloo. We pulled them out and put calm hands on them until the clacking calmed, but did not break eye contact with them.

It just seems like Zane is going though a rough patch and I'm seeing if there's a way to ease it for them both. It took Rascal and Bear at the same age, MONTHS to overcome.
 

akstrohm

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Definitely use hideys with more than one entrance/exit and make sure you have more hideys than you do pigs. That way they won't get trapped. It's also important to make sure you have food, water bottles, etc. in different parts of the cage so all the pigs have access to them. I hope they get better soon!
 

Wodentoad

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Angsty Pig Update

Okay, after a few days, Bear, our older boy, has taken refuge in the top floor (equal to 1x2) and won't come down. He began to get aggressive to ME so I have decided that, for his own health and for fear that he had not come down for water, I provided food, water, and veggies in addition to the hay normally in the loft. The ramp is still an option to him, and Duke, our little ambassador or peace, takes full advantage of it. visiting both of his friends.

We were unable to do much lap time for the last few days, and when I have, it's been one piggie at a time.:guilty:

At the moment, I am thinking of a cage re-do, but the trouble is allowing Duke to continue his ambassadorial duties while still allowing Bear and Zane to get away from each other. I was thinking of removing the top floor and placing grids between two sides, basically making a split 2x4 with holes in the grid for piggies to cross through. Currently for hiding, we have two pigloos (one large, one small), a tunnel with an exit in the middle, and a log arch.
 

akstrohm

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Your idea sounds worth a try, but I would definitely try changing hideys first. I would use at least 4 hideys (pigs don't like to share these and there should always be a neutral one to run to) and make sure they have multiple entrances/exits. Pigs can get trapped in the pigloos, so take them out, at least for now. Cardboard boxes with a few holes cut out will work just fine. Towel tents are good too since they take up less room.

How big is your cage? If the main level is less than 2x5, that's probably a huge part of your problem. A 2x6 would be much better.
 

blackarrow

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If I'm reading this correctly, the problem is that you have three boars in a 2x4 with a loft, and your cage is way too small for them. That's a cage big enough for a pair of pigs only, and boars need more room than sows. Instead of dividing them up I'd strongly recommend giving them a much bigger space together, and staying out of their piggie spats entirely unless someone is bleeding.
 

Wodentoad

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Thanks for your suggestions! Due to the size of our pig table, we're going to replace the 1x2 loft with a better top floor, probably a 1x4 run and retain the ramp between them for Duke who spends most of his time running around the bottom at top speed, but loves to visit his friend and mentor Bear. (He's 7 weeks old now, and may never grow into his ears.)

I'm going to get handy with my dremel (saving some buckaroos) and edit my pigloos to make them into a multi-exit hidey. And I have a spare corner into which I may make a towel tent as suggested, but I'll need to look at a few photos to get a better idea of what I'm doing. I have some spare fleece, and I'll have more when I make my Halloween fleece for them.

This will be a temporary stop-gap until we can solve the problem permanently. Our original intent was to only have two, but Bear made the decision at the adoption meeting, and would accept no other pigs.

So we're doing what we can to catch up.
 

akstrohm

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1x4 is not suitable for one pig. They need a wider space so they can run laps. If he won't go to the bottom level, you'll need to expand the top level to at least a 2x3.

Is your main level only a 2x4? That is probably a big part of your problem. It needs to be at least a 2x5, and a 2x6 would be much better.
 

Wodentoad

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I'm sorry, I might not have been clear: this is only a TEMPORARY fix--as in at most a few months. :sorry: I apologize for being curt, but I felt as if you might have missed the statement above.

If further socialization and letting him grow out of it doesn't work, then we'll adapt, and this is not the final cage set up for good and all, but what we have had for ages and still have at the moment. Bear is an older and quite lazy pig, the kind that will drag his snuggy to the food bowl so he can snuggle and eat at the same time, and he's become a tad surly himself in the wake of all the changes, so a run or a loft larger than his current one will do him better than nothing at all.

I know that the two CAN get along, and it's only been a week. We'll see where they are in a month or two, and by that time we should also have a bigger place available for them. :cheerful: Don't worry, they get the best hay, pellet, veggies, attention, love, TV, nose touches, clean environment, vet visits and security that they need. The extra space will come just as soon as we can get it.
 

Wodentoad

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It's been a while since I've done an update, I know, but the situation stands thus:

First and foremost, I am currently running all over town trying to find those darn cubes. It's only a matter of time until I locate them, and then I will be re-doing the top floor. Until then, Zane and Bear are learning to share, and have found the ability to separate acceptable.

Second: Zane and Bear have proven that they can be in close proximity, as long as there is a pile of veggies between them. We have had chutting and popcorning in their floor time enclosure.

Third: Duke has shown some mounting behavior, but he remains the little peacemaker, showing no desire to make the tug of war into a three way.

Last, but not least: We have learned that it is, in fact, possible for guinea pigs to become full of veggies, but we have our doubts that cilantro can be included in that. (Duke is now Duke Hoover of Cilantro.)
 
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