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Boy piggie aggressive behavior

piggerz

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Hi everyone,

I have had 2 male guinea pigs for about a week. The oldest is 3 years old, and his son is about 1 year old. I have a c & c cage that right now is a 2 by 2 cube cage. I don't have the space to do a larger one, without adding levels. The younger one is very aggressive and does a lot of the rumblestrutting. I have a divider between them, so they can see each other, but not get at each other. The younger one will put his front paws up on the wire and stick his snout through the wire if the older one is nearby to try to nip him. I tried to put them together at first, and the younger one immediately went after the other one.

I've owned about 8 guinea pigs over the years, and have never seen this happen. What do I do?

piggerz
 

Percy's Mom

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They need more floor space before they will ever be able to live together. Minimum, I wouldn't put two boars in anything smaller than a 2X4 cage, and that would be for two that get along well and have occasional squabbles. With a very agressive pig, I don't think I'd go smaller than a 2X5, and might still consider putting a loft on the cage. You have each of them in a 1X2, so he is going to stay agressive and rumbling because he doesn't have the space he needs.
 

CBrewton5

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The cage you have them in is WAY too small, even with the divider up separating them. The minimum size for 2 piggies on this site is 2x4, and that's really more for 2 sows than 2 boars. Adding a second level would help, but they really need the space on the bottom level too. Do you have two of everything in the cage (water bottles, food dishes, pigloos etc.)?
 

Ruftybear

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I have only recently joined this forum, but I will guarantee that you will be told, in no uncertain terms, that the cages is way too small. I am not surprised they are fighting, as the males need lots of room. Until you can address the space issue, I doubt anything will improve.

I have 2 males myself (brothers), and they are in a 2 x 4 grid cage, and I am adding another storey to give them more room. They really do need it.
 

wolfie

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We also have 2 males who are father and son. (However the difference in their ages is only 4 months.) When we first adopted them, they were housed in an extra large commercial cage and had a 4 x 4 cc playpen. Even though they were spending 12 hours a day in their playpen, they began having altercations every time we put them in the commercial cage. Now they have a 2 x 4 with an L loft in addition to the playpen. To us, as "big people", it may seem like a small amount of space but to them it makes a huge difference. We still have some occasional headbutting and rare rumblestrutting but there have been no further altercations. In fact, they engage in more playful activity together than we have ever before seen. It's a real joy to see the difference in them.
 

gus and jack

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I've been having the same trouble wih my boys and originally they were in a large store cage and then I moved them to a 2x3 and eventually a 2x4 before they started to get along nicely. Theres hardly room to move in my room now but at least they arent fighting anymore. I know you said you don't have the room and I thought that originally, but then I saw it this way, if you don't have much room its a lot easier and much more economic bedding wise, to find space for 1 large cage than it is to find space for 2 decent sized cages.
 

piggerz

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Ok, well, I guess I know what I have to do. Give them more room. I mean, I am slave to them, so what they want, wins right? :) I think I will start by giving them a loft area to see if that helps. I won't do it until I clean their pen next though.

Thanks for the suggestions.
piggerz
 

Percy's Mom

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You might want to look at pictures in the galleries of different cages. Some of them are L shaped or have other odd configurations.
 

Jennicat

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In a 2x2, adding a loft is probably just going to make the problem worse. I don't think there's enough room for a ramp that's the proper slope (so that they can get up it), and it'll take away floor space from the already badly cramped 2x2. I would expand out before I considered a loft.
 

guinealover#1

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I have males father and son that have never gotten along. I have all males with one female. The cage I think is to small and they say that sometimes boars will never get along and will just keep hurting each other. The vet told us not to ever put two males together because they sometimes will fight and eventually one pig will win and kill the other.That is just a little advice from me. Hope everything turns out ok. Taylor
 

Jennicat

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The vet told us not to ever put two males together because they sometimes will fight and eventually one pig will win and kill the other.That is just a little advice from me. Hope everything turns out ok. Taylor

It sounds like your vet might not have a lot of experience with guinea pigs. I've got 4 males and 2 females (spayed) living together. Before that, three of the males lived together, and two girls and one of the other boys lived together. I can assure you none of them are fighting to the death. (If they are, they're really bad at it, because they've been together in some cases for years and haven't managed to fight to the death yet! ;))
 

guinealover#1

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Well that is because you have them spayed. All males might not fight to death but some will. If they have been together then they won't fight but if they are older and you just introduce them to each other then they will probably fight. I can assure you she has a lot of expierence because she does all exotics and she has been handling for over 5 years. All people and other vets recommend her.
 

Jennicat

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Well that is because you have them spayed. All males might not fight to death but some will. If they have been together then they won't fight but if they are older and you just introduce them to each other then they will probably fight. I can assure you she has a lot of expierence because she does all exotics and she has been handling for over 5 years. All people and other vets recommend her.

The males are intact except for one, and all of them were introduced after they were a year of age except one. They still behave like males, rumblestrut, and try to romance the ladypigs.

I really feel like your vet is not giving good advice on their behavior, however. Rescues tend to be inundated with older, single male pigs because everybody believes that old wives' tale that "they fight to the death. How do you think these pigs are paired?

I personally feel like it's easier to introduce boars after they're older and their hormones have taken a bit of a break, and they're not so aggressive and teenager-y. My older boars are very docile, though there are a few scuffles in the cage from time to time whenever someone has the 'best' pigloo or the nicest place in the sun.
 

Slave to the Wheek

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In a 2x2, adding a loft is probably just going to make the problem worse. I don't think there's enough room for a ramp that's the proper slope (so that they can get up it), and it'll take away floor space from the already badly cramped 2x2. I would expand out before I considered a loft.

My point exactly.

If you have a 2x2 with a grid to separate, they are living in a 1x2 section each??

ACCCKKKK!

Even humans will kill each other in spaces so tiny. I wouldn't worry about lofts. Pigs need room to get a groove on. Each day they need space to run in the morning and early evening hours. Once you build one, you'll see what we mean. Even research facilities have learned that pigs go insane in such cramped quarters.

Instead I would explore cage configurations, and re-think of unusual areas to place the habitat. I have a dining room I never use, and a foyer in my front entry too either of those have enough room for a 2x5 or 2x6 cage. I also have a dressing area I cold get a cage in.

Don't forget, the larger the cage, the easier to clean.
 

Slave to the Wheek

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Well that is because you have them spayed. All males might not fight to death but some will. If they have been together then they won't fight but if they are older and you just introduce them to each other then they will probably fight. I can assure you she has a lot of expierence because she does all exotics and she has been handling for over 5 years. All people and other vets recommend her.

Males don't get spayed, they get neutered.

I know you are new, and have much to learn about cavies. I don't want to jump all over you, but you need to be aware that you are contributing to a false myth.

Sorry. She's wrong. Period. I'd like to see HER data to back up that statement. Guaranteed she can't provide it. Why? Because the data indicates the opposite to be true. Males Guinea pig USUALLY get along. As long as you provide a proper habitat, and as long as you know what appropriate behavior is. Serious fights among males are incredibly rare in appropriate habitats.

Try looking all over the internet forums. You'll see that THOUSANDS of males are housed together and none of them neutered. This alone proves that statement false. In fact, it's very common for vets to simply tell people old out dated information. 90% of vets out there have NO IDEA what a CC habitat is. They assume your going to house your pig in a tiny cage. ANY animal will fight if kept in too small of an environment.

There is NO REASON to assume that males pigs will fight. Your vet is wrong. She doesn't know what she's talking about, she clearly doesn't own guinea pigs unless she houses them in tiny pet store sized cages. If the latter is true, then she isn't worth listening to, to begin with.

Pigs in CC habitats that are proper sized will almost always get along. Guinea pigs are NOT hamsters. They are not lone souls in the wiilderness. In the wild, males do NOT live alone. They live in herds with either all males, or with females, or with males/females together.

Go into a lousy pet store and count how many gp males they sqeeeeze into a tiny aquarium, or go to a shelter where it's common to house 2 pigs minimum together. Many people commonly have entire herds of males they house together.

It's not wise assume because someone is a vet, that they are the source of all knowledge.
 

guinealover#1

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In a pet store two guinea pigs started a fight. One guinea pig git the other in the side and the owner had to wrap the pig up. I never said all guinea pigs fight. I have read over ten books that say males will sometimes fight with each other. Also my older males have never got along and my younger males got along until they got older and started fighting. That is just the experiences that I have had.
 

piggerz

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Thank you all for the advice. I need to figure out a way to make their cage larger, but with my limited space, I'm not sure how that will work.
piggerz
 

smithli

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So, if the cage is the right size and the males fight a little, it's ok? I want to put a divider in my cage and separate them because they have bites on them and they are constantly chattering their teeth and having little tiffs.
 
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