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Fighting Male rescues fighting


Cavy Gazer
Aug 29, 2023
Hi everyone

I just got my first guinea pigs last monday from an acquaintance who didn't take very good care for them. They were three males living in a small cage with only one hide, one water bottle and one food bowl. They didn't have a constant source of hay either. The three of them are brothers and have been living together in this space their whole life, though they had some scars showing they clearly had been fighting before.

So I brought them home and set them up in a 6x2 C&C cage. Two water bottles, unlimited hay and three food bowl, plus four hides. At first everything seemed fine, though they had some dominance issues from time to time (mounting, teeth chattering, yawning, etc.) but it never blew up into a fight. I left for a couple of days for personal reasons (it is not something I usually do but it was a last minute emergency) and let someone to care for them while I was gone. The last few days before I left, things even seemed to be better and they wouldn't be as annoyed at each other as they used to, so I assumed it would be fine.

Sadly, as soon as I came back, things completly changed. Two of my males fought very violently (pulling hair, biting, clawing at each others). It didn't last very long but one of them got injured. I separated the injured one from the other two. He is currently in a separate cage with his favorite hideys while the other two are staying in the 6X2. His wound was cleaned, it didn't seem very deep, and he seems to be doing ok. Just as friendly as ever with me.

Now, I'm wondering what went wrong... I have some theories?
- Maybe they didn't like that I was away and not giving them attention and that triggered boredom + agression?
- Maybe changing their set up wasn't enough to stop the fights they had in the past
- Maybe male trios are impossible (some people seem to think they are)

Depending on the reasons I might try to separate them then properly introduce them, but I'm not sure that's the right thing to do as these are my first pigs.

Any help would be appreciated!
Obviously there is a history of these three not getting along, since you noticed they have scars.

Three males together will rarely work out, even if they have a huge area. Two will have a better chance but there will still be squabbles.

Sometimes they seem to get along because there is an environment change that scares them. In this case, moving to a new home. Prey animals rely on each other for protection, and these three were probably in survival mode during the move. Once they started to settle into their new home, they resumed their previous behaviors of dominance and fighting.

I adopted two sisters that did the same thing. Once they pulled out hair and drew blood, they were permanently separated. They were both happier and more relaxed.
Thank you for your advice,

After doing more reading on males (it seems the youtuber I followed only gave advices for female pigs) I also came to the conclusion that yeah, I have to live with the fact that my three boys will never be a trio. The three of them have been separated as they all fought in the end. I am thinking of leaving them in three separate cages (with dividers so they can still interact), but I will try to bond the two nicest ones together this weekend... We'll see what happens!

So far living with dividers, they're doing good. One of them is even back to doing his cute popcorns... My angry alpha boy stopped being so angry which makes me think he might be better in his own little territory with a divider (I've read from rescues some agressive males prefer that anyway).

Something to note is they were three males when I adopted them, but they were 5 boars in one cage for months in their previous care (2 of them died... one of old age, the other of a heat stroke). So I don't know if their past scars come from one another or from these other males who passed away. I hope the pair I'm gonna try to bond never hurt each others but we'll see.

Regardless, they're happy right now. Which is all that matters to me.
They will do great if they are divided and they can see each other. My boys live in divided cages with grids down the middle to interact with each other. Watch out for bar chewing behavior. It sucks not having pairs but they will be happier and safer.
I was thinking of getting an acrylic panel divider instead of bars for my alpha boy since he's more agressive, I'm scared he will try to bite the others through the grids, any thoughts on that?

He's in a separate cage right now (instead of the same with a divider) but it's right next to one of his brother so he does see them anyway, but it's a bit smaller than a 3x2 so I am looking to buy a 3x2. I'm just wondering if I'm getting acrylic panels over grids to avoid chewing/biting.

The other two (which I will try to rebond) thankfully haven't bitten each others through the bars (they just sniff each others) so even if the bond doesn't work I will let them have a grid divider.
I wouldn't worry so much about the one boy biting the others through the bars. What I WOULD worry about, is your alpha male biting the bars themselves incessantly. He can actually damage his teeth doing that. A clear acrylic divider would be an excellent choice as it would allow him to see the other boys, and feel some company that way. Their cage MUST have good airflow otherwise so if that divider restricts airflow in any way, don't do it.
I have these windows - https://www.guineapigcagesstore.com/pig-a-boo-window

I have 2 grids as dividers down the middle. I got these because I didn't want to risk using just the window and no grid. I don't think using just the windows as dividers is sturdy enough. One of the boars chews the bars and has a history of breaking down the divider to get to the other side. I got 4 windows, and put two to a grid on the biter's side with a little gap in between so they can still smell each other, but not bite. Previously I bought padlocks to prevent my boar from breaking the grids down; now I just keep them zip tied. There is enough wiggle room to bring the bars up and clean under them.
Here is the view from the troublemaker's side. The windows are on his side. The other one (in the pic) doesn't chew the bars unless he is anticipating food. They come with lots of little zip ties so you can set it up just right. There is a small gap between the top and bottom grids so they can sniff each other, but they can't bite the bars, windows, or each other.


That looks like a good, sturdy system. It’s amazing how strong those little guys are when they’re determined.

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