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Behavior My 3 males have suddenly stopped getting along

ldrew7

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Mar 8, 2012
Messages
46
Ok so I have 3 males: Elvis, Dexter, and Ozzy. I have taken them to the vet and they have all been confirmed as males. They are a bit older now and you can definitely tell they are males too, no mistaking it. I have had them since March and they have gotten along well except when Elvis was chasing both the others around and being very dominant towards them at the beginning. I separated them at that time and then reintroduced them and all was fine. When I first got them, Dexter and Ozzy were smaller than Elvis, so I'm assuming that Elvis was a bit older than the other two especially judging by Elvis being so dominant. Well now Ozzy has decided to scare the living daylights out of Elvis and chase him around the cage so aggressively that he gets to a corner and nearly jumps out of the cage he's so scared. When Ozzy backs off or we intervene, Elvis will not move from that spot for a very long time. He will actually let us pet and touch him without scurrying away. He gets so scared. We have taken Ozzy out because Dexter and Elvis live very harmoniously together without him. He's in another cage by himself. We are not sure what to do. We have tried reintroducing them but it still ends with Elvis scared to death in a corner. Ozzy also bothers Dexter but not to the point of submission. I'm thinking Ozzy has hit puberty or something. I just don't know. We have a 2x5 cage and were thinking about expanding it with a division in the middle. Thanks for any advice on this.
 
A 2X5 cage is not enough room for 3 males. It's a good idea to expand but forget the divider in the middle.

How old are your pigs? Puberty is something that can cause some pigs to start to at more aggressively toward other pigs.

Also, why did you separate the pigs? There was no bloodshed. Separating and then reintroducing causes much more stress for the pigs as they have to start over in determining dominance.
 
I was told it was enough room for them. I'm not sure how old they are. To the best of my knowledge they are 4 months. I separated them because Elvis was so distraught and scared of Ozzy that he would not move from the spot he was chased into and would not eat. We have been dealing with this for 3 days. It's just Ozzy that we have removed.
 
How old are the pigs? And how long have they been together? Do all the hideys have both entrances and exits so that Elvis can't get trapped? Do you have three water bottles, and multiple feeding dishes and hay stacks?

Sometimes you can have one pig that is so dominant and another that is so submissive that the submissive one will just cower in a corner. So your plan to expand the cage and put up a divider may be a solution, although I see a lot of bar chewing in your future if you do that.

But you may not need to do that. If they're all just now hitting puberty, Elvis may just be a little slower than Ozzy, and will wake up one day and decide he wants to be top pig. So depending on how far into adolescence they are, you may want to just wait a little while and see if things change.

Edited to add: Just saw your later note. Are you weighing Elvis daily to see how much he's losing? You just may not be seeing him eat, but if he is losing weight, then Ozzy in another cage may be your best bet until their hormones calm down.
 
They are 4 months old to the best of my knowledge. I think Elvis is older because he was acting like this when we first got them but it passed after a couple weeks. That's why we call Elvis, Elvis. Because he was king of the other two. If one was drinking on one bottle he would push them aside with his nose and drink even when he was already drinking on one. Yes I have three water bottles for them and lots of food dishes and multiple hay racks. I used to have a second floor to the cage but took it out because Elvis would chase either one up there and corner them. Oh and yes I have 3 fleece forests. They are open on all sides.
They were quite young when I got them because you couldn't tell that Ozzy and Dexter were males. You could definitely tell Elvis was and that's why I think he is older.
So should I put Ozzy back even with his scaring Elvis so bad. It's so heart breaking to watch. Poor Elvis just cowering in the corner and practically jumping out if he could.

Elvis is definitely not losing any weight. I noticed this behavior 2 mornings ago when I was feeding them and leaving for work. When my partner got home to feed them she noticed how scared he was too and took them all out to clean the cage and then left Ozzy in the play pen while the other two were in the clean cage. We put Ozzy back and it all ended the same with Elvis being so scared again. So now a whole day later Ozzy is in the play pen and the other 2 are in the regular cage.
 
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So I have ordered more coroplast for a 2x3 cage and we are going to expand our current cage to a 2x7 and divide it into a 2x3 and a 2x4. Have Dexter and Elvis live in one and Ozzy in the other. Or Elvis in one and Dexter and Ozzy in the other. Not sure just yet. We might put them all back together eventually but we want to let the hormones die down for a bit.
 
i had, and still have to a lesser extent, a similar situation. george - over 5 years old - is DEFINiTELY boss pig!! kramer just stays out of the way - he's about 7 months old. newman is over 4 years old and very much like your ozzie. george chases him, mounts him sideways, backwards, upside down practically, and otherwise torments him. newman just stand there, squealing and then whimpering. it is heartbreaking. i had to do a lot of self talk to stop myself from interfering. everyone was eating, drinking, and healthy - no weight loss and no bloodshed. on the second and third night they were all together i had to put a divider in at night, just so we cold all get some rest, but i removed it first thing in the morning nd only used it those 2 nights. they'd start up again right where they left off anyway. i kept rooting for newman to just once turn and give george a good kick, or a little nip, but newman just took it. he still does, and some days george is still WAY too full of himself and really runs newman ragged.

i've accepted that they may never like each other much, but they're able to live together reasonably well. it's like being in a college dorm, and having that one roomate down the hall that just makes you crazy!! you learn to live with it (the pigs, i mean - they learn to live with the crazy pig down the hall! LOL)
my suggestion would be to NOT separate them unless it escalates to bloodshed. they'll work it out. and with them being smack dab in the middle of puberty there's no telling what any of them will be like a few months from now.
you could, i suppose take the risk and separate them, then find a friend for ozzie - i can't imagine that the stress of being alone would be any better for him than the stress of dealing with the present situation.

good luck!
 
So u don't think putting a divider in between them is a good idea? I thought it would be just because they can still interact with each other but just not chase Elvis and leave him scared out of his mind
 
So u don't think putting a divider in between them is a good idea? I thought it would be just because they can still interact with each other but just not chase Elvis and leave him scared out of his mind

I would not separate them unless blood is shed or one of them starts to lose weight from not eating. As others have said, it is very stressful for them.

I am guessing because your cage was too small is definitely why they were fighting. Not enough space and puberty obviously can't mix well.

I am glad you took action right away on the cage size-- There have been numerous battles between people thinking their cage is big enough, when it is really too small.

:)
 
ooppss - my bad - i previously said that newman was like your ozzie - he's really like your elvis - newman's the one getting chased and being scared. sorry! putting a divider inbetween is fine, if that's what you want to do, but it should then be a permanent thing - nor something you take in and pull out every day or so. everytime you separate them and then put them back together they start over like it was a brand new day and they have to do the whole pecking order thing again from scratch. so, if you want, you could separate them permanently, or at least for an extended period and maybe try re-introductions later. or you could try the current set up for awhile longer and see what happens.
when i did separate one of my pigs from the others due to bloodshed fighting, i started with their cages next to each other, but had to put a piece of coro between the cages. sometimes when pigs see each other they seem to like it, and even snuggle next to each other on each side of their own cage. when my pigs saw the other pigs in the cage next to them, it agitated them to almost endless grid chewing - that's why i had to put the coro between them so they couldn't even see each other - tho they could hear and smell each other and that seemed ok.
good-luck!
 
Elvis hasn't had a chance to lose weight because we didn't let it get that far. But when we did put food down when this started with all three in the cage he would not eat. And there was another time he would not eat unless you hand fed him when we tried putting Ozzy back with them. We will expand the cage but keep it undivided and see how that works. Put the fleece forests on both ends and what not. Thanks for the advice.
 
So we expanded the cage 2 days ago (from a 2x5 to a 2x7) and everything seems fine. They are not fighting too much anymore. Elvis stays mainly in the one end and Ozzy and Dexter stay at the other end. They only come together when food is put down for them. Here is the expansion:

It is a 2x7 now. There are 3 hay racks on the back part of it. The beds on top are for the cats since they get on it even without them. They take naps or check the boys out all the time.
[GuineaPigCages.com] My 3 males have suddenly stopped getting along

[GuineaPigCages.com] My 3 males have suddenly stopped getting along
This is the left side of the cage that Elvis stays in. He's currently under the fleece forest, which is removable.

[GuineaPigCages.com] My 3 males have suddenly stopped getting along
This is the right side that Ozzy and Dexter stay in with two fleece forests. One of which is removable.
 
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