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Behavior Rescue recommends "group therapy" for hormonal female.

HannibalLecter

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Oct 17, 2010
Messages
1,798
Long story short, I have a 2 year old female whom for the past year of me owning her has become a real terror. Literally horrible. She will chase, rumblestrutt, corner, kick, spray & scream at her cage mate. Sometimes non stop, no eating or resting at all. Not to mention when she actually IS in heat.

But there is nothing physically wrong with her. No ovarian cysts, no infection or anything wrong with her uterus to trigger this. She is just a really bitchy sow with terrible social skills.

Speaking with two of the largest rescues, and guinea pig owners in my country, they both advice me to adopt an altered calm & dominant boy to sort her out, where they want to have the introduction at the shelter & possibly allow her to stay a few days first.

One of the rescues also have what she calls "Problem solving group therapy", which involves taking a sow like mine, put her in her own very constantly stable herds with one altered male, where some will stop their hormonal behavior without actually having to bring a boy home. While this is realistic with many herd animals, is this actually possible with guinea pigs? I know it has worked with previous pigs, but is this just a coincidence?
 
I have.no.idea... Never heard of such a thing. That's not to say it couldn't work, just that someone else would have to weigh in on this.
 
What is off-putting about it is the long train ride we & the pigs have to make to get there, & vet visit before to ensure a healthy pig before any intros with her own herd. Otherwise I would gladly just go ahead & try it.
 
I've never heard of that. Is there a charge? I'd stay away from anything with a fee attached. I've had a few females that I could never house with other guinea pigs. I have one right now that lived alone until I took her in at age 3. She's very dominant and monitors what the others are doing all the time. She steps right in to put them in their place when she's sees them doing something she doesn't like. I've kept her with the other two because they aren't fighting. She chases and nips a bit but as soon as they follow her rules, things are fine. She even sleeps with them in a pigloo, sometimes. I just think there are some pigs that don't want to live with others. I don't think it would hurt giving it a try, but if she bonds with them, it doesn't mean she'll bond with yours.
 
Only a very small fee to cover the tiny cost of hay/pellets, unless I bring it myself.

She really loves her cage mate, oddly enough based on her behavior. During those few days/hours she's somewhat calm, she will spend it trying to groom her. Same thing happened after the two times I had to separate them, she will run straight up to her & kiss her cheek.

The shelter use the logic that a good herd can alter the mindset of a pig, and a hormonal sow will usually calm down with a boar around. She does recommend trying to pair her up with a boar, but she wants to try out the herd on her first as it apparently has worked previously on some sows. I just doubt pigs are as complex as other herd animals, like dogs where a herd definitely help behavioral issues.
 
Only a very small fee to cover the tiny cost of hay/pellets, unless I bring it myself.

She really loves her cage mate, oddly enough based on her behavior. During those few days/hours she's somewhat calm, she will spend it trying to groom her. Same thing happened after the two times I had to separate them, she will run straight up to her & kiss her cheek.

The shelter use the logic that a good herd can alter the mindset of a pig, and a hormonal sow will usually calm down with a boar around. She does recommend trying to pair her up with a boar, but she wants to try out the herd on her first as it apparently has worked previously on some sows. I just doubt pigs are as complex as other herd animals, like dogs where a herd definitely help behavioral issues.

I don't think that a neutered male will necessarily make a difference. I had to remove my neutered male from the group because my alpha female was attacking him. I think it has more to do with the dominant pig being territorial and maintaining control. I've wondered sometimes if a dominant guinea pig that's lived alone for a long time doesn't have the social skills to get along with others. The females I've had that were very aggressive lived alone for the first years of their lives. My very dominant female that lives with the two also was a single pig in her last home. I've been able to house some dominant ones with others but the strong personalities have always remained. I've never had an alpha step down as "queen" unless she was ill or old.
 
Yes that's the other thing, I'm constantly recommended to get a neutered boar to calm her down. No matter which guinea pig shelter, rescue or local forum I visit. I've never heard any of the sort from here or the US in general, but the northern European guinea pig owners claim it usually works in these situations.

I would just hate separating them, but the cage mate is constantly stressed out & bullied. They've lived together from the pet store I believe.
 
Is it possible to try adding a neutered boar to your two? Rather than taking your pig to a rescue, do a trial adoption of a boar and see if that works? Maybe three could live together well. Or not. I'm sure there's no way to know in advance, but it might be worth trying.
 
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