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Aggression Sudden onset of bullying... Cause? How to deal with it?


Active Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 10, 2012
So we have had our piggies for about 5 months now, when we got them they were babies (about 2-3 months). Both are girls, both came from the same litter, both are currently caged together and have lived together since birth.

Cheri, has always been more dominant than Ginny (our baby). Ginny is slightly smaller than Cheri, but not by much. Cheri has always been in charge of leading floor expeditions and exploring new objects in the cage or in their play space.

Recently, Cheri seams to be (lightly) pushing Ginny around. Sometimes Cheri will bump Ginny away from the hay rack or food bowl, especially when the food supply is running low. Normally Ginny just does a lap then returns to the hay rack and Cheri will make room for her again... Every so often they get into verbal fights, but I considered this normal sisterly behavior. They seam to make up quickly. They hate being away from each other for more than a few minutes. If I'm holding one piggy out of sight of the other pig, they will call to each other across the house and will cry until I bring them together.

Then today, they broke out into an all out fight! I did not whiteness the fight but my boyfriend called me right after it happened. Cheri pushed Ginny away from the hay rack and Ginny got mad and turned around and went after Cheri with her teeth! No blood was drawn, but I guess they both went at it severely. My boyfriend had to separate them. He let them cool down then put both of them on the floor and then they were ok...

I'm just worried where this sudden aggression is coming from... We have never had a fight like this before, and it seamed like both piggies knew what the pecking order is in the family, and they both accepted that order...

Their cage is a C&C cage of 2x4 grid plus a 1x2 loft. They don't spend a lot of time in their cage. I work from home, so our piggies are allowed to roam in the living room with me (living room is a piggy safe space) all day. They don't really think their cage is their living space, it's more like a huge bedroom for them :). We do only have one food dish, one hay rack and one water bottle... but that was because bullying wasn't an issue before.

So what would cause this sudden on-set of aggression? How do we deal with it? What can we do to prevent it?
My suggestion is adding two of everything. Food bowls, water bottles, and hay wracks. I'm not real familiar with female companion behavior,(I have boars) but I'm thinking it's the same as with any piggy. Having two of each feeding container, may help with the "top piggy" on sharing. Mainly, she can't be in two places at once. It also may tone down her need to "control" where the other piggy will eat.
I have a very similar situation as you. I have two sisters from the same litter also. One of them is a real bully. I haven't seen an all out fight yet, but the smaller one always backs down.

If it will make you feel any better things did get better for my girls. They are just over a year and the raging hormones aren't as obvious and they get along better. I don't always know when they are in heat anymore, where before it was very obvious. I might see a slight swaying and rumbling, but it doesn't last long.

Zoe is my bully. I got them when they were 5 weeks old and within two days Zoe had kicked Abbey out of their house. That was when I got two of everything. I added another water bottle about 5 months ago and so now when one goes to drink quite often the other one will go to the other water bottle at the same time. I think they drink more with two bottles.

They also have a 2 x 4 C&C cage and a larger play area. Zoe still likes to stalk poor Abbey in the evenings. She waits until her sister gets all comfy in one of the two houses and then charges her. Abbey makes a loud wheek (probably because she knows I will come running) and runs to the other house. Zoe waits for awhile until Abbey gets settled in the other house and she does the exact same thing. This can go on several times depending what mood Zoe is in. If I am in watching TV and see Zoe getting into stalking mode I will give her the low "Zoe" voice and she will stop and look up at me as if to say, "What's your problem, I was just going to eat some hay". She knows what I mean because she stops chasing Abbey.

So definitely get two of everything. It will make a huge difference. Mine share a very large hay pile plus a hay trough, because they can access both from more than one side. Also make sure any hidey houses have more than one entrance/exit so they can escape from "The Bully". I spread out their greens over a large area so they don't have to get too close to each other.
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