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Dominance Three Boar Bullying

madpiggies

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Cavy Gazer
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Jan 12, 2022
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18
Hello all! This is my first post here. I recently adopted a trio of boars on Guineapigfinder.com (two days ago) after plenty of research. Although, I was unaware that it is sometimes discouraged to keep three male guinea pigs together. There is one large dominant male who has been neutered, and his smaller brother who is often picked on. The third piggie was an addition and is slightly younger; he is in the middle in terms of dominance and I have not seen bullying from him. My concern is with the smallest piggy who appears to be outcast from the other two occasionally. They have a 2x5 C&C with a 2x2 loft and last night I noticed the smaller piggy was seemingly not allowed down the loft by his big brother. There is hay and water for him up there. The small piggy does seem scared of his big brother. I have witnessed the big one lunge at the small one, though no injury or actual biting has occurred. There has also been chasing, whining, teeth chattering, and rumble strutting. The piggies are living in the same cage as they did with their previous owner, although I have added many more hides, each has their own food dish, and there are two water bottles. There is also hay available on both levels. Do you have any recommendations? Would it be better to remove the loft and expand the cage with more floor space? Ultimately I am worried about the small pig's quality of life but I may be over reacting. I'd also like to know your opinions on keeping three boars together.

Thank You in advance!
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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May 12, 2015
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38
Long story short? Your best option here is to either rehome the little guy (or one of them anyway) and keep only two, or build a complete second cage for the singleton and another new addition for a total of four.

Boar trios almost never, ever work. I tried it myself several years ago. It sometimes works with elderly boars who are pretty chill to begin with but it's pretty rare.

Worst case scenario here is that you may end up with a severely (even fatally) injured pig, or three pigs who no longer get along and will never get along again.
 

madpiggies

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Cavy Gazer
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Jan 12, 2022
Messages
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I actually read about your story when I was researching this! I suppose there should be more education out there on this topic. I could never rehome :(. To clarify, this bullying behavior is not continuous but so far has happened multiple times daily. I would like to get pairs if there is no improvement within the next few days (I've only had them two 1/2 days). Would you recommend finding the bullied one a new friend or the dominant, neutered male a new friend? I was thinking of possibly neutering the small male and housing him with an intact female?
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Neutering the little one and housing him with a female would be a wonderful idea. And I can guarantee you that even if it does improve in the next couple of days, when they've all hit puberty there will be all out war. That's when the injuries and the permanent personality altering will happen. If I were in your position, I would start planning immediately for a second cage and a roommate and not risk the injuries or aggression.

I completely understand about not being able to rehome, I could never do it myself unless my situation were dire.

Just out of curiosity, how old is the little one?
 

madpiggies

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Cavy Gazer
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Jan 12, 2022
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They are all adults and around 1yr old! The problem two are brothers from the same litter. I didn't get much backstory from their previous owner but I believe the younger piggy was added in hopes of deterring the large male from being too aggressive to his little brother. And the large male was neutered. The smaller piggy was the runt of the litter and has been picked on for his whole life (with nibbles on his ear to prove it). I want all my piggies to have a happy life! The large male and other guinea pig get along well and often sleep together. The younger piggy holds his own but is not confrontational so I believe they are a good match. I will have to talk with my landlord about this, he is usually very reasonable and understanding.
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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The little one is old enough to be neutered so that's good.

Let us know how you make out and what your options end up being. We're always here to help if we can.
 

bpatters

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There's plenty of information on male guinea pigs living together. Googling "can three male guinea pigs live together" will get you a ton of hits.
 

madpiggies

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Jan 12, 2022
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I'm sure there is but it's not advertised much. There is also information supporting three boars together making it confusing for new owners.
 

Soecara

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Aug 18, 2012
Messages
1,953
In your position where you have three boars, its clearly not working, the biggest one is a bully but is also neutered. I would pull the big bully that is neutered and get a female to house him with. Being neutered he is safe to house with females (as long as it has been more than 3 weeks since he was neutered), and he is much less likely to try and bully a girl.

If you do decide to go down this path it is recommended you have a lid on the cage with the female to avoid the two non-neutered boars being able to get to her. I don't have a lid on my girls cage but I do have it on a metal frame (think like a table but with smooth metal legs and custom made to the size of the cage) that has it much higher than my guinea pigs can jump (90cm/35 inches) with nothing they could use to climb.
 

madpiggies

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Cavy Gazer
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Jan 12, 2022
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There is some confusion because the little boy may be neutered as well. It appears he is neutered... but I am definitely not an expert. He is an Abby and has some fur covering his rear and I don't see any testicles with closer inspection either. The previous owner says they don't remember which are neutered and that they think they bought the two brothers neutered but again are unsure. I know that is really confusing! I am confident the large male is neutered. The third male is not neutered and has obvious testicles. I am bringing the small boy to the vet for a health check and I'm sure I'll get a definitive answer there. I just would not want to risk pregnancy in introducing him to a female intact. Would you still recommend introducing the dominant male with a female over the smaller, submissive male?

I also plan to neuter the third male. Thankfully, I have found a nice vet that is not super expensive. Any tips for after care?
 

Soecara

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1,953
Yes I would still go for the bully boar with a girl over the other two even if one other is neutered/you get them all neutered. The smaller boy and the younger one may not seem like good friends right now but having them together and the bigger bully with a girl has the highest chance of long term success in my opinion.

You already know the biggest boy and the youngest one don't seem to like each other so splitting them up is necessary, and the biggest one has already bullied his smaller brother in the past which is why the previous owner tried a trio in the first place, so having them alone together is also unlikely to result in a happy pair. Trying the biggest boy with a new boy could be very hit or miss as to how it would go, but a sow has a much higher chance of working with him. Its still not guaranteed to work but it is likely your best bet. The ideal situation would be to find a rescue that does meet and greets and will let you take your big boy in and try him with potential female cage mates before you adopt one, that way if they are obviously not compatible from the start you can try another girl.

Read this link for some information about post op care http://www.guinealynx.info/postop.html
 

madpiggies

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Jan 12, 2022
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18
Thank you so much! Yes that make sense to pair the larger male with a female and to try meet and greets.
 

madpiggies

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Cavy Gazer
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Jan 12, 2022
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So, to update everyone on the pig's situation, I have removed the loft from the cage and created a large L - shaped cage which is basically a 2x3 connected to a 2x5. I also added a very large litter box (cavy bistro). So far, I have only observed chasing twice. These boys have lived together previously, and unless I see relentless chasing, seclusion, biting/nipping or blood drawn I would like to keep them together. If this occurs I am prepared to separate and will get another male piggy (likely to bond with the smaller pig). None of them are neutered and I wouldn't be comfortable getting a female unless they are all neutered. I would have space for two 2x5s. I am keeping a close eye on them and their behavior daily. They are in my "office" and I do a lot of school work from home. I am hoping this works out better and the piggies are enjoying the new layout! If you have any further advice please let me know. They all have their sweet moments together which is why I am hesitant to separate.
 

madpiggies

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Cavy Gazer
Joined
Jan 12, 2022
Messages
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We are getting a fourth male piggy. There was lunging and a bite, although I would like for it to work out, it just doesn't seem like it. There's a little guy on craigslist who doesn't look like he's getting cared for very well and we're hoping to give him a good home. We will have a traditional 2x5 and a kind of L shaped 2x3 with a 2x2 added onto it, so both pairs will have over 13 sq feet of floor space. We also like to let them out for floor time in the room.
 
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