Am I going to need to separate my boars?

(19 Posts)
dotty2 Mon 16-Sep-13 10:43:49

I've posted on here before about my two rescue boars - and thank you for all the wise words you've given me before. They were adopted in June aged 4 and 6 months, so are now 7 and 9. We had a bit of mounting and dominance asserting in the first few weeks but they soon settled down and I was hoping all was well. But...

While we away for a weekend over the summer a friend looked after them and they both had a single puncture wound. No fighting/biting when we were back, so we assumed it was down to them being in their hutch too long as the friend hadn't been able to get them in their run.

But the older one has got a bit nippy with DD2 lately and has bitten her two or three times when she's been holding him awkwardly.

And twice in the last week, the younger pig has had a single puncture wound. Am sure it's a bit rather than just scratching - a single deep, bleeding wound both times.

So what do I do? All the forums seem to say you must separate if there's any blood, but I've never seen them fighting and they often choose to sit next to each other when they're in the run and they seem to like each others company. The problem does seem to be when they're in the hutch alone for too long (it's 5x2). So it's only going to get worse come the winter. Do we need to separate them for a few months, do you think?

Mogz Mon 16-Sep-13 11:23:37

Have you had them neutered? That should stop the main problem of them fighting. For now can you pop them in hutches with runs so they are next to each other, can see/smell each other, this will reduce the need for rebonding once they've had their ops.
You need to keep a close eye on those wounds too, puncture wounds can be deep and get infected, so it's especially important for the piggies to be in a clean environment, and maybe if you can wipe the wound with a saline solution once a day until they've got a good scab on that would help.
You say the hutch is 5x2, that's a great size for starters, when do they have run/garden access?

dotty2 Mon 16-Sep-13 11:36:03

No - they're not neutered. I thought it generally didn't change their behaviour so wasn't recommended? Thanks for the tip re wound cleaning. They have run/garden access whenever it's dry and we're at home. I work from home most days so am usually around to put them out and keep an eye on them, but they can't go out until the grass is dry, which is getting later and later. Just checked and it's still really damp even though it hasn't rained since yesterday.

Mogz Mon 16-Sep-13 11:54:12

In my experience neutering will help their temperament hugely, and I think they're about the right age to have it done. Have a chat to your vet about it and see what they recommend.
I think you need to start letting them out even if it is a bit damp, I know I get cranky if I'm in the house all day, your little guys probably feel the same. So long as they have a dry hutch to go back in to they won't catch cold. I don't have piggies as the minute but my bunnies are out in all weathers as they have an 8x8 run attached to their hutch and apart from needing to brush the long haired one a bit more I think it's done them good, they certainly haven't destroyed as many hutches since we sorted their run!

FernieB Mon 16-Sep-13 11:56:26

Have you thought about an indoor run? I invested in a folding indoor run for winter/bad weather and my lads are certainly better tempered when they've had a run.

Sounds like they generally get on okay. The Barmy4Boars website is supposed to be good for advice.

dotty2 Mon 16-Sep-13 12:22:26

Thanks for your suggestions. Indoor run might be a good idea. I'm so worried about them. Been online looking at the forums but it's made me even more alarmed - so much conflicting advice, but plenty of people saying once they've drawn blood they will never be happy together again. Can that really be true?

I'm thinking of taking away the hutch divider as I think the dominated one sometimes gets trapped in the sleeping compartment. The rescue lady we got them from has just suggested doing a complete clean and using Vicks to mask odour so will try that later.

Do you have a shed or anything you could clear out to put hutch in then they could kind of free reign in that and have more space? I dotn know much about boars - my girls are giving me enough gip at the moment with their own snarls!

dotty2 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:19:31

Hmm, yes we do have a playhouse, that I have been thinking of converting to a winter home. The hutch won't fit in there, though, and I need some time which I won't have until the weekend to source bedding and make the door more secure. More space does seem to be one possible solution, though.

our playhouse isn't massive that we have our small ish hutch in - what i did do though and i got it for free from the carpet shop was put a lino flooring down - saves the wooden floor rotting away and made far easier to clean - the carpet shop also gave us some carpet roll tubes which we have cut various lengths which they enjoy playing in - other than that its just what was in the hutch scattered about with our hutch permanently open with a run down offering another level.

Try them with more space and more in-house entertainment . Boxes, tunnels, deep hay.
Toilet roll inner tubes stuffed with naice hay.

It seems a shame to split them . As you say it might have been with them being confined more.
(My original pair had a nasty bust-up but we kept them seperated at night and out in the Pighouse by day. Their winter night cage was split with a heavy grid. That was the first winter. Last year they were fine together)

I've noticed my DD GO (GP1) is getting a bit more "bitey" . He pulls clothes more and can catch skin. But he doesn't mean it nasty. DD can put her finger right in his mouth and he's hmm. If he wanted to bite he could !

dotty2 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:04:13

OK, well for now I have just taken out the divider splitting their hutch into sleeping compartment and main bit. I'd noticed that bossy bitey pig was always in the doorway and the other pig usually in the same corner in the sleeping bit, so I wondered if he was being kept hostage in there. So I'll hope that will keep them peaceable for now - though of course it might make it worse - and make converting the playhouse my priority for the weekend. I'm such a worrier - I've done almost no work all day because I've been stressing about the pigs. Thanks, everyone, for your advice. Good to hear that you don't necessarily think we need to separate them right away, 70. And thanks for the lino tip - will try our local carpet shop.

Mine (GP1 is 3 next month GP3 is about 15 weeks now) will have a little snipe at each other if they are confined.
Usually if we have them in the carrier after a cuddle and I'm doing supper. GP1 thinks it's the little boys fault if I'm not quick enough.

In their Pighouse they just shove each other out of the way (they are ill mannered little pigs really grin )

I'm having to rethink the winter night cage by splitting the top and bottom to give 2 areas 2'x4' but shallower.
Otherwise I think there would be a Teenage Rampage (to quote The Sweet old gimmer alert )

Trouble is this time of year it;s more difficult to throw them out in their run to let steam off sad

dotty2 Tue 17-Sep-13 11:20:08

grin at teenage rampage. Am wondering if two small indoor cages for winter nights might be the way forward - we haven't sorted indoor winter arrangements yet - will look at costs and ponder.

dotty2 Tue 17-Sep-13 15:23:43

As a temporary solution, I have set up our outdoor run on newspaper and towels on the kitchen floor, with piles of hay and food and lots of tubes etc. I have just been out with the kitchen scissors to cut them some grass (!). No major bust ups so far, and even a bit of popcorning, so they must be pleased. Imagine DH might be less pleased when he gets home.

Last year I put 2 boxes of hay, some veg and a water bottle in our 4'x2' cage. They had their own area and slept happily.

This year (with our pigling approaching his Terrible Teens and growing at a rate of knots) I'm going to butcher alter the cage so that the plastic tray (with a door cut in it) can go up against the wire part.
So they'll have a tray with newspaper and catlitter ( water/food) then the wire bit full of hay.and a tarpauline base.

Hopefully with enough space we can get through the winter. Which everyone says is going to be rough this year hmm

dotty2 Thu 19-Sep-13 19:28:55

Hmm, thought all was going well - have made sure they've had lots of run time the last few days, even if it's had to be on the kitchen floor, taken out the sleeping compartment divider to reduce territorialism etc. But today I noticed Bullied Pig has another small bite. Sigh. So I think I'm going to give it until the weekend and think about another hutch.

Oh that's sad but I guess you get to the stage where you worry about the boar that's being picked on and think "Is it worth all the 'andst' to keep them together?"

At least even if you do have to keep them seperate they can still interact vocally and know each other is there.
When my boys are in their Pighouse they sit apart and when they do sit close together it's when they trundle over for food.
There's sometimes a bit of in-house bickering going on though. (More head-flicking and the odd swipe but no teeth involved)

Are your guineas getting equal shares of the food? That for me would be important too. I can accept and tolerate that there'll be spats as long as they're not serious. And yes my GP3 still tries to bonk GP1 hmm

But if I thought one of the guineas was being chased away from the food by the other (and now my GP3 is getting big and bolshy my GP1 seems scrawnier and smaller. I'm sure it's an optical illusion, he's still a pig boar) .I'd have thought it would be GP1 doing the bossy breeks behaviour but seems not.

See if you can get the Playhouse sorted for them. Completely neutral.
See if a new start will calm them down.
But if their behaviour escalates then sadly you might need to reconsider their sharing.

I know everyone says about same sex pairs but in "the wild" male guineas wouldn't live together. It would be a male plus females.

I've just remembered who my boys remind me of. - Steptoe and Son grin
GP1 is the wily demanding dad and GP3 is the put-upon Lothario Harold.

andst = angst

dotty2 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:33:24

Steptoe and Son - perfect. I'm thinking more 'Porridge' - bossy pig is Ronnie Barker - not nasty, but definitely in charge. Can't quite complete the analogy without watching it again though!

At least the sun is shining today and they'll be able to go on the grass later and everyone will be happy, I hope.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now