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One of my guinea-pigs is barbering the other!

(13 Posts)
MrsMcEnroe Fri 07-Feb-14 19:13:24

I googled this last night and that's what he's doing!

Gpig1 has (well, HAD) gorgeous long smooth hair which trailed across the ground in a Dougal-esque fashion, ''twas fab.

This past week it's been getting shorter and shorter, and he now as an all-over grade 3 haircut.....

Gpig2 is the culprit. I have never heard of this happening before, and I have owned 25 guinea-pigs!! Can I stop it and, if so, how? Gpig1 doesn't have any bald spots, cuts or sores, and the piggies still seem happy together, no evidence of fighting or squabbling. They are both boys, aged approx 1.5 years old btw.

Is Gpig1 at risk of aggression / total baldness?!

MrsMcEnroe Fri 07-Feb-14 19:14:39

I should add that none of our vets or vet nurses had heard of gpig barbering when I rang them this morning, which is why I'm asking for the advice of MNet!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 07-Feb-14 19:45:53

Is it definately Guinea2 that's doing it?
"have you seen me DO this, mother, before you blame me"? he'll ask.

Mites can cause hair to 'snap' off
Or Guinea1 might be a self barberer?

Or has your pig been unwell in past months and the fur developing a weak spot in it's growth phase, then the weight of his hair causing it to break off?
Is it a complete body fur loss or a particular area? Like a part he couldn't reach himself easily?

I've never had a GP barber another (one was a self barberer but he was very stressed by his bossy wifey)

I suppose , if it was my guinea, I'd cut all his hair off short and bathe him (Gorgeous Guineas Shampoo and Melts to make his hair silky and make sure his skin is optimum)
Check for mites
Other than that, it's a question of elimination
confused

MrsMcEnroe Fri 07-Feb-14 21:18:19

I think it is definitely Guinea 2 who's the baber, yes, coz the barbering has been done evenly all over Guinea 1's body, including places he couldn't possibly reach by himself..... No traces of mites/other skin conditions, both guineas are in tip-top condition healthwise, no signs of stress of anything like that. I'm stumped! I can't cut Guinea 1's hair short because Guinea 2 has already done that for me!! Much as he might try to deny it .... Thanks for the tips, might have to take them both to the vet for a checkup / secret video surveillance smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 07-Feb-14 21:33:34

I just realised what I wrote in my last sentence : question of elimination meaning go through and eliminate everything logically. Then once you've found what it isn't, you're left with what is.
Not eliminate the guinea-pigs [phew]

I don't know if a guinea-pig would be as neat as to trim all over the body.
My barbering pig had a skin condition (stress eczema) , he lost fur on his flanks and he removed his belly/chest fur.
But when the boars I have now groom each other, it's ears (the Piglet licks the older boars ears grin and they sometimes groom each others flanks and rump. But not the back or round the shoulders)

confused - so I'm thinking something systemic that's affected the growth phase of his fur and it's weakened.

Your vet might do a skin scrape to check under the microscope anyway?

<<Blocks any Guinea-Pig Costumes from McEnroe Google Search Engine>>

MrsMcEnroe Sat 08-Feb-14 14:05:02

I might have to post a photo of the barbered gpig, I think <sits on hands to prevent accidentally purchasing a sweater for the gpig online> and yes, a skin scrape test is a good idea, thanks

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 08-Feb-14 14:43:37

Quick Googling of hair loss in cavies:

Parasites

Fungal

Scurvy

Cushings

Barbering (self and inflicted) -- one of the descriptions of an "artistic, jealous or bored cagemate"

With all of them, there are other symptoms (they don't like to make your life easy do they) but you can go through and rule things out.

I know with Cushings in people they get bloating, and various 'fatty' lumps (guineas the same). rapid breathing
Scurvy GPs get tender joints, rough coats,

But they can have symptoms come and go and drive you mad with "what the dickens is going on now"

If it is a jealous cage mate then I suppose your boy has lost his lovely coat but unless there's any nastiness going on, he might just have to live with being a bit less Dougal-esque.
You could ask your vet for something to apply to make his fur unpalateable. but then your pig won't groom himself either.

Good Luck - hopefully your boy won't need to be a Sock-Pig smile

MrsMcEnroe Sat 08-Feb-14 18:11:43

Ha, a sock pig!

Honestly, I have ruled everything out, apart from a jealous cage mate. And I would have been jealous too, tbh - his hair was absolutely glorious.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 08-Feb-14 18:31:24

It's a weird behaviour though isn't it?
GP aggression is usually more intense and you'd know about it
Boredom? Mine spend their days eating and sleeping, that fills their lives nicely.
Hunger? Nicer things than hair to eat

So jealousy ? But you wonder why, don't you.

Maybe GPig1 is unleashing his inner Micheal Bolton grin

MrsMcEnroe Sat 08-Feb-14 18:38:13

Maybe he is!

Yes, it could be boredom, for sure. They are in their winter cage, in the garage - we live on the south coast and have been lashed by rain and storms since Christmas, so no chance of the pigs going outside. In the summer they pretty much live in their massive run on the grass for six months - much more fun!

I might bring their cage into the house - we had them in the kids' playroom last year - maybe some more human interaction might help...

Did your pig stop barbering himself eventually, by the way?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 08-Feb-14 19:09:22

He was my first pig when I was 9yo and was very stressed by his rather overbearing partner (we were sold two females, he wasn't)
He died very young (I don't think vets had as much GP know how back then ) but the self epilating was stress related sad

I had all females after that until our boars now (because my DD wanted male pigs) and I have noticed they keep a respectful boar distance (apart from when we got the piglet to replace GP2. He spent the first few days glued to GP1 but now apart from the occasional ear washing, they like to maintain personal space ) grin

MrsMcEnroe Mon 10-Feb-14 11:33:17

Oh that's really sad sad

I have had quite a few boars over the years but this barbering is a new phenomenon for me. We've moved the pigs indoors now, so they have a lot more company - the children ate their breakfast with the pigs on their laps, eating carrots, this morning! - and Pig1's coat doesn't appear to be getting any shorter. I keep sneaking into the playroom to check, and I haven't noticed any barbering going on, so maybe it was a one-off. I've triple-checked his skin and it is absolutely peachy, and he seems very very healthy!

FernieB Mon 10-Feb-14 12:46:13

Have been reading this thread with interest. I've never heard of this before. My boys can barely be bothered to groom themselves, let alone each other.

Hope it was a one off and stops soon. Maybe being inside with more entertainment will help.

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