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Guinea Pig advice please

(8 Posts)
anotherglassofred Mon 09-Jan-17 20:29:53

We are new to guinea pig ownership and have done a lot of research into their care before we got them. We have two sows approx 4 months old and for the last four weeks (had them six weeks) one is being bullied a lot by the other. No blood drawn yet but the bullied one looks terrified most of the time which is not helping with taming. The bully also bites myself and DD so that doesn't help either.

We have a very good rescue close by and I am now wondering if I should see if they could match both piggies with new friends which would mean giving one up but taking on another as we don't have the room for four. Or should I just give them more time? They have had separate hides and bowls ever since they started bickering and plenty of floor time so I hope we are doing everything right but it breaks my heart seeing the fighting. DD would be heartbroken if we had to give one up but I just want the piggies to be happy.

Teaistheanswer Mon 09-Jan-17 20:48:09

Oh dear that isn't a very happy start to your guinea pig adventure. I've had lots of guinea pigs over the years (sadly none at the moment) and they are lovely pets to have but it is worrying when one starts picking on the other. We have always had a little group of pigs and there does always seem to be one who wants to be 'boss pig'. How is the other behaving towards the bully? My last pair of pigs established the pecking order and then all was fine.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 09-Jan-17 21:48:56

It is very rare for a guinea-pig to bite humans (though I've just lost my bitey piggie but she was always a feisty little girl, she wasn't aggressive though, more assertive)

Have they got enough room? What size is your cage?
Are they definately both female?

Your bitey piggie might be going into season, my sows were always snippy but it lasted 24-48 hours not the length of time you mention.

My newest pair ( got them in May) don't get along with my original group so we've had to keep them in two groups rather than my aim to combine the group.

First thing I'd do is have her checked to see if there's a physical cause- as I said upthread, piggies rarely bite.
If there's no physical cause and she's just a stroppy madam she might fare better with a neutered boar instead of a female.
Are they sisters? Sometimes littermates bicker more.

Take out any boxes or tunnels for now so that the bossy one cannot trap the timid one. You can part cover the cage with a blanket or similar to give some shelter.
Check, double check their gender.

Yes, phone a Rescue and explain, you're doing it for the sake of the piggies and their happiness. They can assess them and see if they have a partner to suit then rehome the other one.

Good Luck.

anotherglassofred Mon 09-Jan-17 21:57:05

Can you remember how long it took to establish the pecking order?. The other pig stands up to her some of the time but is being chased a lot of the time too. Bully pig is rumblestrutting towards her ever such a lot and also making a creaky chair sort of noise.

thefourgp Mon 09-Jan-17 21:59:06

When they fight are they just yelping and the timid one running away from the other or are they proper fighting where they latch on to each other are 'wrestle' around the cage? Is there ripped fur, blood or torn ears? I've kept guinea pigs where there's been some mild arguing until dominance was established but i've only once had to remove one because I was worried he was going to get seriously hurt. I tried separate dishes, getting a big two tiered cage etc and none of it worked. My vet said there are some guinea pigs who will always have a more dominant or submissive personality, just like humans. I've never had them bite me though. She sounds a bit overly aggressive. Speak to your vet or local pet shop.

anotherglassofred Tue 10-Jan-17 08:32:56

I had them health checked by a vet a week after I got them to and the vet confirmed they are both girls. They were in the same pen when I bought them along with three others but the shop were unable to tell me if they were sisters. They are quite different in looks so I am assuming not. The cage is 120cm x 60cm which I know is the minimum but they have plenty of floor time in a large indoor pen.

They do not spend any time sitting together in either the cage or run and most of the time are at opposite ends of the cage. The hay rack is in one corner and they seem to take turns sitting underneath it which prevents the other getting to the hay although there is plenty in their hides so I am not worried that one is preventing the other eating especially as they are taking turns.

The fighting is always instigated by the same pig and is usually rumblestrutting, chasing, nipping and squaring up to each other with heads raised. No visible injuries so far thankfully and no actual wrestling as such although sometimes when they are running around at speed in the run they have got into a tussle but have been running so fast they are just bumping in to each other. Floor time always begins with chasing and this goes on for several circuits of the run until they tire.

If it is just sorting out pecking order then I don't want to get ahead of myself by getting the rescue involved just yet but on the other hand I don't want to find I have left it too late either and there is a serious injury.

One other thing, they have both grown a lot since we got them but the bully one is getting really big all all over but especially around the face (like a hamster with full pouches). I am wondering if this is normal.

frazzledbutcalm Sat 14-Jan-17 14:45:47

We had this with ours ... we have 2 girls, 6 weeks old when we got them. At 3-4 months one was bullying the other to the extreme. On hind legs, really attacking the other. It was horrendous. I was advised to bath them both in the same shampoo, plus other things ... it didn't work. We kept separating them and introducing them back slowly .... eventually they just worked it out themselves. It's apparently just the way they do things when they reach maturity.

Hope yours settle down.

curlylocks101 Sat 14-Jan-17 14:58:56

Sounds like you're doing everything right smile I matched my (dominant) old lady pig with a six-week female September 2015. From about 4-8 months the baby was very excitable and hormonal and there was a bit of scrapping but it settled right down again. As has been said upthread, take out boxes (although tunnels are fine as they can't be trapped) and ensure there's plenty of food to go around.

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