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Small pets

Male GPs

9 replies

FernieB · 02/11/2011 19:59

Have recently adopted 2 male piggies who have always lived together. They are about 7 months old and mainly get on brilliantly. In the last couple of days I have noticed a couple of incidents of them squaring up to each other - bottom waggling, pacing and hissing. Is this normal or will it end in tears (mine) and fighting (them)?

Not had pigs before, so this is new to me (more of a rabbit person myself).

OP posts:
LordOfTheFlies · 02/11/2011 21:14

I've recently (ie less than 2 weeks ago) adopted 2 little boy GPs.
Mine are brothers and about a year old, so hopefully I've missed any teenage arsey-ness.
This is the first pair of boys I've had (12 GPs as a child over a period of time but only 1 boy who died before age 2. Had a bolshy mate who attacked him resulting in him running into a wall Sad )

So, I'm a bit in the dark too.

Do your boys have a pecking order?
One of ours-the bigger one- goes into his pighouse after it's cleaned and marks everywhere.Pees on the clean Megazorb bedding and wipes his bum on the paper.
We've never seen the smaller one do this. The bigger ones greasespot is more prominent too.
I always greet and lift the alpha male first. They have their own 'order' and it seems fair to maintain it.

Ours have a big pighouse (5'5" X 5'5") with a big wooden box .They have a carpeted wide ramp and platform to go ontop of the box.
We gave them a cardboard box in the big box, plus a small toilet box and a plastic pigbin (made from a Tesco Value swing bin on its side)

This means they've got somewhere seperate to hide, but they always sleep together at night.

They still do a bit of purring and sniping but nothing more than this, ours are still getting used to the change.I asked when I adopted them if they do get a bit OTT (like rabbits can do) and I've looked on various websites and they don't recommend neutering.Apparantly it doesn't change their behaviour.

Ad thank your lucky stars that you won't be over-run with piglets!

BTW, DoesitwearingWellies has 5 boys!

LordOfTheFlies · 02/11/2011 21:18

Only downside I've found: I thought I could get away with cleaning out 3 X week.

Not a bit of it!
Have to do a rough clean daily and a proper clean 3 X week as they pooh everywhere (and lots of it) and wee where they see fit. Tsk!

DoesItWearingWellies · 03/11/2011 01:13

Fernie Your boys have certainly hit their teens and will begin testing their hierarchy, plus they also have a lot of pent-up sexual energy that they don't know what to do with.

It is very normal for them to go through this stage - as Lord said, I've got (well, DD really) 5 boys (two are brothers and are 4 months older than the other three, who aren't brothers but have grown up together) so have experienced it twice when they hit the 6-8 month age. They all live together, bar one, and mostly without problems.

Of the five, there have been two problem piggies. In both cases it was the smallest ones that have become aggressive. For the older one, DD decided to have him neutered in case he couldn't get on with the others (especially his brother, who he gave a split lip), and instead of being a lone GP, he could live with a girl. He has now settled down completely, but it took 2+ months so wasn't due to a drop in testosterone.

With the other, he became very aggressive (mostly towards the neutered one), and was separated for a week, but after reintroduction he had a series of problems (overgrown teeth and a broken leg) that meant he had to be kept on cage rest and so was separated for about 10 weeks. Reintroduction hasn't happened yet, despite DD's best efforts, probably due to the fact he's no longer one of the group (he's not aggressive any more, just very wary and it unsettles the others and causes a great deal of tension, raised fur and teeth chattering), but if he hadn't have had to be separated for so long he may have been able to return without problem.

However, with the other three, there have been no problems at all. They occasionally bicker (usually over who's turn it is to lie in the middle of the hay pile!), but otherwise they all live together without issue. They are now 16 and 12 months old and have completely settled, and have been for a good 3-4 months.

I wish I could say for certain that they'll be fine, but I wouldn't want you to think they'll settle then they decide to have a giant fight and one (or both) get seriously injured. The posturing escalated very quickly (within a few days) to full blown fights with our boys, so I'd say if they've not had a proper fight by the weekend, you should be okay. They may continue to posture for another couple of months, but will almost certainly have settled by 9-10 months old.

Try and reduce conflict by giving them a hidey each, plus one extra, and a food bowl and water bottle each. Also, the more space they have to run around and burn off energy the better. It also seems that providing a distraction (such as a new handful of hay or some kale/dandelion/grass etc) helps to settle any posturing before it becomes a fight.

Best of luck!

DoesItWearingWellies · 03/11/2011 01:14

And apologies for the essay!

FernieB · 03/11/2011 09:43

Thank you for the essay Wellies - they do both have their own house within their cage as well as their own haybox and I have been distracting them with parsley which works for a while.

So it's a teenage thing then! Great! I have 2 hormonal pre-teen girls (of the human variety) and now 2 hormonal GP's. I shall make sure they have a big run round today and hope they grow up soon (the children as well as the GP's).

It is the smaller one of mine who has become the most aggressive - do GP's have a Napoleon complex? The bigger one (Humphrey) has so far been dominant and I think Barnaby is challenging him. Barnaby is also more confident with us and comes to greet us more readily, so maybe he thinks he's moved up the pecking order.

LordoftheFlies - I also trawled the websites and saw many contradictory things about neutering which confused me. That is why I came here as I know there are many experienced GP owners around. I still have L-plates.

OP posts:
KRITIQ · 03/11/2011 12:19

Oh, teenage boy piggies can be a nightmare. Most of the squaring off tends to be just posturing, but it's important to watch them closely to make sure it doesn't escalate or one isn't being seriously bullied.

Mine are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 and just recently have been arguing. It can crop up at any time. I've only every once had to separate boars (just put a grill down the middle of the cage for a week, then reintroduced them successfully.) One thing I've found that sometimes works if they get over the top is to squirt them with water from a trigger sprayer. If they are really at it, I will give them each a bath. That certainly cools the tempers and passions quickly and they're more concerned with getting dry than arguing.

Neutering won't actually change personalities or the tendency to argue. It is only of benefit in stopping pregnancies, so probably would make no difference for two males together.

Good luck!

FernieB · 03/11/2011 14:48

Thanks - I'll try the water spray if things get out of hand. They are currently snuggled up to each other in my previous rabbits' basket, as if they are best friends. Only 10 minutes ago I had to intervene with parsley.

I'm just relieved it's normal. I don't want to have to separate them (I don't have the room for 2 cages).

OP posts:
LordOfTheFlies · 05/11/2011 13:08

My GPs came in last night because of the fireworks (they will again tonight) and eyed their indoor cage in a very judgy way.
Their judgy knickers were well trussed up which resulted in a minor spat (not biting, just a bit of head butting and squeaking).We gave them a box and a soft bed and a mass of hay, then they settled.
Back outside today.Big GP thought climbing over small brother was a good idea. Until he got stuck.Couldn't move and small GP didn't have the sense to move forwards. HmmConfused. Rodents!

alemci · 05/11/2011 13:23

must admit our male GP has been inside for a while. He is out now in the garden on a piece of carpet in his run. I have never kept 2 males together but I remember the female gp's quarelling and when we introduced a new young female pig, the other female attacked her but they got on in the end.

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