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Guinea Pigs/Housing Boars together


Good afternoon, I appreciate your time and I will try to keep this brief :)

I have had "Papa Pig" for almost three years now. I received him when he was just a baby. He has been healthy and happy, but I decided to get him a roommate because he does seem lonely and depressed sometimes. I give him attention, but nothing compared to what another gp could do.

I acquired "baby pig" a few weeks ago and recently started to introduce them in a neutral area. He is an adolescent and from what his previous owner said about a year old.

Papa pig is about twice the size as baby pig. He is more docile and laid back, but also kind of a diva. What I have gathered from my time with baby pig is that he loves cuddling (papa doesn't really care for it...on his terms only) and is a little more aggressive.

When I first introduced them, baby pig would just follow papa around and they were sqeaking rather loudly, but not the alarmed kind, just talking to each other. Then there was rumble strutting mostly from baby and then baby kept trying to mount papa and vice versa. Baby started to get a little aggressive and was nipping at papa's ears. They were clacking their teeth rather loudly and just went back and forth trying to mount the other and nipping each other's ears. At this point I separated them because I was afraid baby would hurt papa.

What is the next step here? I have them living separately right now, but in the future I would like for them to share the 2x4 C&C cage I have for papa. Did I separate them too soon? Was the following the leader a good sign or do they seem to be incompatible? Any insight on how to house these two together would be helpful. The last thing I want is for the gp I got for papa's company to hurt him!

Thanks a bunch! :)

Introducing boars together is always a risk. Sometimes when you have a 'baby boar' that has just been weaned there's no problem. A four or five week old baby will weigh about 12 ounces. Even with a docile older boar if that new young man is already reaching puberty, and it sounds like he is, then you're going to have at territorial fight that will severely injure one or both pigs.

Rumblestrutting is normal, and even very small baby boars will do this. The teeth chattering is serious aggression. The younger boar is trying to push the older one out so he can take over his territory. This is the same behavior that goes on in the wild with any herding animal.

Horses, cattle, buffalo, zebra, lions, meerkats, wolves, you name it they all do this. The baby boys are allowed to stay until they start showing signs of tying to take over. They are battling for breeding rights.

If they challenge the stallion, the bull, whatever, and win then the old leader loses control and will leave the herd and die.  If the leader wins then the younger males are banished and must find their own harem or herd. That's just how nature has set things up.

They do this because it is nature's way of preventing inbreeding. Guinea pigs are herding animals and have the same hardwired instinct. If the older boar allows the young one to live with him so be it. But the fact that they're both chattering teeth tells me the old boy is not about to allow junior to come in peacefully.  

Introductions on neutral turf only prolongs the inevitable territorial dispute. I've never found it to work. I do take my newly weaned baby boys and put them with their dads, but being so young they don't have that instinct to take over. They just follow the rules and dad is the boss.

There still comes the time however, that the boys begin to grow up and then they are separated.

If you leave them together one or both will get seriously injured if not killed. I would not recommend putting them back together at all. You can put a divider between the two if you want papa to have company. They will nose each other and may even enjoy the company but will have no physical contact and no fighting.  

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Pat VanAllen


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Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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