Guinea Pigs/Guinea pigs

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Question
I have two guinea pigs(i think they are females but not totally sure).There has been tension between them since i got them a year ago.They are not from the same litter, because one is a crested and one is a american.The (bigger) crested one is "bullying" the smaller one,she is chancing her around the cage, and biting her ears,not letting her eat, and making a gurgling noise and her hair stands up.I do not know what to do!Should i separate them,one person said i should rub them with a towel to get the sent off?
         Please HELP!!!
         Thanks,
         Gabe

Answer
At a year old it should be quite obvious if one or both of them are males. They are fully developed and the testicles would be very obvious.  If they are both females it's not unusual for one to bully the other.

In any herd (and guinea pigs are herding animals) there is always an alpha and an omega. Alpha is always the boss and the omega, which means last, will always be subservient to the Alpha. You don't mention if this is a continual behavior or if it is happening in cycles. If it is continuous you may wish to separate them.

If it seems to run in cycles, like every two or three weeks and lasts for just a few days it may be that the bully is in heat and is just generally being bitchy, as many of them do. If there is no obvious injury, bleeding or torn ears it is probably just the Alpha female showing off.

If however, you do see that the smaller pig is not being allowed to eat I would most definitely separate them for the sake of her health. That gurgling, or growling noise accompanied by the hair standing up is a sure sign of serious aggression. If that's the case there will be bloodshed.

Taking a towel and trying to remove a scent is not going to be effective. The safest thing you can do at this point is just remove the danger by separating the two of them.

If they are males you should have noticed the genitalia and obvious signs of male development.  Even when raised as babies together the males become aggressive as they reach their sexual maturity and must be separated for the safety of them both.  The bottom line appears to be separate housing to keep anyone from harm.  

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As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

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.

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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.

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Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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