I have two male guinea pigs, Spot and Fido. We got Spot as a baby two years ago. Spot is an angel baby, he is so sweet. He´s calm and loving, he´ll snuggle up to your neck when holding him and purr when you pet him. He´s very people-friendly with a very passive (did I say sweet?) personality. I felt so bad leaving him alone all day, we decided to get him a baby brother. I had read that putting two males together was fine, but that the new guinea pig should be a baby so that dominance was predetermined.
Well it was predetermined all right... We got Fido about 5 months ago, so he´s about 6 months old. From day one, he was very aggressive with Spot -- Stealing his food right from his mouth, pushing him out of his shelter... just a miniature bully. Funny thing is, Spot didn´t seem to mind. He is just so passive, he didn´t object to being pushed around; although I felt horrible; in an effort to make Spot´s life better, I had effectively made it much worse.
Fido was anti-human when we first got him. He´d let me hold him but would be very tense, staring at me suspiciously as if he was sure the beating would begin any moment. Over the last few months Fido has calmed down a bit and now when I hold him he seems... tolerant. I think he´s realized I´m not the enemy and in fact the food source. He´s still a bully. Wherever Spot is, Fido decides that´s where HE wants to be and pushes him out of the way. But Spot seems to deal with it and has learned he just has to wait in line for food and water.
However; the last few days I´ve noticed Fido getting even more aggressive. He has started humping his big brother! This is one thing Spot will not tolerate. He´s never bit him or anything but at least squeals, jumps out of range, and runs away from him (which is good for Spot). But Fido won´t let up. I read a couple messages on the forum saying this is typical behavior for a pig this age. So I haven´t tried to stop it.
Now for the weird part. Yesterday I went into my piggies´ room and Spot was freaking out. Let me remind you, Spot is always very calm and easy going. But this time he was frantically running around the cage kicking bedding up all over the place. I got closer and he sat in the corner making this awful shrieking chirping sound. I listened to a "chirping sound bite" later on the forum and this was the sound except much more piercing and panicked. Fido, was on the upper level of the cage, not even close to Spot. I pulled Fido out of the cage immediately assuming he was the problem. Then I picked up Spot who´s little heart was racing. I searched him over for injuries while my husband inspected Fido. I then took Spot to the bathroom to let him run around to see if he was limping or anything. By the time I got him to the bathroom, he had calmed down and was absolutely fine. I laid down and held him on my chest for a long time, comforting him and talking softly to him. He seemed fine.
What do you think happened? Of course I assume that Fido was harassing him and Spot finally got sick of it and freaked out. Can anyone think of anything else that would trigger this kind of panic?
By the way, if you don´t have two houses for them, you might consider getting another one. And make sure you have a really large place for them to live (check out the Care Guide and the housing links. http://guinealynx.info/guinealynx/healthycavy.html
I would also consider supplying two sources of food and water. When I give my pigs vegetables, I always bring three of everything -- one for each pig. I usually give them one thing at a time so they can each grab one from my fingers and eat in peace.
I have, however, tried a few different combinations with our boar, Artoo. We got Artoo when he was a baby, as a companion for Luke Skywalker. Luke had had a previous companion, Han Solo, who didn´t work out (too close to the same age). Luke and Artoo got along great. But then Luke had a medical problem and had to be kept separate. So we got Threepio (as a baby) as a companion for Artoo. But he was sexually aggressive from the start, and never got any better. Artoo tolerated him, I think it stressed me and the kids out more than him. So we found a good home for Threepio and now have Darth Vader ( a baby) with Artoo. Artoo is a very gentle, easygoing pig, and it looks like Darth Vader (I call him my little Dark Lord of the Sith, or Annie, for all you Star Wars fans) is too.
And lisam, thank you for your message too. You really think they are better off with a cage-mate? I´m starting to wonder. I think I´ll try the two cages for a while. I have a play area in the basement - so I will still let them spend time playing together. But after just one day, Spot seems more content being on his own. Trouble is, you never really know do you? Wish the little guys could talk .
"Symptoms: These species specific microscopic mites cause unbearable itchiness for the animal and can result in thinning and/or patchy loss of hair, scurfing of the skin (may resemble dandruff) and eventually, open sores as a result of extreme scratching and biting which aggravates the hair loss. Scratching an area of skin infested by mites by hand may produce such pain and irritation in your cavy that it looks like it´s having a fit."
Could this be the "fit" I addressed in the beginning of the thread?
It also says to have all animals treated so I´ll take Fido to the vet with me tomorrow. It breaks my heart to see the little guys suffering.
It can´t hurt to rule it out. If they have never been treated with ivermectin, it would probably be a good idea. I´ve never heard chirping linked with mites though.
By the way, I´ve put the two in the run together for playtime but after the treats are all found, Fido spends the entire play period trying to mount Spot. It´s so frustrating (for me and Spot). I want them to be friends but how horrible for Spot to have to continually fight to get away from Fido.