Is this aggression or normal dominance behavior?

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Post   » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:21 am

Hello everyone,

Upon the passing away of one of my guinea pigs I noticed my remaining Guinea Pig, Pumpkin, was getting lonely so I decided to get her a new companion. During the introduction I noticed Pumpkin was very excited popcorning all over the floor, she also licked the other guinea pig’s ear and face. However, after that she started to bite her and started chasing her while still popcorning. There was no teeth chattering or any other sign of aggression or domninance.

I tried to search for a similar description of behavior but I didn’t find any. Is this normal? Right now I have them in the same cage but I split it in two so they can smell and see each other. I tried placing them together after the introduction, but Pumpkin resumed chasing and biting the new guinea pig while still popcorning.

Other behavior she’s been exhibiting is wheeking if I take the new guinea pig away and both of them chew the bars that separate them. I separated the two because the new guinea pig would wheek so much when Pumpkin runs around her and bites, but there was no blood drawn at any point.

Thank you in advance for your replies

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Post   » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:10 am

This sounds very normal. Once introduced, I would not separate unless blood is drawn. She may be lunging without actually biting (they sometimes do this open mouth impact without chomping). Have you read ? Great information on what to expect during introductions.


Post   » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:45 pm

Alright then I guess I’ll let them out at floortime together again. What scared me is that the new guinea pig sounds like she’s in pain whenever Pumpkin jumps and bites her a couple of times. The reason I separated them is because she would do it constantly and the little guinea pig wouldn’t get a chance to eat anything. Also because I am not home today and I won’t get to watch over their interactions.

Yes I read that link a couple of times actually, but it just scares me to hear her wheek as if she’s in pain.

Thank you for your reply.


Post   » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:30 pm

Read the link about how to do introductions. It involves several hours worth of sitting in a neutral enclosure with them. Giving them a buddy bath sometimes helps speed the process of bonding after the initial introduction has been completed. The dominant pig will continue to show dominance until it is satisfied that the other pig is not going to challenge them or resist in any way. The sounds the little pig is making sound painful to you, but it is "guinea pig speak" for "I accept your dominance; I'm not resisting!" Dominant pigs don't usually take the other pigs' word for it right away. They keep testing to make sure the little pig really means it when it says it won't resist. So even though the noises sound awful to you, they don't mean the smaller pig is scared or in pain. You just don't speak guinea pig.

If there is no blood or chunks of skin taken out of one of them, you should not separate them or worry about the sounds they are making. It looks terrible, but it really does sound worse to you than it does to them.


Post   » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:34 pm

I have six piggies, and the order of dominance (pecking order) changes from week to week sometimes. Sometimes one of them will chase the other around the cage, at others I'll see two pigs in the "I can raise my nose higher in the air than you can" contest. The pig who can raise its nose the highest wins, and the loser will drop back down and either go off to do something else or stay there and act like nothing happened.

If you are worried that one pig is keeping the other from eating or drinking, you should have two bowls and two water bottles. In fact, you should have two of everything anyway, because pigs can and do bully each other by hogging the food bowls or water bottles. All hideys should have two entrances/exits, not just one. Otherwise one pig can trap the other inside. Also, it's better for ventilation that way.

Also, make sure the cage is big enough. Not having enough space to get away from each other and run around without getting in each other's space is a good way to make sure your pigs will always be squabbling. Two females need a minimum of a 2 x 4 grid C & C cage, two males a minimum of a 2 x 5 grid cage. That's a *minimum*. Bigger is always better. The more space they have, the less they will fight.


Post   » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:37 am

Thank you for your replies! I did end up removing the cage bars that separate them because they were frantically trying to get to each other. They’re doing fine now. There’s still the occasional chase around the cage, but it seems that neither of them want to be separated from each other. I guess I was worrying too much at the beginning.

They do have two of everything in the cage it’s just that at the beginning Pumpkin wouldn’t give the little one, that I am now calling Bella, a chance to eat. I am now weighing them daily because I want to see if they’re both adjusting fine.


Post   » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:48 am

Now that they have settled in I feel a little bit silly for worrying Pumpkin was actually hurting Bella. They now sleep next to each other most of the time. I guess I just worry too much.

I have a couple of questions, I am wondering if any of you experienced this. I can never take out just one of them now. Whenever I take out one of the pigs the other one starts running around in the cage and wheeking. Well Pumpkin used to do this when she was feeling better but not so much now that she’s ill. Do guinea pigs get separation anxiety? Or is it because they’re still very young guinea pigs?

It doesn’t bother me to take both of them out at the same time I was just wondering if any of you experienced this. It does get a little bit hard to hand feed Pumpkin because they both get so comfortable that they start napping on my lap. Then I get annoyed squeaks from Pumpkin when I do go in to give her more food.

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Post   » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:59 pm

I remember some members having guinea pigs that did not want their cage mate removed. I would not worry too much. It sure sounds like they are well bonded now!


Post   » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:44 pm

Oh so this does happen. Yes, I am happy that they are bonded now, they seem to enjoy each other’s company now. After I got Pumpkin back from the vet today she went straight to Bella. I assume it was for comfort as Bella started licking her right away.

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