Separated my adolescent boys


Post   » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:23 am

One boy is 9 months old, the other is about 4 months (had him for 2 months) This past week their brotherly relationship has changed; hearing teeth chattering from both. Very little chasing and mounting - ever. Last night the teeth chattering lasted for 20 minutes - they were at opposite ends of the 2x4 cc cage and chattering. I distracted them with treats, sat with them for an hour until they were calm and acting normally.

Today we humans were getting chattered at. After floor time the pigs were fine. Later (nighttime again) the chattering started after cage sweeping, there was a tiny bit of chasing/mounting, then yawning from both - I grabbed towels - boom!....fight!

(there's a reason we keep the emergency cage in the bedroom!)

They are separated but within hearing and smelling distance. What is our next step? Do adolescents have a fight but still remain bonded?


Post   » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:38 pm

You should not separate them unless there is blood. They are adolescents now and have hormones flowing through their little bodies. Just like human teens, that means they get moody, easily irritated, and even downright bratty. They will remain bonded if you do not separate them.

Since you have separated them, you may have to re-introduce them like for the first time (maybe not, but you never know). Their spats will sound like they are killing each other sometimes, with some squealing and teeth chattering, and chasing and all sorts of nonsense. This too shall pass.

I had 4 teens (Iitter mates) that all went through adolescence together, and it got loud and full of angst sometimes. But there was never any blood, so I kept them together. They are all mellow 3 year olds now and very tightly bonded.

The fights will sound and look way worse to you than it does to them. Think of it like a teen shouting I HATE YOU! and slamming the door and then an hour later acting like that had never happened. You can't take the "I hate you" and door slamming personally even though it sounds loud and nasty. It's just teen angst. They'll mellow out later.


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:35 am

Did I make it clear that by fighting I meant physically attacking each other and rolling around the cage like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon?
It was 11 at night, and even after separating them they were constantly chattering as we set up the emergency cage.

We did take them to a neutral space today, and spent an hour trying to evaluate their relationship. There was no physical attack. About 75% of the time was spent chattering, chin raising, yawning (mostly from the older one), puffing up, and the younger one did this weird thing - like standing tippy toe on his hind legs. Very little chasing, even less retreating...just continually circling, facing off, grumping at each other. For 5 minutes they laid under a cabinet within a few inches of each other.

A couple of times they did explore the bathroom - making chutting sounds, but it was less than a minute and they were back to teeth chattering. I took several videos, hoping to show someone at the rescue.

Does this sound like a relationship that can be saved? And should be re-introduce as if they didn't know each other - including cleaning the cage extra good with vinegar?

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Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:22 am

Any chance you could make the cage bigger? Lots bigger? If so, there are some tricks you can use (dividing it visually with fringed fleece walls), adding interesting things to distract them (see pigjes cage, which is always changing - make sure there are two openings with anything you use). Hide pieces of vegs in it so they have something to do. I wonder if applying some sort of harmless scent to both of them might distract them too.


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:16 am

They've now spent 2 nights apart - is it too late to try putting them into a single but larger cage? (rebonding 2 adolescents?)

And if it is too late; how horrible is it for them to be single pigs in separate cages, but close to each to each other? Should we surrender one, and match the other up with a new friend? (please say no....I can't imagine letting someone else take care of our pig!)


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:02 pm

I've uploaded some videos of their behavior from yesterday when we put them in a neutral place. They are put in the order they occurred. Most are 20 - 40 seconds long . By the way, we did NOT have to intervene - they never started to physically fight. They were in the bathroom for an hour.

90 seconds long

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Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:44 pm

They are awfully cute! At least no balls of fur in these videos. I am sure your primary concern is to avoid injuries. I wish you could give them a chill pill! An yes, they could live side by side if they didn't get along.

You are a brave piggy caretaker!


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:25 pm

They are precious to us! Yes, I want to avoid injuries. Would you try to put them back together in a cage? (not sure why you thought I was I being too risky?)

(at this point I'm guessing their bond is gone simply because of the time that has elapsed....agree/disagree?)

If so, wondering about waiting 9 months and trying again. But for today - would you put them back together after 2 days apart?


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:53 pm

I didn't see anything terrible in your videos. Yeah, they are rumbling and chattering at each other, but there's no blood. Not even any tufts of hair flying.

If it were me, I'd try to re-introduce them as per Lynx's detailed instructions on a link on this forum. In other words, don't just stick them back in the cage together, but go through the several hours' long process detailed, including a pile of hay in the neutral area. You have to do this when you have several hours free to observe them.

Every time you separate, they go back to Square One in sorting out their relationship. The rumbling and strutting and mounting and chin raising is all part of how they determine who's on top of the pecking order. One pig will eventually submit. But that is something they must sort out for themselves, and it will sound worse to you than it does to them while they're doing it.

Even after they are re-bonded, they will still spat and spar because they are adolescents and will get bratty whenever the mood strikes them. One of our piggies was especially bratty, always chasing the others and even getting easily irritated with humans. She is now one of our most mellow ones. Adolescence is just a life phase that will pass.

Another thing that helps with bonding is giving them a buddy bath. It also helps with brattiness. When our teen pigs were being especially bratty I would sometimes give them all a buddy bath and that calmed things down quite a bit. We had seven pigs together at that point, and I'd put about an inch of warm water in the bathtub and place them all in it. Then each would get a turn at getting shampooed with small animal shampoo. All of them huddled together in solidarity against the immense unfairness of being subjected to water and shampoo, even after they had just been super bratty to each other. The common enemy of a bath was an incredibly unifying experience for them, lol.

An added bonus of the buddy bath is that the shampoo (must be safe for small animals) makes them all smell the same. Other family members would clean the cage while I bathed the piggies. So, all were returned to a clean cage and all smelling the same. That really helped a lot.

If they can't get along after going through the detailed introduction as per Lynx's instructions and a buddy bath, then they can live separately next to each other. But from what I saw in the video they are not a lost cause.


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:24 pm

Thank you for all of that ! True, the videos did not show the physical, rolling around fight they had the day before. They seemed to actually try to avoid getting to the point of fighting while in the bathroom, but in the cage it took 2 people to keep them apart until they calmed down!

I'm getting such conflicting info from people: that once they start yawning at each other they should be separated, once they attack and fight each other they need to be separated, that buddy baths don't work.

I think there's just no one answer for each set of pigs! So I think it will be worth trying all of your suggestions. I can set up a temporary 3x4 cage in a day or two, have the curtains as Lynx suggested, bathe them and give it a go.

Okay, here's my biggest question: how to know when they're behavior is just adolescence and when it is simply not liking each other? I could post more videos of their behavior if you would be willing to evaluate it again??


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:29 pm

You should not separate them

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Catie Cavy
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Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:47 pm

The following link was helpful when I had trouble bonding my 2 girls (who get along fine now). Bpatters also recommends putting a tiny drop of vanilla on their noses so they smell the same.


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:59 pm

Thank you all for your input. And if anyone else has something to add, please do.

When do you give up an introduction? Please give examples.


Post   » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:17 pm

UPDATE on reintroduction

We set up a 3x4 play pen, and introduced the boys. For the first hour there was lots of chattering, chinning, quite a bit of circling, chasing (following is more accurate, not really running) and mounting. Then things slowed down.

We all took turns sitting by the cage day and night (since they have physically attacked each other in the past)

*On the first day: The older one is the dominant - a lazy dominant. If you don't bother him, he leaves you alone. The younger one is a "slow learner"! It took hours for him to learn to show some submission with squeals, retreating, etc. And he would return in a 5 minutes to challenge again. A few tufts of fur were found in the cage. No flat out attacks or physical fights.

*Second day: the dominant lunged at the younger one twice. The younger one ran away. They found out how to burrow on the layers of fleece and towels and they spend HOURS there. Sometimes with a couple inches of each other, quietly. Usually further apart. There was either a full on fight under the fabric - or a lunge followed by scampering to get out from under the fabric. Lasted 2 seconds until the pig got out.

*** the dominant started to "control" where the younger one went, or perhaps - just tried to get him to keep more distance between them. However, when (Flapjack is younger) went to opposite side of the cage, the older (Finchley) followed him and start "grumping" at him - chattering, rumblestrutting. Flapjack was not getting all the hay or food he wanted - either out of fear, or just interference from Finchley. (So we basically have hay and pellets strewn every where, and are hand feeding Flapjack too)

No broken skin or injuries so far.

Because they spent most of their time under the fleece on the second day, I put in 2 cardboard boxes with 2 large openings for them. Flapjack tries to share a box with Finchley, and Finchley usually gets upset. Flapjack will sit outside the opening, if Finchley will let him. Sometimes he goes to the other box alone. The boxes have reduced the time spent burrowing.

They don't seem happy. But they aren't killing each other.

Your thoughts?

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Post   » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:57 pm

What excitement! Not killing each other sounds positive ;-) I am thinking this reintroduction could work.

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Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:31 am

Sounds like a good start!

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Supporter in 2018

Post   » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:35 pm

If the boxed only have one opening, you need to cut at least one more in each box.


Post   » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:47 pm

Granny, don't worry - the boxes are only 18 inches long and 2 large holes on each end - so there's a quick get away! And 2 of them in case no one wants to share.

So you think it's going well - even if the pigs don't seem happy? Ok - I'll take it!

After 3 days, they've started to "normalize" - such as wheek in the morning and evening when it's veggie time, and at" last check before bed time" - they've started to come to greet us and beg for their Oxbow treats.

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Supporter in 2018

Post   » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:03 am

That really does sound positive!


Post   » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:39 pm

UPDATE: Things are still going good enough. There's some grumpiness and chasing, small amounts of chattering, but with the 3x4 cage there's plenty of room for the "victim" to run and maneuver. Honestly; sometimes I think he enjoys it because he's so much faster than the older one!

We keep at least 2 double hole'd cardboard boxes in at all times, for those times when no one wants any company. Sometimes they even share.

Our next hurdle: renovations on the house to fix damage from a plumbing flood. It's going to be extremely noisy for a couple of months. I'm thinking about setting up a cage outside on the covered balcony - to use during the day if weather allows.

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