Piggie social skills

jatean

Post   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:23 pm


Our male Bellpepper lost his friend last week. She was a spade female. We adopted Bellpepper from a pet store (he was a return), took him to a rescue for some speed dating and after many attempts were told that he is very dominant, confident pig that doesn't seem to understand piggie social cues, and will always be a single pig. He continued to chase and mount all the potential friends well beyond their show of submission.

Bellpepper is now about 3 - 4 years old. Is it possible that he might have learned some social cues after living with Abby for 2.5 years? Is it worth trying
to find him a male friend? (We've scoured the rescues, shelters, exotics vets, etc looking for a spade female and there are none).

WICharlie

Post   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:07 pm


It's a little confusing, but was he placed with Abby AFTER trying to find him a male companion when he was young? If he was under 9 months when attempts were made to find him a friend, it's possible he was still in the snotty adolescent stage of development when he was overly dominant with other males. But pigs do change when they become more mature so things may be different now. He also may be more accepting of a baby boar instead of an adult. So, yes, it's probably well worth a "meet and greet" at a rescue.

The problem isn't an understanding of social cues. It's finding a pig with the right personality, one that will mesh with your boar. Guinea pigs are a lot like people that way. They can be picky about who they decide to be friends with. If someone picked a friend for YOU and the person they picked was very different from you in every way, the likelihood of the two of you being friends may be slim. You can't force someone to like you or force yourself to like someone else if you have nothing in common. Guinea pigs are just like that. Obviously, your boar liked Abby and had no problem getting along with her.

Make sure your cage meets the size requirements for two males before you take him to find another buddy.

jatean

Post   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:23 pm


Sorry for any confusion: we don't really know how old Bellpepper was when we got him - the store estimated one year and wouldn't contact the people who surrendered him to get a better estimate. We spent 4 months trying to find a companion for him - went through over 2 dozen candidates of all ages. All of their "dating" experts said that he doesn't recognized submission from other pigs, and he would end up exhausting himself and the other pig - and one would probably die from the stress. A couple months after that they called us about Abby.

He adored Abby, but still had times where he chased and mounted her for hours, and we would sometimes feel the need to divide the cage for a day or two. That behavior lessened quite a bit after the first year together.

Our cage is 2 x 4 grids. And we can easily expand.

But you say there is a fair chance of finding a male friend at this older age?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:40 pm


I'd bet he was in the throes of puberty before, especially if the behavior lessened over time. I'd try to find him a baby male, or take him for a "meet and greet" at a shelter.

But I'd also expand the cage. A 2x4 isn't really large enough for two males.

jatean

Post   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:57 pm


That makes me so excited!! Maybe we'll drive down to San Diego for some dating!

Is 2 x 5 good?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:18 pm


It's definitely better than a 2x4. If you've got the room, the bigger the better.

JX4

Post   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:23 pm


2 x 5 is the minimum space for two males. Pigs can be in puberty mode up to 18 months of age, so Bellpepper may very well have still been a snotty teen before. Stores are terrible at estimating age.

If you do get a baby male, remember that he too will go through a snotty teenager phase that could last from about 6 months to 18 months of age. Bellpepper may fight back and you'll have spats during that time. During that time they will need a lot more space, probably more than a 2 x 5 if it's at all possible. Maybe also have a divider you could place in temporarily should the fighting get bad. But things should get better.

Our snottiest pig out of 4 babies we had is now at 3 years of age one of the most mellow ones we have. I never would have guessed that while we were in the middle of the snottiness (she was snotty toward people too, lol), but it's undeniable now.

GrannyJu1
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:04 am


I had a neutered male who would not stop trying to mount any and all other pigs. Until we matched him with an intact female. The two of them positively amazed me with all the playing they did. Until that time, the female would barely move, had arthritis by the age of 2, and couldn't tolerate Metacam. But once she and Scatter got to together, they had the best 2 months of their lives. Fuzz seemed to forget about any arthritis pain and ran, popcorned, and played chase like crazy. Then unfortunately, he passed away and poor Fuzz was once again alone. I've found another female, very young - just now 2 weeks old, and will pick her up on the 8th.

Just saying, that it does depend on the personality. I put Scatter first with another neutered male, and it was definitely a no-go. Then I put him in with a dominant female and they became comfortable, if not super bonded. After she passed, I tried Fuzzbutt. What a match made in heaven! At that time Scatter was 4 and Fuzz 3.5 years old.

JX4

Post   » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:56 am


Neutered males work great with females. Our neutered male lives with 5 females and he's pretty happy.

jatean

Post   » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:52 pm


Okay then - lesson learned. I had been relying on the owner of the rescue as the supreme expert in guinea pig behavior. But I simply can't ignore all the experience you've brought here! We'll try to make it to San Diego this weekend and hope to find that special friend!

jatean

Post   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:09 am


SUCCESS!! We spent the day at WeeCompanions rescue trying out new friends. Boy - he's a bossy pig! As we were about to walk out the door in defeat with our very tired boy, a woman arrived straight from the Los Angeles rescue (with the 700 pigs). She'd brought some of the babies in for adoption; one was 4 weeks old, tortie, Abyssinian.

They're now in their scrubbed out cage, pretty quiet and calm. The little baby is so afraid of me that he runs right over to Bellpepper for protection. And I think I saw Bellpepper lick the baby's face - something I never saw him do with Abby (not that she would have let him). I hope these two become good friends.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:13 am


I hope so too!!

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crowcrash

Post   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:16 am


Congrats! It took me some time to get a harmonious herd of boars, but it is possible! The best way I found to keep the most dominant one from bullying is to have more houses/hides than there is pigs. Its so funny how it works with personalities, my alpha is a small Abyssinian but has such a Napoleon complex 😆 Good luck!

jatean

Post   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:28 pm


Things are pretty peaceful, from what I can tell. 2 questions: We were told to not interact with them for a few days - just how many is a few days?
And the bag of alfalfa hay for the baby....it's awful, and bought another one. Is alfalfa supposed to be so tough and stalky??

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lisam

Post   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:18 pm


Most alfalfa is pretty stemmy, and the leaves fall from the stems.

I'm of the opinion that babies don't need alfalfa hay. No pigs really do. I might use a tiny bit if I have a malnourished pig and am trying to add weight, but for the most part I don't feed it.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:21 pm


Ditto lisam on the alfalfa hay. Babies need extra calcium, which you can get with parsley. Forget the alfalfa hay.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:05 pm


Most pellets for guinea pigs have alfalfa hay added. When guinea pigs get older, switching to a grass based hay works well.

jatean

Post   » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:01 pm


Hi everyone! Our new baby doesn't eat parsley, alfalfa hay or pellets. He also doesn't eat the Oxbow vit C pellets. Any suggestions?

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lisam

Post   » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:03 pm


Is he eating any pellets at all? What is his diet?

GrannyJu1
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:00 am


My baby is doing the same - won't eat parsley, alfalfa hay, but will eat the pellets. She does eat the KMS timothy hay and pellets, and eats lettuce but won't eat other veggies that I can tell. She's almost too big to fit through the grids now, so I can start separating the adults from Dusty. Maybe then I can get her to eat the pellets undisturbed, and find out for sure which veggies she is and is not eating. I do know she won't eat the parsley.

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