This morning i got up to find the boys had been fighting in the night, lots of blood and still lots of rumbling going on :( One was a bit worse for wear and so off to the vets we went, emerged later £56 lighter with antibiotics and some ear drops for the start of an ear infection.
Now im a bit confused what to do. I had the vet telling me it was because they went into their outdoor hutch and were establishing territory and they would be fine. Then i had the nurse telling me that they shouldnt go back together cus they obviously cant get along and i would end up back at the vets again.
Last weekend was spent renovating the old big hutch so they had 2 levels with plenty of room to run and play - and even a ramp! I dont want one of them to be in the small hutch and one in a big hutch - i want them to live together! Oh, and just the one hutch to clean out would obviously be a bonus!
So, people out there with piggies - has this happened to you, and what did you do?
I don't have piggies but similar things happen to tortoises. Separating them will mean they will have to re-establish dominance every time they are on fresh territory. Putting them back together on neutral territory would mean another fight for dominance and then the scuffles should be over. Not sure what would define 'neutral territory' in Guinea Pig terms, but in tortoises it could be something as simple as changing the topsoil in the enclosure to remove the scent of the others or rearranging it.
You might find that separating them is best in the long run.
I'm going with the vet - new territory, new battle for dominance.
How old are they? It might be that one of them has reached maturity and is asserting his manly power over the other. Also it's spring so the hormones have kicked in and ahem, frustration, may play a part.
You need to reintroduce them on neutral ground. That means cleaning the big hutch out thoroughly to neutralise odour. Then put lots of food spots and hidey holes around the whole housing area. Try things like tunnels that have more than one exit so a pig can't be cornered by the other one. Then put them in together. If they start to fight use a dustpan to seperate them. Do not use your hand! I still have the scar from learning that one. :lol:
The other thing you can try is the buddy bath. Put them both in the bath together and give them a wash. Firstly it neutralises their odour and secondly piggies find baths a bit stressful and will automatically huddle together. Sounds a bit mean but it can work.
If they are still fighting in the night then is there any way you can put a divider in the hutch to keep them apart?
I would give it a few days and see how they get on.
Thank you! I had been reading about neutral territory - its how they were introduced for the first time. They are about 6mths old now so i guessed their age had something to do with it! DH has gone to get some wood so that if things dont work out then at least we dont have to hang about in sorting out the hutch. Ive kept them apart today purely because we've had quite a busy day and i didnt want to put them together when i havent been around to see whats going on - hope that hasnt made things worse. In actual fact, i *might* keep them apart tonight too just because i dont want to be doing only part of the neutralising process due to time!
I have a hidey hole im going to put in the top section of their new hutch, they were quite happy in the big sleeping part up until last night!
What should i use to clean their hutch out? Theyve been in an indoor hutch up til now so that was easy to clean out!
Biological washing powder mixed with warm water is really good for getting rid of animal scents. I have used it in the past for toilet-training dogs and it really does get away the smell of any wee-spots that they make. Breaking up the line of sight with things like tubes, hidey holes and even plant pots will also help make them think the space is a bit bigger and give them 'away' time.
I use a mix of half water and half white vinegar.
Also very dilute tea tree oil works well too.
Thats tomorrows jobs sorted out then - i reeeeally hope it works, i dont want to seperate them!
I hope you have success :)
Thanks Josh! First plan for today is to give them a bath - have to do this early as Barney is so hairy he takes aaaaages to dry! :lol:
Then on to spring cleaning the hutch and while im out today i will pick up a couple of hidey hole thingys
Good luck. I hope they decide to play nicely.
When I bath mine I put them in the bath together then use the shower to wet them. I don't wet their heads though. Then use a small animal shampoo, then rinse, and then a small blob of human hair conditioner well rubbed in will bring their coats up a treat. :D