There is a myth not so
uncommonly heard, that boars cannot be housed together with other boars.
This is indeed a myth as many boars can be housed together and will be
best mates for life.
Boars can't be housed with
other boars after they've been with a sow.
- Boars can't be housed with each other because they will fight and end up
seriously injuring or killing each other.
- If you want to house two boars together you must house an adult boar
with a baby boar and never two adults together.
Male guinea pigs can be housed together although it is all a matter of
taking in to account a few important factors. Yes males can fight with
each other in some cases but if the below factors are taken in to account
then this should not occur.
1: Boars are best
housed in " pairs " and not " groups ".
I have found this to work the best over the past ten years. Male guinea
pigs are best housed in pairs or trios in general it is not advised to
house more than three males together. Larger groups of males can on the
occasion work although in a lot of cases you will find that too many males
in a group will result in dominance issues and males trying to work out
their placing in the group which can in turn result in minor to major
fighting ongoing between them.
2: Male guinea pigs
need their SPACE. ( as should any guinea pig either male or female ).
Male guinea pigs like their space and too many males kept in a small
space, or even a couple of males kept in a small space of less than can
result in frustration/cramped conditions which in turn can lead to
fighting. Males kept in a small space also doesn't leave any room for them
to ' escape ' from each other if they did have a confrontation with each
other which can result in fighting causing injury.
Handling and a Stress Free Environment. Environmental factors affect
both female and male guinea pigs in the same way. Guinea pigs as with any
animal react and can develop certain behaviours depending on their
environment. A guinea pig needs to be kept in an environment where they
feel safe, calm, stable and where they don't feel threatened. A guinea pig
that is handled roughly or over handled ( over handled for example could
be when children are allowed to handle the guinea pig many times
throughout the day or over handled can also depend on the individual
guinea pig if a guinea pig doesn't enjoy being handled much then over
handling could simply mean handling the guinea pig when it does not enjoy
being handled ), that is kept in an environment with a lot of noise and
rowdiness will in turn become frustrated, highly strung and will feel
threatened. These feelings can result in different behavioural problems in
a guinea pig. Sometimes the problems can be converted into active
behaviours by the guinea pig such as chewing things/biting people and/or
other guinea pigs or excessive squealing. Sometimes the problems can be
converted into behaviour towards other guinea pigs. A male guinea pig may
react towards other male companions in an aggressive manner or may
increasingly annoy their other male friend by constantly trying to
dominate them. Guinea pigs can develop these behaviours as a way of
expressing and venting their frustrations.
4: Types of male Behaviour/Personality Traits. Their is ONE MAIN FACTOR
that you need to consider in order for
introductions to be a complete success. There are DOMINANT and there are
SUBMISSIVE boars just as there are in all animal species.
You can tell straight away if your boar is dominant or not as soon as you
place your boars together. If you have two Dominant males they will tend
to hiss at each other, arch their backs in dominance, and make " teeth chattering "
noises at each other. Within 5-10 minutes you will know if two Dominant
boars will get along with each other as they will settle down and work out
who's boss. If the boars become aggressive towards each other and chase or
try to bite or attack each other AFTER the 20 minutes or so then you
definitely have two very dominant boars on your hands and they probably won't be able to
be housed with each other as they both want to be boss and you don't want
to risk injury by leaving them together on their own.
Dominant Behavioured Boars
Dominant Behavioured boars are
boars which seem to like to dominate in other ways other than being
aggressive towards other males. These males instead will try to
continuously ' hump ' with other males similar as they would try to mate
with a female if they were placed with a female. This in itself is not a
problem although if the other male doesn't like this overly friendly
behaviour then they may react and fight back to ward the other male away.
Their are different levels of this type of dominant behaviour some boars
will only do this dominant ' friendliness ' to other boars on the odd
occasion where as others may constantly do it and this is where problems
can result in a negative reaction from the boar they are doing it to.
When two submissive boars are placed with each other you will know that
they are submissive straight away as they will literally be best mates
with each other with no teeth chattering or other signs of dominance.
They simply accept each other as they are. Submissive boars will sniff each other under the chin and at the rear
and meet and greet in a normal fashion and they may even make a small purring noise
towards each other and then they will settle with each other and will go and
munch on their food.
When a submissive boar is placed with a dominant boar usually the dominant
boar will make the purring he makes when a female would usually be
introduced. He will most likely wiggle his bottom and even chase the other
boar around while purring for a few minutes. The submissive male will make
grunts and little noises but know that he is not in any danger. Usually
this can go on for around 15 minutes until the dominant boar has made
himself known and the two boys will then settle and go on to be great
5: Placing an adult
male with a baby male
Generally if an adult male is placed with a young male aged between 4-12
weeks old then these two will sort out who is boss pretty quickly. The
adult boar will usually " purr " around the baby boar for a little while
to get to know him. Now if the young baby is a dominant male you will know
this as he will try to snap back at the adult while the adult is purring
at him. This is usually rare although the boys should sort themselves out
within the hour nonetheless. Placing an adult male with a baby male in
most cases leads to a successful pairing.
6: When housing
males together KEEP THEM AWAY FROM THE SCENT OF SOWS.
This is something that cannot be stressed enough.
Some people house their boars near sows and have no problems but as a
precaution it is best to keep males completely out of visual view of
there comes a time when the boars can smell the scent of a sow nearby then
they may have small tiffs and fight to constantly decide who is top pig
over the females as they all want to be the boss due to the females being
around them. If boars cannot SEE a sow then there should be no problems.
It is also advised to never use bedding/towels/toys/housing etc that were
placed in your female guinea pigs cage and to then place these items in a
males cage. Naturally they will pick up the scent of a female somewhere on
If you have both male and
female guinea pigs and wish to hold both throughout the day it is advised
to wash your hands between holding your males and females so that again
the males do not pick up the scent of the females on your hands.
7: Housing more than
two males together.
You can successfully house more than two males together but as always you
will need to be their watching and be the referee when introducing them
together and you need to carefully watch for their personality type e.g.
dominant/submissive. You can house submissive males together no problems.
If you wish to house 3-4 males together then it is best to introduce each male at a
different time, one by one letting each boar introduce himself to the
group don't just put all boars together straight away it needs to be done
gradually say over a span of a few hours one at a time. Place your first
two males together and if all looks good then add the third and so on...
8: Switching male Groups
This is something that should
NEVER be done. If you have a number of male guinea pigs that have settled
in their set pairs/trios then they need to stay in these set groups at all
times. It is not advised to mix the groups of males around with each other
even if it is only for a play on the lawn together during the day or to
meet and greet your other males for a short time. When a male group is
formed the males will have worked out their placing in their set group and
by disrupting the group as it stands it is disrupting the group and will
cause confusion and will cause the males to naturally want to re-set their
stance with other males.
9: Don't tolerate bullying!
If your boars are clearly not going to get along with each other then
please do not attempt to keep them together as they will continue to have
small tiffs with each other or larger tiffs resulting in injury. In cases
where boars are housed together long term and the dominant boar constantly
bullies the other boar then the other boar can suffer enormous weight loss
due to not being allowed to eat food, injuries and sometimes even death.
10: Keeping males on their own.
It is not recommended to keep guinea pigs on their own they are herd animals and really
need to have a companion. In saying this, this doesn't mean to go out and
a boar with a sow if you are not prepared to be responsible for and keep/responsibly
the resulting litters. Males will get along well with each other in the
MAJORITY of cases if chosen/grouped appropriately. There are very rare
occasions where some males just simply won't get along with ANY other
males. In these cases it is suggested to either neuter your male so that
he could have a female companion. Another method is
housing a longhair male with a shorthair male can also solve the problem
instead of two males of the same breed. I'm unsure why this method
works but it has had success in the past. A final method is to try and
house the adult male with a young baby male.
11: Boar and sow temperaments/personality/scent does not differ from each other.
Some people ask whether there is a difference in temperament/scent/personality between boars
and sows and which to recommend purchasing. In answer to this question,
boars and sows do not differ. In both sexes there can be
those that are aggressive in nature, skittish around people, boring,
beautiful, ugly, calm natured, submissive, dominant and so on...
Some sows cannot be housed with other sows and sows can be hard to house together it is more common to hear the " myth "
about boars causing problems.
12: Boars cannot be
housed together after being with sows.
This is a complete myth. Dominant and submissive personality will need to
be considered the same way as a boar that has not been with sows. The
personality of the boar won't change whether he has been with a sow or
When looking to purchase a guinea pig, personality
and temperament can vary greatly in both male and female guinea pigs. It
is best to take your time when looking for your pair of piggies and to sus
out their individual temperaments and personalities and to take your time
choosing the guinea pigs that suit best to you and your family.
BOARS AND SOWS ARE BOTH BEAUTIFUL AND CAN BOTH BE HOUSED WITH SAME SEX
COMPANIONS. IT IS SUGGESTED TO TAKE YOUR TIME IN CHOOSING YOUR PIGGY
FAMILY AND TO STUDY INDIVIDUAL GUINEA PIGS PERSONALITIES AND TEMPERAMENTS
BEFORE DECIDING TO PURCHASE SO THAT YOU AND YOUR GUINEA PIGS WILL LIVE
PEACEFUL, LONG AND HAPPY LIVES TOGETHER.
Copyright 2006, Australian Cavy Sanctuary. All rights reserved.