2 sows to 4 sows?

hannahs26

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Hi,
We've had our lovely pair of girls since last September, and are considering adding another pair. Our girls are almost 3 and 5 years old, with the eldest being the boss, and they just seem to put up with each other, rather than enjoy each others' company. The pair we are looking to add are thought to be around 6 months old, and were dumped, so the rescue doesn't have any history for them. We're thinking to add a pair knowing that our eldest may not be with us much longer - although we love her deeply, and hope she'll live for a few more years yet - and our youngest won't be left alone when she goes.
My only real concern - other than the extra poo and cleaning ;-) - is whether adding a pair may put our eldest under stress. Have any of you added a younger pair to an older pair, and if so, are you happy you did, or did you regret it for some reason?
Thank you, Hannah :-)
 

Piggies&buns

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The guide below explains about merging pairs and what works and what doesn’t. It’s all about character compatibility so whether it will work will be entirely down to your piggies. Adding more piggies to your pair won’t repair their relationship if there are problems there though.

if the rescue allow you to date your pair with the rescue pair, then that would be great as it would mean you’d get a definite answer as to whether they will bond before coming home with them.
If they don’t do dating, then if the bonding fails will the rescue allow you to return them and try another pair? If not, do you have the ability to have two cages. They could be stacked c&c while you have four piggies, but sadly once you do lose one, the cages would need to be side by side to allow for through the bar interaction for your piggy left alone.

Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
 

Siikibam

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Just to pick up on your point of them not getting along. What make think they’re merely tolerating each other? You have to beware of applying ‘human standards’ to their relationship. There is a misconception that they will want to be next to each other all the time, cuddle up and be in the same hide.

I think my boys have a good bond rather than a toleration if each other.
Good advise given above. Do let us know how you decide to proceed and how things go. I’m rooting for your girls and hope your senior has more years ahead ☺
 

hannahs26

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The guide below explains about merging pairs and what works and what doesn’t. It’s all about character compatibility so whether it will work will be entirely down to your piggies. Adding more piggies to your pair won’t repair their relationship if there are problems there though.

if the rescue allow you to date your pair with the rescue pair, then that would be great as it would mean you’d get a definite answer as to whether they will bond before coming home with them.
If they don’t do dating, then if the bonding fails will the rescue allow you to return them and try another pair? If not, do you have the ability to have two cages. They could be stacked c&c while you have four piggies, but sadly once you do lose one, the cages would need to be side by side to allow for through the bar interaction for your piggy left alone.

Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
Thank you. I've read that guide a few times, and have found it a great help, hence now looking for 2 young sows :-)
I'm unsure if the rescue would allow dating, or a return if bonding didn't work out. I will need to find out. I'm currently awaiting news from them once the pair have been checked by their vet, and will go from there with more questions :-)
 

hannahs26

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Just to pick up on your point of them not getting along. What make think they’re merely tolerating each other? You have to beware of applying ‘human standards’ to their relationship. There is a misconception that they will want to be next to each other all the time, cuddle up and be in the same hide.

I think my boys have a good bond rather than a toleration if each other.
Good advise given above. Do let us know how you decide to proceed and how things go. I’m rooting for your girls and hope your senior has more years ahead ☺
Thank you :-) Fingers crossed!
I could well be applying human standards to them! They are our first guinea pigs, so we don't have any to compare them too.
They don't sleep anywhere near each other (usually), or show any form of kindness to each other. However, they don't fight other than the occasional nip/nose-butt or kick if one is annoyed at the other, and cuddle up if they are alarmed at anything. Maybe they do actually like each other?
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you :-) Fingers crossed!
I could well be applying human standards to them! They are our first guinea pigs, so we don't have any to compare them too.
They don't sleep anywhere near each other (usually), or show any form of kindness to each other. However, they don't fight other than the occasional nip/nose-butt or kick if one is annoyed at the other, and cuddle up if they are alarmed at anything. Maybe they do actually like each other?
Not sleeping together is entirely normal. As they get older, they don’t cuddle as much. If they aren’t fighting (hair pulling in sows) and there are no signs of bullying (ie constant and incessant chasing, not allowing the other to eat), then they are fine together
 

hannahs26

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Not sleeping together is entirely normal. As they get older, they don’t cuddle as much. If they aren’t fighting (hair pulling in sows) and there are no signs of bullying (ie constant and incessant chasing, not allowing the other to eat), then they are fine together
That sounds positive, thanks you :-)
 

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We combined our original younger pair of girls (6 months at the time) with a pair of more mature ladies (at least 2 years old) who had been kept in a hamster cage by their previous loving but clueless owners- and it has worked out long term, they are now a very happy group of 6! But it was quite stressful for the older girls to start with, adjusting to boisterous hormonal youngsters. I think what helped it work was lots of space, after the introductions we moved them all straight into a big new C&C cage that was completely neutral territory and twice the size of anywhere either pair had lived before. As well as compatible personalities, plenty extra space, plenty new hidey houses, and multiple hay trays, water bottles, and food dishes, can help cement a rather uncertain new bonding- but be prepared, if they hate each other rather than being a little unsure, there's nothing for it but to set up a separate cage- we found that with our 7th piggy, who after 10 minutes of introductions ended in serious bloodshed we knew needed her own cage in a separate room!
 

hannahs26

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We combined our original younger pair of girls (6 months at the time) with a pair of more mature ladies (at least 2 years old) who had been kept in a hamster cage by their previous loving but clueless owners- and it has worked out long term, they are now a very happy group of 6! But it was quite stressful for the older girls to start with, adjusting to boisterous hormonal youngsters. I think what helped it work was lots of space, after the introductions we moved them all straight into a big new C&C cage that was completely neutral territory and twice the size of anywhere either pair had lived before. As well as compatible personalities, plenty extra space, plenty new hidey houses, and multiple hay trays, water bottles, and food dishes, can help cement a rather uncertain new bonding- but be prepared, if they hate each other rather than being a little unsure, there's nothing for it but to set up a separate cage- we found that with our 7th piggy, who after 10 minutes of introductions ended in serious bloodshed we knew needed her own cage in a separate room!
That's really helpful to hear - thank you for taking the time to write about it :-) I'm thinking we should expand our cage a bit, knowing how more hay areas and hidies take up lots of room. It's currently a 5 x 2.5 C&C set up. I'm going to check whether the rescue will allow them all to meet before bringing them home, or will agree to us having them on trial to make sure they get on. I will always have a large cage available for the future anyway, for if any fall out, but would prefer to have them all together if possible.
 

Piggies&buns

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That's really helpful to hear - thank you for taking the time to write about it :-) I'm thinking we should expand our cage a bit, knowing how more hay areas and hidies take up lots of room. It's currently a 5 x 2.5 C&C set up. I'm going to check whether the rescue will allow them all to meet before bringing them home, or will agree to us having them on trial to make sure they get on. I will always have a large cage available for the future anyway, for if any fall out, but would prefer to have them all together if possible.
For four piggies you need a 6x2 c&c cage but if you can give more space then that is better
 

hannahs26

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SO we are doing it! Two young sows are joining our family this afternoon! Have extended the cage to now 7 x 2.5 c&c panels, so hoping introductions go well! I've a ballpool run which I've washed, which I'll line with some clean towels/blankets, and put hay in the middle, to provide a neutral space to start with. I've read the guides about bonding and introducing new gps, but any other hints/advice to offer? Should I have any hidies in the neutral space?
Thanks! :-)
 

Piggies&buns

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SO we are doing it! Two young sows are joining our family this afternoon! Have extended the cage to now 7 x 2.5 c&c panels, so hoping introductions go well! I've a ballpool run which I've washed, which I'll line with some clean towels/blankets, and put hay in the middle, to provide a neutral space to start with. I've read the guides about bonding and introducing new gps, but any other hints/advice to offer? Should I have any hidies in the neutral space?
Thanks! :-)
How exciting!
No hideys in the neutral space bonding area.
Let us know how it goes!
 

alpacasqueak

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I don’t add hideys to their neutral space, just in case a fight breaks out or someone gets cornered etc.
Bit of a rubbish pic but this is from January when I introduced my new lady Aliona to my pair Jess and Luigi, I just put three plates of tasty stuff down really (grass, hay, veggies etc)! And pretty much left them to it, but kept a close eye of course, armed with a towel and a bit of cardboard to put between them if anything happened! Thankfully not!
How exciting, good luck! :D
 

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hannahs26

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I don’t add hideys to their neutral space, just in case a fight breaks out or someone gets cornered etc.
Bit of a rubbish pic but this is from January when I introduced my new lady Aliona to my pair Jess and Luigi, I just put three plates of tasty stuff down really (grass, hay, veggies etc)! And pretty much left them to it, but kept a close eye of course, armed with a towel and a bit of cardboard to put between them if anything happened! Thankfully not!
How exciting, good luck! :D
Thank you, that's helpful :-) So once they seem happy with each other (fingers crossed), after reading signs and being sure, it's then ok to move all to the main enclosure, which has the smell of the original pair in?
 

Siikibam

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Thank you, that's helpful :-) So once they seem happy with each other (fingers crossed), after reading signs and being sure, it's then ok to move all to the main enclosure, which has the smell of the original pair in?
You need to thoroughly clean out where they will all live together so it doesn’t smell of any pig. Also rearrange the furniture. If you put them in with it still having the smell of the original pair then they can feel like their space has been invaded. So clean thoroughly while they’re all in the bonding area.
 
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