Finding a new companion: How do guinea pigs "date"?

Gullfaks

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I see on the Forum that a good advice before introducing a new pig companion to a bereaved pig is to have them "date" first, to check if they are compatible.
In my case I have a 2 year old sow that just lost her best friend (also female, had been together since childhood), and I am considering to adopt a 4 year old (hopefully neutered) boar. If I go would to visit the boar - how would a perfect "date" look like? How long do they need to be together to be certain they accept each other and wont fall out later?

Thanks for all experience-sharing and advice :)
 

Wiebke

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I see on the Forum that a good advice before introducing a new pig companion to a bereaved pig is to have them "date" first, to check if they are compatible.
In my case I have a 2 year old sow that just lost her best friend (also female, had been together since childhood), and I am considering to adopt a 4 year old (hopefully neutered) boar. If I go would to visit the boar - how would a perfect "date" look like? How long do they need to be together to be certain they accept each other and wont fall out later?

Thanks for all experience-sharing and advice :)
Hi!

Please have a look at our bonding guide. It looks at the different phases of the complex bonding process in detail and also has a chapter on boars.

There are two types of rescue dating.
- 'Speed dating' is by letting two boars meet on neutral ground without preparation and see how they get on. You should know within half an hour whether acceptance has happened or not and whether they are likely to get on or not. Unlike sows, boars are usually upfront and honest about their feelings. Bring them home separately so there is no risk of a fight in close confines in case of a sudden panic and then conduct the re-intro and the rest of the main bonding process on neutral ground outside the cage until you are sure that they are happy together. If necessary leave them in the neutral area overnight. It is worth not rushing this stage and allowing the boys time to work through all the main hierarchy questions before you transfer them to their shared cage where the renewed dominance behaviour should be much milder and not provide the opportunity for a flare up of not yet resolved group/hierarchy issues.
Speed dating can be basically done anywhere and it is not necessarily rescue specific; it is just testing whether a bond it worth pursuing before you bring a new piggy home and cuts down on the risk of a personality mismatch and a later fall out.

- Residential rescue bonding means that a guinea pigs comes into a rescue as a holiday boarder and is introduced to up to three candidates on different days with a rest in between any failed bonding. This type allows slower introduction with a night spent in adjoining cages before the official supervised intro. A promising bonding will be pursued throughout the full bonding process so when your piggy comes home, the bond is stable (in boars of any age as stable as a sow bond). Because this is very time consuming, only very few rescues can offer this but they have generally waiting lists.
Long term rescue experience has shown that it takes on average 1-3 attempts to find 'Mr Right' for a boar; with teenage boars this can take a lot more attempts which is why many UK rescues are now neutering any incoming single boars (the majority of which are teenagers) so they can live with one or more sows in the most stable of all combinations.

There are no rescues in Norway to my knowledge so you can either try to arrange a private meeting with other boars or get another boar on spec with the option that they can live alongside each other in adjoining or one large cage with a separating grid. the boar guide has a chapter on companionship options and how to best go about them depending on your local availabilities.

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
A Closer Look At Pairs (Boars - Sows - Mixed)
Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?

I hope that this helps you?
 
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