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Help! One Or Two?

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ash-o-leigh

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Hello, i have managed to convince my mum to let me have a guinea pig, i have done all my necessary research, but one thing keeps popping up, to always get them in pairs, but i really only want one. I would much rather only have one guinea pig, and i dont think my mum would let me have two, is it really such a bad thing to only have one? it will be kept in my bedroom, I'm not in education or have a job and i dont have much of a social life, so I'm home pretty much all the time, i am able to give it a fair bit of attention, once it got used to me, i would have it out for a cuddle, once i got a bit more comfortable with it being out of its cage, i'd let it loose on my floor (with the door shut and everything dangerous out of reach). Also, i went to a pet shop today and they said they would only sell them to me in pairs, will all places be like that? any advice would be appreciated! is it okay just to have one?
 

Julesie

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Honestly they NEED to be in pairs as they are herd animals.

If you are intent on having a single piggie you could message a few rescues and see if any have a piggie that doesn't like to be with other pigs. Sometimes this can happen, but 90% of piggies need company.

Why would you prefer to just have one?
 

Maisy and Poppy

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Hi and :wel:!
:agr: With everyone else guinea pigs like horses cannot be alone but harp ve to be in pairs, trios or groups. :)
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

It is good that you are doing your research beforehand.

Guinea pigs are group animals and should not be kept on their own; it is not fair on them as they need company round the clock and not just for an hour or two every day - as much as you are determined to look after a pet of your own. With just one, you are missing out on the lively vocal interaction that makes guinea pigs so unique. Even guinea pigs that don't get on with others (which is actually VERY rare and in most cases caused by human ignorance) still profit from having constant stimulation with others of their kind through the bars.

Please also be aware that guinea pigs are prey animals and that they are not born as cuddly pets; especially if you get hardly handled shop or breeder youngsters. If you can, please look at getting already quarantined, bonded and healthy rescue piggies. Two guinea pigs need about the same space as one anyway; a minimum of 2x4ft/60x120cm, ideally a bit more, especially with two young boars.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/companionship.37654/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/boars-sows-or-mixed-pairs-babies-or-adults.108944/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/biological-facts-and-guinea-pig-society.109062/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/pages/guinea-pig-rescue-locator/ or for worldwide: http://www.guinealynx.info/rescues.html

If you are really determined to just have a single pet, you may be better off looking for a species that lives solitary, but still likes interaction, like hamsters that sleep while you are at school.

If it comes to pets of any species, please talk to your mom about how to finance any vet cost. Illness and emergencies never happen at a good time and they can quickly clime into the hundreds of dollars/pounds. it would be good if you set aside a sum every week, so you always can afford to take your piggy to the vets; they can go downhill too quickly to survive days of wrangling, which is usually a very upsetting experience for the whole family.

Could you please add your country to your details, so we can tailor our advice to what is available and possible for you. We have members from all over the world, so any advice can differ quite a bit. Click on your username on the top bar, then go personal details and scroll down to location. Thanks!
 

Frankie1990

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Hi. I'm sure that you would provide plenty of interaction with your pet but unfortunately you cannot speak Guinea Pig and they are such social animals, its actually against the law in Switzerland to keep a lone guinea pig!

I think that you would find a pair of guinea pigs to be much braver and get used to you much quicker, because they would have each other for support and are able to talk to each other about the "strange giants" who deliver food to the cage.

IF you are set on one, lone guinea pig I agree with Julesie above, please think about asking at a rescue about grumpy or older pigs rather than buying a baby to live alone.
 

AbiS

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Look at it this way - would you like it if for the rest of your life you had to live in your bedroom with only your guinea pig for company and no other human to talk to?

Please, please, if you are getting one - get two! you will completely understand once you see them walking in a piggy train around your room!
 

ash-o-leigh

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Honestly they NEED to be in pairs as they are herd animals.

If you are intent on having a single piggie you could message a few rescues and see if any have a piggie that doesn't like to be with other pigs. Sometimes this can happen, but 90% of piggies need company.

Why would you prefer to just have one?
i feel like i'd be able to look after it better and show it more attenion if i only had one instead of two, and i am a bit of a commitment phobe, so id feel alot more comfortable starting out with just one
 

ash-o-leigh

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When i bring up the subject of getting two, my mum said she had multiple guinea pigs when she was younger but each time she had them, she only had one and it was always perfectly fine, we even had a guinea pig about 5-10 years ago, and he was fine by himself, so in her opinion, they're fine without buying a second one (and as shes paying for it, her opinion is kind of the final word). Also, ive had many hamsters in the past as a child and i'd never go there again, and i dont want a rabbit, I'm really set on having a guinea pig, but this is the only problem about having this kind of animal.
 

Frankie1990

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Maybe you could show this thread, and the threads Wiebke posted above about companionship to your mum?

Piggy's will survive perfectly fine on their own, but mine thrive on playing and talking to each other (they're very vocal!).
 

Wiebke

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Having two guinea pigs is actually going to be less of a commitment for you than having just one! That one guinea pig will depend on you for constant round the clock company and stimulation for the next 5-7 years; can you really guarantee that you can and will provide that every single day of its life? If you have two, you can go out or study for exams without having to feel guilty. Two are not any more work than just one, but they will give you double the joy!

Guinea pigs will survive just fine on their own; they have no choice. But they will have to live with some very elemental and basic needs of theirs denied to them and you have to live with knowing that you are putting your own desire before that; whatever you do, it will never be able to fully compensate.

Awareness of how important the need for companionship is is slowly becoming more widespread than it used to be in your mom's generation where animal welfare was still not so much an issue.

You also have to consider that it is MUCH easier to start out with two guinea pigs than trying to find a character compatible friend later on. The need to be part of a group is greatest when piggies are young. and truly desperate to be with somepig.

Unless you have a rescue where you can take your piggy to date him or her, you also have to plan for the fact that your two piggies may not necessarily gel. For all their need to be not alone, guinea pigs are as choosy as humans about who they want to live with!

I have grown up with a single piggy in the seventies, and I still rue the fact that was never allowed to have a companion even though he was simply desperate for one. The most I could manage was to give him lawn time with our neighbours' rather neglected single boar. Both boys always ended snuggled up as tightly as they could in the smallest hidey. :(
 

The Furry Godmother

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I have to agree with the others, my boy was alone for ages, then as soon as I could get him a friend it has seriously improved his life. Especially as he's special needs.
My other current lone boar is young, was rescued by us and is going boar dating next week at a rescue.

They thrive off each others social interaction and company, it's what they NEED.

Another thing I question is, if your mum doesn't want to, will she be willing to pay the vet fees?

To keep my boy going I've spent out over £3000 in a matter of months, and it's still ongoing, and I'm only a student, so I just wonder will she be willing to afford vet treatment of anything happens?

I mean, there more susceptible to stress related illnesses alone....

I personally feel that if you won't get a pair, then get a hamster as others mentioned, as I feel this will suit you more.

Because as @AbiS said, would you like to be cooped up by yourself all day everyday with nobody to ever talk to? I doubt it.

Please consider the animals needs rather than your own needs.

Also, looking after two is the same as looking after one, no big difference in cost or anything.
 

Claire W

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Hello and welcome to the forum :)

I originally started out with one guinea pig. Her cage mate had died and she was no longer wanted by her previous owner.

Connie lived in a hutch in our concrete shed and at first, I honestly thought she would be fine by herself.

I then did my research and felt guilty that she was living alone so I brought her a companion.

As soon as I bonded Connie and Eliza, Connie became a different guinea pig. Much more outgoing, vocal and generally happier than she was as a single.

I also found it was much easier to care for two rather than one as at the end of the day, they have each other for company so on those days when you are busy or out of the house, at least the guinea pigs are happy and still have company without you being there.

On rare occasions guinea pigs can live happily alone but this is usually when they refuse to bond with another and in this case, you need to make sure the guinea pig is the centre of attention at all times. You would need to contact rescues to see if they had a piggy like this but please be warned that finding a guinea pig who simply will not bond with another is very rare.
 

ash-o-leigh

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i have brought up the subject of having 2 to my mum and she hasnt really given me an answer but i will try and convince her that 2 is better. If i was to get 2, will 2 females be okay? is there any chance of them fighting at all? thank you for all you help btw!
 

Claire W

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Two females should be fine :) They can fall out but it is rare but there is a risk with any animal falling out just like humans.

If you re home your piggies from a good rescue, the pair of piggies you choose will already be bonded :)
 

Wiebke

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i have brought up the subject of having 2 to my mum and she hasnt really given me an answer but i will try and convince her that 2 is better. If i was to get 2, will 2 females be okay? is there any chance of them fighting at all? thank you for all you help btw!
Two females are fine; they rarely fight or have fall-outs. One of the links that I have given you in my earlier post lists all the pros and cons of the different combinations in detail.
 

7squeakers.

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I really hope your mother allows you to get two guinea pigs. Be careful; she may decide that it's all too much bother and expense and not let you have any pigs!

As to having one instead of two; would you rather have one lonely, bored, unhappy, withdrawn, quiet piggie; or two chatty, outgoing, lively, happy guinea pigs?
 

Claire W

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May be showing your mum this thread would help to convince her :)
i have brought up the subject of having 2 to my mum and she hasnt really given me an answer but i will try and convince her that 2 is better. If i was to get 2, will 2 females be okay? is there any chance of them fighting at all? thank you for all you help btw!
 

Abbie

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I really hope you are able to get two! I, like you, finished education late last year, currently don't have a job and I have almost 0% social life and still I sometimes feel like I can't give them quite as much attention on certain days as I would like! So it's nice for them to have eachother! What about when you do have a job? The piggie would then be alone quite a lot.

I really hope you are able to convince your mum to be able to get two :) both you and the pigs would love it much more :D
 

AuntyC

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Please, ash-o-Leigh's mum, please think very hard about what is best for the guinea pigs. Two ready bonded girls will give you hours of fun. Also do try and get your piggies from a good rescue centre. You have guaranteed healthy pigs who already get on plus plenty of helpful advice. Lots of luck and hope things work out. Some areas have subsidised Rspca vet clinics if that would help? x
 
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