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How to choose a friend for my male guinea pig?

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AmeliaUK

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#1
Hello :) I rescued a male guinea pig, he was abandoned and underweight so I have taken him in and now just making sure he is 100% well. So I work at an animal shelter and they have lots of single guinea pigs, about 90% of the guinea pigs there are actually males. I roughly know a few of the guinea pigs personality's, what type of guinea pig should I look out for? The one I have at home is quite shy, I am not really sure how old he is and because he is slightly underweight it is quite hard to tell. What would be the best match for him? As it is best for him if he has a friend.

thank you! x
 

MerryPip

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#2
Hello!

Matching piggies up is generally a matter of experience and a bit of trial and error! I would usually recommend that you visit one of the best recommended piggy rescues in the UK from this list, who offer what we call 'boar dating', a process where a piggy gets to meet a number of piggies ina controlled environment until he finds someone he gets on with.

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msid=209994852075231951564.0004b8fd9391b4257d8eb&msa=0

But as you work for an animal shelter and have many male piggies come to you then maybe you could contact the rescues near to you (there are a few in Kent) to ask for advice about bonding and maybe they could mentor you until you felt comfortable to do bonding yourself?

It's mostly about knowing the temperament of the piggies you have and the ones you want to bond and then understanding their behaviour and how dominance works. These links will give you some bonding advice too.
http://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/showthread.php?28949-Boars!-Simple-Dominance-Displays-or-Fighting
http://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/showthread.php?76162-Boars-A-guide-to-successful-companionship

I hope you can get some advice to help.Every boar deserves a friend!
 

Wiebke

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#3
This thread here, a boar bonding blog from a rescue lady in south Wales, may also help.
http://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/showthread.php?59233-Boar-Dating-Service-Wales

A laid back boar with an age difference (either a fully adult boar or a submissive baby boy) would probably be your first choice, especially as you cannot judge what kind of pigson your own boy is, but you can never really predict how two piggies will gel!
The crucial time is how a pair reacts when waking up from their first shared nap; that is often make or break time with a so far promising bond.

I assume that you are doing a 2-3 weeks quarantine before you are bonding?
 

MerryPip

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#4
I have been given permission to repost this advice/experiences from a rescue which offers residential boar dating over the course of a week, with a great record of success... It might help :)

Boar dating checklist.

I let the pigs meet on the sofa, either side of my lap to start so they can see each other and get to know each other a little, 15 mins is enough - if they do not want to kill each other at this stage I move them in to the bonding pen, once they move to the bonding pen I do not split again unless it has failed. I do not move them to another space until I am sure the bond is strong enough, so they stay in the bonding pen for at least 2 days/nights. If you have to split them during bonding it will rarely work when you try again.


Separate at any stage if -

There is any snorting or loud teeth clacking (more aggressive form of teeth chattering), it can be moments away from a big nasty fight.

Open mouthed lunging.
Constant chasing down and biting.

Use a dustpan rather than a towel or your hand to separate them if needed.


Not working; if they have been together without fighting for an hour but...

Totally ignore each other.
Prowling up and down to prevent other pig moving freely.
Humping so much the other pig gets angry.
One pig is totally submissive but the dominant continues to reinforce with mini attacks.



Hang in there -

Humping that goes on for an hour or more.
Yawning to show teeth, not followed by too much dominance display.
Rumblestrutting and mild teeth chattering, scent marking. No chin butts.
Chin butts without other dominance displays.



Perfect partners -

On first meeting it should be interest in each other, nudging, rumblestrutting, humping. In bonding pen, lots of humping, eating and pottering about happy chatting.

Then sleeping near each other for a short nap, followed by mild humping (this is the stage many fail at and aggression builds), more eating and being quite relaxed with each other.

I have the pigs together for at least 2 nights with no problems before I let them go home together.
 
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