Introduce new female guinea pig to my bereaved 2 year old female - what matters: age or size?

Gullfaks

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
34
Reaction score
21
Points
90
Location
Norway
Hi!

My female guinea pig of 2 years just lost her "sister" and best friend to sickness. I adopted them one year ago - and I assume they had lived together since they were young.

Now I am looking for a new female guinea pig to become her new bestie. I read that it is important that their personalities will fit together - but unfortunately we do not have guinea pig rescues or "dating"-opportunities for piggies here in Norway.
Hence, the likely case is that I will adopt a guinea pig from an owner that would not want her anymore. They will likely just want to get rid of her as quick as possible - and not let my guinea pig have a playdate first to check their compatibilities. So there will always be some risk that they might not get along, and must live side- by side in their own cages.

However - to maximalize their chances of getting along, I read that I should get a younger guinea pig that is likely to be submissive of my current pig (she was the dominant one in the previous couple). However - guinea pigs reach their full body sizes quite quickly - so I wonder: can guinea pigs sense ages, if not related to their body sizes?

If I adopt a 1 year old - will my two year old realize that she is younger - if their sizes are more or less the same?

Thanks for all answers and experiences!
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
9,554
Reaction score
11,567
Points
1,925
Location
Cambridgeshire
Physical size makes no difference at all. Age isn’t really a major factor either but getting a younger piggy can mean that she is less likely to challenge for dominance. It’s no guarantee though. There’s not a lot you can do to influence anything really - it’s entirely down the piggies to decide if they like each other.
When taking on a piggy on spec you are going to be prepared for failure and that means having a separate cage so if they don’t work out together, then the newbie can live next door to your current piggy as they can then have interaction though the bars.

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
 

Gullfaks

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
34
Reaction score
21
Points
90
Location
Norway
OK, I understand - thanks a lot for your answer :) Yes, we would need to be prepared for having them side-by-side in separate cages ;)
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,184
Reaction score
49,092
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Hi!

My female guinea pig of 2 years just lost her "sister" and best friend to sickness. I adopted them one year ago - and I assume they had lived together since they were young.

Now I am looking for a new female guinea pig to become her new bestie. I read that it is important that their personalities will fit together - but unfortunately we do not have guinea pig rescues or "dating"-opportunities for piggies here in Norway.
Hence, the likely case is that I will adopt a guinea pig from an owner that would not want her anymore. They will likely just want to get rid of her as quick as possible - and not let my guinea pig have a playdate first to check their compatibilities. So there will always be some risk that they might not get along, and must live side- by side in their own cages.

However - to maximalize their chances of getting along, I read that I should get a younger guinea pig that is likely to be submissive of my current pig (she was the dominant one in the previous couple). However - guinea pigs reach their full body sizes quite quickly - so I wonder: can guinea pigs sense ages, if not related to their body sizes?

If I adopt a 1 year old - will my two year old realize that she is younger - if their sizes are more or less the same?

Thanks for all answers and experiences!
Hi!

I am very sorry for your loss! Age and gender (neutered boars) come a very long way behind mutual liking and character compatibility.
If you do not have access to a rescue, then it is usually better to opt for a sub-adult piggy that cannot challenge for leadership.

If you adopt the 1 year old, would there be the option to hand her back or for the two living in a divided cage with constant interaction through the bars? I depends on how dominant, submissive or fear-aggressive either sow is. You can simply never predict that.


You may also find these links here helpful:
A Closer Look At Pairs (Boars - Sows - Mixed)
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities (includes a chapter on companionship options and how to best go about it, including where there is no rescue access).

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Moody guinea pigs: Depression, Bullying, Aggression, Stress, Fear and Antisocial Behaviour

All the best!
 
Top