Lamenting and advice?

hhhhhh00

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Hi there! I'm new to the forums and really need to find people that understand my anger right now.

Recently, within the last month or so, I've adopted a guinea pig from a new friend. I won't go too into detail to remain anonymous. He's around a year and a half out and a very sweet, but very skittish boy.

I understood his demeanor based on his situation; it was too loud, he didn't have enough space, and he lived with larger, more aggressive boars that were in separate cages and still managed to display aggression towards him from across the room. His food bowl was left on a platform that he had no way of reaching unless he jumped up to get it, and despite taking care of the other guinea pigs in the house, the person I adopted him from mentioned that he was their sibling's pig and was often neglected and left unfed.

Now, it gets worse, to the part where I am infuriated. I knew they weren't the best guinea pig caretakers based on what he was being fed and the state of his cage. However, apparently they found the sound of this boy's water bottle annoying and would remove it or flip it around to deny him access as a sort of punishment. I thought it was just ignorance that made them neglect their pigs, but this is just... so awful. Thinking about it makes me so upset and I can't even look at this person the same way now, knowing they participated in this. I can understand now why he gets so nervous when I take his bottle to fill it up, and why he rejects any new bottle I offer him.

All this is in his past, but I still feel like I'm dealing with the consequences. He's very nervous around other pigs. I've tried to watch a video featuring some piggies in the same room as him and he bolted to his hide, chattering his teeth.

I don't want to put him through the stress of living with a pig he doesn't get along with, but I also don't want him to have no companions. Going with a larger boar would be impossible, and he seems (understandably) a bit food aggressive, so I also worry about adding a smaller male to his cage. I've considered neutering him to live with a female, but that'd still be a long time for him to go without a friend, especially because I work long hours some days. He'd have to wait 6 weeks, at the very least, from the time of the surgery. I've thought about bringing him into a pet store and asking to let him meet with other males to get a feel for them, but I'm not sure if this would be harmful or stressful for him.

I've now invested in plenty of space for a pair, but I just have no idea how to go about it. Should I put him through the operation and recovery, or should I try to carefully find him a male friend? Any advice is really appreciated. I just want this little guy to live his best life going forward.
 

Siikibam

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Well done on taking him on. You took him out of a difficult situation but hopefully you will show him enough love for him to come round. Just be prepared for it to take a while.

With regards a friend, it sounds like he just wasn’t compatible with the other piggies. If there is a rescue near you (that does boar dating), that would be the best way to get him a friend. He chooses his own which will help with compatibility and lifelong bonding.

I doubt very much that pet shops will let you take him dating. The other thing is they often don’t know how to sex them correctly, so there’s the risk of ending up with a sow. Have a look at the rescue locator below and see. Don’t be put off travelling a little further to find him a friend. Well done for thinking of his welfare. As for the people you got him from 🤷🏾‍♀️ No words really.
Guinea Lynx :: US Guinea Pig Rescue and Shelter Organizations

I would also take him to the vet for a check.
 

hhhhhh00

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Well done on taking him on. You took him out of a difficult situation but hopefully you will show him enough love for him to come round. Just be prepared for it to take a while.

With regards a friend, it sounds like he just wasn’t compatible with the other piggies. If there is a rescue near you (that does boar dating), that would be the best way to get him a friend. He chooses his own which will help with compatibility and lifelong bonding.

I doubt very much that pet shops will let you take him dating. The other thing is they often don’t know how to sex them correctly, so there’s the risk of ending up with a sow. Have a look at the rescue locator below and see. Don’t be put off travelling a little further to find him a friend. Well done for thinking of his welfare. As for the people you got him from 🤷🏾‍♀️ No words really.
Guinea Lynx :: US Guinea Pig Rescue and Shelter Organizations

I would also take him to the vet for a check.
I was honestly a little distressed at first when he didn't seem to be bonding with me, but I quickly learned that giving him his personal space was beneficial for both of us! :) He's to the point now where he'll eat out of and sniff my hands (although he does normally snatch things right out of mine and my partner's fingers, lol.) He'll let us pet him as long as it's not on his back, and he likes to give my partner kisses. He'll run to the cage and greet us very briefly and I'm glad he's gained the confidence to do so.

I'm hoping that was it. Previous owner is convinced that he just didn't get along with boars but the more I've read into it, the more I doubt that. Thank you so much for the advice, I'm leaning towards not neutering and just taking him to meet other boars because it'd likely be less stress. I may still try the pet store, just to see if I get lucky. I'd be able to sex them myself because I have owned guinea pigs in the past, just in my younger years when I had pretty much no clue what I was doing. :(

I would like to visit a shelter, but it seems the only ones in my area are over an hour away. I know you mentioned traveling was fine, but would that trip be okay for his welfare?
 

Piggies&buns

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Well done for taking him in.

I really wouldn’t try pet shops for bonding. Pet shops piggies can have illnesses and if you were to take him to one, he is likely to pick something up himself. A shelter is your best bet, all piggies are vet checked and healthy before bonding /dating takes place. A journey would be absolutely fine for him. Many members in this country travel for many hours just to get to one specific vet. Most piggies cope absolutely fine with travelling, and if it results in him finding a friend, then that would be fantastic and worth it!
 

Siikibam

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Yes it would be okay to travel an hour, even more if necessary. There are some members here who’ve travelled many miles by public transport to pick up their piggies. And others that regularly make trips to a vet who is very experienced in dental issues.

I agree regards the pet shops. Try the rescues first before ruling them out entirely. I would send them an email now to let them know you’re looking to pair up your boy, once he’s settled in and had a vet check. The other thing to consider for a pet shop piggy would be getting him one that’s not compatible with him. You’d have to house them separately but next to each other. Best to exhaust the rescues first before considering the pet shops. You don’t know what they may come with unfortunately.
 

hhhhhh00

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Well done for taking him in.

I really wouldn’t try pet shops for bonding. Pet shops piggies can have illnesses and if you were to take him to one, he is likely to pick something up himself. A shelter is your best bet, all piggies are vet checked and healthy before bonding /dating takes place. A journey would be absolutely fine for him. Many members in this country travel for many hours just to get to one specific vet. Most piggies cope absolutely fine with travelling, and if it results in him finding a friend, then that would be fantastic and worth it!
Oh man, I didn't really consider that but I have had issues with pet shop animals in the past. Don't worry, he'll be visiting the vet soon regardless of whether or not I neuter (which I probably won't, he seems past the ideal age anyhow.) I have no idea what underlying effects his previous environment had and among all the usual things like illness I worry what regularly jumping like that could've done to his body.

Thank you for the travelling advice, I'm glad to know I have better options than pet shops :)
 

hhhhhh00

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Yes it would be okay to travel an hour, even more if necessary. There are some members here who’ve travelled many miles by public transport to pick up their piggies. And others that regularly make trips to a vet who is very experienced in dental issues.

I agree regards the pet shops. Try the rescues first before ruling them out entirely. I would send them an email now to let them know you’re looking to pair up your boy, once he’s settled in and had a vet check. The other thing to consider for a pet shop piggy would be getting him one that’s not compatible with him. You’d have to house them separately but next to each other. Best to exhaust the rescues first before considering the pet shops. You don’t know what they may come with unfortunately.
Yeah I have no plans to make him live beside another piggy he doesn't get along with. It wouldn't be much better than his previous situation. :( I've found a few little guys within a few hours from here and will get into contact with their shelters if all goes well with the vets!
Again, I really appreciate all your replies and understanding. :)
 

Wiebke

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Hi!

Well done for getting your boy out of a tricky situation.

You may find the information in these guides here helpful to read up on tips and background information before you make any decisions.
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Neutered / De-sexed Boars And Neutering Operations: Myths, Facts and Post-op Care
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

Travelling with guinea pigs
Recommended good welfare standard US rescues: Guinea Lynx :: US Guinea Pig Rescue and Shelter Organizations
There are of course more rescues and shelters but many are just holding places without medical care, quarantining and dating. We can only guarantee for the listed rescues whose vetting criteria are compatible with our forum ones for the UK.

It is quite a learning curve for you. You may find our New Owners guide collection helpful in settling in your boy (we have information on how prey animal instincts work and how you can use piggy whispering to bring him round a little bit more quickly, learning what is normal and what not; advice on diet, housing and daily care (including boar care) as well as how to spot illness and what to do in an emergency.
You may want to bookmark the link and use it as a helpful resource, especially as you are in a different time zone and may need some information urgently when we are not active. The guides format allows us to update and extend our information at need.
Here is the link: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

Our full and even wider information collection can be best accessed via the guides shortcut on the top bar but you are of course always welcome to ask any questions you may have. If the answer can just tap into the most salient point of a much more complex issue we will link in the relevant guides for more background or in-depth information and step-by-step help.
 

hhhhhh00

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Hi!

Well done for getting your boy out of a tricky situation.

You may find the information in these guides here helpful to read up on tips and background information before you make any decisions.
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities

A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Neutered / De-sexed Boars And Neutering Operations: Myths, Facts and Post-op Care
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

Travelling with guinea pigs
Recommended good welfare standard US rescues: Guinea Lynx :: US Guinea Pig Rescue and Shelter Organizations
There are of course more rescues and shelters but many are just holding places without medical care, quarantining and dating. We can only guarantee for the listed rescues whose vetting criteria are compatible with our forum ones for the UK.

It is quite a learning curve for you. You may find our New Owners guide collection helpful in settling in your boy (we have information on how prey animal instincts work and how you can use piggy whispering to bring him round a little bit more quickly, learning what is normal and what not; advice on diet, housing and daily care (including boar care) as well as how to spot illness and what to do in an emergency.
You may want to bookmark the link and use it as a helpful resource, especially as you are in a different time zone and may need some information urgently when we are not active. The guides format allows us to update and extend our information at need.
Here is the link: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

Our full and even wider information collection can be best accessed via the guides shortcut on the top bar but you are of course always welcome to ask any questions you may have. If the answer can just tap into the most salient point of a much more complex issue we will link in the relevant guides for more background or in-depth information and step-by-step help.
This is a late reply but this was really really helpful, thank you so much! I was able to get a vet's appointment for the coming Wednesday and if all goes well we'll be visiting shelters here very soon!
 
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