Lone Guinea Pig Wellbeing

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JodiXD

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Hi everyone :)

Beforehand tl;dr : I have a single 1yr old boar, I'm a bit worried that he's depressed, he won't mix with other boars and I am unsure about getting him neutered. General advice?

The details:

So I have a lone guinea called Oliver, and he's almost a year old now. I'm a student, and don't have much space, but I give him free roam of the house (Apart from at night and when I go out to lectures), so he's usually out for a good 18 hours or so a day for most of the week, give or take. He gets two lots of fresh veg a day, plenty of hay, tanks through water and kibbles like a trooper and has a 3ft cage that he can pop in and out of when he pleases, plus he hangs around our feet when we're sat working and follows us around the house.

I did try a few months ago to get him a friend. I really wanted him to have someone that he can chat to and play with. I initially got in touch with a local rescue and had a guinea on trial, but after a night I knew it definitely wasn't going to work out, Oliver treat the other one horribly, which I expected as an initial thing, but he didn't give up on the dominant behaviour. I separated them, and the owner of the sanctuary offered to take Oliver for a week and try him with other piggies. She tried everything she could, but told me he couldn't be mixed with another boy after trying him with her most submissive guys and breaking his fights with dominant ones, so I'd need to get him neutered or keep him alone.

I'm a little apprehensive about neutering him, but am overall pretty willing to. My boyfiend however isn't (Boys stick together), and it's a little expensive for us to get it done. He seems (To me) happy enough most of the time, and has a great appetite, but I worry that maybe he's a little depressed, because he can sit on his house or next to our feet for a couple hours at a time. Is that normal? My last two boys got very little floortime in comparison, but they had eachother and spent a lot of time nibbling on the lawn. It's winter and raining a lot at the moment, but in the summer I take Oliver to the park and let him nibble under a flipped plastic crate that I weight down and he can see out of. He's not a hugely attention seeking pig, gets tired of being tickled after a minute or two, but I know he appreciates our company, if only because he sits next to our feet or follows us around the house, or comes to find us after going for an explore.

As guinea owners: Would you just neuter your boy and get him a girlfriend or does he sound happy enough in himself? I'm not really sure what would show that he's happy beyond how he is already, he popcorns a little and gallops off for no reason to run around the room occationally, I mean, doesn't really like chewing on his toys but he's just not much of a chewer anyway, but his sitting in one place for a couple hours just worries me. He has lots of chewy toys and hideys, is there more I can do besides a friend? Or do I need to get him neutered and find a girl?

My god, it's such a long post... Sorry about that haha XD
 

sport_billy

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Welcome to the forum.

Neutering will not change his behaviour towards others. neutering does not affect Guinea pig behaviour at all unlike in dogs etc....

From what I can see your Guinea pig shows no sign of being depressed. He obviously has lots of stimulus being a free ranger. Have you spoken to honey bunnies in Leicester? They are a great rescue and may do boar dating.

If you go ahead and are thinking of neutering to find him a female then I would advise finding an experienced Guinea pig vet who neuters as no peration is without risks.

Be lovely to see photos of Oliver.
 

JodiXD

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Have you spoken to honey bunnies in Leicester? They are a great rescue and may do boar dating.
Thanks :)

Yeah, Hunny Bunnies are who I tried to get him a friend through :) They were lovely, and are the ones who suggested getting him neutered.

I think maybe I'm just overreacting a little to him maturing, I was used to him racing around and popcorning all of the time when he was a bit younger, but he's calming down a bit now :) Just worries me a bit when he lays on top of his house for too long, I forget that they don't stay babies forever haha

Thank you for replying :)

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eileen

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HI and welcome to the forum.ive just had three of my boars neutered today,and six previously by the same vet,without any complications.It does work well with a neutered boar with females.you need to wait six weeks from date of surgery,so no sperm are left,risking a unplanned pregnancy.:)
 

JodiXD

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ive just had three of my boars neutered today,and six previously by the same vet,without any complications.
Thanks :)

And you didn't notice any differences at all in your boys' behaviour? I still like the way he is, he's not a bad pig, he just didn't take to having anothe guy around very well haha
 

eileen

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no.i did not notice any difference in there behaviour,other than they loved having ladies for company.some flirting and rumblestrutting !:))
 

Lady Kelly

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Neutering doesn't affect their behaviour but having a friend does. If he doesn't get on with other males (I've had two who were constantly bullied no matter how many males they were tried with) then neutering and pairing with a female after the 6 week safety period would be the best option. I use the same vets as Honeybunnies do and highly recommend them (in fact I followed one vet from the practice close to my home where my previous boars were neutered over to the other side of Leicester just for the quality of service and knowledge base). Yes there are complications that can happen from any op and neutering is no different and it doesn't matter how much reassurance you have it would still be a worrying time but I think it is worth real consideration
 

Critter

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He's gorgeous. Sitting around isn't a worry as he also has active times too and interacts with you without being needy. I have a herd of one boar and three sows and they also have periods of inactivity, mainly during the afternoon, where they'll sit around and/or snooze for quite a while.
In many ways your sweet little Oliver is a very lucky piggy, with all that space for much of the day and a human who clearly cares very much for him. A female friend would be good for him, but please be aware that a rescue-type intro would still be advisable as they still would benefit from a carefully chosen match. Often when a boar-sow match fails it is the sow that does the rejecting and can be quite forceful about it!
I see that Oliver is 1 year old. He is still at an awkward age when it comes to introductions. From the age of 18 months or so they often start to settle down and become less forceful with other piggies. He is still at his hormonal peak (which is different to physical peak), he's like a hormonal teen!
If you don't decide to neuter (and I do understand perfectly why you would worry about this, I would worry too, I think we all do) then perhaps he will have more success around Summer time this year with a boar? Perhaps he will have settled a little by then. I have found that even sow bonding can be tough at the age of approx. a year. :)

If you wait and try again it may be best to try him with another adult, again one who around 18 months old or so, as both of them will have developed their personalities and will be over that hormone spike. If you neuter him then a well matched sow-friend can make a really lovely bond. It's a tough choice x
 
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DM030819

I've yet to met a boar that hates all other boars. I've had a few that were very picky, but not completely unmatchable. So it's worth persevering with rescues.
 

flowerfairy

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What a beauty he is. You have a great rescue there with honeybunnies. Oliver looks rather like my Jingle (orange, next to her sister, Mistletoe);

 

JodiXD

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Oliver looks rather like my Jingle (orange, next to her sister, Mistletoe);

Oh she is so sweet! They do look very alike haha, even has a little white spot in the same place at the back of her head :p Do you think she's a Sheltie or a Peruvian? I've never let Ol's hair grow long enough to see, but it kind of flops forward so I think he might be Peruvian :)

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JodiXD

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He's gorgeous. Sitting around isn't a worry as he also has active times too and interacts with you without being needy. I have a herd of one boar and three sows and they also have periods of inactivity, mainly during the afternoon, where they'll sit around and/or snooze for quite a while.
In many ways your sweet little Oliver is a very lucky piggy, with all that space for much of the day and a human who clearly cares very much for him. A female friend would be good for him, but please be aware that a rescue-type intro would still be advisable as they still would benefit from a carefully chosen match. Often when a boar-sow match fails it is the sow that does the rejecting and can be quite forceful about it!
I see that Oliver is 1 year old. He is still at an awkward age when it comes to introductions. From the age of 18 months or so they often start to settle down and become less forceful with other piggies. He is still at his hormonal peak (which is different to physical peak), he's like a hormonal teen!
If you don't decide to neuter (and I do understand perfectly why you would worry about this, I would worry too, I think we all do) then perhaps he will have more success around Summer time this year with a boar? Perhaps he will have settled a little by then. I have found that even sow bonding can be tough at the age of approx. a year. :)

If you wait and try again it may be best to try him with another adult, again one who around 18 months old or so, as both of them will have developed their personalities and will be over that hormone spike. If you neuter him then a well matched sow-friend can make a really lovely bond. It's a tough choice x
I might give it a go later this year then :) it is a shame for him to be on his own, but he is very close to us, and the more I've watched him lately the more I think I worry too much :p he's a happy little pig most of the time (though, admittedly not my friend right now as I cut his hair today... He likes the bath and blow dry but cutting is unacceptable!). I got him a new hidey and he loves it, has spent most of the last 3 days in it with occasional dashes around the room haha

I'd still love him to have a friend at some point, and the local rescue were so sweet and helpful, I'd definitely try again when he's ready to, Uh, take it easy on the dominance stuff ;) such funny little creatures, and they all have completely different personalities!

Thank you so much for the advice, this forum is such a welcoming and helpful place and I'm grateful that you took the time to ease my worries a little! :)

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flowerfairy

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Jingle and Mistletoe are abysinian crosses according to the rescue. They look more peruvian than sheltie to me.

They have the same strawberry hide as your Oliver!

 

JodiXD

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Jingle and Mistletoe are abysinian crosses according to the rescue. They look more peruvian than sheltie to me.

They have the same strawberry hide as your Oliver!

I swear my favourite thing about this forum is that I can share photos of my child without being judged haha

When I got him I thought he was an Abysinian (one of my previous two boys was), but then his hair kept growing- how often do you trim your girls? It looks like you keep Jingle at the same kind of length I keep Oliver, he stinks otherwise (he's very good about using his toilets, but also for some reason likes to sleep in them too... Mm), he's my first that I've had to trim and it's the pain of my life, I was used to nail clipping, but honestly, his hair grows so fast! Also do yours get bathed often?

I saw the strawberry online and had to get it, though I didn't think he'd actually use it, it's a nice surprise that he does :)
 

flowerfairy

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I have only had them since January and not given any hair cuts yet. I definately need to now though as they are getting wet hair at the back. Will be doing a wash and hair cut in the next few days. They loathe having their nails done so I dont imagine it will be an easy job.

I use their strawberry hides as transporters for lap time. They are great. Nice and big with a removable pad. Once I upgrade them to a bigger space I will put them in the cage for daily use.

I agree about the photos. There is nothing like seeing everbodies lovely guinea pigs and getting comments about your own.

Are you getting him a friend?
 

JodiXD

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Do you know how old they are? Did they come to the rescue together? I can't give haircut advice, I really butcher the poor thing when I do it, he looks abused bless him haha XD

I've only had mine a week and it's been washed twice, he has a thing for stinking up the place :P just putting it down to smelly boys really... She looks so sweet in there, it's actually a little surreal for me just how alike she is to mine!

I hope to, maybe later in the year as Critter suggested, he was a little off for a while after we first tried him with another boy, and I worry about him pining or feeling lonely again, so if I have a better chance when he's a bit more mature I'm happy to wait :)
 

flowerfairy

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They will be one in August and yes they came into rescue together. There are some great youtube videos about guinea pig hair cutting, piggie pig pigs being one of my fave youtubers.
 
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