New Guinea Pig

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Kacie Wilson

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I got my first guinea pig, Whinny in May 2015. I socialized her quite well and decided it was time for a new pig so she can have some company. I ended up getting another female but a really young new pig. My new pig, Peeka, is about 12 weeks old and after quarantining her, I introduced her to Whinny. The introduction went quite well, especially since it was my first time introducing 2 new guinea pigs. There was purring, a lot of bum sniffing and even rumble strutting. Whinny wasn't too dominant - there was some normal nose offs but the new pig seemed to be subordinate to Whinny. They have now been living in the same habitat for about 5 days and so far are doing relatively well. There are some behaviors that I am somewhat concerned about though. When I have the two together in my lap, Whinny is like a whole new pig. She is very calm since I brought the other one home and just overall seems more content. However, sometimes she seems a bit aggressive with her in my lap. There isn't any chattering or intense biting, but there seems to be some warning bites when the little one wants to huddle closer to her or get up under her. When it comes to eating In their cage, Whinny is not aggressive but does rumble strut and leave her scent. Last night, I put more hay in the cage and with the rattling of the bags, the little one gets a bit excited and starts shrieking and popcorning. When Whinny goes to eat the hay, she gets a bit more moody with the little one being right up under her. I don't really understand why the little one feels the need to get up under her when she is eating? Prior before feeding them, the little one having more energy for some reason looked like she tried to mount Whinny. Whinny then back kicked her and started her dominant behavior of rumble strutting and swaying her bum back and forth while making that deep purring noise. I understand that mounting and some of these behaviors are normal but I am hoping as time goes by, the little one isn't trying to challenge Whinny. I want Whinny to be the dominant one as she was here first and deserves to be the dominant pig. After researching guinea pig behaviors during introductions, I really feel that they like each other but may still be validating the hierarchy between the two of them. I just wanted thoughts or concerns on this behavior. Is it not best to have both pigs in my lap? Does Whinny feel possibly jealous and that she needs her alone time with me? I just want to make this transition as smooth as possible and remain cautious to the behaviors I am seeing to make sure that there will be no harm to either pig.

Thanks for any replies

-Kacie W.
 

Freela

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Some pigs don't like sharing the human with another pig. I typically do lap time separate with each pig because one of my previous sows, Linney, was REALLY dominant with the other pigs and would get aggressive with them if I tried to hold two at once. In the interest of keeping the peace (and not getting bitten if there was a scrap) it just made sense to do lap time separately. Even now that Linney has passed on and my current dominant pig, Hadley, is a lot more laid back, I still mainly do separate lap time. My kids occasionally will get out both at once and there isn't aggression the way there was with Linney, but both pigs are a lot squirmier than they would be one-on-one. If I want pigs crawling all over me and the couch, I can have both at once... if I want pigs to sit on my knee quietly, it goes better one-on-one!

As for who will be the dominant pig, while you may feel that Whinny 'deserves' it, this isn't something you can control. It isn't necessarily a function of age (right now I have 1-year-old Hadley who is dominant over 5.5-year-old Sundae. Sundae is simply very laid back and not interested in being the boss. She was the subordinate pig to very dominant Linney for almost 5 years, and was very happy to resume that role when we introduced Hadley, who was about half her size at the time!) And subordinate pigs are not necessarily less happy than dominant pigs (it may not be that apparent in a pair, but there are responsibilities that come with being top pig. It's not all benefit! Pigs that aren't the boss get to abdicate some of that responsibility. Not all pigs can wear the crown, and not all even want to!) They will work it out themselves, based on their personalities. It sounds as though they are doing fine in negotiating the relationship. With a pair of girls, you are going to see periodic dominance displays based on hormones, and at 5 days in they are really still getting to know one other. I know there are some sticky posts at the top that talks about dominance behaviors between sows that might answer more questions. But this sounds like a normal 'getting to know you' phase to me. Hope this helps!
 
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