Piggy Is Finally Getting A Friend... Any Tips?

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Annie Robbins

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Hello everyone!

So I am finally able to get another guinea pig for my loner pig. I have read all of the links on the forum and I have read so many things online. Poppy is 5 months old and she is a girl. I am looking to get another girl from the same store I got poppy. I haven't bought the new piggy yet, but I will get her in about a month (that is when I move out of my apartment and will have space for two). Does anyone have any personal tips/ secrets that I can do to help these two bond?

P.S. Poppy likes to cuddle, but sometimes nips
 

Veggies Galore

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are you based in the UK / US or elsewhere ?

If you are near a rescue, it'd be a good idea to see it the rescue offers a bonding service . Not all guinea pigs get on - and a bonding service ensures you get a compatible companion for your guinea pig.
 

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Hi there, agreed with @PiggyOwner, it can be much easier from a rescue and there are other advantages too, but if that is not an option for you then can you bring your piggy with you to the pet store along with a cage with just some hay in to see if they get along?
 

Annie Robbins

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are you based in the UK / US or elsewhere ?

If you are near a rescue, it'd be a good idea to see it the rescue offers a bonding service . Not all guinea pigs get on - and a bonding service ensures you get a compatible companion for your guinea pig.
I am in the US. I sadly do not have a rescue near me. I am getting this guinea from a friend. The new guinea pig is around 2 months.
 

Annie Robbins

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Thanks for sharing that! Will buying the new piggy it's own house, water bottle, food bin, and toys help bond with the other one? So they don't have to share.
 

Freela

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I've bonded sows a few times.... my general method is to first move the newbie into their own cage to do a quarantine period and make sure there are no infectious diseases that can be passed between them. After this, when I have several hours to spend making sure things go smooth, I will introduce them in a neutral space (I actually have put towels down in my bathtub the last two times- they don't know it, there are no corners to be backed into, and I can keep a good eye on what is going on!) I put some food in to give them something to interest them and put each pig at an opposite end... they take some time to meet up in the middle where the food is. I watch them to make sure that there are not going to be any fights. Typically there are some dominance behaviors (rumbling, chasing, mounting, maybe some carefully-judged nips to put the more submissive pig in their place.) Pigs that have accepted each other as friends will often do some mutual grooming of each other's ears and faces and may sit close together once they have decided they want to be friends. There are some more detailed guides about introducing/bonding pigs at the top of the page, as well as some videos of normal dominance behaviors. Once the pigs have accepted each other, I will wash down the entire cage I want them to be in (so that it doesn't smell like the original owner's territory) and then will put them there together and keep an eye to make sure things stay peaceful. I've luckily never had a problem matching up pigs, though I did try to personality-match as much as I could (for example, for my very bossy, domineering pig I made sure that her new friend was very submissive and not inclined to be the boss!) As for buying multiple items, it really depends... pigs will tend to chase each other out of hideys no matter how many you have (the best hidey is the one that someone else is sleeping in, of course!), but it's good to have a resting spot for both. Water bottles and food bottles... I've never had to have more than one water bottle. Sometimes the dominant pig will butt in and steal the water bottle from the subordinate pig, but the subordinate pig just waits in line again and no one goes thirsty. Right now I do have two food bowls, but again, it depends on the pigs... I have gotten used to having two bowls because my previous pig was a food hoarder (she would drag the bowl into her pigloo and sleep basically on it so no one else could have it!), but now that she has passed on and neither of my current pair is prone to hogging all the food I could probably get by with just one. My only other advice is to triple check the gender of the new pig to be positive that it is another female- pet stores have been known to make mistakes at times and you want to be sure that you are not getting a male by mistake!

Hope this helps a bit and good luck with your introductions!
 

Annie Robbins

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I've bonded sows a few times.... my general method is to first move the newbie into their own cage to do a quarantine period and make sure there are no infectious diseases that can be passed between them. After this, when I have several hours to spend making sure things go smooth, I will introduce them in a neutral space (I actually have put towels down in my bathtub the last two times- they don't know it, there are no corners to be backed into, and I can keep a good eye on what is going on!) I put some food in to give them something to interest them and put each pig at an opposite end... they take some time to meet up in the middle where the food is. I watch them to make sure that there are not going to be any fights. Typically there are some dominance behaviors (rumbling, chasing, mounting, maybe some carefully-judged nips to put the more submissive pig in their place.) Pigs that have accepted each other as friends will often do some mutual grooming of each other's ears and faces and may sit close together once they have decided they want to be friends. There are some more detailed guides about introducing/bonding pigs at the top of the page, as well as some videos of normal dominance behaviors. Once the pigs have accepted each other, I will wash down the entire cage I want them to be in (so that it doesn't smell like the original owner's territory) and then will put them there together and keep an eye to make sure things stay peaceful. I've luckily never had a problem matching up pigs, though I did try to personality-match as much as I could (for example, for my very bossy, domineering pig I made sure that her new friend was very submissive and not inclined to be the boss!) As for buying multiple items, it really depends... pigs will tend to chase each other out of hideys no matter how many you have (the best hidey is the one that someone else is sleeping in, of course!), but it's good to have a resting spot for both. Water bottles and food bottles... I've never had to have more than one water bottle. Sometimes the dominant pig will butt in and steal the water bottle from the subordinate pig, but the subordinate pig just waits in line again and no one goes thirsty. Right now I do have two food bowls, but again, it depends on the pigs... I have gotten used to having two bowls because my previous pig was a food hoarder (she would drag the bowl into her pigloo and sleep basically on it so no one else could have it!), but now that she has passed on and neither of my current pair is prone to hogging all the food I could probably get by with just one. My only other advice is to triple check the gender of the new pig to be positive that it is another female- pet stores have been known to make mistakes at times and you want to be sure that you are not getting a male by mistake!

Hope this helps a bit and good luck with your introductions!

Thank you this helps a lot!
 

SkinnyPigRiver

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My experience bonding my baby sows taught me:

  • Introduce them in as neutral an area as possible, on a surface that has no smell from either pig.
  • Give them a lot of room in order to prevent fights.
  • Don't give up if it doesn't work out the first time. It took me about three attempts to get the conditions right.
  • The submissive pig will seem pretty miserable for a few days. Try not to personify the behavior. It takes a few days for pigs to work out their relationship balance.
  • If you set them up with two of everything, it helps a lot. After I finally finished the second "bedroom" loft on the habitat there was no "arguing" over the bedroom. Now they sleep together in one, or each pig stays in her own room. They share the same hay bags and food dishes, but there are two of everything, including tunnels and any toys.
  • The bathing trick really does work, I think it honestly freaks the pigs out enough that they bond through fear. Horrible, I know, but they need to learn how to deal with baths anyways.
  • The relationship will evolve. My subordinate pig is A LOT less subordinate than she was at first. It's fun to watch the two pigs play tug of war with toys and lettuce.
  • You might find it gets smellier. My sows shoot urine backwards at each other, and it ends up on the coroplast and the food dishes (ew). I use a mixture of water and white vinegar to clean it up.
Good luck! It's so rewarding when it works out!
 

Annie Robbins

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My experience bonding my baby sows taught me:

  • Introduce them in as neutral an area as possible, on a surface that has no smell from either pig.
  • Give them a lot of room in order to prevent fights.
  • Don't give up if it doesn't work out the first time. It took me about three attempts to get the conditions right.
  • The submissive pig will seem pretty miserable for a few days. Try not to personify the behavior. It takes a few days for pigs to work out their relationship balance.
  • If you set them up with two of everything, it helps a lot. After I finally finished the second "bedroom" loft on the habitat there was no "arguing" over the bedroom. Now they sleep together in one, or each pig stays in her own room. They share the same hay bags and food dishes, but there are two of everything, including tunnels and any toys.
  • The bathing trick really does work, I think it honestly freaks the pigs out enough that they bond through fear. Horrible, I know, but they need to learn how to deal with baths anyways.
  • The relationship will evolve. My subordinate pig is A LOT less subordinate than she was at first. It's fun to watch the two pigs play tug of war with toys and lettuce.
  • You might find it gets smellier. My sows shoot urine backwards at each other, and it ends up on the coroplast and the food dishes (ew). I use a mixture of water and white vinegar to clean it up.
Good luck! It's so rewarding when it works out!
This is very helpful! thanks!
 
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