Socialising

Elliejane

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Hi all,

We have just adopted a new guinea pig, she was on her own in the shop and I believe she had been on her own for around 3-4 weeks. I know guinea pigs should not be kept alone. I am wondering if we need to get another one or because she was on her own already, it will now frighten her if we introduce her to a second guinea pig.

Thanks :)
 

Piggies&buns

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She needs to be with another guinea pig, they are highly social animals and need to be kept in pairs at all times. I imagine she was alone in the shop because the others had been sold. If she is a pet shop piggy, then she is possibly very young and young piggies, even more so, need companionship.
 

Elliejane

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Yes, she is between 12 and 14 weeks and still there because she had not been sold. My concern is that she has now been on her own for a few weeks, will this not matter?
 

Piggies&buns

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Piggies&buns

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Character compatibility is vital to a successful bond, you must also go about introducing new piggies the right way. It must be done on neutral territory and following the correct procedure.
Dating at a rescue centre is the safest way to find a new friend for a piggy as that way you can be assured of compatibility (so you’re less likely to run into bond problems), new piggy won’t be pregnant and will be healthy. However, I’m not sure how easy it is going to be at present with lockdown restrictions in place and some rescue centres not able to rehome at present. It would be best if could call some centres and ask if they can help find a new friend for her. Ultimately though, her needs must come first and if it’s going to be a long time before a centre can help you, then you may need to get another from a pet shop for her sake, but you will need to be sure that the new piggy is also female.

Guides below explain

Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
 
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Elliejane

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Thank you, that's really good to know. I have a cage that is 100cmx55cm on one level. Will that be big enough for 2 piggies?
 

Siikibam

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Two piggies need minimum 120x60cm. Additional floors don’t count as they are ground roaming animas. There is a ferplast or Midwest which meets the minimum requirements. there’s also a C&c cage which can be configured. Have a look at the pinned threads in the housing section.
 

Piggies&buns

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:agr:

sadly that doesn’t meet welfare requirements even for a single piggy. Two sows must have 120 x 60 as a minimum, 150 x 60 is recommended though
Cage Size Guide
 

Elliejane

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Thank you, will look at bigger cages and am contacting some rescue centres to see if they have any for when we get a bigger cage
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you, will look at bigger cages and am contacting some rescue centres to see if they have any for when we get a bigger cage
You’ll need a bigger cage straight away really, the cage isn’t big enough for your piggy even while on her own

with lockdowns etc, there may be a delay in getting a friend, you’ll have to see what the centres say - ring them today - , and you’ve got to do what is right by her so it may mean taking the risk on another pet shop piggy and hoping for the best when it comes to compatibility, particularly as she has already been alone for such a long time
 

Siikibam

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You should aim to get the bigger cage as soon as. The minimum for a single piggy is still 120x60cm. Email rescues and let them know your girl is young, single and looking for a friend. I think given her age it’s urgent. So I wouldn’t discount rescues that are a little further away from you.
 

Elliejane

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Yes, will look into it today and try to get one asap. A rescue centre said it would be okay to get a neutered male, do you agree?
 

Siikibam

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Yes that’s fine, as long as they like each other. That’s the important thing. When was the male neutered?
 

Piggies&buns

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Yes, will look into it today and try to get one asap. A rescue centre said it would be okay to get a neutered male, do you agree?
yes absolutely fine to have a neutered male (provided he is six weeks post neuter so is infertile). A sow/neutered boar bond is often most stable.
the guides i linked in above explain further the combinations of pairs
 

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I just wanted to say well done - you have taken all the advice on board, and are clearly trying hard to do the best for your new piggy.
She is a very lucky girl to have ended up with you and not be destined to live a life alone.

And fantastic news on contacting the rescues too - they will offer much more support and better advice than the pet shop.
Can't wait for updates on your piggy journey.
 
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