Trio Or A Quad? (currently Just Two).

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Squidgypigs

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We currently have a pair of happily bonded girls. In the next couple of weeks we will be in a position where we can build a large c&c cage for them and thought this may be a good opportunity to expand the herd...

I am wondering if you would recommend introducing one or two new piggies at a time?

Obviously we're in a good position that the extra room is available; should anything go wrong we could house seperately.

Thank you.
 

Wiebke

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We currently have a pair of happily bonded girls. In the next couple of weeks we will be in a position where we can build a large c&c cage for them and thought this may be a good opportunity to expand the herd...

I am wondering if you would recommend introducing one or two new piggies at a time?

Obviously we're in a good position that the extra room is available; should anything go wrong we could house seperately.

Thank you.
Please consider either 2 (preferably bonded) sows or 1 neutered boar, or a mixed gender (sow/neutered boar) couple. The best way to make sure that they get on is by dating your girls under expert supervision at a good rescue that offers this service. Small groups always work a lot better if they can have a say as to who they want to get on with.
You also have the guarantee that any guinea pigs from our recommended rescue are healthy, guaranteed not pregnant/already safely neutered and that you have got the support of the rescue if things don't work out throughout the whole life of their piggies. A growing number of rescues now have a policy to either neuter all boars or at least the ones that come into rescue as singles, so it is worth enquiring.
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A neutered boar does not upset the existing sow hierarchy, so he is a great addition to a well bonded sow pair (provided that initial acceptance happens; cross gender bondings are the most stable of bonds); this is the safest way of creating a trio without causing a potential outsider problem, as the boar has a different role.
With four guinea pigs, you get mini-group behaviour with slightly different dynamics and therefore less of a risk of the kind of outsider problems that trios can be prone to. By merging two already bonded pairs you can ensure that they have always got a friend and there is no risk of one being left out.
When merging bonded pairs, it usually depends on how dominant the two leaders of each group are and whether they can come to an understanding. It generally helps a lot of there is an age difference and if only one of the pairs is adult, so you can get past this problem without too much difficulty.

Personally, I am very fond of my "husboars"; it is a great way of having the benefits of both genders in a safe way, but a lot depends on the kind of guinea pigs that are available in your region. However, with small groups, dating at a rescue is really worth travelling quite a distance, as it is going to save you so many headaches and you get all the benefits from a working group!
 
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