Trio To Quad? Advice Appreciated

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Guineapigfeet

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Hi, I have three 9 month old (ish) sisters who get along great. Chewie and BB are more affectionate to each other than to Rey, but no one is bullied or left out in any way.

The accountant at work also has a pair of older girls (maybe 3 yrs?) and has previously asked if I would take the remaining when one died, as she doesn't really want an ongoing cycle. I've said I would consider it but gave no definite response.

One died this weekend. She hasn't asked me if I will take the other but I'd like to get some advice, just in case. I would of course ensure that the pig is fully healthy before any intros but I really don't want to risk destabilising my trio and I don't want 2 pairs.

If I did take the older girl and a quad didn't work, is it likely that my three will be happy still, or would it cause long term issues between them even after I take the older one away?
 

Wiebke

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Trying to introduce another sow to a group should not destabilise your existing group, as sows are wired to live in a core group with one male of their choice. Whether the bonding works, depends largely on how dominant new sow is and whether she and your top girl can come to an agreement as to who comes top. All you can do is to offer your friend the option to try and see whether the sows get along.
PS: Unlike boars, sows that have peacefully lived together in a group at some point (even after a a several years gap), especially if they keep in contact through mesh in my own experience. Guinea pigs have good memories, but what throws us humans is that they identify themselves first and foremost as part of a group. I can understand your concerns re. splitting up a happy group, however. ;)

Here is more information on bonding:
Illustrated Bonding Behaviours And Dynamics
Introducing And Re-introducing Guinea Pigs
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pig Rescue Centre Locator
 

Guineapigfeet

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Thank you, that makes me feel much better!
If she does ask me to trial a quad, I had queries regarding the bonding space. My trio live free range in a shed which is obvious not suitable for intros. They also have a smaller indoor which is too small for four pigs let alone bonding but is very much 'theirs' anyway. I do have a 5x2 C&C which they have been in only once for just a week and it is dead easy to wipe down. Ideally, I'd keep newbie in her own indoor cage (which would come with her) next to my girls for a day or so, but if they are in the C&C for this 'through the bars' time, would it become too much 'theirs' for intros?

My partner also mentioned the carpet issue - if the bonding were to go well. The girls have floor time on dining room floor at the weekends and they never pee on the carpet, they always go back into their pen. If a new pig peed on the carpet persistently, he would veto and I don't want to stop my girls running around.

If she decides not to get another pig and bonding doesn't go well or we decide we don't want a quad, I may offer to try and find a new home via this forum's rehome section, rather than her resort to other means.
 

Swissgreys

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I have to say that all sounds very reasonable and well thought out.
I think it would be fine to use the C&C for your girls for some cage to cage interaction, and then remove everything and wipe it down before using it as the bonding area.
I will also be watching this thread with interest as I have recently heard about 2 sows coming into rescue, although one of them is currently very ill.
The rescue contacted me to ask if one of the sows didn't make it would I consider trying to introduce the remaining sow to my current group (1 boar and 2 sows).
Ironically this is the rescue that initially refused my request to home guinea pigs because I have children under the age of 12......
 

Wiebke

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At this time of the year, and weather permitting, you could consider bonding in a run on the lawn, if that is an option.

I have covered the favourite resting corners with some plastic and an old towel on top to protect the carpet and prevent accidents. Get some puppy spray; if you treat immediately after, the spots will come out in the next big carpet clean.

We have got a recommended rescue locator on the top bar, but at the moment, many rescues are overflowing in the wake of a major rescue of over 300 piggies, which has grown to over 400 due to over 100 of them being pregnant sows.
 

Sach15

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I think that's a fab idea. We currently have 4 sows and are still adding :D moving the trio to a quad was one of the best things we had done as two of the girls buddied up and left one out so we got another and now have two lots of bonded girls. They all sleep together and they all run around together. Much better set up now than it was with three. You have to take into consideration piggies personalities and we have found that if the dominant sow accepts the newbie the rest follow. Keep us updated x
 

Guineapigfeet

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Thanks very one, haven't been approached about it as yet . . .
 
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