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Guinea Pigs/Adding another guinea pig to our family

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Question
We adopted a female guinea pig about 3 week ago. We love her so much that we are thinking of adopting another. We have a large cage that should be big enough for two girls. Do you have any advice?

Answer
Guinea pigs are as infectious as potato chips, you can't stop at just one. The best advice I can give you is make sure you are getting another of the same sex.  That's the biggest and most common mistake new owners make.

Most often it's because the people in the pet store don't know how to tell the difference, so a pig is sold as a female and turns out to be a male, then weeks later I get questions from people about "Why is my pig getting fatter?"

If your current pig is a grown pig it's best to get a baby. That way it eliminates the territorial issues that come up when two grown pigs are suddenly housed together.

There may be a bit of pushing and shoving at first as the newcomer has 'invaded' the space. That's normal and will stop in a few days. If your current pig is young she'll take to a room mate very quickly.

Congratulations on your choice for a great pet. You'll discover things about guinea pigs that most people never know. They are very social and enjoy their humans. They have a language that you'll learn as you go. It doesn't take long before you know exactly what she's telling you, and you'll jump right to her needs.  

Guinea Pigs

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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