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Guinea Pigs/Is it possible to keep a single boar happy? Could I introduce a friend for him later?

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Question
I've planned on getting a guinea pig for awhile (will be my 1st) and have been doing my share of research to be the best little piggy mommy I can. I knew that I would like to get a male but after learning that guinea pig should be housed in pairs I committed to the idea of getting two boars and researched their needs. I read that males need more cage space (not a problem for me) but I also read that during their 'teenage' years they may begin to fight and that may result in them having to live in separate cages (because of injuries) but them I read that the chances of them getting along is better with a older boar & a younger boar. I was wondering if it'd be okay to just get the single boar and once he's older try to introduce a younger boar as a friend? How do I keep him from feeling lonely as a single piggy(will I and my brother spending most of the day with him be enough)?

Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my question. I'd just like to do what's best for the guinea pigs and avoid any serious fights between the boys.

Answer
Congratulations on your decision to bring a guinea pig into your life. It will change you forever and you'll quickly learn that what some people think are just rodents are the most cuddly, loving and enjoyable pets there are. They are easy keepers that give back to much.

Although it's true that these are herding animals and like living in herds it is absolutely possible that they can be happy by themselves. If you have an older boar and later want to get a baby as a companion for him he won't have a problem with the youngster. The issue with boars is that all too often once they reach their sexual maturity they're driven by hormones rather than good sense. I suppose that could be compared to young human men as well.

If this is a pet you will spend as much time as possible holding him, loving him and playing with him. He will not be lonely. He will hear the sound of your voice and chirp at you, he'll hear the refrigerator door open and let you know he's waiting for his carrot or lettuce. He will equate you with love and happiness. What more could he ask for.

You'll also need to consider that with two pigs your cage will need cleaning twice as often. The feed will cost you twice as much, and you'll have to try to divide your time and attention in half. So logically speaking a single boar is the best choice for you. And if your brother is there that one little guy will get twice as much attention.

So don't worry about having to provide him with a buddy. You will have a happy and playful pig that will give you many hours of pleasure.

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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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