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Guinea Pigs/Introducing new guinea pigs


My 13 year old daughter adopted a baby guinea pig a year ago and has absolutely fallen in love with her she is a very attentive and spends the majority of her time with her little pet. She has researched everything she can get her hands on about guinea pigs and in doing so discovered they need companionship. So recently we have adopted a new baby guinea pig. After a quarantine period she started introducing them in separate cages close to each other letting them "talk" it seemed like things were fine until she put them together in a clean neutral area then the older pig seemed to be picking on the baby (chattering her teeth and trying to bite her, chasing her around the play pen) of course this scared my daughter to death and she separated them. She has tried a couple more times but the aggression seems to occur quicker each time. I am wondering what we should do at this point to help them get along or IF they will be able to get along. My daughter is really discouraged but sincerely loves them both and was wanting so badly for them to be the best little friends...Please help!!!

Not to worry mom, everything will be fine. It's perfectly natural for the "boss hog" to exercise her authority as the senior resident. As long as she is not actually biting and drawing blood on the baby they will be fine.

Introducing any animal into a new environment creates a chain of events as the newcomer is taught the rules of the den. Since the new one is a baby she will accept the dominance and respect that she's not the leader. It typically takes three or four days for things to settle down.  

Introductions on neutral ground doesn't change the fact that the queen makes the rules inside the cage. She was first and she expects the new baby to respect that authority. And she will. She may chase the baby away from the feed bowl, but she's simply reinforcing her dominance and as soon as the baby shows that she's willing to accept the terms they will become friends.

Tell your daughter not to be discouraged. Animals don't have the same emotions that we do. You can't explain to the older pig that the baby is no competition. They will work it out. There may be a nip or two but as long as there is no serious injury just let them work it out. They will be fine.

Please keep in touch and let me know how they do. And if you have any other questions please feel free to ask.  I'm happy to help.

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Pat VanAllen


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.


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.

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.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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