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Guinea Pigs/Adopting a second guinea pig

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Question
We have had a female guinea pig for about a year and a half. We are thinking of adopting a second one as a companion (and because we think having two would be twice as fun as one!) Would it be better to get a male or another female? She has been spayed so our only concern is them getting along and living harmoniously. Also, what is the best way to introduce another guinea pig? We have a large cage that could be divided into two separate areas for each.

Answer
Since your pig is spayed it opens the door for more choices for you. If you're going to get a male you can just put him right in with her. Initially he will try to get frisky with her but if you'd like to see how the females rule the roost just watch her. It's actually comical to see how she makes it clear that she's not interested.

He will rumblestrut and purr and sway trying to get her attention. She'll kick at him a couple of times and when he persists, which he will, she will arch her back and squirt a stream of urine directly in his face. They never miss. Talk about 'cooling your jets' this works every time. After that he will leave her alone and wait until she comes into heat, which she won't.

I would recommend a male because female guinea pigs, much like humans, get real pushy and bitchy with one another. Your pig will be naturally territorial and object to a female coming into her home. Sometimes they will even fight and someone gets injured.

I've found that trying to gradually introduce them on neutral ground doesn't work. The issue is the territory, and neutral ground belongs to neither of them. So even if the get along outside of the cage the dispute will start once they're together. The best way is to just put the two together and see what happens.

Having said that I still feel the male would be the best choice. If the other sow is not spayed she will cycle every couple of weeks and they get very hormonal and cranky during that time. Males are actually more easy going once they get settled in. The new boy will figure out he's only there for companionship and life will be happy.

If you get a baby pig you may not have that problem no matter which sex you choose. It seems that if the cage is large enough it greatly lessens the opportunity for territorial disputes. The resident sow will remain the alpha.

I'd be happy to hear which you finally decide on. And of course I'd love to see pictures.

I hope this helps you make your decision.

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Pat VanAllen

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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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