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Thread: Bonding/introducing new guinea pig with first guinea pig, sows, please help.

  1. #1
    Cavy Newbie
    Nov 05, 2017
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    Bonding/introducing new guinea pig with first guinea pig, sows, please help.

    I've had my first guinea pig, Leila, for about 5 months now. She's estimated in age about 8-9 months. I held off on getting her a friend for so long because she was sick with ringworm. Ever since I got her, she was sick, so she was very jumpy and didn't like being held for months. I've been holding her since she's healed for a month or two and she doesn't runaway much and tolerates/likes being held now. She does nibble a lot though, but she also licks me. Usually bites when she needs to use the restroom.
    I decided to get her a friend, and I went to an animal rescue that had two guinea pigs. One of them was a large mom who was very sweet. She let just about anybody hold her and never bit, she loved cuddling too. I brought my guinea pig just to see how they'd get along and they licked eachother. They seemed to get along. I only held them close together with no actual introduction. The baby of this mom however, immediately nipped at my pig and terrified her. The pigs were being neglected and living in squalor so I didn't end up adopting her (we're reporting them to the human society.)

    I went to a different shelter, ASPCA. I didn't bring Leila this time. There was a female guinea pig, 9 months old. She was super skittish and knocked everything in her tiny cage over when trying to pick her up. Her description said she loved being cuddled and tolerates being held. Eventually she calmed down a bit. She just got surrendered (for being "too much responsibility") two days ago, so I knew she was just scared and stressed. Her name is Ginger.

    We adopted her and she warmed up almost immediately in the car, licking me and curiously popcorning. We brought her home and planned on quarantining her in an old pet cage I had on the floor next to Leila's C&C Cage (I know you're supposed to quarantine in a different room for two weeks but it's not possible for me. We have dogs). Well, I found a flea on my pillow, and to avoid her getting fleas, I split Leila's 2x3 C&C Cage and put Ginger in there. We held them together and they curiously sniffed eachother until they started disputing a bit, it seemed Leila started it. We put them back and later Leila seemed very curious and excited and chatted and purred away at her all night. I woke up in the middle of the night to them talking. I figured since we can't fully quarantine them, and Ginger seemed to be getting comfortable very quickly, that we may as well try to introduce them again. We got a towel and put it in the bathtub with veggies. Leila had been here before, but months ago.

    For reference, Leila is very tiny for her age. They should be around the same age but I think Leila was the runt and she's only 520 grams, compared to Ginger at 880g. Ginger is also longer. Because of her size and demeanor, including her friendliness, I assumed she'd willingly take the submissive position. At first, they did the normal introduction stuff like little nipping, sniffing, staring down, chattering, head in air (mostly Ginger but it seemed like they were both trying to dominate eachother.) They even licked eachother a few times. They started to worry me again, and I tried not to interfere. They didn't go out of their way to attack or chase eachother, but whenever one got too close, they would start fighting. Biting, whining, loud, angry teeth chattering that I've never heard before. Leila kept having her mouth gaping open. Eventually ginger pulled out a tuft of her hair and had a bit of Leila's hair in her mouth. It was getting a bit scary and was aggressive so I decided it was enough, after about 30 minutes, and separated them. I cleaned the cage completely with fresh clean fleece, separated it, and put fleece over the wall so they could smell and hear, but not see eachother.

    Last night it looked like Leila started the fight, but this time I think it was Ginger. She started chattering almost immediately. She's VERY sweet. She doesn't care about being held at all and it seems like she's used to it because she hardly ever poops on me, unlike Leila, and she has never peed on me, even after about an hour of holding her. She licks me constantly and licks my mouth. She's never bit or even nibbled me. She's cuddly. She's still a bit squirmy because I think she's stressed out. She doesn't chatter when I pet her as much as Leila.

    I'm confused because, in the cage, separated, they don't seem aggressive at all and seem desperate to be together and sniff eachother.

    Given the information I gave with their personalities and what happened, should I be able to successfully introduce and maybe bond them again? I know I made a big mistake my reintroducing them too early so I'm not sure how to come back from it and would like some tips. It's very important to me because I know Leila needs a friend and I don't really have enough room right now to not house them together.

    Also, Ginger doesn't make so much noise but Leila is always noisy in general and she's constantly purring at her. Sometimes they talk and it doesn't sound aggressive. Help please!

  2. #2
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
    Sep 23, 2009
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    Re: Bonding/introducing new guinea pig with first guinea pig, sows, please help.

    You should be able to introduce them, but not like that. A bathtub isn't nearly large enough for introductions. See And do it when you've got plenty of time to give to it.

    But a 2x3 C&C cage is NOT large enough for two females, and I wouldn't put them together until I had more room. You can always get some more grids and expand the area. You need at least a 2x4, and a 2x5 would be better.

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