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Thread: Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

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    Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

    First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this. I know it's long. If you want, just skip to the next paragraph for my general question. My youngest guinea pig was purchased around 6 months of age, and my eldest was somewhere around a year or so old when I rescued her (they were both living together within a month of my rescuing the elder pig). So at first, things were great. The eldest wiggled her bottom, purred a little, and the youngest cried in submission. It only lasted for like two days, then poof! They had a silent understanding.

    Now my question: Has anyone had experience with two VERY different guinea pigs who just refuse to pal around due to age/personality differences? Is there anything you did to help their bonding, or could it only be achieved once the younger pig caught up in maturity? Or did they just forever have a hot/cold bond?

    You don't have to explain how dominance works or when to separate them or anything. I'm seriously just looking for ways to help them bond so they seem to really enjoy each other's company. It may be hopeless, but I want to try.

    If it helps, here are details of their backgrounds/personalities:

    The eldest one was abandoned when her owners moved. Through a series of random and rushed events, I hurried to get her (she had apparently starved for five days in a dog crate with a near-empty water bottle and soiled cedar chips). So she's extremely shy with people and other guinea pigs. She only takes food from me, and she'll startle at the slightest movement. She's a bully to the younger piggy, and I think it's because she never had a companion. There's no telling how long she went without even seeing her own kind. She is very calm when being handled, but easily frightened by noise.

    The youngest one is her polar opposite. She was purchased from a pet store (no judgment, please) and therefore lived in a crammed space with tons of other pigs. When I got her, it took less than a week before she was a loud-mouthed, hyperactive, spoiled piggy who screamed for food every time the fridge opened. She remains in-your-face and restless. She'll hardly sit still in my lap without a veggie for distraction. She constantly annoys her older companion with her need for attention.

    On their relationship: They eat together, sometimes sleep near each other. They don't "cuddle" or anything like that, but if I remove one from the cage for any reason (vet visits, quarantine, lap time, etc.) the one left behind acts like their best friend just died. They "talk" to each other, and sometimes the noises are good, sometimes, not so good. It's only been recently that the younger pig wants to try to be dominant. She's big now, but not big enough. The elder one nips at her, purrs, wiggles her bottom, and eventually the younger backs off. Like sometimes they seem like best friends, and sometimes they seem like they just can't get along. Keep in mind these are my first guinea pigs, so I don't have any others to compare them to.

    I can't get a third guinea pig. It's not in the budget, and two eat through my wallet as it is. Also, their cage is 16 square feet, and I can't expand it currently. Their diet is great, they're both perfectly healthy. But any other advice is much appreciated!

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    Re: Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

    It sounds to me, honestly, like you have two little girls who get along pretty well, despite being polar opposites. I had two boars who would co-habitate, but were never the best of friends. They never cuddled, shared food only begrudgingly, and once or twice flew at each other without inflicting any damage.

    Unless your girls are physically causing each other harm (i.e. bloodshed) let them alone to sort out who is the dominant one. Trust me, both are more than likely very happy with each others company and even if one seems distressed, it likely just seems that way. It will take time for them to settle down, and sometimes it takes a lot of time. Patience is your greatest asset.

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    Re: Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

    That is a relief to hear! These are my first guinea pigs, obviously, so I'm not used to seeing them interact (to be honest I'm used to hamsters who just prefer life alone anyways). There's only so much my research/experience has taught me. Everything I read/watched made it seem like guinea pigs are either best buddies or hate each other, but it's nice to hear of a similar experience to mine. Thank you for the response!

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    Re: Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

    You're more than welcome. Enjoy their company, they really are wonderful little creatures. I know you said a third pig isn't in the budget, but I do want to stress that you really should start perhaps stashing money into a vet fund, and perhaps looking in your area for a proper exotics vet BEFORE it becomes an emergency. That way, you'll be prepared if trouble comes knocking at your door. There is absolutely nothing worse than having a sick pig and being powerless to help them.

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    Re: Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

    It sounds as though the younger one is in the throes of puberty! She will settle down as she grows older.

    Keep in mind that cavies need constistency in their lives. My boys love something new, but at the same time don't like their cage setup altered. They too are opposites.....Sparky is the ultimate mellow fellow, trusting, patient, and oh so loving. Chip is a high-strung little soul who can be a naughty boy and a real pest. He used to be a biter, but with a lot of patience and love, that biting became a gentle nip, and now has evolved to licking. Sparky could care less about cuddling, but Chip almost obsessively wants to be glued to Sparky. Fortunately, there is plenty of room for them to get away from each other.

    Cavies are as individual as we humans are. It sounds as though you have observed that in your girls. Cherish their differences. My boys have evolved as they have grown up. They are now 2y 4 mo old and still surprise and delight me.

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    Re: Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

    They seem to actually get along, despite their differences! I've never had guinea pigs that have cuddled, all they've done is sleep close to each other for security. My first two pigs, Aggie and Juno, despite being sisters, were not very similar. Juno was, despite her small size, a feisty pig who loved being in charge and would rumblestrut all over any new surface. Juno was a big bossy boots who hated when I tried adding a third pig to the mix. Juno hated lap-time because she never liked sitting still, so she got floor time everyday. Aggie, however, is quite different. She's my pancake princess, flopping her body down wherever she felt most comfortable (often earning a nip from Juno if she was in a spot that Juno wanted to claim as her own). She loves food and will popcorn at the sound of me coming up the stairs after school with a plate full of veggies. Aggie loves lap-time so long as there are veggies but is quite scared of floor-time. When I tried introducing a third guinea pig, she was overjoyed with the idea of a new friend (I'm still sad that it did not work out because Juno went into fight mode whenever the third piggy was around). It wasn't until Juno passed on that I realized just how close the two were. Aggie basically lost her will to live and even stopped eating hay. I still sometimes have to give her Critical Care formula if she won't eat. I think your pigs are doing just fine together, even if you don't realize it.

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    Re: Any advice for a piggy parent with pigs that insist on a hot/cold bond?

    Thank you all for the helpful replies! I feel much better about their behavior. As for vet bills, I do keep some money saved up for emergencies, and I have Critical Care, syringes, and a few other things for home care if anything happens. I also keep them on a fairly strict routine, so no worries there. I did a lot of research after I got my first one (probably annoyed every exotic vet in the area with my countless questions). Once again, thank you all for taking the time to respond!

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