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Thread: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    My 6-yr-old boar, Tribble, is recovering from mild GI stasis and seems to be doing very well. As he recovers, I can't help but speculate on the reason he might have gotten sick in the first place. After a lot of thought and observation, I really think that the big, underlying reason is that he wasn't eating enough hay throughout the day. And I think he wasn't eating enough hay because he's alone throughout the day and has nothing to stimulate him to get up several times a day to go eat.

    Tribble lost his cagemate in mid-January, and at first, he seemed to relish in the expanded cage space. He was actually highly active following Flower's death because I switched everything around in his routine. He's always seemed to do great on his own as long as he has attention from me. But after school started again, I've been gone all day, 5 days a week, and I'm typically busy with homework during the evenings and on weekends. I live alone, and there's no one nearby who could come visit him during the day.

    I know he must get horribly lonely, but I'm hesitant to adopt another pig for two major reasons: 1.) he is 6, and I have to wonder if the benefits of a new cagemate at this point would outweigh the stress on him. (However, he is a very laid-back guinea pig and has had several cagemates before at various times.) 2.) I'm limited financially, but I do have a few hundred dollars in a vet fund put away. But I'm even more limited in terms of time. I'm concerned about what I would be able to do if any of my pets should get sick at any point. The only reason I was able to give Tribble extra care and attention during his illness is because I was on spring break last week.

    I'm torn and have a lot of conflicting ideas rolling around in my head about what would be best to do for him. It breaks my heart to think that Tribble is lonely, but I also don't want to get another pet that I may not be able to give the best medical care should the pet need it.

    I could really use some input and some different perspectives on this situation. What would you do? Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    Hello unfortunately I do not have any experience with your question but I will try to help best I can. First off I am sorry for the loss of your other piggy buy glad to hear that Tribble is recovering from his mild GI stasis. I know it seems coincidental to you providing less attention but I can't help to wonder if he is just an older piggy who got sick. Again my pigs are younger so I don't know how older piggies are.


    I think the main thing you need to ask yourself is if you want to adopt another piggy? With Tribbles older age he is getting up there to life expectancy. If you adopt a younger boar and Tribble passes then what is your plan with the younger boar? Would you want to start the whole thing over with another friend? I understand you could financially afford it, but I know you mentioned you are busy with school right now so I wonder if that might not be the ideal situation.


    If so then I would think of ways to spend more time with him. Maybe while doing homework or studying he could be on your lap or you could sit with him in a play pen? Or take time to stop by his cage and pet him and hand feed fresh veg in the morning before class and then a couple times in the evening? I am not sure what your current routine is or how much he enjoys being handled. Unless you are working during the weekend I bet you could prioritize some time for him


    If he was excited by the cage changes possible rearrange his hideys more often or even get some new ones. Also what type of hay are you feeding? I have a oxbow meadow hay I use as "treat" hay and then normal 2nd cut timothy from Small Pet Select. I know 3rd cut can be more appetizing (it is softer) but you have to mix it with 2nd cut because it is lower in fiber. Maybe experiment with a few different ones to see if you can find one that excites him more.


    I hope this helped a bit.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    In my experience, NOTHING makes up for not having one of his own kind for company!

    We had a boar who was single for a year after his brother died and although we gave him loads of attention, it became obvious that he was lonely. He became overly attached to me and would get depressed if I was out of town on business. He became less active, stayed in his cozy, ate less, and didn't want to come out for lap time with my husband. Everything changed when I brought home this beautiful little ruby-eyed Texel sow.......it was love at first sight for both of them. He was still very bonded to me, but was no longer lonely.

    Why not adopt a boar of about the same age? That way you aren't committed to an ongoing period of time to keep cavies. @wheekermommy made some great suggestions for interacting with him whenever possible. That helps, but just won't make up for not having a buddy. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    Thanks so much for your replies!

    @wheekermommy: You may be right about the GI stasis just being coincidental.

    Still, I can tell from his behavior during the day when I may be at home but not actively giving him attention that he's very bored and just doesn't have much motivation to do anything. He usually picks a favorite spot and then settles in there and just sleeps and doesn't really come out much, not even to eat. At first, I was like, "Well, he's an old man." But in the evenings when I get him out, he just seems so much more alive.

    I know that most GPs tend to be more active in the mornings and evenings and less active during the day, but compared to just a few months ago when Flower was still with us... I don't know... this just feels different. It doesn't feel like just an old guy enjoying his naps anymore. I feel like he's a little depressed when I'm not giving him a lot of attention. But all I have to go on there is my gut.

    As for giving him more attention: I feel like I'm already giving him a LOT of attention, certainly as much as I have time for. I'm pretty much doing all the activities @wheekermommy mentioned, and then some. He doesn't particularly enjoy laptime, just because he's usually too busy to sit still for a long time. But he gets attention in the morning before I leave. When I come home, he goes straight into his playpen and I'm sitting on the floor with him while we eat dinner and I do homework; I talk to him; we discuss the TV show we're watching. Then before bedtime, I "take him for a walk" around the house (I shuffle around in my bathrobe and drop lettuce and he follows me ). I do everything for him that I can, and I think it's more than a lot of pigs may get most days, but it's the 50-60 hrs a week that I'm gone and he's alone that I'm concerned about.

    I'll definitely try switching up his routine more often and introducing new enrichment in the meantime while I'm still thinking the whole thing over.

    As for whether or not I want another pig; I think I'd really like to have another one. But you are right that the decision sort of hinges on whether or not I want to continuing keeping pigs long-term and whether or not I can. I know that I would absolutely want to continue keeping pigs. The question of whether or not I can is much more difficult to answer... I don't like the idea of people getting pets without regard to the animal's needs. But I'm not ignorant; I have a good idea of what I'm getting myself into when I adopt a GP.

    I'm just thinking of if a pig gets sick and needs regular feedings like Tribble did this past week, or if a pig needs surgery for a bladder stone or something; those are the things I just simply can't handle right now. My situation isn't ideal, but I know that I could provide a pig in need with a loving, safe home, a clean environment, and enough attention to keep a bonded pair happy. I can't do everything, but I'll always do everything I can. The question is, is that enough???
    Last edited by LittleSqueakers; 03-14-18 at 05:27 pm.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    Just a thought..........why don't you find a rescue that will permit a meet-and-greet and see how Tribble reacts with/gets along with any of their boars? Both of you just might find the perfect candidate for a new roommate for him. You say he's pretty laid-back? Not likely to find a spayed female, but that would certainly be a possibility. I had a neutered male/intact female pair and they were just the happiest, cutest couple I could have asked for. Keep an open mind.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    Oh, yes! Tribble's had 3 previous cagemates: one was a male littermate (Nibbler), the next was an unrelated boar (Rolo), and Flower was an older, spayed female. I got both Rolo and Flower from a rescue in a city about 2 hrs from me. The rescue coordinator had me bring Tribble along and we did a whole speed dating thing and Rolo and Flower were each wonderful pairings for him. At his age, I would ideally like to get another spayed female. He's old enough that I think he just needs to settle down with a nice girl.

    So, you think it's still a good idea to get another pig? Even though my situation isn't ideal?

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleSqueakers View Post
    So, you think it's still a good idea to get another pig? Even though my situation isn't ideal?
    Few cavies ever live in an "ideal" situation"........except perhaps mine. I think that you are the only one who can make the decision. We have given you our input, but you are the one who ultimately has to be responsible for that decision. Follow your heart but also be realistic. None of us will judge you for whatever you decide to do.

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    I've always though to having any kind of pet as similar to having kids (though I don't have any). Given unlimited time, money, and other resources, you can probably ensure they have the absolute best, perfect life and care. Unfortunately, you have none of that so you have to make due.

    This forum is great because it provides SO much information, but the downside is that there's a lot overload. There are people here who definitely put wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more effort into taking care of their pigs than I do. At the same time, the two boars I adopted came from owners who crammed 2 at a time into a PetCo cage. I like to think I fall somewhere in the middle, but the gap between these kinds of owners is HUGE.

    Speaking from personal experience, I don't have the time to devote hours a day to bonding with them, taking care of them, switching their environment around to keep them stimulated, etc. But do I try and spend quality time with them? Yes! I might have them on my lap or desk and have them munch on stuff while I do work. Or I'll spend some time with them on the floor while cleaning their cage.

    If I was in your situation, I'd adopt another pig. It'll only lead to good things. If you enjoy having your pigs, you'll make it work.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice: Adopt another pig for my older boar?

    Thank you everyone for all of your kind advice. I think what I really needed was to hear a different perspective on things to help me make my own decision.

    You're right: there are no perfect situations or pet owners and everyone has their own way of providing for their animals the best they can. Everyone has limitations. But being limited doesn't make me unfit to own a pet. I may not have a lot of time or money, but I still have a pretty great setup here, and I know that I could provide a great home to an animal in need and improve the quality of life for my current pet as well. I can't do everything, but I'll always do everything I can. And for now at least, maybe that's enough.

    Thank you all!

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