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Introductions Cage mate has passed - new cage mate - Males

AprilBird03

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First let me say I'm the 'Grandmother' of the pigs. My daughter is that actual mom and she is 14 and had them for 3 years.

This morning one of our pair of pigs passed away. There could be a lot of detail I can give, if need be. I will say we took him to the vet, but he passed away before we got there. I did not have a necropsy performed, so we do not know the actual cause of death. We did bring his cage mate in and so far he has a clean bill of health.

We did a lot of research before getting these guys and I know that they are much happier in pairs. I'm not particularly thrilled to get another pig, but I know Moon is going to be lonely. He is also a male so I know that can be tricky. This is not all going to happen tomorrow. My daughter will need some time to grieve and maybe Moon, too? Also we are going to want to be sure that Moon is OK and there was not an issue that was contagious that cause his cage mate, Star, to pass. However, I want to start formulating a plan on if/when/how to do this.

As I said, Moon is a male and not neutered(which I don't believe is really recommended, correct?) and since I have no intentions of become a great-grandmother, I assume the new cage mate needs to be a male. I also assume our best chance at success is to get a young male. As young as we can get, but still old enough to be safe. Is this all correct? Is there another other scenario to consider?

We have a large C&C cage. It is a 2 by 6 panel with the full upper loft and just recently changed the upper to have the 2 ramps. We use the fleece flippers for the bedding.

These two guys were purchased together and if not brothers had been housed together at the pet store and had always been together. We had done research, previously (long story) on introductions. I have read about the baths, neutral area, divided cage for a time, possibility of NOT being able to get them together, the basics. I want to be sure we know as much as we possibly can to give us the best chance for success.

Hopefully that is enough background to get the ball rolling. I would appreciate any and all advice on how to move forward. Moon's mom is 'good', but she is gone at school all day, sleeps all night an has 'activities'. I'd really rather stick with a single pig, but I don't think that will be fair to Moon.
 

scoottie

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Guinea pigs don't need to grieve all he knows now is that he is alone and yes the new cage mate would be a male or a spayed female if you can find one. You can get a young pig I have heard it makes it easier for introductions to be done. The only time you would want to neuter a male is if you are introducing him to a female who is not spayed. And single pigs are never a good idea I have seen single pigs are they are depressed.
 

spy9doc

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The only time you would want to neuter a male is if you are introducing him to a female who is not spayed.

Sorry, but this is inaccurate. There are many reasons for having a boar neutered......hygiene, sheer size of his testicles making it uncomfortable for him to walk or lie down, reducing aggression, and yes, to prevent reproduction. Neutering is a safe procedure when performed by a cavy savvy vet. I agree with getting him a new cagemate. No matter how much attention you give him, it just doesn't make up for having one of his own kind to live with.
 

Soecara

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Moon will need to be in quarantined for 3 weeks, and depending on where you get another guinea pig from you will also need to quarantine them for three weeks, so you may want to start looking around at your options sooner rather than later. For now you will need to keep a close eye on Moon, some guinea pigs can become depressed and not cope very well after the passing of a cage mate, the most concerning sign of this is if they start going off their food.

There are very few circumstances under which neutering is recommended (medical reasons, or you wish to house with an intact sow), neutering a guinea pig is inherently more risky than for most other animals due to the risks of anesthesia but in the hands of a competent and experienced vet it is a relatively safe procedure (relative as in compared to some other surgeries guinea pigs can need to have). If you want to read more about neutering here is a page http://www.cavyspirit.com/neutering.htm

Your options for a new cage mate if you do not have him neutered are either another boar or a spayed sow, spayed sows can be hard to come by unless you have a shelter/rescue in your area that routinely spays/neuters them.

As for another boar age doesn't matter as much as you might think, it is more about trying to match compatible personalities, there are some benefits and downsides for going for a younger or older boar. If you go with a younger boar the introduction process will be a lot easier, but there is a risk that when the younger boar hits puberty you will have a rough time with him challenging Moon, there is a small risk that they could fight badly during this puberty phase and need to be separated leaving you with two solo boars (one or both of which could be injured). If you go with another mature boar the introduction process will be a lot harder, but if they can work it out they are significantly less likely to have a falling out later.

Personally I prefer pairing mature boar to mature boar as if it is not going to work out it is usually very apparent during the introduction process, and if it ends in a bad fight I can step in, split them up, and care for any wounds while they are still fresh (whereas if they have a falling out in the cage it may happen while you aren't there).

Regardless of what path you chose have a read of this page on introductions, also keep in mind for the best chance of success introductions should be one and done https://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html

Also in my experience doing a divided cage for any period before introductions does not help at all, it has actually seemed to make it worse in the case of boars as they are quite territorial towards unfamiliar guinea pigs near the space they have claimed as theirs, and any new guinea pig won't be considered familiar to them until after they have been properly introduced and established who is/isn't the boss.
 
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