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Hi there! Newbie with some questions!

onya22

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Hi! In my research, this forum has been so helpful, so I finally decided to make an account! I am hopefully getting my first guinea pig this weekend and wanted to ask some clarifying questions.

The guinea pig I want is an unbonded, 1 yo male from the rescue I volunteer at. I can't wait to take him home!

Yes, one piggy. There are others at the shelter, but for now I would like to only keep one. I need time to get to get to know him so I know the best match for him. Since I am not willing to get him neutered because of the risk to him, it would have to be a boar-boar pairing. He has a troubled past and came from a home with a dozen other guinea pigs and a score of other animals (animal neglect case). He is kept solo at the shelter currently & I am not convinced that he would get along well with another male pig. Is it okay to keep him solo indefinitely until I find the right match? Or should I adopt two & try to bond them right away? I would rather not keep two separate piggies.

Also, is it advisable to introduce him to my cat, assuming proper introductions & precautions? I know it sounds like a terrible idea, but my cat has lots of experience with small animals & I would consider her a "gentle giant rescue kitty."

Would this plan be okay? Please constructive advice only - I am here to learn what's best for my piggy. Thanks so much!
 

bpatters

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Welcome to the forum!

Actually, you should let him choose his own mate rather than your doing it. A good rescue or shelter will let you do a meet-and-greet to see if they're compatible. I'd do it sooner than later.

I wouldn't hurry to introduce him to the cat. Kitty may be perfectly harmless, but the pig will be terrified. Just let the cat sniff around the cage for several weeks, and then revisit the issue.
 

onya22

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Welcome to the forum!

Actually, you should let him choose his own mate rather than your doing it. A good rescue or shelter will let you do a meet-and-greet to see if they're compatible. I'd do it sooner than later.

I wouldn't hurry to introduce him to the cat. Kitty may be perfectly harmless, but the pig will be terrified. Just let the cat sniff around the cage for several weeks, and then revisit the issue.

Thanks so much! I'm going to ask the animal behavior manager at the shelter about companions for him - he seems pretty confident & dominant. A meet and greet would be perfect & I will likely try that after he settles in. I will definitely take time with the cat introduction as well.
 

4boipigs

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I would strongly suggest you pair him with another pig at the shelter. Since you work there, you already know the other pigs (I assume) and will be able to choose and oversee the potential bonding. It will be much better for him and easier for you to just go ahead and try bonding now. LA Guinea Pig Rescue/Saskia on Youtube has tons of helpful videos on bonding males.

In Oct, I went to a shelter and got a baby who came from a hoarding situation. He was housed w/ 2 other boys at the shelter - another baby and an older male. The shelter allowed me to do the bonding there with my bereaved male and all went well! Since guinea pigs are herd animals, having a friend makes transitioning to a new, happy life much easier. My little scared baby learned a lot from his partner!
 

onya22

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I would strongly suggest you pair him with another pig at the shelter. Since you work there, you already know the other pigs (I assume) and will be able to choose and oversee the potential bonding. It will be much better for him and easier for you to just go ahead and try bonding now. LA Guinea Pig Rescue/Saskia on Youtube has tons of helpful videos on bonding males.

In Oct, I went to a shelter and got a baby who came from a hoarding situation. He was housed w/ 2 other boys at the shelter - another baby and an older male. The shelter allowed me to do the bonding there with my bereaved male and all went well! Since guinea pigs are herd animals, having a friend makes transitioning to a new, happy life much easier. My little scared baby learned a lot from his partner!

Thanks for your feedback. We got him today & he's settling in. Do you know how long that will take? He was pretty outgoing at the shelter but now prefers his igloo & is reluctant to be picked up. He's eating and drinking fine.

I am going to set up a time for him to meet the other pig & do the bonding at the shelter, hopefully Wednesday. He's definitely lonely and likes me to play guinea pig noises for him. He will hopefully have a partner in crime by the end of the week though. I've done a lot of research on bonding boars and am going introduce him to one of the more submissive ones since he seems pretty dominant - I have one in mind that I think will be a good match & hopefully he will agree.

I thought about taking the other boar home right away, but the shelter staff said that he had never been housed with other piggies to their knowledge. They said it might be better if I just watched him for a while and let him settle in. I think he would have benefitted from a friend right away though, especially because I'm the one who works with the guinea pigs!
 

onya22

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Thanks for your feedback. We got him today & he's settling in. Do you know how long that will take? He was pretty outgoing at the shelter but now prefers his igloo & is reluctant to be picked up. He's eating and drinking fine.

I am going to set up a time for him to meet the other pig & do the bonding at the shelter, hopefully Wednesday. He's definitely lonely and likes me to play guinea pig noises for him. He will hopefully have a partner in crime by the end of the week though. I've done a lot of research on bonding boars and am going introduce him to one of the more submissive ones since he seems pretty dominant - I have one in mind that I think will be a good match & hopefully he will agree.

I thought about taking the other boar home right away, but the shelter staff said that he had never been housed with other piggies to their knowledge. They said it might be better if I just watched him for a while and let him settle in. I think he would have benefitted from a friend right away though, especially because I'm the one who works with the guinea pigs!

So, I got him a friend (2 yo boar) and they had their meeting today. It went okay - they seemed pretty relaxed after hanging out in the large intro area for 2 hours. Then I put them in their cage (totally cleaned & scent free, plenty large enough), and they were at it again. Teeth chattering, rumblestrutting, generally acting agressive, lunging, etc. No way I was going to leave them like that. It was so weird. One minute they were super relaxed and lounging around while eating hay. The next second they were about to fight.

Is all hope lost for this introduction? Can I start again more slowly? Would it be better to return one to the shelter and keep trying to find a new buddy? Or have them in habitats side-by-side? They seem to enjoy each other's company - just not in the same habitat.
 
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Butterfly898

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I would suggest introducing them to eachother gradually over time.. 10 minutes the first day, 20 minutes the next day, etc
and then over time do an hour. and so on.
Make sure to not put them in one piggy's cage - do it in a neutral territory like a small bedroom with the door closed.
It might take a couple of weeks to get used to eachother,
so you might have to maintain 2 cages for now, each with own water and food.
 

Soecara

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I would suggest introducing them to eachother gradually over time.. 10 minutes the first day, 20 minutes the next day, etc
and then over time do an hour. and so on.
Make sure to not put them in one piggy's cage - do it in a neutral territory like a small bedroom with the door closed.
It might take a couple of weeks to get used to eachother,
so you might have to maintain 2 cages for now, each with own water and food.

Gradual introductions are not the way to introduce guinea pigs, every time you put them together and take them apart they start from scratch and it is very stressful for them. Introductions should be one-and-done, put them in a large neutral area for as long as it take for them to calm down and start napping then put them into a large cage (minimum 11sq feet/1sq meter for two) that has been completely cleaned of any existing scent if you already had a guinea pig living in there. Have a read of this page for more info https://www.guinealynx.info/introductions.html
 

bpatters

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Do not do gradual introductions. Guinea pigs are wired to establish dominance over other pigs, and they'll try to do so every time they meet. Introducing them gradually only stresses them out and makes it more likely that they will never get along.

See the link [MENTION=24757]Soecara[/MENTION] gave you -- that's the "bible" for guinea pig introductions.
 
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