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How Many? Is there any noticeable benefit (for the pigs) to having more than 2?

zaylea

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Nov 27, 2011
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147
The two I have are clearly best buddies. Cookie follows Oatmeal around and they cuddle together, and it's the most adorable thing ever. They're both very young (about 5 weeks old now) and I've wondered if they'd benefit from having an older pig around (probably female, so I won't have to have the 3rd neutered, and from what I gather, boars smell more but correct me if I'm wrong on that.)

Also, if I did get a 3rd, is it better to do it while they're still young?
 
it would be good to get an older guiena pig while they are young :) Most young guinea pigs will give up there dominance to the older guinea pig. Its much easier when they are young.
Goodluck I Have three guinea pigs :)
 
In standard, yes it is supposed to be easier to bond pigs when they are young, however you have to pick the third carefully to match personalities.
Personally, I've never been able to have three work out. But then again from everything I've read, my guinea pigs absolutely do NOT fit the standard. haha. Adding a third can and probably will upset the hierarchy in place now. It is possible for your girls to become less cuddly and attached to one another by adding a third, though I'm not sure how likely. I've tried having three pigs twice (took in pigs from other people, found them good homes now), and both times my girls who were already living with each other (almost) peacefully began the dominance stuff again. Upon rehoming the third pig, my two girls were best friends for a moment. I remember the day after I rehomed that pig I went in to see them and they were under the same igloo, I thought they were dead and had a heart attack for a second, as that just did not happen with them. That has since never happened again and they bicker constantly but that's normal in my case haha.
I'm babbling, in short adding a third will affect your current hierarchy, how much I don't know. Boys do have "boar glue" which is apparently very sticky and can ruin fleece. Their odor comes from marking so just keep a cozy or something with his scent on it when you clean the cage to avoid excessive marking.
 
Creating a trio also does not "probably" upset the hierarchy. Interestingly enough, if you add a neutered boar to two sows, the hierarchy tends to remain the same with the dominant sow maintaining that position and the boar happy to chase sow butt all day long. Guinea pig relationships/hierarchies are always open to shifting and challenging, so I wouldn't really worry about it. So long as you already have a pair, the hierarchy could change any time, so don't let that stop you.

Anything could happen to any guinea pig relationship at any time, but I really wouldn't heed warnings like your pigs will be less cuddly and attached to one another. I would say, in general, that is an unfounded thing. My current bonded sows were even closer when I added our neutered boar, and months later after adding a 4th pig to the herd not much has changed about anyone's demeanor.

ETA: To address the title of this post though... I would say the increased socialization with another pig would be beneficial to your pigs. My pigs, after they have some chatter-fests, have always enjoyed the addition of another pig. Plus, YOU get another pig, and nothing beats more pigs!
 
I had my big old girl for years before I knew that piggies need company. Fluffy got her friend, Honey, when she was around 3 or 4. They got along great, but we decided to get another piggie to make a trio. That did not work at all. Fluffy and Honey were very territorial despite having a large cage. So after a short bit we realized that our newest piggie needed a friend. Off we went to search for another pig and we managed to get what we believe is her sibling. Fluffy and Honey stayed in one cage, Popcorn and Pepper in another. About 6 or 7 months down the road we decided to build a huge 3 level cage. We tried our luck with putting them all in one cage - and it worked! They had bonded during floor time and when given a new cage with new territory everything worked perfectly. Surprise!

A good thing about a trio is that if one passes the other pig won't be alone. It was a good choice we got two more piggies because Honey passed away. I believe that Fluffy would have been devastated without the other pigs (yes she was upset for a bit, but she recovered). And I think that this possibly is the most important thing.

What I found works really well is introducing the pigs in an area that is not "claimed". We did introductions in a completely different room where the pigs never go. They seemed to do well - a few nips here and there but no all out blood baths. Also, keep the area big enough to run away. I would suggest having a place to hide, such as a blanket that's propped up to created a little shelter. There should always be an escape route though so if one of the pigs gets angry the other can easily get out of the way.

Now, I've only ever had females so I can't speak for male behavior. I also want to point out that there is a chance that the new pig could not get along with your current pigs. So you're going to have prepare for that possibility.

And I want to point out: having piggies is addicting. I started with 1 and now I have 5 as I just got two more pigs 2 months ago...and there's more on the way as one of our new girls is pregnant (was pregnant before she was under my care).
 
PassionPiggies, your tale is a bit of what I'm afraid of! There's no room for a permanent 2nd cage should the 3rd not get along (or if she's preggers!)
 
Passionpigs...do you have a picture of your cage? i'd be interested in seeing it.
 
I'm going to tag along. I'm really interested in the answers. I currently have two young males living in a 15square foot cage, and I wouldn't mind adding an older, calmer male to the mix.
 
My forge into a trio was an utter failure but I think that was because of the personality of the third one. He really didn't like any of the guinea pigs and I think my loud and rambunctious children stressed the poor little thing out. We had to rehome him because we had no way of keeping a second cage, I wasn't sure if he'd want another guinea pig friend or that he was all that happy in our house with the kids.

I am planning on trying again though once Benny Pig gets over his re-URI and probably after Christmas which is a shame I was hoping for a Christmas piggy for the kiddies. This time I am going to go through a rescue so that the piggies can do some dates and if anything doesn't work out I can return him and know the rescue is a safe place for him. It was very stressful picking out a person for Sir Robin to go to. I must have interviewed 4 or 5 people before I found "the one" to take him.
 
Simply speaking from my own experiences, mine seem to only be able to tolerate one another, and even that took awhile. I was not addressing what you should or shouldn't do, sorry about that...
 
I have two pictures of my cage. Before it was a 3 level cage and we recently switch it into a 2 level cage. We just put the 3 level beside the 1st one. It was a much larger space for the larger pigs and we have put the younger pigs on the 2nd level. We are putting up 5 more inches on cloroplast on the 2nd level because of the babies coming along from one of the pigs but the picture doesn't show that.

The first picture is of the previous 3 level cage and the second is the modified, now 2 level cage. Personally having more than one level is a good idea. If needed you can seperate the pigs, as we are doing because of the preggers pig. But if they don't get along that is a nother reason to have more than one level.
 

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