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mother of 4 piggies and could definitely use some advice...

Z.Edney

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
19
Hello...so let me start by saying what started as a single guinea pig for my daughter has turned into 4 guinea pigs for myself. How I came to have 4 is a bit of a story that I'll share and then any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Originally we purchased a male we named Nipsy and of course we purchased the pet store cage and then I started googling guinea pigs and trying to learn everything I could to make him happy. I read that he should have a friend because he could get lonely so being none the wiser I purchased him a girlfriend we named Cali. Immediately after bringing her home I then read that you should not put makes with females so rather than return her we got her, her own cage. We decided that we still wanted a friend for Nipsy so we bought Jack and shortly after we brought him home we noticed ths he was sick so we took him back to the pet store with the intentions of getting him back if he got better. Weeks went by with no word so we bought another male we named George. Nipsy and George got along as well as we could of hoped and we were content with our 3 guinea pigs. We had to make a trip to the pet store for hay and saw our little Jack back I in the cage for sale so we bought him again and brought him home. Well Jack did not get along with Nipsy or George and turned Nipsy and George against each other. So Jack got his own cage and Nipsy and George worked out there differences. Well Jack decided that he would break through his cage and stir up trouble every chance he got (there cage was only separated by grids and george was fairly small). Unfortunately I had to make the decision to return Jack which broke my heart. In the meantime Nipsy and George.decided that they could not get along and had to be separated. So now I have 3 guinea pigs in 3 separate cages. I decided to get Cali a friend cause she seemed bored and is a bit naughty. I brought home Sadie who is smaller than Cali. All 3 I believe to be very young but Sadie is very very young. Well needless to say Cali doesn't like Sadie and bites her every time Sadie goes into an enclosed space with Cali. I do not want to have 4 guinea pigs in 4 separate cages and I don't know what to do. Is it something I'm doing, is there something I can do to make them get along, am I overreacting and there fine? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 
Okay first things first, what size are the cages you have for each of the pigs? Males especially need a bit more space than females do which is likely one of the reasons for the fighting.

Second, how did you do introductions? They need to be on neutral territory, outside of any cages and given plenty of time to figure each other out.

Third, please adopt rather than buy your pigs, for many reasons. One of which you mentioned. Many times stores will sell sick, pregnant or mis-sexed pigs. Ask @mufasa about her experience with petstore pig illnesses.

Guinea pigs definitely are social creatures and most will end up getting along, if not at least tolerate each other just fine. I know this is your goal - to reduce the number of cages and offer your pigs each other as roomates.
 
The males had a 4x3 L shaped cage at first then after I had to separate them Jack got a 2x2 and Nipsy and George had a 2x3. Now George is in the 2x2 and Nipsy is in the 2x3. Cali also had a 2x2 and that is what her and Sadie are sharing until I can either make it bigger or possibly separate them. I have read all the horror stories about pet store guinea pigs and I did call local shelters and was told that they did not carry guinea pigs and I looked on craigslist and found no guinea pigs in need of a home in my area. I have sexed all 4 of them myself to be on the safe side. I introduced all the guinea pigs in my living room out of there cages and cleaned there cage and rearranged it before putting them together. Cali does not lunge at Sadie like Nipsy and George did but rather bites her when Sadie comes into her pigloo.
 
Well, welcome to the forum, Z.Edny! I'm sure we'll be able to help you out with your piggy problems :). We also love photos, so we'd love to ooh and ahh over your pigs if you have some photos to post?

Someone else who knows California better can probably provide better/more information, but to my knowledge there are a lot of guinea pig rescues in California. I realise that California is a big state, but some sort of delivery (e.g. guinea pig train) probably could have been arranged.

A 2x2 really isn't enough for two pigs to coexist happily. The girls need at least a 2x4, and the boys need at least a 2x5. It doesn't matter how good your introductions are, if you then cramp them into a 2x2, they probably won't get along.

If by "bite" you mean a small nip with no blood drawn and no fur ripped out, then this is completely fine. This is normal guinea pig behaviour. Guinea pigs like their personal space, and if a pig comes too close, or is "out of line", another pig will let them know. My 7 pigs live very happily together, but even these pigs will occasionally give each other a nip. If this is all it is, then there's no need to separate. It might also be worth taking out the pigloo and replacing it with a hidey with at least two entrances/exits e.g. a small step stool or a "tent" made by attaching a piece of fleece or a small towel to the corner of the cage. This can help to reduce aggressive behaviour. Also, make sure that there is at least one hidey for each pig.
 
A 2X2 isn't big enough for one pig, much less 2. It's no wonder they are fighting. I think I would fight with someone if I had to live in a closet with them.

2 males need at least a 2X5. 2 females need at least a 2X4. I think giving them at least that much space will help curb a lot of the fighting.
 
A 2X2 isn't big enough for one pig, much less 2. It's no wonder they are fighting. I think I would fight with someone if I had to live in a closet with them.

2 males need at least a 2X5. 2 females need at least a 2X4. I think giving them at least that much space will help curb a lot of the fighting.

I have two males in a 2x4 and they're the most compatible of all of my pairs. It depends more on their dispositions. My three females in my 2x5 were the ones that were constantly confronting each other, although they never fought. Since Curly died, the two remaining females are still bickering, even though there's a lot of room for them.
 
Third, please adopt rather than buy your pigs, for many reasons. One of which you mentioned. Many times stores will sell sick, pregnant or mis-sexed pigs. Ask @mufasa about her experience with petstore pig illnesses.
Sorry I didn't reply sooner, but I was out of the country for the past week. But I can tell you firsthand that everything people say here about pet store pigs is true. That adorable pig in my avatar lived only 15 days after we bought him at a pet store. He had a URI, but had virtually no symptoms other than a slightly moist nose and occasional sneeze so we didn't figure it out until it was too late.

I don't want anyone else to go through the heartbreak of burying a pet you've grown to love (and both my husband and I fell in love with that little guy immediately). I didn't know any better at the time, but thank goodness I found this site and now we have two adopted pigs that we love dearly. Still, it breaks my heart when I think about how we were just learning what Mufasa liked and looked forward to a lifetime of spoiling him, and the poor guy got barely two weeks to know what a good life was.
 
One of our newest pet store guinea pigs (Sadie) is actually showing the same symptoms that you just described. She's going back for treatment today. One of our other pet store piggies had a uri that we luckily found early enough.
 
There are more than 100 homeless guinea pigs in California. I'm very surprised you did not find any. Have you checked on petfinder.com?
 
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