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Behavior Question re a single male guinea pig

Carlton

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 7, 2022
Messages
4
I adopted Carlton from the shelter 3 months ago and they said he was 1 year old (no idea of his birthday). The lady said he chased around the male he came in with, so they had to separate them. She said he would be fine by himself. I didn't know a ton about them, so I adopted him. He has a 5X2 cage and everything he could want, but about a month later I realized he was probably lonely. Someone told me to adopt another male and keep him in a separate cage, then let them play together. I did that, introduced them on neutral territory, etc and the new one attacked Carlton. Bit his face and made him bleed. He would just tear up his entire cage, so I called the SPCA and they told me to bring him back. He was just too aggressive :(

My friend then had me watch her 3 month old male for a few weeks and I put the cages together. I let them play but Carlton just tried jumping on him and chased him around the entire time. They didn't fight but didn't really play together either. Carlton started eating peppers and things he didn't eat before. Then the baby left and he has just been sleeping all day. He isn't eating peppers anymore either. He still eats a lot but sometimes just chatters his teeth when he has food, water, hay, etc. I feel like he was happier with another Guinea Pig in the room but i'm not really sure what all the noises mean. I work from home and take him out occasionally, then my kids do when they are home. I have two dogs as well, so I can't just let him run all the time. Some people say they are fine by themselves with enough attention. I don't want to have 2 separate cages and have 2 males that will potentially not even get along.

I was thinking about neutering him and getting him a female friend. It's over $500 where I live for the surgery, but I don't want him to live alone for the rest of his life either. Any advice? Would he be able to eventually be caged with another female? I have an addition I can put on the cage with a divider at first. It's a lot to go through if he may not be able to live with her either.
 
I'd recommend getting a young male, it sounds like he liked the baby and is very depressed now. To start off do not put a female and male next to eachother!!! Even if u plan on getting the male neutered they can mate through the bars. Secondly pig neutering can be dangerous and pricey. Hence why i recommend a baby or non-aggressive male rather then a female. Babys may fight after puberty though, but from my limited experience they're usually fine.
 
Part of your problem seems to result from a misunderstanding about guinea pigs. They don't really play with each other. Not the way kittens and puppies do, for instance. A good pairing means they coexist relatively peacefully in the same cage. A bonded pair might sleep next to each other, but many pairs of pigs never do.

I agree that he was likely doing fine with the baby. But the baby would have eventually gone through puberty, and that might have been really rocky. I think your best bet would be to find a guinea pig rescue and arrange to take him in for a "meet and greet" to find his own new partner. Ideally, you could find a spayed female, which would be perfect.

But before you try to introduce him to another pig, read https://www.guinealynx.info/introductions.html. And if possible, enlarge your cage. It meets the recommendations for size for two males, but more room is always better.
 
I'd recommend getting a young male, it sounds like he liked the baby and is very depressed now. To start off do not put a female and male next to eachother!!! Even if u plan on getting the male neutered they can mate through the bars. Secondly pig neutering can be dangerous and pricey. Hence why i recommend a baby or non-aggressive male rather then a female. Babys may fight after puberty though, but from my limited experience they're usually fine.
If I get him neutered and wait 6 weeks, how could the female still get pregnant? Isn't that what neutering is for? I've had people tell me that the best pairing is Male/female and with 2 males I may always have to worry about fighting. I am taking him to the vet tomorrow for a check up and I'll see how it goes. I wish this wasn't so difficult. Thank you for the advice.
 
Part of your problem seems to result from a misunderstanding about guinea pigs. They don't really play with each other. Not the way kittens and puppies do, for instance. A good pairing means they coexist relatively peacefully in the same cage. A bonded pair might sleep next to each other, but many pairs of pigs never do.

I agree that he was likely doing fine with the baby. But the baby would have eventually gone through puberty, and that might have been really rocky. I think your best bet would be to find a guinea pig rescue and arrange to take him in for a "meet and greet" to find his own new partner. Ideally, you could find a spayed female, which would be perfect.

But before you try to introduce him to another pig, read https://www.guinealynx.info/introductions.html. And if possible, enlarge your cage. It meets the recommendations for size for two males, but more room is always better.
Thank you for the info and yes I am very new at this :( The only guinea pig rescue I have here is petfinder.com. There are usually 1 or 2 at different foster homes. So I should ask if I can set up a time for him to meet another male guinea pig? I'm a little confused on how that would work. They just meet briefly to see if they would fight or not? Then if they don't, I would bring the other male home, put the cages side by side for a few days so they can get used to each other, then do the bonding session? The cage I have is 8x2 (2 feet sections). I misspoke, he is currently in a 6x2 and the other part I could add on. It comes with a divider for the middle as well that you can open or close with a ramp. There are no spayed females. I have been looking for a while. I guess that procedure is a lot harder for a female. I would love to get him a girlfriend though, I think he would be so happy :)
 
It's true that it's sometimes more difficult to pair males than females, but they're not all destined to fight. Some are just very mellow, others are fine when they get through puberty. And even the ones going through puberty don't necessarily fight, but they can go through a lot of mounting behavior.

The rescue will know how to set up a meet and greet, if they allow them. Not all rescues do.

If the measurements are eight feet by two feet, that's plenty of room. But if you have room, wider is better than narrow and long. That way, they're not ever forced to get close to the other one if they don't want to.
 
All the behaviour you describe he had with the baby are normal and good, he was just trying to establish dominance over the baby but would have settled down given more time. Guinea pigs don't play with each other like some other animals.

When you bring home a new guinea pig (assuming you will not be quarantining the new arrival due to them already meeting, if you do quarantine this would mean they need cages in separate rooms and for them never to meet for a couple weeks)you would put them into a large neutral area for several hours until they are well and truly tired then put them into a completely freshly cleaned cage.

Putting them in a cage side by side achieves nothing in terms of introducing them, they won't get to know each other through the bars, and it just encourages bar chewing which can break teeth. Only do this if you do not have time to introduce them properly on the day.

Don't put them in a neutral area only to put them back in separate cages, only put them physically together when you are ready to fully introduce them and that is a one and done event.

Introductions will usually be a rocky event, lots of chasing, crying sounds, rumble strutting, mounting, and even some nipping and teeth chattering sometimes. It will be daunting not to break them up but that is all normal behaviour and it is how they establish who is boss between them. Only separate them if blood is drawn or they turn into a rolling ball of biting (have a towel ready in case of this, they will bite you trying to separate them and it will be a bad bite).

Once they are falling asleep in the neutral area and don't seem to really care the other one is there too much anymore (this may be as soon as 2 hours later or it could be upwards of 8 hours.) then move them to a cage that has no scent left of the old occupant, guinea pigs can be territorial. Expect them to have a rocky few weeks till they well and truly settle in with each other.

Sometimes introductions go significantly smoother but prepare yourself for it to be rocky.
 
If I get him neutered and wait 6 weeks, how could the female still get pregnant? Isn't that what neutering is for? I've had people tell me that the best pairing is Male/female and with 2 males I may always have to worry about fighting. I am taking him to the vet tomorrow for a check up and I'll see how it goes. I wish this wasn't so difficult. Thank you for the advice.
Sorry i think i phrased that wrong, j meant don't have them next to eachother before the 6 weeks passes, even with a separator, as they can mate through bars.
 
All the behaviour you describe he had with the baby are normal and good, he was just trying to establish dominance over the baby but would have settled down given more time. Guinea pigs don't play with each other like some other animals.

When you bring home a new guinea pig (assuming you will not be quarantining the new arrival due to them already meeting, if you do quarantine this would mean they need cages in separate rooms and for them never to meet for a couple weeks)you would put them into a large neutral area for several hours until they are well and truly tired then put them into a completely freshly cleaned cage.

Putting them in a cage side by side achieves nothing in terms of introducing them, they won't get to know each other through the bars, and it just encourages bar chewing which can break teeth. Only do this if you do not have time to introduce them properly on the day.

Don't put them in a neutral area only to put them back in separate cages, only put them physically together when you are ready to fully introduce them and that is a one and done event.

Introductions will usually be a rocky event, lots of chasing, crying sounds, rumble strutting, mounting, and even some nipping and teeth chattering sometimes. It will be daunting not to break them up but that is all normal behaviour and it is how they establish who is boss between them. Only separate them if blood is drawn or they turn into a rolling ball of biting (have a towel ready in case of this, they will bite you trying to separate them and it will be a bad bite).

Once they are falling asleep in the neutral area and don't seem to really care the other one is there too much anymore (this may be as soon as 2 hours later or it could be upwards of 8 hours.) then move them to a cage that has no scent left of the old occupant, guinea pigs can be territorial. Expect them to have a rocky few weeks till they well and truly settle in with each other.

Sometimes introductions go significantly smoother but prepare yourself for it to be rocky.
So I am looking to adopt a female for him in about 6 weeks. I would just bring her home and immediately put them in a neutral area? Would that be stressful for her? I really don't want to set up an entire cage for her just for a few days...but I will if that's best.
 
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