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solitary confinement

xanima

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
86
What really surprises me here it that having one pig is seen as absolutly okay.

When I look at my pigs living in a group and I imagine them having to spend their lifes alone even the thought hurts. Especially when I hear them keeping contact to each other all the time, constantly talking to each other. Or when they run in my room and all walk in a line not to loose each other.

There are worries that a pig might be hurt by a rabbit but that they both don´t have partners is fine? I agree, a rabbit might hurt the cavy and maybe even kill it. But what about the psyche of a social animal like a guinea pig that has to spend his life (or parts of it (which is bad enough) alone?)

And it is not allowed to show a picture of dried vegetables but keeping a cavy alone is okay.

Health okay, it is important to take good care of them, feeding the right food... But what about the mind?

In the german forums I know (and I know several) when someone introduces himself and has only one pig no one would ignore that fact.
Actually nowadays even when people have two pigs they are often advised to change that. Mostly when they have two girls without neutred boar or two babies without an adult cavy to teach them and give them safety.

For me two is the absolut minimum. Better is a group.

Yes, some cavies won´t stop eating and not just sit in one corner when kept alone. But I guess everyone who once has seen the social interaction in a group understands why they really must not life alone.
And a group is so much more fun to watch.
 
My boar is alone simply because he doesn't like other guinea pigs. He was alone as a youngster, rescued from a small animal auction, and several attempts to bond him with other boars has failed. I guess like other social animals there are some personalities that just prefer to be alone. He still popcorns and runs around. He's a happy little chappy!
 
Some Cavies just don't get along with others also, or have a medical condition that makes them unable to be with another pig. I agree that most all guinea pigs should have at least one friend, but some can and will live just fine without one, like my Godric. She hates having other pigs with her, the only pig she ever tolerated (Key word "Tolerated" they never really played or anything) Was Phoenix but she died about a week ago. I think she might actually do better by herself, because all she does all day is try to snap at the other pigs when they get close to her.
 
(broken link removed) Can you put Godric in a cage next to the others? Then they can "talk" without infringing on her space?
 
@Petlovr When typing I remembered I wanted to ask what I should be doing about that, so I just wrote a whole post about it called "Godric's Situation" lol I will look over what every one says, then decide what I should do. :D
 
What forum have you been on? A large majority, if not all, of the members on GPC will highly recommend having more than one guinea pig.

There are worries that a pig might be hurt by a rabbit but that they both don´t have partners is fine? I agree, a rabbit might hurt the cavy and maybe even kill it. But what about the psyche of a social animal like a guinea pig that has to spend his life (or parts of it (which is bad enough) alone?)

I recall the thread you are refering to, but the health/safety of the guinea pigs is most important. Why should anyone advise putting another guinea pig in a potentially dangerous situation? As if it wasn't bad enough to have one guinea pig with a rabbit.


In the german forums I know (and I know several) when someone introduces himself and has only one pig no one would ignore that fact.

Often times new members are ill prepared for the guinea pig they already have, poor housing, poor diet, etc. I think they should right those wrongs before bringing more guinea pigs into their homes. So when we "ignore" the fact that someone only has one cavy, it is usually because they aren't properly caring for the one they already have.
 
(broken link removed) Can you put Godric in a cage next to the others? Then they can "talk" without infringing on her space?

This is just my own limited experience.
But when a loner pig is put right next to other pigs cages, they tend to chew the bars to get to the other pigs, no matter if they dislike them in the first place. Chewing bars could quickly result in broken teeth.
 
In the german forums I know (and I know several) when someone introduces himself and has only one pig no one would ignore that fact.

If someone is introducing him or herself for the first time on this forum, we are specifically prohibited from jumping on them and criticizing. It is bad form to say to someone who is brand new, on the introductions section, that they should not have a single pig, that they were wrong from getting it from a pet store, etc.

That doesn't change the position of the forum's foundation, but it helps the new person to get used to the forum instead of running the other direction. It's also helpful because it means you can introduce yourself without having to write a 10-page story about your pigs, because you are worried that someone on the forum is going to ask why you have only one pig.

I have a pig (Jumble) who is a singleton because she will, literally, kill other pigs. She does not identify with them at all.

We have 3 other pigs, 2 who are bonded, and a boar who is currently single because he is disabled and we are taking our time with getting him a partner who won't hurt him.

Jumble benefits from having the other pigs in the room and certainly enjoys "talking" to them and she likes to look in at them during floor time. It's better for single pigs to have that kind of company in the room. I don't see very many people who would argue against that on this forum.

And a group is so much more fun to watch

I get what you are saying, but when it comes to the welfare of animals, human "fun" should not enter into the equation. Yes, it is fun to watch a herd of cavies streaming around. They are wonderful. But since you have raised the question of cavy welfare with such sharp tone, you shouldn't trivialize it by saying getting a lot of pigs is good because it's good fun for humans.
 
well, i agree with all that's already been said about how some pigs do better alone. my jerry was initially bonded with his little mate kramer, but once he hit puberty, the gloves came off and every time i've tried to introduce him to a companion pig, it's failed terribly - bloodshed always ended the pairings. jerry now lives alone, and is quite content. he gets lots of lap time with me. his cage is right next to the other cage with 3 pigs in it. he can hear and smell them, though i have to block him from seeing them. if he does he gets so agitated he chews the grids relentlessly. i don't think he chews the grids because he want s to get to the pigs, though, because when he's with other pigs he's aggressive and unhappy. i am hoping that once puberty is over, he'll mellow out and i'll be able to introduce him back into the herd, for his sake and for mine (easier to take care of one cage instead of two). the end result is that we all have to get to know each pigs' unique personality, and make the best decisions for their well-being, physically and emotionally that we can. there are generalities about guinea pigs, but ALWAYS exceptions to the rule. i, after all, wouldn't want to be treated the same as all women, simply because i happen to be a woman. . .!
 
But since you have raised the question of cavy welfare with such sharp tone, you shouldn't trivialize it by saying getting a lot of pigs is good because it's good fun for humans.

That wasn´t my intention at all. That is certainly not the reason why I think guinea pigs should life in herds. Or at the very least in pairs. I just wanted to say that the cavies aren´t the only ones who profit from that. Of course you need enough space and money and time for that.
Not for two though! If you can´t afford two you shouldn´t get cavies.

Okay, maybe I missed it then and keeping them alone isn´t seen as that okay as I thought,
and it might be a good idea to not jump at newbies.

But surprisingly in the german forum (about the size of this one, not a small one) I can´t remember a pig so problematic it couldn´t life with guinea pigs.
Some had to be spayed, some only get along in big herds, some needed several tries with different partners but in the end they all ended in a group. Or pair.

And some of the pigs living alone are unfixed males. I don´t understand that.
Because they could just be neutred and would certainly life happily with females.
Companionship isn´t that unimportant that you shouldn´t even try.
My boar wouldn´t get along with males, too. Even when he was still young . My friend once told me he would even show aggressive signs against newborn boars. And so he was neutred a few days after she got him.
But some days ago all his girls walked up on the level and left him alone. And he started calling them immediatly, and was really looking for them. He hates males, but he wouldn´t want to life alone.
Well the content thing... My boar had to life alone after he was neutred until ist was safe to let him be with females- and he didn´t die then. He run around, he ate.
But he is certainly happier with companions.
 
I have to agree with @Cavyness

I was absolutely unprepared when I got George. I thought having multiple pigs was more of a "recommendation" than a "requirement." After getting him I decided it was best to right all of my wrongs with him, and learn as much as I could before thinking about getting another one. Now I feel as if I am prepared for a second, I'm just waiting for one to come along, as I'm planning to adopt my next pig rather than buy him, like I did with George. I think in my situation, which I think is pretty common, it is better to have them by themselves for a little bit than to rush out and buy another so he won't be lonely.
 
But surprisingly in the german forum (about the size of this one, not a small one) I can´t remember a pig so problematic it couldn´t life with guinea pigs.
Some had to be spayed, some only get along in big herds, some needed several tries with different partners but in the end they all ended in a group. Or pair.

Jumble went through 6 males and a female. She tore fur, blood, went after necks, put herself through grids, used her furniture to pile up to climb out of her pen, etc. The excellent rescue and our excellent vet agreed that we should not put her through the torment of trying to keep pairing her with another pig. Not fair to her, not fair to the other pigs. And, as I noted, she is adjacent in her pen to other pigs so she is not without piggy company.

I'd say that it is rare, but I do know a couple of other pigs like that. Interestingly, both are females.

I hope that it is just a matter of phrasing that you note that everyone on the German forum is so much more considerate or skilled with their pigs than those of us on this forum are. I certainly can't imagine that you are accusing me, or every single person with a single pig, of being lazy or undedicated or uneducated.


And some of the pigs living alone are unfixed males. I don´t understand that. Because they could just be neutred and would certainly life happily with females.

As I noted, Jumble is female. And nothing is "certain" with any living thing.

Companionship isn´t that unimportant that you shouldn´t even try.

I don't see where I said that I didn't try, or that others haven't tried. I agree that pigs should be paired. I agree that a lot of people take short cuts. But I also do not think that every pig is like every other pig, and that you should perhaps take the time to learn more about the pigs of individual members before making gross assumptions about whether we have our pigs' best interests at heart.

He hates males, but he wouldn´t want to life alone.
I am genuinely happy that your boar found friends.

But he is certainly happier with companions.

No doubt. But there are pigs that cannot be in the same pen as another pig. They benefit from having other pigs around them, as Jumble does. But I do not ever want to wake up again at 1 a.m. after thinking that Jumble was getting on with a new friend, but instead she is half-dead from trying to kill the other pig.

I'd rather have a living, happy Jumble than a dead Jumble. There is a point at which forcing an individual animal to comply with what is generally true, is cruelty. You will not achieve compliance. You'll just end up with a badly injured or dead pig.
 
No doubt they're generally better off with a companion, but being a solo pig is not going to kill it or cause it to go insane. When we adopted Quee, she was over 4 years old and had lived alone all that time, and she was and always has been in fine health. We introduced her to her three-month-old cagemate Kwee, and they got along like they had grown up together. And as others have mentioned, some pigs just can't handle company.

Let's face it; the average uneducated guinea pig owner does far worse things for pigs than keeping them alone. Cramped cages, poor quality food, no hay or fresh vegetables, no floor time, etc.
 
Jumble went through 6 males and a female.
As I noted, Jumble is female.
I don't see where I said that I didn't try.
I'd say that it is rare, but I do know a couple of other pigs like that. Interestingly, both are females.

You write this as if my last post was directed at you- but it wasn´t. Maybe I answered directly at your post- but still I didn´t meant you.
I was actually talking about unfixed males. And in my opinion the fact that a male doesn´t get along with males doesn´t mean anything. As long as he isn´t fixed you can´t tell whether he gets along with other cavies. So many boars wouldn´t get along with other boars but life happily with females.


I hope that it is just a matter of phrasing that you note that everyone on the German forum is so much more considerate or skilled with their pigs than those of us on this forum are. I certainly can't imagine that you are accusing me, or every single person with a single pig, of being lazy or undedicated or uneducated.

No, that isn´t what I wanted to say. I just have the impression that if you really think keeping pigs alone isn´t an option mostly you will find a way. Not directed at you just generally speaking. And I do have the impression that in some cases the owners give up to soon.
Okay, Jumble is a expection. And if only pigs like her lived alone- fine!
But I think in this forum lots of pigs life alone that would do perfectly well with other pigs.

Mastershroom said:
but being a solo pig is not going to kill it or cause it to go insane.

Maybe not but is that any reson for anything? No floor time and a cramped cage will neither! Just because it is not necessarly deadly it is not okay.

Mastershroom said:
Let's face it; the average uneducated guinea pig owner does far worse things for pigs than keeping them alone. Cramped cages, poor quality food, no hay or fresh vegetables, no floor time, etc.

I don´t think that is worse. In my eyes a pig needs good food, space (with hiding places and such) and companion(s). And I wouldn´t say one of that is more important then the others.
 
Maybe not but is that any reson for anything? No floor time and a cramped cage will neither! Just because it is not necessarly deadly it is not okay.

I don´t think that is worse. In my eyes a pig needs good food, space (with hiding places and such) and companion(s). And I wouldn´t say one of that is more important then the others.
I think we'll have to agree to disagree here. Like I say, companionship is indubitably good for a pig, but it's not as vital as the other things, and it's perfectly possible for a pig to live a happy life on its own, as long as its owner gives it plenty of love and attention.
 
I agree totally with Mastershroom!
 
I think we'll have to agree to disagree here.

We will have to. But this is basically what made me start this thread. Why is this just seen as a "nice extra" instead of a basic need.
And I don´t really see how a human should be able to replace a companion in the slightest.
attention.

In switzerland it it is against the law to keep rabbits and rodents (expect hamsters) alone. I which other countrys would follow.

And: how can you tell the pig is happy? Just because it is eating and moving? Popcorning they often do in a situation when they are happy, but they also do it when they are stressed.
Our neighbor years ago did a really bad job taking care for her pig, it lived with a rabbit, in a cage too small, fed hay only like when she was in the mood, they were lifing outside and the cage not properly isolated- that pig still lived and ate and run around and didn´t look unhappy (what is a unhappy pig supposed to do by the way? The only thing it could do was to stop wanting to live. But they do have a strong will to live.)
And if critisized my neighbor would tell me that pig was happy too...

Of course, you could ask me the same. We can´t ask our cavies. But I do everything I can to keep them as species appropriate as I can. As they life in herds of mixed genders in nature I try to keep as close to that as I can.
 
In switzerland it it is against the law to keep rabbits and rodents (expect hamsters) alone. I which other countrys would follow.

So the guinea pigs that don't get on with others would just be PTS, yes? Seems a pretty stupid idea to me!

And if we can't tell if piggies are happy then how do you know that yours are happy in a group?
 
We will have to. But this is basically what made me start this thread. Why is this just seen as a "nice extra" instead of a basic need.
And I don´t really see how a human should be able to replace a companion in the slightest.
attention.
That's not what I'm saying at all. Companionship is undoubtedly more than a nice extra; it's obviously good for the pigs. The point I'm trying to make is that a pig that lives alone but gets plenty of love and good care will probably be better off than two bonded pigs that live together, neglected in a cramped cage.
And: how can you tell the pig is happy? Just because it is eating and moving? Popcorning they often do in a situation when they are happy, but they also do it when they are stressed.
Our neighbor years ago did a really bad job taking care for her pig, it lived with a rabbit, in a cage too small, fed hay only like when she was in the mood, they were lifing outside and the cage not properly isolated- that pig still lived and ate and run around and didn´t look unhappy (what is a unhappy pig supposed to do by the way? The only thing it could do was to stop wanting to live. But they do have a strong will to live.)
And if critisized my neighbor would tell me that pig was happy too...

Of course, you could ask me the same. We can´t ask our cavies. But I do everything I can to keep them as species appropriate as I can. As they life in herds of mixed genders in nature I try to keep as close to that as I can.
Obviously, two or more pigs living together is the ideal situation, and I don't think anybody here intends to question that; I certainly don't. I am merely postulating that companionship, while still important, is not as important as proper housing, feeding, and care.

Our first pig is visibly much happier now that we got her a young companion pig. But she was far from neglected when she lived alone for 4 years before we took her in, and for the month or so that she was alone with us before we found her cagemate. She has always lived with owners who loved her and took good care of her, and she was in as good health before as she is now.
 
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