I was offered a young female skinny pig, Nibbler, in need of a home at this time last year. Her guardian was looking to re-home her after a failed initial placement. She is now almost 18 months old, and as far as I know she has never had another guinea pig to socialize with. I am interested in finding her a companion to improve her quality of life, and I could use some advice from more experienced guardians.
A friend of mine had a pair of guinea pigs who were separated by the death of one, so I tried to pair Nibbler up with the guinea pig who had lost her partner (her name is Bean). Nibbler and Bean did not work out safely, as Nibbler kept aggressively asserting her need for dominance over Bean (who was 3 years older, and much bigger than Nibbler), to the point that Bean was using her size to create space for herself. I had to separate them when Bean bit Nibbler in the foot, causing her to limp, and despite her injury Nibbler continued to assert her dominance (while limping). I felt that the introduction had become too unsafe, although I had allowed them to spend 6 weeks getting used to one another by putting their cages close together, waiting for them to be in an apparent herd pattern in their eating/activity, bathing them together, and completing introductions on neutral territory. Bean has since found a new partner with a different family, and that pairing seems to have been very successful (yay for Bean!).
Meanwhile, Nibbler continues to live alone. She is active and seems relatively content, yet I know her quality of life will be improved if I can find a companion for her. How can I go about finding her a suitable companion? I have looked into the local guinea pig rescues and adoption opportunities, but it has been difficult to find a single pig in need of a home (most I do find are in pairs or trios). On top of that, it would appear the Nibbler's limited exposure to social opportunities may have inhibited her social skills. I do not want to cause Nibbler or her potential companions any injury during introductions due to her assertive nature, and I do not know how to access potential companions outside of the pet store, as the rescues do not seem to have any single guinea pigs for adoption. How would you recommend I proceed from this point?
I really want Nibbler to have the best quality of life she can, and I know that for a guinea pig, that means having a herd. How can I find her a suitable companion? Thank you for your time and feedback.
Look over www.guinealynx.info/companionship.html too.
- Supporter in 2019
How big is your cage?
- For the Love of Pigs
The closest I can find is a rescue in Sacramento. You can ratchet up the distance if you're willing to go farther - Modesto. I didn't check all the pics for location. I limited this search to females.
It looks like a pair, which are probably bonded & should stay together, and 2 others.
For a very few teachers who are real guinea pig lovers, they occasionally bring their guinea pigs to school to visit but never leave them there overnight.
I really appreciate all of your thoughtful replies and recommendations, I will be sure to read the article written by the teacher, and I will look into the Sacramento rescue to find Nibbler a partner. I am committed to helping Nibbler have a high quality of life, so I hope to find her a suitable partner. I understand why teachers will typically only bring their piggies in for visits, and I may do the same thing with Nibbler. She doesn't love the transportation process, so I try to minimize the number of times each week that I ask her to complete the journey. I will update after I get a chance to contact the Sacramento shelter, and take her to meet potential partners! I appreciate this supportive community, and I am always open to information and suggestions to be a better guinea pig guardian.