Pairing Question - When you don't have a whole lot of time

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M1dn1ght

Post   » Mon May 03, 2021 3:06 pm


I live in an area where there are no exclusively guinea pig shelters. I have an appointment tomorrow with a local animal shelter that does offer guinea pigs for adoption because I'm looking for a new cagemate for my 3yo boar (we lost my other one a couple weeks ago).

They have offered an "introduction," so I'll be bringing my remaining piggy with me for intros, but they don't offer full pairings - in fact, I haven't found anyone in the vicinity of my home that does them.

I am a little hesitant about bringing a piggy home that I haven't fully vetted as a compatible partner for my boar because the last one was overaggressive with him, and they had to be permanently separated. I really want to find one that will be a true companion for my piggy, but I don't know if there is a way to tell from an introduction if the prospects are good for a pairing.

I've taken the whole day off work so I can do a proper bonding with them when I return home. I guess my question is - what do I look for in a cagemate? Wynn is 3 years old, smaller than most pigs, and was timid and shy with the one we lost. Do I look for one younger than him? Does size matter?

I'll be deep-cleaning the enclosure before the appointment so that the cage is scent-free and ready if I try to bond them at home and the pairing works out. Beyond that, not sure what to watch for. Any advice would be welcome.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Mon May 03, 2021 3:11 pm


Does the shelter know if this guinea pig used to have a companion or if it lived alone? Have you had a chance to meet him yourself?

You may be better off if they could give you a "test period" where you could find out if they would get along by doing proper introductions.

You would be well to see the guinea pig, evaluate health (especially looking for skin conditions like mites) before introducing him to your pet.

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M1dn1ght

Post   » Mon May 03, 2021 4:22 pm


Agreed, Lynx.

This shelter has a very good reputation for quarantining and vet-evaluating all of their animals. I will definitely examine the piggy before trying to introduce them.

I already asked about a trial period, and that's kind of a no-go. They do take comprehensive histories, and they do not separate bonded pairs. I'm hoping they will work with me, and I plan on being extremely cautious with my current piggy.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Mon May 03, 2021 9:04 pm


Bear in mind that while guinea pigs are social animals, some, especially boars just don't want a cage mate. Mr Bubbles is like that. He doesn't mind socializing with the others, but he will not let them into his space. If you do adopt the one from the shelter, which I hope you can, you should be prepared to have two separate cages just in case.

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M1dn1ght

Post   » Mon May 03, 2021 10:11 pm


Yep! I still have the setup I used with the original two. If I have to separate them, all I need to do is close the door between the two spaces. Both would still have plenty of room.

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M1dn1ght

Post   » Wed May 05, 2021 5:05 pm


This actually went really well!

I was able to sit aside with them in an empty room and just observe for awhile. There was some faint rumblestrutting from my resident pig and the other one showed no interest in chasing, fighting, or arguing at all. We had about three seconds of aggressive posture from mine and the rest was just ... boring. I brought him home and spent three hours with them in the bathroom. They nosed each other a bit, but there was no posturing or fighting at all. They shared some snacks and that was that! Turned out the new pig was in a very similar situation to mine. Same age and had recently lost a cagemate. He is truly sweet as peaches and lets me do just about anything with him (he needed a nail trim and I cut off a spur on the bottom of one of his feet).

He's a chonk of an Abyssinian - red with white and a white stripe that overlays one eye and makes him look curiously rakish. My daughter named him Hambone.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Wed May 05, 2021 9:31 pm


Oh, that is super! I think we all want our guinea pigs to have friends and "get along". Sounds like Hambone is a winner!

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Thu May 06, 2021 8:02 pm


Very well done. 2 sweet guinea pigs gained a new companion and you gained a new furry friend. It's a win-win. I'm always happy to see guinea pig success stories.

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M1dn1ght

Post   » Thu May 13, 2021 9:36 am


Wynn died overnight. He wasn't in his little bed this morning when I went to see him and I found him lying on the floor of his enclosure. He struggled with breathing problems, so I'm guessing he just couldn't breathe.

I'm gutted. And now I have this new pig who's only been with us for a week. The poor thing has to be confused and I just don't know what to do.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Thu May 13, 2021 5:06 pm


So sorry to hear about Wynn. I feel gutted with you. I've been lucky in that the 3 I've lost all went with me there holding them. I can't imagine the feeling of finding them like that. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

As for your new pig, he (or she) is going to need all of the love and attention he can get from you. If you plan on trying to get a cage mate, it's probably best to do it sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more the pig gets used to having the cage to himself and the harder it will get to pair him.

I think that's why my Mr Bubbles can't have a cage buddy. He was alone in that big cage for over 6 months when we got Scruffy and tried to get them together. I'm sure the guinea pig's individual personalities have a lot to do with it too. Some need a partner to be happy and others are better off just having their human to provide companionship.

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M1dn1ght

Post   » Thu May 13, 2021 5:38 pm


I had one a couple years ago that was like that. He spent every day in his lounger on my desk. I might just do that with my current pig too. He's eating, but he's hiding a lot. I just can't really think right now.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Thu May 13, 2021 8:31 pm


Understandable. I was a mess when I lost piggies. I still think about them every day. I try to focus on the cute little things they did.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Thu May 13, 2021 8:46 pm


Oh, I am so sorry to hear you lost Wynn, M1dn1ght. I know how difficult this is. You have all our sympathy.

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ItsaZoo
Supporter in 2020

Post   » Mon May 17, 2021 12:44 am


My condolences on the loss of Wynn. He had a good home and good care with you.

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