"I should probably adopt two females, because I heard that males will fight," is a phrase I hear so often, to my ultimate sadness as I look around at the abundance of sweet, gentle, healthy male pairs waiting for homes.
People are only repeating what they are told, and like urban legends and old wives' tales, the myth about boars is a hard nut to crack, especially when there is so much counter-information.
The truth is, boars can get along in twos, threes, fours, and so on, as long as you are a conscientious cavy caretaker. This means taking account of a few important factors. The following list are what I consider priorities in keeping 2 cavies together (of any gender).
1) Cage Space -- 2 guinea pigs, whether male or female, need ample living quarters. See http://www.cavycages.com for accepted standards.
2) Having Two of Everything -- This means that nobody has to wait in line for amenities. It cuts down on friction.
3) Health -- All animals become irritable when they are sick. Mites, URIs, UTIs, and other illnesses will contribute to squabbling.
4) Personality --This is key! I try to match up a dominant
with a submissive and most often put a baby with an adult. An adult may push a baby around at first (or I have seen it happen the other way around!) but an adult will most likely not hurt a baby.
5) Proper Introductions -- A neutral, unfamiliar area is the best place for introductions. Never just put a new guinea pig into an old one's cage! While they are being introduced, thoroughly clean and disinfect the cage to be used.
Most of this information I initially learned from Cavy Spirit: http://www.cavyspirit.com/sociallife.htm#Initial
It is knowledge that has been reinforced by experience. I strongly suggest that you visit this site and read all of the wonderful detailed information about guinea pig pairing.
A lot of this is common sense. How would you like it if a stranger moved into your tiny house without your permission and started sharing your only food dish, water glass, bed, and toilet? You wouldn't be happy, believe me.
However, when matched under the right conditions, the majority of boars are delighted to have a friend. Here are some successful boar couples.
Netscape users can click on this link for the boar stories and pictures:
Squeakers, my first foster piggy, was rescued from the pound. He waited a long time for a friend and in the meantime became very lonely. Now he and Scottie are inseparable. Scottie, the cream/chocolate/white baby, is the dominant one!
Possum and Snickers--Adopted and living happily together.
Possum was the loneliest piggy I ever saw. He would cry pitifully whenever he saw another pig. Their introduction was a little rough, though, but once Possum learned how to behave, they became a very attached pair.
Malcolm and Dexter--Adopted and living happily together.
Malcolm and Dexter are brothers, although most of the boars I
pair up are not. They were adopted Christmas eve.
These are my own boars. They were introduced when Billy Bob was 3 (he was dumped then rescued) and Piggy Boy was 4 months old. When I took them to the vet together, he told me that boars cannot live together. Shows what he knows. They are now 4 and 1.
Fudge and Sparky -- Living happily together.
Fudge and Sparky were introduced when Fudge was 7 weeks and Sparky 5 weeks old. They never had any problems with each other, the first introduction on neutral space went so well that they went straight to the same cage that day. They've been together since. Fudge is the dominant boar, and Sparky will cry if Fudge gets cuddle time and he's left in the cage without his friend.
These are Erin's young boars. Aren't they adorable?
Charles, Nelson, and Reilly -- Living happily together.
These are Lebee's boars. About their introduction, she writes: "Nelson (the abby) was younger (3-4 months, about)
when introduced to the two older males. They had small squabbles, but really got along very well. Boars have so much personality! I can't imagine not having my boars."
Fido, Winnie, and Rover -- Living happily together.
These are Sunny's boars. Here is her advice on peaceful cohabitation: "I think the KEY to boars living together is giving them PLENTY of room and exactly the same size house. If one house is bigger than the other, they will fight over it. Also offering two food dishes and water bottles may help. And put hay in more than one area of the cage. Just limit the things they have to share."
It is so sad that many males have to live by themselves due to misinformation and even more tragic when someone dumps a boar because he "fought" with his roommate. Guinea pigs are social animals and they are perfectly capable of, and deserve to live with a friend.
So the next time someone tells you that their boars "fight," take into account the source. Did they keep them in a tiny cage with limited amenities? Did they just throw them together and not give a second thought to proper introductions? Did the boars have any illnesses that made them miserable and cranky? Was it a bad match between two dominant boars?
Or were they just ignorant of the typical dominance dance that goes on between guinea pigs (male OR female) when they meet for the first time? Teresa Murphy of Cavy Spirit calls this act "the dating game," and she has this to say about her experience with it:
"We have probably gone through the dating game process close to 100 times! To date, over the course of several years, NONE of the guinea pig pairs that we have matched up and adopted out have ceased getting along, and that includes many boar pairs and some boar trios. "
For more details on what the "dating game" looks like, visit
And spread the word. Only when people become more informed about the social behavior of guinea pigs will the boar myth disappear.
They all do look like they are getting on together so well.
Here is Erin's quote about Fudge and Sparky:
"Fudge and Sparky were introduced when Fudge was 7 weeks and Sparky 5 weeks old. They never had any problems with each other, the first introduction on neutral space went so well that they went straight to the same cage that day. They've been together since. Fudge is the dominant boar, and Sparky will cry if Fudge gets cuddle time and he's left in the cage without his friend."
That is so cute! Scottie and Piggy Boy are the same way--they both cry without their roomies.
I also think you should include some common questions and answers -- we get them all the time concerning boars and problems. How to know if they are not going to get a long and need to be separated and other things.
Just thought I would throw in my experiences with boars living together.
As of right now I have 6 boars.
I have 3 in one cage:
Scooter was almost 3 yrs old when 2 baby boys(4 weeks)Peanut and Lucky that I had hand raised where put in with him full time.Before that Scooter would visit their cage.He taught them how to eat the pellets,veggies ,hay and taught them what the water bottle did.Right now Scooter is 3 and a half and my babies are now just over 6 months old,all are living in harmony.Even with 9 girls in the room.
The other three,Sonny,Pilgrim and Gizmo are in a cage together.This is due to Sonny was over a yr(we think)when we got a call that he was found in a dumpster.So he and Scooter got along for 3 weeks then they both decided they both wanted to be head pig,started fighting so we split them.We put Sonny in his own cage.But Pilgrim was introduce when he was only 8 weeks and Gizmo was 4 weeks when he was introduce to them.All get along famously.NO fighting what so ever between my boys.
I love my boys and wouldn't give them up for the world.
This is the link:
Does it work for you?
Why not ditch the pics from the thread entirely and stick to the link or post the pics one at a time(I think that works).
All I see is slices of overlapping pics covering type. Don't even see a full pic except for the first one.