One Pig or Two?
Make it two! Guinea pigs are extremely social, herd animals and thrive in the company of another pig. A human can't take the place of a guinea pig companion. If you are going to be away for a large part of the day, it is even more important to get a pair of guinea pigs of the same sex. You will end up with a brighter and happier animal.
A few of the advantages of multiple pigs:
- MORE EXERCISE: Two or more pigs means space needs to be shared, claimed, or discovered. A little jostling keeps them on their toes. And piggy trains are fun to watch.
- BETTER DIET: Sometimes a new pig is unfamiliar with the foods you provide. Watching a resident pig devour a favorite food encourages a new pig to give it a try. Guinea pigs can also learn the mysteries of the water bottle through example. A little friendly competition can be a good thing. Ask Stickifroggy's pigs (below).
- HAPPIER: Even the rare pig that prefers its own cage appreciates having a nearby guinea pig companion. While not all pigs will find a soul mate, most are very happy to know they are not "The Only Pig In The House". Ill pigs (on antibiotics and non-infectious) benefit greatly from being near their companions.
Diodora writes: "I think that getting my pig a friend was the best thing I ever did for him, I adopted a spayed sow from a rescue and they are best friends.
He's so much happier and more affectionate, his whole personality has just blossomed. He used to just lie around on a blanket, now he and his buddy go on adventures around the house together, its too cute."
More than one guinea pig means more fun for you and more fun for your guinea pig!
Compatibility: It is a common myth that two male guinea pigs will fight. Compatibility between two guinea pigs is determined by the personalities of the individuals rather than their gender. Some guinea pigs will fight with any pig you try to pair them with but the vast majority thrive on company and delight in having a cage companion. The easiest match is usually between two babies or a baby and an adult guinea pig, but adults can be paired up successfully as well. Introductions should be made in an open area, watching closely for an hour or so. If they seem to be getting along well they can be moved to a freshly cleaned cage (the larger, the better, as it will improve the odds of making a successful pairing). Watch them closely for another hour or so to make sure they continue to get along. Immediately separate fighting guinea pigs with a towel to avoid being bitten.
Interesting Fact: If a buyer in Sweden does not already have guinea pigs, it is illegal to sell just one guinea pig.
- Thalestral's must-read advice on introductions here, at Guinea Lynx!. Thanks, Thalestral for allowing us to reprint your valuable article: Guinea Pig Introductions 101
- See also: Forum Thread
Be sure to read over Tracis' link page on Successful Introductions for advice on how to improve the odds of a successful match, introductions, and much more. It is a must for anyone planning to add a new pig to the mix. And for proof that boars really can get along with each other, check out all the success stories and tips that Charybdis has collected.