Guinea Pig advice needed!

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Guinea Pig advice needed!

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  • Guinea pigs horse forum
  • Got my first guinea pig advice needed

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    09-01-2009, 01:03 AM
Guinea Pig advice needed!

Hey everyone!
I have a few questions about introducing a new Guinea Pig to my own, Topaz. She's currently coming up 6mths and I've decided to get her a friend. I understand they are very social animals, but as Topaz was my first, I didn't want to overburden myself as I learnt to look after her. I also felt it would be selfish to get two when we didn't have the initial space or cage to fit two in. I used to belong to an online Guinea Pig community, but as I felt like I was attacked for not doing things their way, and only having the one GP, I decided I'd ask here and hope I could get some answers.

We have got the cages for them to be separate if need be, but currently Topaz has two 'homes'. We're in the process of building a permanent home big enough for two, and Topaz gets supervised time in her play pen (large enough for two), and goes in her big cage at night. She is a very content GP and since I'm always home due to breaking my leg earlier this year, she gets lots of attention. However as I'm now more mobile, there are occasions where no one is home and when we do get home, we come to find her cage punished for us deserting her - lol, for such a little animal she certainly has the biggest personality I've ever met.

I guess I'm concerned as to how Topaz will take a friend. I feel like she may enjoy this, as she's very brave and has befriended my cat (completely supervised), and its my dog who is scared of her! However, I do know she may be dominate for her space, and just wish to know what's the easiest way to introduce a friend? I have plenty of time to supervise this, so that's not the problem. I have rung the SPCA to attempt to rescue one around her age, but no such luck. As we've decided to do this, I have decided I will get another female from where I got Topaz, but it will be about 8 weeks old. Is the age difference going to be hard?

Also, will Topaz be less social with her human friends if she has a friend of her own kind? When I got her, we formed a bond quite well and she is very friendly and snuggly. I've heard that some Guinea Pigs aren't as interested in humans when they have friends. Is it just a case on making sure to still give her the same amount of attention? I'm sure as the novelty of another Guinea Pig, Topaz may feel jealous, and I guess that's my true worry, she may try to punish her new friend lol! Of course, I would try to make sure it's equal amounts of love, but it is easy to be excited over a new pet.

Please, any advice you can give me would be appreciated. My guinea pig is otherwise incredibly well looked after, and having two will mean less wastage of veges and fruits at the end of the week, haha!

And finally, just cos she is such a Diva, here's a pic of the little pig herself!

Personality plus or what?! HAHA. She even has her own fanclub!

Thanks in advance!
Chelle x
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    09-01-2009, 01:20 AM
Hi, well i'd just like to say guinea pigs are such good pets! I used to have ALOT hehe, first i'd recommend getting a little cage to put the new gp in. Then put the cage next to your gp's, let them smell each other etc, & get used to each other. For about a week. Then let them out a couple of times together & see how they go.... weather they like each other or not etc. I would wait awhile before you put them in Topaz's new cage, she might be alittle protective of her cage. If you can wait a while to put Topaz in the 'day' cage then once they know each other well enough then you could put them in together. So its both of their cage. But good luck!

Topaz might become alittle less friendly but if you keep handleing them their'll be right!
    09-01-2009, 01:27 AM
Super Moderator
Hey there! I used to have 4 piggies myself so I'm there. Haha I had to give them away in preparation for going away to college this fall and I ended up not going away! >.< Sad day.

Anyway, she will probably take very well to having a friend. The age difference probably won't be a big deal at all. When one of my first pair of piggies died I got a new pig that was 6 months and successfully introduced her to my then 4 year old, no issues. She'll probably get more active than she ever was before with a friend. Do you know all the "bad" intro signs to watch for and stuff? I can point you in the direction of some great piggy intro links if you'd like. =)

I also introduced a 6 month old male back into my 'herd' (a 5 year old by that point, a 1 year old and a 6 month old) after he had been separated at 4 weeks because he needed to be neutered and it went relatively smoothly. His mother was actually the biggest issue. She'd chase him around like crazy pulling out his hair and stuff but I just ignored it and they were fine a week later. The only reason they were fine though was that my cage was large enough for all 4. It was 16sq feet (not sure how that translates to meters, you'll want about half that so 8ft, for 2 piggies to be truly happy and comfortable) and they each had their own spots to hide and stuff.

That boy pig was the friendliest little piggy ever and even after going back in with the herd he was still just a friendly. He would sit there waiting for you to pick him up, even when all the others were running around freaked out. I even wasn't home for a month, no one picked up dexter and when I came back he did little popcorns and ran up to my hands to be picked up. All because of how "imprinted" he was in his 5 months alone.

My oldest female on the other hand was super snuggly when she was by herself but with other pigs she couldn't get away fast enough. I think in her case it was more caused by her up bringing (petstore pig into a loud family, the family before mine, who would hold her for hours with no escape, etc).

I think your piggy be fine. Just make sure that your new pig has been separated from all males from 4 weeks old and you'll be good to go. You'll also want to do a one month quarantine with the new pig in a completely different room from Topaz just to make sure she's healthy.

And if it helps at all: piggies by themselves are like human little kids without any other little kids. They act fine and everything but once they get around others of their own kind they light up. They can both be happy on their own with only adults/humans for attention but in the presence of ones who really "get' who they are, they're so much healthier emotionally. Yknow?

Good luck! =) Feel free to pm me with any questions you have or funny stories, I love talking "piggy". =)
    09-01-2009, 01:37 AM
Thank you both!
I got a lot of stressful opposition from the other forum - in my mind what I was doing was logical by my pet. I wanted her to be treated well, whilst I was learning. Of course I'm the first to turn for help if I need it, and when I turned there, with my lack of knowledge, I was made to feel as if I was harming Topaz by having just her. In the end I left as I felt I knew her better than a bunch of 'knowitalls'.
Thank you! Yes, she will be in her own cage for the first few weeks just to be safe :) I just wanted to make sure I was doing this the right way. Guess I am, and those intro links Wallaby are much appreciated!
    09-01-2009, 02:20 AM
Super Moderator
Guinea Pigs Social Life is a great page that tells you all the stuff that looks scary but it totally fine and all the stuff that looks scary and is scary. LOL! It also should be able to give you some pointers in what to look for in your new pig.
That site that that link is on was an invaluable resource to me when I had piggies, hopefully you'll find it helpful too!

I'm not sure if you've seen this site or not but this one is a great general piggy site that helped me many times when one of the pigs' behavior had me worried that they were sick (it's also great general info). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig

Yeah, guinea pig people are just like us horse people, they aren't afraid to voice their opinions! Which sometimes doesn't help anything. >.< Maybe that's just people in general. Haha
    09-01-2009, 06:13 PM
I love the photo of your piggie! I had piggies in Australia and I was part of a forum where everything I do was wrong too, maybe it was the same one haha.

So from my experiences yes they are much happier with a friend and if anything they will be more social with you with a friend. My last two girls which are now in the care of my mum are so attention seeking. They always wanna be the centre of attention so if I was holding one and not the other, the other would be straight in my lap letting me know that she should be the one in my arms haha.

As far as introducing them, take it slow, make sure you are there to supervise with a towel handy to separate them safely if needed, maybe sprinkle some vegies around, give them something to put their mind at ease. Also when I had to introduce girls to a new piggy I would just let them in the biggest safest space possible and let them squabble it out. They may push each other around a lot but I never had any injuries from girls fighting, they seem to work out the pecking order and are usually happy with it, almost always the older female will be boss.

Boys on the other hand can be territorial and fight, I ended up housing each male individually and they had some together time in a neutral space when I was around, that kept them happy.

So good luck with your piggies, I am sure you are doing a fine job, she appears pretty healthy looking in the picture, yet if she was hairless and skinny then I would be worried ;)
    09-01-2009, 08:05 PM
Thanks everyone for the links and advice! Jaimie, I remember your little girls! Grey little ones, right?
Have managed to find a couple of females as everyone seems to have boars only or none! So hopefully I'll be off to see them today!
Yes, Topaz is the type to be the center of attention also. She's actually more so known as "Diva Pig" simply because of all her antics. She sings along to songs, she makes a huge drama out of having her nails clipped but bathtimes aren't as bad. She eats more than I've ever seen such a little animal put away, and if she doesn't get what she wants, she screams until she does. But despite her spoilt, clever ways, everyone absolutely adores her. She's even a poster girl in a petstore with the above pic, simply because of her personality. I could sit here and talk all day about her, I never expected to find such joy from Guinea Pigs!!
Will keep you all updated with how it goes when we get her new friend!
    09-04-2009, 08:03 PM
Hey everyone, just thought I'd drop in and show my new baby Rubi...

She's completely placid... just chilled about most things. Loves to play and run, but loves her snuggles too. She's about 10weeks old. And she's going to be huge compared to Topaz!
    09-04-2009, 08:06 PM
Super Moderator
AWWWWWWwwwwwww! She's so adorable! She's also one of my favorite piggy colors. My absolute favorite is the one that is basically sorrel in horse colors.

Does she have any white?
    09-05-2009, 08:58 PM
She has a lighter belly, and white toes lol... she has two random lighter brown/orange spots and that's it!

Chelle x
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