Posted: January 21, 2014, 12:35 p.m. EST
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Most female guinea pigs enjoy the companionship of other guinea pigs.
Q: I have one guinea pig. She is home alone from about 5:30 in the morning until about 4 p.m. Should she have a friend? She doesn't act too weird. She likes to hide but not from me, only from other people.
A: Most female guinea pigs enjoy the companionship of other females, because they are a herd animal. In some countries, such as Germany, you cannot own a single female guinea pig but must own them in pairs. The government is that set with the idea that guinea pigs are healthier this way.
But what do you do with a female guinea pig who is so dominate that she does not allow another female to eat, sleep or drink out of a water bottle? This does happen, and these females are divas. They are best housed alone. They can do quite well as a single female if they have this type of personality. But this type of female is an exception to the rule.
Take your female with you to meet other guinea pigs to see if she is interested in having a roommate. Pick three females that you like and then introducing them to her before taking anyone home to ensure domestic bliss when they are living together. It has been our experience that introducing more than three guinea pigs to a potential roommate is a bit more than the guinea pig can handle.
The first 30 minutes of the introduction should tell you if they are going to get along or not. Many females who have been alone for a long time will readily accept a new friend or they will be aggressive in the introduction indicating that the pairing will not work.
Indication of incompatibility would be any showing of teeth, aggressive mounting, hair pulling or biting. It is normal for there to be a little fussing at the beginning of an introduction, but nothing aggressive should occur. They may even lie down together, which is an indication that they should be fine living together.
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