Posted: April 29, 2014, 9:20 p.m. EDT
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Most guinea pigs enjoy a guinea pig companion, but a rare few prefer to live alone.
Q: I have two female guinea pigs. One I have had for a while. She and my guinea pig that died were with each other, but they fought for dominance to the point where biting would happen, so I separated them. After one of the girls died, I got another guinea pig. She was really sweet. I put them together but had to separate them because the sweet one got ringworm. Then I tried to put them together, but they fought. I feel bad because the sweet one is social and wants a friend. Should I get a third piggy for the new, sweet guinea pig? She seems stressed. I know she wants another friend, because when I play with her in a playpen she squeals for the other guinea pig but when I bring that other guinea pig in they start fighting. What should I do?
A: It is obvious that the surviving guinea pig from the original pair does not want to be paired with the new female. It is also obvious that the new guinea pig wants a companion but is not going to live with the existing female for whatever reason they have decided between themselves. Given this situation, bringing in a third guinea pig is ideal, provided you are comfortable in meeting the needs of all three guinea pigs, emotionally and financially.
Your female who is not inclined to be housed with your new female, may like the newcomer and your newcomer may act as a bridge between the two when out and playing. Be cautious leaving any of the three alone with each other, or housing the future arrival with the existing female from the first grouping.
Your sweet girl does sound as if she would like a friend and having her help you in picking out a new friend will insure that you are not dealing with three cages and three guinea pigs who will not tolerate living or playing together. When you are getting a friend for the sweet guinea pig pick three you like, then let her meet them each in their own time. In 30 minutes or so you should have a feeling of how they are going to interact together. Introducing more than three guinea pigs at a time can be overwhelming for your female. Limiting it each time you look for a companion will insure your female does not get overwhelmed in that setting. It will also insure you do not have too many new surprises when you get them home.
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