Guinea pigs are usually gentle, docile creatures that can adapt well to other guinea pig housemates. While most pigs enjoy the company of companions, an older, lone guinea pig who is set in his ways may have a tough time adjusting to a newcomer. For best results, conduct a gradual introduction to make sure both of your pigs are happy and well-adjusted to one another and won’t get into dangerous squabbles.
Checkup and Quarantine
Before you introduce your baby guinea pig to your adult pig, take the baby for a full vet checkup to make sure he doesn't have any diseases or health problems that might be passed on to your older pig. This is especially important if your mature pig has any health conditions or is unusually susceptible to illness. Talk to your vet about whether you need to quarantine the baby pig once you get him home to protect against the potential for any hidden illnesses. This is especially important if the baby pig is coming from a shelter or an unknown breeder.
Separate Cage Introduction
Put your baby guinea pig in his own cage before introducing him to your adult, who should be in his own cage as well. This helps reduce the potential for territory protection, and allows the guinea pigs to meet one another and get familiar with each other’s smells while safely contained in their own spaces. Even if you ultimately want to house your pigs together, which pigs often enjoy, the initial introduction should take place in separate cages.
Gradual Physical Introduction
Give your guinea pigs a few days to get comfortable with each other and monitor their sounds, behaviors and body language. You're probably already familiar with how your adult pig shows fear or nervousness, so if your adult pig is squeaking loudly or attempting to charge the baby's cage, it could be a sign he's a loner who simply doesn't want another pig in his area. If your pigs seem interested in one another and don’t exhibit any aggressive behavior, introduce them physically to each other in a neutral contained area, like a floor space blocked off by large floor pillows.
Get someone else to help you with the first few introductions in the event your pigs don't get along, or one attacks the other and you need to separate them quickly. This is especially important if your adult pig is significantly larger than the baby pig. Allow the pigs to smell each other, and offer a snack to each of them as positive reinforcement. If your pigs tolerate each other well, gradually increase the amount of time they spend playing together until you're comfortable they're enjoying one another's company, then rehome them together in a single cage. Don’t house opposite gender pigs together to guard against unintentional breeding.
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Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.