Am I going to need more cages?

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Post   » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:26 am

I am a new guinea pig owner of about 3 months. We got 2 male guineas and recently (read: 1 week ago) adopted a male baby skinny pig. Our hearts were so full and we were happy for the new adventure of raising our trio. Now, I have tried to absorb as much information as possible about guinea pig care and I thought we were doing a pretty good job. But we have been thrown a curveball. One of our "males" turned out to actually be a female and what I figured was "bloating" was actually babies. We have since separated the male and female. Our cage set up before the babies was the two suspected males in a C&C cage and the baby skinny in a smaller cage still being quarentined. Now our cage set up is the male in the C&C cage, female and babies in the smaller cage that the skinny was quarentined in (cleaned), and the skinny in a new C&C cage we scrambled to get (thank you amazon prime!). Now the dilemma is how to house them all after the 3 week mark for the babies because although they were unexpected we are already in love and plan on keeping them. I have seen that housing too many males together can be a problem. Our male is about 6 months, almost 7 months. Our skinny male is 8 weeks, and our momma is "a little over a year" as put by where we got her from. We had hoped to move the skinny male in with the other male and have a male and females setup, but when we put the C&C cages next to eachother the non-skinny male was chattering and making all kinds of aggressive seeming gestures towards the skinny. The last couple of days he has stopped the chattering but he still doesn't seem to enjoy the skinny being so close by and I'm worried he only got along with the our other guinea because she was a girl and he won't get along with others. My plan was to keep the males solo for now but next to eachother and see how the attitudes progress. But when it comes time to move momma and babies I'm lost. After looking at the sexing on here I suspect we have one male baby and two female babies, but they are also still young so I'm not completely sure. Should we introduce male babies to the skinny or the older male? I think we might need another C&C set up if we can't move the males together but 3 C&C cages seems like so much. Would extending a C&C cage and then putting a divider in it be a good option? What sex would be the best match to put in a divided cage, male-male or male-female? Thank you if you got this far in reading this. Any answers are appreciated!


Post   » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:34 pm

Are you absolutely sure the baby skinny is male? You don't want a repeat surprise pregnancy.

Do you have a guinea pig savvy vet? If not, you need to find one. There are vet recommendations for various areas on this site. If your area is not listed, then what I did was call quite a few vets that I knew were reputable and asked them, "Who would you recommend as having the most experience with guinea pigs?" Note that I did NOT ask, "Do you see guinea pigs?" or "Do you have experience with guinea pigs?" since "experience" could be defined as "I saw one once 12 years ago" in some vets' minds if they really want your business.

But, asking who they know has the MOST experience is an objective question and does not cast any aspersions on their own ability. When I kept hearing the same vet being recommended over and over again, that's who I went with and it was a good choice.

When we had our babies, we guessed the sex wrongly on two or three of them. I am so glad we took all our babies to the savvy vet to get double-checked! I recommend you do the same.

Also, for future reference, please break up your paragraphs into easier to read shorter spurts like I've done here. Makes it so much easier to read, and it will increase the likelihood of other people taking the time to respond.


Post   » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:43 pm

About your male who is 6 or 7 months old. He is just now entering adolescence (which lasts for guinea pigs between 6 and 18 months old), and "teenage" piggies can be pretty snotty sometimes. Spats and bullying is at its peak during the "teen years," especially among males, but females as well. Your pigs will calm down quite a bit after they reach the 12 to 18 month mark. Ours are 3 years old now and most are pretty darn mellow, even Squeaky, who was the snottiest "teen" pig we had. She bullied the other pigs and was impatient and moody with humans. But she is one of our most mellow pigs now, go figure.

That said, we put our male babies in with their dad at three weeks. He himself was about 6 months old at the time. They did very well together. The babies were comforted at losing their mommas, and dad did a good job teaching them how to be a guinea pig. When they were first put together, he stuck his nose under each of their rumps (probably determining sex) and lifted their rumps off the ground even. A bit later they tried to nurse from him, but he put a stop to that with some nips, and that was that.

We re-homed our male babies at two months old. We neutered our male and he lives in the herd of the rest of our females now.

Whether you put the male babies in with the skinny (be CERTAIN he is male first!) or their dad, that is up to you and your observations of them. I doubt that dad will be outright mean to the babies at 3 weeks. Even a teenaged guinea pig does not see 3 week old babies as threats.


Post   » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm

Thank you for the information. I never thought to ask who had the most experience when calling vets, just if they saw them. Thats a good idea! We had actually taken the two older guinea's to the vet for an intial check-up and I figured if they had noticed a difference in sex they would have mentioned. I never thought to ask that specifically though. I'll call around some more so we can make sure we get the babies and the skinny sexed properly.

Do you think there could be a chance in the future we could put the male and the skinny together? Maybe after they have both gone through the teenage time? or shold we plan for them to always be separate? I just don't want one or the other to have to be by themself forever.

Also another route if we decided to get the male or the skinny (if he is truly a male) neutered, what is the age they usually do that? That way if we have to keep them separate we could possibly put the neutured male with the females so he wouldn't be alone.


Post   » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:44 pm

A guinea pig savvy vet should have caught the sex difference in your pigs, so I think you do need to find another vet based on just that.

Can you put the two males together (again, you are CERTAIN the skinny is male?)? I can't answer that without knowing your pigs. You can certainly try. There is a very good guide on how to do introductions on this site. I would follow that to a T if you want to have good chance that your males could live together. The details are important to follow, and it involves a substantial time commitment from you when you do it (at least several hours) as well as a large, neutral area. Don't fudge on those instructions, especially since your older male is already acting the way he is and he has teenage hormones coursing through his little body.

I would try to introduce them *properly* (as per the instructions) sooner rather than later. Expect some quarreling and posturing. As long as there is no blood or chunks of skin flying about they are fine. It will sound really bad to you, though. As long as it just *sounds* awful you are fine. Also, what seems like cowering and squealing to us could just be guinea pig posturing for "I accept you as dominant" and doesn't necessarily mean "I'm scared."

As for neutering, you should probably only neuter if the boys will be living with girls. Neutering does NOTHING to inhibit sex drive or personality, so it won't make them less aggressive with each other. It is risky and I would NOT let a vet neuter my male unless he has done a *lot* of successful guinea pig neuters. Complications are easy to come by, even with a good, experienced vet.

That said, there *are* some side advantages to neutering. We neutered ours at 5 or 6 months old (before he was full grown) and he never grew as large as intact males get. He is now full grown and is the exact same size as our full grown intact females. (Intact males will grow a lot larger than females.) This makes life together with the girls a lot nicer.

Also an advantage is that he will no longer have a "sac" to drag along the ground, which means he won't be getting "stuff" (like hay and bedding bits) up in his anal cavity. Intact males have to be cleaned out every once in a while (once a month at least, I think). It's not hard (I've done it), but it's not fun either. It involves using a Q-tip and some mineral oil and swabbing out his anal cavity until the swab comes out clean. Depending on how much gunk is in there, it can take awhile.

Since our male was neutered we haven't had to clean him out at all in over 2 years. So that's kind of nice to not have to do.

Neutered males can still "do it" when the females will let them, you just won't have babies. This is also why you can't have more than one neutered male in with females, because the males will still fight over them all the time.

If you neuter one of the males because he won't live with the other male, then do so before he gets full grown so he doesn't get bigger than his female herd mates.

He will still need to be kept separate from any females for about 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery. This is because guinea pig sperm is probably the heartiest stuff on the planet. It can live in the "ductwork" for that long and he could still impregnate any female he was put with for that long after the surgery.

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