The thing about having guinea pigs is that people often think that they can get away with just having one guinea pig alone. That’s the easiest way right. Its less hassle and a lot less financial outlay, not to mention maintenance. But if you want to be kind to your cavy, then one guinea pig is not enough.
Guinea pigs are very sociable animals and are naturally used to living with one another so if you can help it is not good for the guinea pig to be kept apart from others if you can help it.
There are always exceptions to this however, as some do prefer their own company. But on the whole, guinea pigs do get quite lonely and much prefer the company of others, even humans.
So this is why getting one guinea pig is not enough. If in doubt, get two. It isn’t that much more effort to look after.
If you are buying two together for the first time, then assuming they have been purchased at the same time then they will have no trouble settling down.
It is always best to keep cavies of the same sex together unless you want to breed them and you will find that two of the same sex will live together just fine.
A good mix is to have one older and one younger guinea pig together of the same sex. Two older guinea pigs cohabiting can often be difficult.
If you do have a male and a female together, then you may want to get the male neutered by a vet.
Usually, cavies do prefer to share a hutch but you could give them a separate place to go each such as a box each. The hutch does need to be of a good size though, to accommodate them all. The RSPCA recommend a good sized hutch will be a minimum size of 100cm x 50cm with a minimum run size of 150cm x 100cm.
We have just acquired another guinea pig through a breeder in our area who we knew, to give some company for our boar ‘Rocket’. We thought Rocket would be just fine on his own, but actually he did get quite lonely and to be fair to him. We acquired ‘Uno’ and have spent time getting him settled in and acquainted with Rocket. It really hasn’t taken much time at all and we know that they are now able to keep each other company.
I quite often hear them squeaking away at each other or chasing each other around the run in a playful way. They are getting on great, and it is not much more maintenance compared to just having Rocket on his own.
You can get guinea pigs from local breeders in the area or the best thing is to get a guinea pig from a local rescue centre who are always looking for owners.