Quite a few new adopters have hesitated initially over adopting pairs for fear that family members and guinea pigs wouldn't be able to form a strong bond.
The truth is, the strength of the bond is dependent on the frequency of interaction between guinea pigs and humans. By interaction, I mean things like:
- Snuggling in front of the TV
- Playing in the play area
- Frequently reaching into the cage to scratch behind a pig's ears
- Talking to the guinea pig
- Hand-feeding treats
- Providing a little laptime while you read your e-mail
You get the idea.... You can have a strong bond with four guinea pigs if you interact with them daily.
Guinea pigs are communal animals who are happier and healthier when they live with at least one of their species. Lone pigs are more prone to depression; depression can contribute to decreased immune system function which, in turn, can lead to increased risk for illness. No matter how many hours a day you spend with them, you simply cannot make up for the absence of another guinea pig.
When you have a pair, you have bright and active pigs who engage with the world around them. Many pairs, trios, and quartets have one quiet, laid-back pig and one instigator/limelight seeker/drama queen. It balances the dynamics in the cage -- the outgoing pig will draw quieter ones out of their shells and, in turn, they'll get him/her to chill out once in a while.
You can have a strong bond with two or three or four or more -- but however many you have, you need to give each one the same level of commitment that you would give if you only had one. And don't let the numbers fool you -- it can be done!