When they live in their natural habitat, guinea pigs live together in herds.
These often consist of a minimum of two guinea pigs who are sows plus their babies and also dominant male boar guinea pig.
So, just like guinea pigs that live out in the wild, domestic guinea pigs much prefer to be around other guinea pigs and love companionship.
With this in mind,
So, how does that relate to how they live domestically today?
Most guinea pigs do live together in two’s and three’s. But sometimes you will just have one guinea pig living alone.
If you have just one guinea pig and you want to introduce another, how can we introduce it and ensure things go smoothly?
image: flickr michael james
Putting two guinea pigs together who have never met each other
If they are coming from two different places then these things need to be considered.
1. For at least 2 weeks, keep them separate.
Put them in separate cages next to each other so they cant see each other but can hear and smell each other.
This is so that the guinea pigs can be checked out to see if they have and kind of disease. Check out this post on guinea pig quarantine.
2. After 2 weeks of keeping them quarantined, introduce them to each other.
The 2 week gap will be enough to allow the new guinea pig to get to know the old.
Do this on a neutral territory where neither guinea pig has encountered before so that the old guinea pig does not get defensive about their territory.
On the floor or in a bath are good places to do this.
Put them into the area at the same time and put some veggies around them to keep them occupied.
3. Keep an eye on what they are doing.
They may act in a perfectly normal way, be aware of them raising their head which basically means that they are trying to determine who is in charge of that area.
Check for raised hair which makes them seem larger than they are.
Also check for yawning which shows that they are baring their teeth at each other.
4. Try not to get in the way unless the fights get bloody.
There may be scratches and biting occurring as well so do be aware of this and intervene if necessary.
5. Don’t give up if it’s not working out
Once you have committed to an introduction, you have to see it through as too many introductions are not good for the guinea pigs.
6. If they have fallen out then a cooling off period is good.
Get them together on neutral ground and give them both a bath with the same shampoo so they have the same scent.
They will hopefully groom each other as well.
7. Separate them if they still can’t live together
If they still cant live together and continue to fight, you may just have to keep them in separate cages side by side which allows them to see and speak to each other but just not fight.
Can an older male and a younger male guinea pig live together?
They should get along fine but they will look to establish dominance by biting the younger male.
Put them together but keep an eye on them and if they fight, put them in separate cages on more neutral territory.
If guinea pig males live together it is much better if they are from the same litter.
If you are going to put two males together then it is better to have one dominant one and one shy one as if you have two dominant males together they are much more likely to fight.
By having a more timid one with a dominant one, they are much more likely to get along.
Do watch out for bullying behavior though.
Shy submissive guinea pig’s will not enjoy being bullied not surprisingly and it may cause a lot of nervousness and depression with the submissive.
The dominant one can bully by not allowing access to the food or water bowl,but this can be sorted by having two food bowls in different areas of the cage.
If a guinea pig is being bullied it is far better to separate them rather than keeping them in the same cage. If they do stay in the same cage then make sure that they both have their own territory and hideaway space to go to to escape the other.
Can a male guinea pig live on its own?
If guinea pig male lives on its own, this is okay providing it is given lots of attention as they do get lonely easily.
It will need at least 2 hours a day with you amongst your daily routines, a good thing to do is to cuddle it whilst you are watching tv so it can have some affection from you.
Can male and female guinea pigs live together?
Male and female guinea pigs should not live together on a permanent basis, they will need two separate cages.
They really should not be breed by anyone except for an experienced breeder.
If you do want to keep them together then it would be worth neutering them before hand to ensure the female does not get pregnant.
Can two female guinea pigs live together?
Female sow guinea pigs will almost always get along okay.
It is quite rare that they will fight each other and so will just accept each other’s company when you put them in the same cage.
When you do put two guinea pigs together make sure that they both have somewhere to retreat to so that they have their own territory which does not belong to the other.
Something like a cardboard box or a hideaway should be sufficient for this.
What if it does not work out between the guinea pigs?
You need to be prepared for this possibility.
If you’ve tried your hardest but they just don’t get on with each other, the next step is to separate them into different cages but allow them to see and smell each other.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and the best thing is to keep them separated for their own good.
image: flickr danielhall