Guinea pigs are social animals, meaning guinea pigs can not and should not live alone. They enjoy companionship and social interaction with other guinea pigs. In larger groups, they feel safer and therefore happier. Guinea pigs living in groups are more confident, more susceptible to mental stimulation, have a more diverse diet, and are generally healthier. Guinea pigs raised alone are usually more stressed, less active, vocal, and more susceptible to illness. Interaction with your guinea pigs is very important, but no human interaction or care can replace bonding with their own species. We recommend always having at least two guinea pigs in a home so that they will have a companion.
Here are some steps and things to watch out for when introducing new guinea pigs!
Guinea pigs need time to adapt to new things and can be very territorial of their space. Patience and gradual progress is a must to successfully introduce guinea pigs. The first step is to isolate the new guinea pig until you are sure that he/she is not sick or pregnant. If you really can not isolate them, ask your veterinarian to conduct a full health check on your new guinea pig. Do not place your new guinea pig into the same hutch with your old guinea pig right away.
2. Establishing Dominance
Try to pair the dominant guinea pig with a younger and more passive guinea pig. If you don’t know what their personality is like, an older and younger guinea pig is a good start. Physically larger and smaller guinea pigs are also a way to go. They usually establish a natural hierarchy, younger guinea pig to an older one. Note that you should not have a very feisty younger guinea pig with a more laid back older guinea pig. In this case, the young one may challenge the older alpha guinea pig’s position. To read more on why guinea pigs may be fighting you can read our other blog post: 5 Reasons Why Your Guinea Pigs Might Be Fighting.
If you have a male, it’s better to have another male. If you have a female, you will want to pair it with another female. This is the easiest way to go because it does not require neuter or spay surgery. If you happen to have a female and male in the same cage, they could start breeding very quickly. Guinea pigs can sometimes hide pregnancy really well, so be aware. Generally speaking male guinea pigs are a bit more territorial, so when introducing 2 male guinea pigs, make sure to give them plenty of room.
Find a neutral space like outside in a contained area or a spare room for them to meet for the first time. Make sure the hutch or cage is large enough so that they have somewhere to escape from if they feel overwhelmed. The minimum size is 7.5 square feet for two guinea pigs living together but providing the most space possible is ideal for the first meeting. Choose a quiet, enclosed and spacious space that makes both feel safe. Block all interfering factors, such as loud TV, children or other pets. Do not try to force the guinea pigs together. Give them time to build confidence and become comfortable enough to be close to each other. Providing a plentiful amount of fresh veggies can alleviate any worries and help them stick together, be sure to supervise them in case a fight starts. They may start to connect with each other by receiving treats.
5. Clean Cage
If you are adding a new guinea pig to the existing hutch where the old guinea pig lived, make sure you clean the hutch completely and rearrange it so that the two guinea pigs will feel like the hutch is neutral territory. A tip would be to gently rub the hay from the old cage to the new guinea pig’s temporary space so he/she smells more like other piggies before joining.
Make sure you make time to monitor their behaviors and constantly look for positive and negative behaviors. Some positive behaviors would be grooming each other, lying next to each other and sharing food and water. Expect to see some concerning behaviors at first. Concerning behaviors to watch out for are constant teeth chattering, biting, hiding from each other, and chasing. Some of these behaviors are expected in the beginning but if your piggie shows aggression and looks stressed out, end the session early and try it again the next day.
Introducing a new guinea pigs into a home can always be stressful for both you and your piggies. However, be patient with them because in the end, your piggies will be happier with a companion to live with.
Let us know if there is more Information you’d like to see!
BONDING AND INTRODUCING GUINEA PIGS
We recommend you watch these bonding videos from SkinnyPigs1 and Scotty’s Animals prior to bonding your pets.
Bonding—it’s such an intimidating topic. While it can be quite stressful and at times dangerous, bonding guinea pigs doesn’t have to be a daunting thing.
Bonding—it’s such an intimidating topic. While it can be quite stressful and at times dangerous, bonding guinea pigs doesn’t have to be a daunting thing.
Some people have recommended giving either “bonding baths”—bathing all pigs together, or simply bathing each pig separately prior to introductions.
To touch on the bathing all pigs together—DON’T! Pigs that are first
being introduced during a bath can lead to a HOST of problems. If they begin to fight, they are in a very small area, slippery, and stressed (pigs should rarely be bathed as it is, which you can read about here.
Now, while I strongly discourage bathing pigs together, I have heard of giving them all a bath so they all smell “neutral” to each other. I’ve personally never done this, but I can understand why it’s said. However, guinea pigs should not be bathed unless absolutely necessary, and I don’t believe this will help with introductions.
SETTING UP THE AREA: Your best bet is introducing them in a very open space that they are not used to, but I personally have just deep cleaned the cage the current pigs are in when doing introductions. Again, making sure everything has been cleaned to remove their scent. You also want to rearrange any hideys so the environment seems new to the old pigs.
HIDEYS AND WHAT TO PUT IN WHEN INTRODUCING: I definitely would NOT have any closed things like snuggle sacks where a pig can become trapped or one way entrances like pigloos. Only use open hideys that have more than one way to escape if a pig tries to block them in. Basically, remove any single entrance hideys so a pig can’t get trapped by another pig.
INTRODUCING THE NEW PIG: You will learn pretty quickly whether or not they will get along.
Very IMPORTANT: It might start to get very rowdy and some pigs may likely go after a pig, but they should not be removed or disturbed unless blood is drawn. It is very important for them to work out the hierarchy and sort out dominance. It might get ugly, and as hard as it may be to want to “save” a pig, they really must be able to sort it out in their own piggy way. IF EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF FUR IS BEING PULLED OUT OR ANY BLOOD IS DRAWN, THEY MUST BE SEPARATED. IF YOU HAVE TO INTERVENE AND SEPARATE A PIG, USE OVEN MITTS OR A TOWEL SO YOU DO NOT GET BITTEN AS THEY WILL UNINTENTIONALLY BITE YOU IN ALL THE MADNESS. They don’t mean to, but if they’re at the point of really fighting, they won’t realize what’s going on and you’ll get hurt.
MORE TIPS: A very helpful tip is to keep them distracted with lots of hay and veggies. I set up a few big hay piles and when it begins to get rowdy, I distract them with veggies. They’d much rather eat than fight 😛
IF ALL IS GOING WELL… After a few hours, they typically finish and if they’re getting along, you can relax, but still keep an eye out for the next couple of days. I would wait up to a week at least before putting any single entrance hideys back into the cage.
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Guinea pigs are social animals. This means that they should always have at least one companion or cage mate. Although it can be difficult to introduce two guinea pigs with stubborn personalities, with the right methods and proper care during the bonding stage, they will eventually learn to adapt. It’s essential to keep your guinea pigs in pairs and to try your best to create a neutral environment so that both cavies can get along.
Did you know?: Male guinea pigs are very territorial and rarely get along in groups with three or more guinea pigs.
Warning: You should first quarantine your new guinea pig for two weeks before introducing them to ensure there are no parasites or contagious illnesses.  X Trustworthy Source Animal Humane Society Leading animal welfare nonprofit organization providing medical care, training education, and resources for animal owners Go to source
Warning: Avoid handling your guinea pig a few hours after the fight, as they can remain confrontational and suddenly lash out or bite.  X Research source
It is totally normal for a new guinea pig to be scared.
After all, we can’t explain to them that this new place and those new faces are all safe and friendly.
But what we can do is make sure that they settle in as quickly as possible.
Why is my new guinea pig scared?
Guinea pigs are a small, prey species. In the wild there were lots of creatures that wanted to eat them.
Which is pretty scary!
By being scared of new things, wild guinea pigs helped to keep themselves safe.
It meant that they ran fast and hid when they saw anything which could be dangerous.
But in our pet homes, this trait isn’t actually useful any more.
Because the only creatures that should be able to get to them are us!
And we just want to look after them and be their friends.
But when they first arrive home they don’t know that, so we have to show them through our actions that they have nothing to be afraid of.
And to build up their trust.
Helping your guinea pig to settle in
When my new guinea pig is scared I have a few things I ensure that I do for her:
- Keep calm and quiet
- Provide lots of places to hide
- Give her tasty treats
- Approach her slowly
- Make sure she’s not lonely
Let’s take a look at each of those and how they will help your scared guinea pig.
Calm and quiet
Guinea pigs are scared by sudden noises or movements.
Just as surprising things would make us jump, a guinea pig can be shocked by something you might think was totally mundane.
Like you standing up to get a drink, or someone walking into the room with them.
Try to keep all movements, conversations and especially interactions with them very measured until they are settled in.
Places to hide
Guinea pigs feel safest when they think you can’t see them.
Giving them plenty of options for places to hide will help your pet to feel secure faster.
You might think that being exposed to you a lot would help, but actually feeling that they have a safe base seems to be even more beneficial.
Provide a couple of different styles of hides to help them the most.
A full cave, bridge-style hide open at both ends, and another open fully just at one side is ideal.
This gives them the choice between feeling fully hidden, and being able to observe you.
Give your new guinea pig at least a day to settle into their home and become familiar with their surroundings.
During this time just top up their food, hay and water periodically.
Have a look at them from outside the closed cage to make sure they seem okay, but don’t try to interact with them yet.
Over the next few days approach them gradually, starting off my petting them gently on the back if they will let you.
After that scoop them up, by putting your hand under their belly and bringing them into your lap.
Make sure you’ve got a nice pile of leaves for them to munch if they are feeling confident enough.
Food makes a big difference when you are interacting with animals.
Giving them something in exchange for their time makes it feel more worth their while.
When they are tame you want your guinea pig to love spending time with you, but they will love it even more if they associate you with food.
Each time you go to their cage, bring a tasty fruit or veggie with you to offer to them.
If they are very scared and hiding, just put a piece in front of them and then withdraw a little.
Watch and see what they do next.
Once they have settled in a little they should feel brave enough to come and have a nibble, even with you there.
Don’t worry if this doesn’t happen the first few times you try though.
These naturally nervous creatures can take a while to become more secure with you around.
Guinea pigs need friends
A huge game changer when it comes to guinea pig confidence is their companions.
These are not solitary creatures, and they really need companionship.
In the wild they live in little communal groups, communicating with each other a lot of the time in a series of chirps, squeaks, hums and purs.
Having other guinea pigs around is a part of how they feel safe and therefore less scared.
There are more ears listening for predators, and more eyes watching for them.
A guinea pig alone finds it harder to relax and is therefore going to be more afraid.
But what about fighting?
You might be confused by this if you’ve heard about guinea pigs fighting with each other.
And it is true, guinea pigs do fight sometimes. And some guinea pigs seem to not get along with other pigs.
But the majority of the time they only do this if something else isn’t right.
Make sure to introduce them slowly.
That your cage has lots of space, and a food bowl, water bowl, hides and toys to chew for each of them.
It is worth taking the time to help them become friends.
Guinea pigs are easier for humans to handle if they have piggy friends with them, because it makes them feel safer.
My new guinea pig is scared
I have only once brought home a new guinea pig that didn’t seem scared at all.
He was a complete exception to the rule, and not what you would expect.
Almost all new guinea pigs are scared, and you don’t need to worry that it means something is wrong.
They are nature’s prey animals, and have just arrived in a place they don’t know, with new faces peeking at them, after a dark journey in a box, surrounded by weird noises.
Fear is natural, but we can help them overcome it quickly by keeping calm and quiet, moving slowly and giving her everything she needs to settle into her new home.
Bringing a new guinea pig home can be an exciting time but you (and your guinea pig) might be a little apprehensive about what might lie ahead.
Twice as nice
You may have bought your guinea pigs together as a pair – it’s usually much easier to do this with young guinea pigs and rehoming shelters sometimes have bonded adult pairs to re-home. Assuming that the guinea pigs are already accustomed to living together, it’s just a matter of making sure the new guinea pigs have an easy introduction.
If they have been living indoors don’t immediately put them in an outdoor hutch, especially in cold weather or overnight. Give them time to adapt to the change in temperature by finding an environment that’s similar to the one they have left and gradually increase the time they spend in the new environment.
Too much change can be distressing so during this period you might want to use a cage indoors that’s then placed in the outdoor hutch for short periods, before giving access to the wider outdoor space. Anything you can do to make transitions more gradual will reduce stress for your new guinea pig.
New guinea pig introductions
Many guinea pigs enjoy communal living but care needs to be taken when introducing them to either a single guinea pig or to an established group of guinea pigs. Here are some useful tips
- Make sure you choose the right pair and group combinations. You can read more about this here.
- Make sure your new guinea pig is healthy and that the group is too
- Keep the new guinea pig in a separate hutch or cage and place it next to the resident guinea pigs. This will allow them to get used to the sight and sound of each other. You may want to put the cages further apart and bring them closer over time
- Watch for positive behaviours like positive noises, attempts to sniff each other and popcorns (jumps that indicate the guinea pig is happy). If you see negative or aggressive behaviours, go back a step and slow the process down.
- Scent swap by swapping over bedding and toys between the cages to allow your existing guinea pigs to sniff the new guinea pig. It’s a great way of helping them accept each other.
- Feed the guinea pigs side by side but still in their respective cages to create positive associations.
- When it’s time to introduce face to face, do so on neutral territory so no one feels they need to guard their home. Make sure there are no closed areas or blind tunnels where your new guinea pig can be cornered by another.
- Once everyone is happy introduce the guinea pigs to a newly cleaned out cage. Remove any beds or toys that would allow a guinea pig to be trapped by others. Gradually reintroduce more toys or tunnels over time if all the guinea pigs seem happy.
- If the guinea pigs fight, be prepared to separate them using a thick towel to lift the new guinea pig out. Guinea pigs don’t often bite but may nip if under attack.
- Keep a close eye on newly paired guinea pigs over the coming weeks to ensure everyone is happy.
Even if you have an idea you would like to explore our article
How To Introduce Guinea Pigs To Each Other. I have a male guinea pig but im recently planning on buying another male guinea pig so hes not so alone i definately dont want a female guinea pig because i dont want them to reproduce. Most domestic guinea pigs prefer to be around other animals, and adopting another guinea pig.
How to Introduce Two Guinea Pigs to Each Other: 11 Steps (Hilda Perez) Find out how to safely introduce your guinea pigs to each other. When introducing new guinea pig, never put your new guinea pig directly in the cage where your old guinea pig is already living. If you are planning to introduce a male and female guinea pig to each other, make sure they are neutered.
With gentle handling they are generally quite tame.
Eventually, you’ll find them doing everything together!
6 Tips to Introducing New Guinea Pigs – GuineaDad
Pin on Guinea Pig Cages, Toys and Food
What to Look for when Adopting or Buying Guinea Pigs – Petsium
Introducing Guinea Pigs to Other Pets – Cute Home Pets
Best Guinea Pig Foods to Maintain a Good Health • GuineaHub
How to Introduce Two Guinea Pigs to Each Other: 11 Steps
Pin on Guinea Pigs Behavior
Pin on piggy life
Introducing three male guinea pigs – YouTube
The best way to introduce two guinea pigs is to give them a big pile of timothy hay and let them get to know each other. Guinea pigs love is shown differently from other pets. After you have successfully quarantined and ‘visually introduced’ your new chickens it’s time to physically introduce them to each other.
The safest thing to do is to keep your dog completely away from the guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are considered prey animals and are basically defenseless against attack from other animals, even the family dog, especially if yours is a breed that’s particularly prey-driven. Even if the dog is gentle, there’s still the possibility of it unintentionally hurting the guinea pig.
Here are some tips that will keep your dog happy and your guinea pig safe:
• Some breeds are highly prey-driven. These include some of the working and hunting breeds such as Labrador retrievers, Border collies, Rottweilers or German shepherds. They get especially motivated by anything that runs, chews, or digs.
• Supervise the pets at all times and keep them separated when you aren’t at home. Place the guinea pig’s cage in a room where it can still interact with the family, but where it can also be shut off from the rest of the household pets when you are not able to supervise interactions. Sometimes complete separation is the only way to squelch the dog’s naturally inquisitive nature when it comes to a smaller pet like a guinea pig.
• Distract the dog from the smell of the guinea pig’s food by storing it all in an airtight plastic container away from the guinea pig’s cage. Feed your pets at the same time whenever possible, starting with the dog so that he will be too distracted by his own meal to realize that the other animal is also receiving tasty treats.
• Keep the guinea pig’s cage on a tall, folding table that is out of immediate reach of the dog. If you notice the dog approaching the table, command her to “leave it alone” and then reward with treats for good behavior. Repeat this command every time the dog shows an interest in the cage area to reinforce the behavior. Even the sturdiest table and cage won’t be able to withstand the weight of an overly curious canine.
One of my two Guinea Pigs died a couple of days ago.
I have heard from several sources that one pig on its own will suffer so I will get another. Should I do so immediately or wait a couple of weeks?
3 Answers 3
Sorry to hear that, my condolences on your loss. 🙁
Guinea pigs are definitely social animals (almost too social, it’s how I ended up with 7 once before getting them sexed correctly), so being solo is going to be harder on your friend now than it would have been at a much earlier age. They do grieve, I think, based on my own experience with them, but the loss reaction isn’t really that lengthy if there’s a community with them, so I don’t think there’s a really easy rule of thumb there.
However, it’s very easy to mistake signs of loneliness with signs of grief. Arguably, they’re the same. So, I think you don’t want to wait too long to bring some companionship back in, but you need to consider a couple of things:
The current home is this one’s home first and (s)he has probably established some habits with respect to that.
The newcomer is coming into a whole new world with a whole new situation to contend with. That’s a major stress.
You want to mitigate the above as much as possible. Ideally, what you want to do is have them in separate cages that are side-by-side. This is short term, so the newcomer could be in a smaller cage if necessary. In any event, the idea is to get them used to each other with some barrier to prevent any fights from happening as they become accustomed to each other’s presence. Let this happen for a week or so.
After the initial “meeting” through the bars such that they’re familiar and used to each other’s scent, then look to introduce them in a less confined space. Do that for a few minutes at a time, to start, and gradually increase. Be prepared to break up a fight (be very careful doing that), but you need to allow them to establish a pecking order. Again, do this for a week or so.
Finally, once you’re satisfied that they won’t fight, you can house them together. This entire process will give your original pig a chance to grieve because the private space is still there while giving them a chance to get acquainted with a new friend.