How to Introduce Guinea Pigs and Things to Know when introducing Guinea Pigs

Are you getting a new guinea pig? Not sure how to introduce them? Read this post, Bonding new guinea pigs to understand the steps to successfully bond guinea pigs

Can Guinea Pigs Live Alone? Short Answer is NO, They Shouldn't. So Here Are the Steps to Introduce Guinea Pigs.

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!


1. Quarantine 

how to bond new guinea pig

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

what to do when guinea pigs are fighting

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.

 

3. Gender

guinea pig gender

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.

 

4. Location

how to take care of guinea pigs

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

how to clean guinea pig cages

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. 

 

6. Fights 

guinea pigs fighting

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.

 

Conclusion

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!

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4 comments


  • Kelsey

    These are great tips! I’ll add a tip for anyone reading this… I once had a guinea pig introduction that went absolutely horribly. Blood was drawn, and it seemed that for sure these particular piggies would never get along. However, I tried separating them for two weeks and trying again. This time I gave them a bath together to bond them and neutralize their smells, and I completely cleaned the cage area. I let them have a few hours of floor time after the bath and— voila. The Guinea pigs were able to get along, and now have been living happily together for 2 years. So if it doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to give them some time apart and try again.


  • Ginger Howard

    We JUST went through this this weekend! We have had some rough intros before, but this one was more stressful. We lost our Oreo (long story) and decided to take in two piggies that needed to be rehomed to be friends with our Cookie. Cookie is 2.5 yrs old, Nibbler and Squeaker are 11 months old. It took from 11:30am to 6pm to get them to like each other and get them into the cage from the neutral area. Cookie is of course the dominate one and she is still asserting that since they are figuring out the dynamics in the cage. But we can leave them on their own now and not worry about all our war ::fingers crossed:: What is funny is that Cookie will be cool until we come into he room to say hi. Then she decides to get up and let us know that she is the dominate one and starts purr rumbling around the cage and mounting ::facepalm:: But we have also seen popcorns out of the three, so we are feeling confident they will eventually figure this out and be forever friends :) (We also have two daughters, ages 8yrs and 5yrs, and when the piggies start their dominance dance and one of our girls comes in and lets us know, we tell them, “Not too different from you two is it?” Then our daughters just give us the annoyed look and walk away, LOL!


  • Eli Amjad

    This was a AMAZING tips
    I’m getting a GB tomarrow I’m sooooo EXITED!!!


  • STella

    Hello
    I have a male guinea pig under one year, and rescued a 3 week old GP and was told it’s a male. Even though we all checked here at the house and it’s still difficult it appears he is a male. At any rate they are cages separately and on 3 occasions we put them together for a few minutes SUPERVISED OF COURSE. My old GB makes this sound I’ve never heard him so before like a cooing, at one point t he squirted what I believe was pee straight out the back like a skunk does LOL. Ive never seen that before, is it because he was excited? It was it a sexual thing. Also I
    Told they don’t need neutering, will he try to jump the little One.?


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