Guinea pig bonding can be tricky at times. Guinea Pigs are highly sociable animals. They always need at least one other cagemate to communicate with and keep them from feeling lonely. However, their meeting doesn’t always go as planned. It is important to follow certain steps to make sure that the first impression between your two guinea pigs is a positive one, ensuring a healthy relationship.
Ages and Sexing
To start, you need to be 100% sure on the sex of your guinea pigs. You can find a great article on how to do this here. You should always keep males and females separated, as males impregnate a female after just four weeks. You can always get males neutered so they are unable to impregnate a female. This can likely be done at your local vet. It is obviously suggested that each guinea pig is the same sex, but if they are neutered, don’t get more males than females. The males will end up fighting over the females.
Introducing the Guinea Pigs
Introduce the guinea pigs on neutral ground outside of the cage. You can place all the guinea pigs around a large supply of hay and veggies. This area should be new to both of the guinea pigs.
They will try to establish dominance. Observe their behavior. Purring, mounting, teeth chattering, and chasing are all completely normal natural behaviors. Let nature take its course and don’t intervene, unless serious injury is dealt or blood is drawn.
After a few hours, they should appear to be comfortable with each other, put them in the cage together. The fighting will continue again, but again, don’t intervene. Make sure the cage is large enough to fit all of the guinea pigs. You can find an article on cage dimensions here. The cage should be cleaned beforehand with vinegar to remove any scents of previous guinea pigs. If they are both males, make sure there are two of everything- two food bowls, two hiding places- so each guinea pig will have its own territory, as males can be highly territorial.
If they don’t seem to get along, keep both of them quarantined in two smaller cages, or place some sort of barrier in the larger cage. Repeat the process in this section until they get along. Don’t be discouraged, some pairs take longer to get along than others.