Guinea pigs are naturally sociable creatures – they should always be kept in pairs or small groups. If you find yourself with a lone guinea pig of any age, contact your local rescue centre to help find your piggy a companion.
Suitable combinations of guinea pigs:
Unsuitable combinations of guinea pigs:
Introducing your guinea pigs to each other
When introducing guinea pigs, it is very important that it’s done on neutral territory. Ideally, mix them in the outside run. This will give them plenty of space, and the fresh grass will be neutral. If you do mix indoors, make sure they have plenty of space.
Thoroughly clean the cage or hutch, add new tunnels and hiding areas to make it interesting. Place a few resting areas for the guinea pigs to hide under. These should be open ended to prevent your piggies becoming enclosed in a small space and starting an unprovoked, reactive fight.
Starting the bonding process
Once your mixing environment is set up and ready, place your piggies in the run or indoor set up at the same time. Allow them to investigate the territory and approach each other. Guinea pigs will often show signs of bonding or aggression fairly quickly.
Signs your guinea pigs accept each other:
Signs your guinea pigs are being aggressive:
If any of these aggressive behaviours are fairly instant during a mix – or if they start to occur between an already bonded pair – this mix is unlikely to work and you should separate the guinea pigs.
Mixing a group of guinea pigs
Use the same method when introducing a group as with a pair - the behaviours are likely to be the same.
Watch the group carefully to make sure there is no bullying. Health check all guinea pigs daily to spot any hidden injuries.