Guinea pigs are very sociable animals and they are at their happiest when they have a friend or two to play with, and if they live on their own they can become very lonely no matter how much attention you give them. An ideal combination is a neutered male with one or more females, or a pair or group of females. A pair of males from the same litter can also live together in harmony if they have been brought up together since birth. Guinea pigs also enjoy human interaction, so show them you care by interacting with them every day.
Many people believe that rabbits and guinea pigs can live well together, this isn’t the case. Rabbits and guinea pigs shouldn’t be kept together as rabbits can bully and injure guinea pigs and they both need company from their own kind.
It is possible that your guinea pigs won’t get along, no matter what you do and how carefully you have followed advice. Don’t be alarmed or disheartened – nature just works in this way.
If this happens, you will need to keep them separated in some way. We suggest that the best thing to do is to keep them close enough so they could see, smell and talk to each other, but are separated with some kind of a partition. They are still social, and having another guinea pig in their vicinity would be a great deal for them.
- When introducing a new guinea pig, never put your new them directly in the cage where your existing guinea pigs are already living.
- Their first meeting should be done on enclosed neutral ground – somewhere outside the cage, in a space that is new to both guinea pigs, like an enclosed area of a living room or garden.
- Place a pile of hay and treats (vegetables) into the centre of the area.
- Place all your guinea pigs into the area.
- Have some towels handy, just in case they start to get physically aggressive.
- Observe their behaviour; if they start off by ignoring one another, don’t worry, this is normal. Then, one or more of the following could happen: mounting one another, teeth chattering, chasing around, purring accompanied by swaggering walk, etc. It is a natural thing for them – establishing hierarchy, who’s the boss, who’s the friendly neighbour and who doesn’t care. This may or may not take a while, each guinea pig is different and they all react differently; after that, you should still observe them for another couple of hours.
- After the observing period of a few hours they should appear comfortable with each other. You can place them at the cage together.
- Observe their behaviour in the cage for another period of time, just to be sure that they are ok.
- If they start to get physically aggressive and fight, you may need to use a towel and remove the aggressive one from the group.