Guinea Pig Pairing

Guinea Pig Pairing

What is meant by Guinea Pig Pairing?

When someone says “Guinea Pig Pairing” it refers to the course of action you take putting one or more Guinea Pigs in within an existing cage of Guinea Pigs. This course of action is not an easy thing to do and should never be taken lightly, it can also be a time consuming challenge.

Traditionally Sow’s (Female) Guinea Pigs can be blended quite easily. Females do not tend to have a Territory marked out therefore additional cage mates very rarely cause any problems. However Boars (Male Guinea Pigs) have this phase of territory marking.

In the Wild a group of Guinea Pigs would consist of 1 male with around 6 females and any new male trying to enter this shoal would inevitably cause a fight between the head of the shoal and the new comer which would normally lead to one of them dyeing from its injuries leaving the remaining the head of that shoal.

With everything as detailed above I would always recommend Pairing Up on neutral territory and even though in general Female Guinea Pigs can be blended quite easily watch there behaviour whilst introducing a new one to the group. Male Guinea Pigs need constant supervision for the first introduction and for the first week or more after the pairing up.

How is the Guinea Pig Pairing Up Process performed?

Generally it would involve putting the New Comer and the Existing Male on your Lap close to each other so they can smell each other out and feel secure with each hour. This should be attempted for around an hour. If this goes well and there is no sign of fighting then the next course of action would be to put them both on the floor in a secluded area for you the owner to be able to catch one or both of them easily.

What should I expect once I have placed them on the floor?

This is where things can change and quite quickly, you as the owner has to be very quick with your reflexes incase you need to separate them immediately. Here is a list of things that may happen when they are both on the floor. This is a general guide and may not happen in the order that they are listed so you being observant is essential.

  • Bottom Sniffing This is not unlike Dogs when they meet for the first time. It generally involves them put there nose near the back end sniffing out the competition. They both may be attempting the same thing, this can be seen as them running around chasing each others bottom.
  • War Dance This generally involves them doing what I call a Bum Dance. It is basically them sticking there bottom in the air doing circular motions whilst doing this it will also include what I called “Purring” which sounds generally sounds a bit like this sound file
  • Head/Bottom Mounting This is commonly what the Boar would do to a female to impregnate her. This may involve one jumping on the other back or in some cases may even attempt it on there head. They may even take it turns with each other.

The three items above is normal Guinea Pig behaviour when introducing a New Comer to the mix, however if this happens to often it may cause them to fight. Generally for the first week or so this will happen as one is trying to prove himself as being the dominant one and the one in charge of the cage.

Not Normal Behaviour

The following list are Normally Signs that your Guinea Pigs are not getting along and you may need to step in and separate them, leaving them to there own devices will lead to Injury or even Death.

  • Teeth Chattering This sounds very similar to humans when they are extremely cold where there top teeth chatter against there bottom teeth, It will become faster and louder the more they are left without intervention. Left to long will lead them to fighting. Teeth Chattering will sound something similar to this sound file
  • Raised Head Action This generally involves them swinging there head in the air, this also includes them opening there mouth as they are ready to bite and are showing signs of aggression. It is also the first signs of a fight that is about to start.

If one or both of the Guinea Pigs are doing any of the two items detailed above. Separate them IMMEDIATELY. If you ignore them they will start to fight leading to serious injury or even death.

I have tried to Pairing up my Two Guinea Pigs and it has proven unsuccessful, Will they have to live separately for the rest of there life?

There a few things you can try before leaving them in there cages separately and I would suggest trying these few steps before giving up totally, you may be surprised.

Cage Swapping

This involves using two cages of the same size. You leave your Original Guinea Pig in his cage and place the new comer in the other cage. You would leave them doing there usual Guinea Pig thing. When you are ready to clean them out you would remove there soiled bedding and replace it with fresh. I would suggest doing this for around 7 days.

Do not Use Cage Cleaner/Disinfectant as you do not want to neutralise there odour and body smells from the cage

Once the seven days have elapsed, you would again empty there cage of soiled bedding and replace it with fresh without using any form of cleaner. You would then switch your Guinea Pigs around.

By this we mean put your Original Guinea Pig in the New cage and the New Comer in to the Old Cage. You would follow the same steps as given above about the cleaning out. Again do not use any Cleaning Agents or Disinfectants.

You are doing this try and get your Guinea Pigs to get used to the Odours given off by there counter part, so that when you put them back together on the floor they are already accustomed to each others scent and smells.

Success Rate :- 90% first attempt Successful.

I have attempted the Cage Swapping and it has not worked, is there anything else I can do?

I would not give up there and then, I would suggest trying this for another 7-10 days following the same procedure.

I have tried this again for 7-10 days and they are still not getting on. What else can I do?

If this is the case it may mean that your Original Guinea Pig may have to live on its own. Alternatively the other option would be to get hold of a Spayed Female so not to cause any problems with unwanted pups. If a Spayed Female can not be found you could have your Male Neutered although you would need to wait around 4-6 weeks before introducing a female.

I have two Male Guinea Pigs one of which recently died, should I get another male around the same age?

The chances of Two Mature Guinea Pigs getting on are very slim. I would suggest getting the youngest possible male Guinea Pig to blend with as you tend to find the Mature Guinea Pig with then father the baby.

Remember the Following Rules

  • Sow (Females) can live in a big group without any problems.
  • NEVER have no more then Two Males together. Attempting to put a third together will cause two to gang up and pick on the third. Having 4 normally leads to “Gang Warfare”
  • NEVER keep Guinea Pigs with Rabbits under any circumstances. Some Rabbits can be spiteful and others intending no harm can accidentally fracture a Guinea Pigs Rib Cage when they kick out in Exuberance leading to a part of the Rib cage Puncturing the lung with fatal consequences.