Guinea pigs are highly social creatures, so it is natural to want to house your pets together. However, you may be having doubts as to whether it’s okay to keep two or more male guinea pigs together, especially after hearing stories of piggies getting hostile with each other when kept in the same cage.
The simple answer is yes, male guinea pigs can be kept together, but only under specific conditions. These conditions include proper socialization before keeping them together, the cage is big enough, and each cavy has its place to play or hide should they need some space.
This article provides the complete owner’s guide to keeping male guinea pigs in the same cage, including what you will need to offer each piggy, how to socialize them correctly, and what to do if the housing situation doesn’t work out.
Do Guinea Pigs Like to Live in Groups?
Yes, guinea pigs are social animals and like to have other cavies around.
Housing piggies together can help prevent loneliness and boredom. It is common for guinea pigs to be kept in same-sex pairs, like fathers with sons, mothers with daughters, or unrelated cavies that seem to get along.
If more than two guinea pigs are kept together, it may cause a dominance struggle within the group.
Choosing the right guinea pigs to house together is also incredibly important to ensure they don’t start fighting or end up not deriving benefit from the setup because they don’t like each other.
Never rush piggy introductions if you’re planning on keeping two males together. Just like humans, guinea pigs may not take an immediate liking to each other, and forcing them to live in the same cage during this stage could cause unnecessary discomfort.
Requirements for Keeping More Than One Male Guinea Pig in The Same Cage
Guinea pigs are pretty big pets. Despite this, many cavy owners keep them in much smaller than recommended hamster cages.
If you’re planning on keeping two or more guinea pigs in a cage, here are the minimum cage sizes: [Source]
- One guinea pig: At least 7.5 square feet, but bigger is better
- Two guinea pigs can make do with a minimum of 7.5 square feet, although 10.5 square feet is recommended.
- Three guinea pigs: A minimum of 10.5 square feet, but 13 square feet is much better.
- Four guinea pigs: At least 13 square feet, but as always, bigger is better.
If you don’t have enough floor space for such large cages, consider getting a double-story enclosure that will help your piggies find corners to hide if they are tired of each other’s company if they’re feeling antisocial.
Most guinea pigs will also need more than just a cage.
Some of the most important items to include in your guinea pigs’ cage include:
- Two heavy food bowls that won’t tip over during feeding
- Two water dispensers
- Ample bedding
- Enough hiding spots to cater to both piggies
- Lots of play tubes and tunnels
If you house two or more male guinea pigs together, make sure they spend enough time outside their cages, so they don’t feel cramped.
You can let them run outside, play with them, or even just cuddle them to offer some change in scenery.
Can Male Guinea Pigs be Friends?
Yes, male piggies can and probably will become friends if they are kept in the same hutch.
To ensure your piggies become the best of friends, take introductions slow and keep them apart in the beginning until they show a genuine liking for each other.
Many male guinea pig pairs may eventually develop very close bonds and stay long-term companions for as long as they are housed.
How Can I Ensure My Male Guinea Pigs Get Along?
Introducing and moving two male guinea pigs into the same hutch can take time and extra effort, but the rewards for your pets are immeasurable.
Some of the best ways to ensure the transition goes smoothly include:
1. Sharing Scents
As soon as your second guinea pig arrives, start regularly swapping their bedding, toys, and food bowls. Allowing the two cavies to get used to each other’s scent before they meet can help the event go more smoothly.
After repeating this for a few days, switch the piggies between their cages every two days to reinforce the scent and sense of having another guinea pig around.
2. Let Them Spend Time Together
Allowing the guinea pigs to spend time together is a big step.
After a few days or a week of swapping them to familiarize each piggy with the other’s scent, it is time to let them meet.
Start by placing the two cages next to each other so the two cavies can see each other but are still separated by the bars.
Keep a close eye on their behavior and look out for positive or negative signs in their reactions to each other. They may sniff at each other and make a variety of sounds and squeaks.
Make sure they don’t show any type of hostility or try to bite each other through the bars. A good indicator that your piggies like each other is popcorning, which involves one or both piggies running around their cage, hopping in the air, and making a range of different happy sounds.
Sharing a Meal
The next step is to introduce them without the bars. The best way to manage this is to let them eat together but out of separate bowls.
This should be done in a new environment that doesn’t inherently ‘belong’ to either piggy. After mealtime, provide them with various toys and see if they show interest in interacting with each other.
At this point, you should notice clear signs of whether or not your two male piggies are getting along.
After the initial meetings, allow the two piggies ample time to get to know each other on their own. Always check in every 10-15 minutes, but give them enough space to interact without human supervision or interference.
3. Moving In
Some male piggies will take a liking to each other very quickly. Others may take more time.
Only once they can spend at least an hour together unsupervised, and all goes well should you consider moving them into their shared cage.
Ensure each guinea pig still has its own food bowl and hiding spot so that they don’t feel like their personal space or resources are being threatened by the other. You should also keep an eye on them over the next few days to ensure this last step goes smoothly.
Will Male Guinea Pigs Fight With Each Other?
Although it’s improbable that two male guinea pigs will fight if there are no females around, it is not impossible.
Like all animals, the two cavies may get into spats if they are bored or have seen too much of each other that day.
Signs that your guinea pigs may not be getting along include sniffing, chattering, and dragging their behinds across the cage to mark it with their scent.
When guinea pigs are about to fight, they will bare their teeth, chase each other around the cage, and possibly attempt to mount each other.
If you’re unsure why your guinea pig is fighting, the following factors may be the cause:
- They are hurt or in pain: Just as being ill makes humans moody, so does being injured shorten a guinea pig’s temper.
- They’re paired by the wrong sex: Guinea pigs are notoriously difficult to sex, and many cavy owners have accidentally assumed their girl piggy is actually a boy. Mounting and displays of dominance may be a cause for rechecking your piggies’ genders as they could be attempting to mate.
- Their personalities don’t match: Just like people, guinea pigs have individual characters that may or may not be compatible with others.
- Their cage is too small: Being crammed into each other’s personal space could make anyone, not just guinea pigs, worked up.
- They are bored: Not having enough playtime or toys could result in extreme boredom, which they may try to remedy by starting a fight.
- There’s not enough food: If there’s not enough food for both cavies, they may start fighting for their survival. Guinea pigs don’t understand that there will always be more food and may see the other as an impediment to their survival.
What Should I Do If My Male Guinea Pigs Start Fighting?
Even though your guinea pigs look too cute to hurt a fly, they certainly can do significant damage if they start a serious fight.
If your piggies are in the middle of a brawl, you may hear shrieking and lots of angry vocalizations.
Don’t panic, and don’t try picking them up with your bare hands as you may get bitten in the process.
Once the cavies have calmed down, you may need to keep them in separate cages for a while or use a board to divide their existing cage and keep them away from each other.
After a few days of separation, you should restart the introduction process to see if they won’t get along better this time around.
Will One Male Guinea Pig Assert Dominance?
Although this is unusual if only two guinea pigs inhabit the same cage, some male guinea pigs may try to assert dominance over their roommate not long after they move in.
Chattering, chutting, and various vocalizations may accompany one male guinea pig mounting another as a sign of his strength and dominance. As long as the other male guinea pig agrees to let them be the boss, things should calm down very quickly, and the two piggies will go about their lives in peace.
However, if a fight breaks out, you may need to separate them and retry their introductions. If the second attempt doesn’t work, your piggies may not be compatible personality-wise and would best be kept in different cages.
Can Male and Female Guinea Pigs Live Together?
Male and female guinea pigs can live together provided the following steps are adhered to:
- The female guinea pig should be sterilized to avoid having babies once she is too old to carry them safely.
- The same cage size rules apply for male guinea pigs, and you should make sure each has enough food and several hiding spots.
- The piggies should have ample time to play and explore outside their cages, so they don’t get bored.
- Always follow a ratio of one male to one or two females for the lowest possibility of fighting.
Male and female guinea pigs often form strong bonds even without mating, and a bonded pair can become friends for life.
Guinea pigs are social animals and benefit from living in pairs or groups. In the case of male cavies, two or more living in the same hutch could significantly increase their happiness and overall quality of life provided they have enough space and are introduced to each other gradually.
Guinea pigs often bond with each other in the same way humans have best friends, and offering you cavies a chance to do this could be the difference between a life of happiness and companionship or a bored, lonely piggy who never seems quite as happy as he should be.