Adding another cavy
One Guinea Pig or Two?
Make it two! Guinea pigs are extremely social, herd animals and thrive in the company of another pig. A human can't take the place of a guinea pig companion.
Steps to bonding guinea pigs;
1. When bringing a new guinea pig into your home, you should quarantine them for a least a week. This will allow you to make sure that neither of the piggies have any illnesses that they could pass onto the other and the new family member will be able to get used to the smells of the home. During this time, you can also begin to bond with your new piggy one on one.
2. This is probably the most important thing to remember: not every guinea pig pair will get along! One of my guinea pigs, FuzzyWuzzy, has been un-pair-able thus far. He does, however, enjoy being grid-mates with Nanners. He and Nanners are in a large C&C cage with two grids diving them. They are able to smell each other and interact while still having their own space, which is a common solution for owners who have piggies that are not compatible. You NEVER want to have a guinea pig isolated from other piggies!
3. When ready to start bonding - Lay down new blankets/fleece in a neutral part of the house. I like to use the bathroom because there are no other animal odors in there. Everything you use during this introduction phase should be cleaned or new. This is because you do want to use items that one of the guinea pigs has marked as their own already. A neutral, level playing field is key to success.
4. Make sure there are several shelters, water bottles, hay, and plates of fresh veggies and maybe some fruit nearby. The reason you want several is because you don’t want them fighting over places to lay, food to eat or water to drink.
5. Place the guinea pigs in the NEUTRAL area together. You want to make sure that you have dry fluffy towels near by to toss over the piggies and break them up should a fight occur. NEVER stick your bare hands between fighting guinea pigs!
6. Continue this bonding method many times over the period of a few days/weeks. Some piggies take longer than others to bond - just like humans! 48 hours is key. In my experience I have tended to find that it takes about 48 hours to truly determine whether or not the guinea pigs will be a good match or not. Just make sure you keep your eye on them for a few days after bonding, especially after you have returned them to a clean permanent cage.
Finally, here are some other things you should know when bonding piggies:
1. Mounting, rumble strutting and nipping are perfectly normal at first. The piggies are trying to figure out which one will be the dominant one. Now, should they start biting each other and blood is starting to appear, this is a sign that they are not going to be a good fit. I have heard of people being able to successfully bond guinea pigs after a nasty fight, this has never happened for me though. I tend to find that once two guinea pigs have had a huge fight (where there is blood involved), they usually will never pair together.
2. Once they have eaten and fallen asleep, waking up to another guinea pig in the cage with them is one of the determining factors in bonding, and the time where you want to have a towel ready for sure.
Please contact our rescue if you have any questions or concerns.
Bigfoot's Guinea Pig Rescue