In this article, you’ll learn how to bond male guinea pigs, young or adult, the right way with tips from someone who has successfully introduced and bonded 3 male guinea pigs when they were already adults.
Should I get my guinea pig a friend?
Yes. Guinea pigs are social creatures and they need at least a buddy to be happy and healthy.
Although there are some exceptions, which I explained more about here is it okay to have a single guinea pig, it’s always better for a guinea pig to have a buddy, or else your guinea pig can be depressed.
Can I get my guinea pig a friend after two years?
It’s never too late to get a friend for your guinea pig, even if they have reached adulthood or their senior years. As long as your guinea pig gets along with the furry friend, your guinea pig will be much happier than being a single guinea pig.
The importance of choosing the right guinea pig friend to bond
Not all male guinea pigs will get along with each other, so you need to consider their personalities, ages, and health conditions before introducing them.
Generally, younger guinea pigs are easier to bond with than older ones, because they are more adaptable and less set in their ways. Also, neutered males are less likely to fight than intact ones, because they have lower levels of hormones that drive their aggression. You can also try to pair up males who have similar temperaments and interests, such as shy or outgoing, active or lazy, etc.
That doesn’t mean that bonding guinea pigs with opposite personalities and large differences in ages will not succeed, it just means that the introduction might be slightly more difficult.
Do Male or Female Guinea Pigs get along better?
Usually, female guinea pigs are easier to bond even as adults and get along better because they tend to have fewer fights and are calmer than male guinea pigs.
Male guinea pigs like to assert dominance in their pack, which leads to more fights, and that is completely normal. Even a bonded pair of guinea pigs occasionally fight too.
Can I bond a pair of guinea pigs with one guinea pig?
Yes, you can. Although this might be hard, bonding a single guinea pig with a bonded pair is not impossible. In fact, my three guinea pigs were originally a bonded adult pair and a single adult guinea pig.
Even though they do fight sometimes (here’s a 5-minute funny montage of cute guinea pigs fighting non-stop), as long as they don’t draw blood or hair, I won’t necessarily separate them.
Here’s a quick rundown on how to bond guinea pigs:
How to bond male guinea pigs
- Introduce the guinea pigs in a neutral area
- provide hay, vegetables, and hideouts for distraction
- keep a towel handy to block harsh fights
- Quietly observe the entire time
- Don’t interrupt your guinea pigs unless it’s absolutely necessary
No need to worry, I’m going to go through each and every step in detail with tips, do’s and don’ts as well as my own experience bonding 3 male guinea pigs.
Before you start – Bonding New Guinea Pigs
Before you bond your Guinea pigs, make sure both of them are already comfortable in their own cage and environment. Therefore if your Guinea pig is new to your home, please let it get used to its environment first before starting the bonding process.
Quarantining your new guinea pig for 2-3 weeks before the introduction process is also incredibly important to make sure your new furry friend does not transmit any diseases or mites to your current guinea pig(s). This is assuming you did not take your new piggy to the vet after adoption.
That means in the first few days, it’s best to keep the Guinea pigs who are not bonded separately.
In the meantime, make sure to provide activities for your guinea pig and keep them happy while being alone for a few days.
Put their cages side by side
The very first step to “introduce” your Guinea pigs to each other is by introducing their scent. Every Guinea pig has a different scent and making your potatoes more familiar with it will greatly help the actual bonding process.
Place the two cages next to each other so they can communicate and get to know each other without physical interaction. This is especially important for single Guinea pigs who have not interacted with another Guinea pig for some time.
If putting your furry potatoes’ cages right next to each other is not possible, placing their habitats in the same room can help as well.
This really helps with the actual bonding because when they see each other. That’s because instead of thinking “who the hell is this guy and why am I stuck with him here?”
They would more likely think, “Oh, this is the guy that keeps sticking his foot out when he’s sleeping. Why am I stuck with him here?”
How to introduce Guinea pigs to each other
Here is how to introduce your guinea pigs.
Why should I bond my Guinea pigs in a neutral area?
Setting up a neutral area for Guinea pigs to bond is incredibly important and that’s because if a guinea pig has already been to the bonding place, then your Guinea pig would have left its scent on it and marked the area as its territory.
If the place you are bonding your Guinea pigs already has a Guinea pig’s scent on it, at least clean it out to remove that scent.
Make sure the area is Guinea pig-proofed and safe. It should also be an enclosed space so they won’t run away.
What should I have in the bonding area for Guinea pigs?
- a large enclosure – during the bonding process, your guinea pigs will be chasing each other and running around marking territories. Therefore it’s extremely important to have enough space for them to move around.
- Hay – don’t put it in a hay feeder. Instead, put a small pile of hay on the ground where the Guinea pigs can access it from all directions so that they won’t fight over the hay
- Multiple hideouts that have at least two sides – meaning a Guinea pig can go into the hideout one way and go out the other. This gives an escape for the Guinea pigs when they are chasing each other around. Having a small one-way hideout can also benefit the Guinea pigs when they are hiding from the other piggy
- Water bottles – to drink water. Here are the top 5 leak-free water bottles for guinea pigs that I tested and recommend.
- Fresh Vegetables – to distract the Guinea pigs when they are fighting too much without interfering
- Towel – to cover the Guinea pigs if they are fighting too aggressively (more on that later
- Optional but recommended – Guinea Pig first aid kit. Here’s how to make your own budget-friendly one
Things you should NOT have in your Guinea pig bonding enclosures
- Noise distractions – as in vacuums, loud bangs cars, etc. Introducing Guinea pigs alone is already stressful, and it’s better not to add things to stress them out even more.
- Dangerous hideouts/climbers – remember, there will be a lot of chasing and fighting during the introduction. Therefore having ladders or hideouts that Guinea pigs can jump off on in a high place is not the best choice. Here is a list of all the products and cages I have for my guinea pigs if you want some hideout ideas.
How to introduce Guinea pigs to each other
- Prepare the enclosure.
- Let the Guinea pigs into the neutral area at the same time if possible. Don’t put them together side by side. Instead, place one Guinea pig on one side of the enclosure and the other on the opposite side.
- Observe the Guinea pigs and don’t interfere unless their fight is getting intense. Let them chase each other around and fight, it’s natural.
- Make sure you are able to see the Guinea pigs at any given moment. You should be always in the room.
How do male Guinea pigs show dominance?
When bonding Guinea pigs, they will likely fight to determine who becomes the leader of the group. Some behaviours that will happen when introducing Guinea pigs to show their dominance are:
- Chasing each other
- Teeth chattering
- Butt sniffing
- Lifting their head high
How long does Guinea pig dominance last?
When Guinea pigs are 9-12 months old, they become “teenagers” and start fighting each other to show dominance, and that is normal.
Guinea pig dominance usually lasts about 2-3 days, but it can always be longer, depending on the guinea pig’s gender, personality and age. For example, I bonded my single adult male Guinea pig to an adult male bonded pair in 6 days.
Tips on how to bond Guinea pigs
Bonding Guinea pigs is not an easy task for you or your furry friends. As someone who successfully bonded my Guinea pigs, here are some tried and true tips that will help your bonding process be easier.
- Don’t interfere – I know, it’s heartbreaking to see your precious Guinea pigs fight, but it’s completely normal and necessary for the Guinea pigs to come to a conclusion about who is the leader. I admit, I did interfere a few times, but unless the fight is super intense, or one of the Guinea pig’s blood was drawn, it’s best to just supervise. Here are some examples of healthy Guinea pig fighting.
- Use the towel! If and when a Guinea pig’s fight is getting too intense, you can use a towel and lay it on top of both of the Guinea pigs, covering their sight and confusing your potatoes.
- Give out vegetables – a lot of Guinea pigs will drop everything for treats and food. Distracting the Guinea pigs by giving both of them the same vegetables can calm the potatoes down a bit.
How long does it take to bond 3 male Guinea pigs?
In my experience, bonding 3 male Guinea pigs definitely takes more time than bonding 2 Guinea pigs. For me, it took 6 days. However, this number will vary from age, personality and environment.
What are the signs of successful male Guinea pig bonding?
Just like bonding WITH your Guinea pig, it takes time and your piggy most likely won’t go from chasing each other’s butts to cuddling next to each other overnight.
A good indicator of the Guinea pig bonding being successful is when they stop fighting for one whole day or when you can see which Guinea pig has become the leader of the pack. This means that they are getting used to each other and no longer see each other’s presence as a threat.
Remember that light occasional fights are healthy and normal, but you should interfere when things get intense.
What should you do then?
I suggest keeping them in the bonding area for a little longer.
Your Guinea pigs should be getting along well, or at least don’t break out a large fight for 24 hours before permanently living together.
Remember to always keep an eye on them.
How do you know if Guinea pigs are bonded well?
Some signs that your Guinea pigs are getting along well include but are not limited to:
- Eating together
- Lots of noise and interaction
- Playful chasing
- Sitting/cuddling together
- Nose touching
- Grooming each other
If your Guinea pigs do any of these behaviours, congratulations! You just bonded your Guinea pigs. That means your piggies not only accept each other, but they like having each other as company too.
What should you do?
When your Guinea pigs are bonded, you can move them into a large habitat for the piggies to live together. And If you haven’t already, give your new Guinea pig a name. Here’s a huge list of names for Guinea pigs, whether it’s for females, males, or pairs.
What are signs that a Guinea pig introduction is not going well?
Here are some signs that the Guinea pig bonding process is not going well and that it’s time to separate your Guinea pigs for a while and rest.
- Fighting to the point where a Guinea pig is bleeding
- Fighting to the point where they are pulling each other’s hair
What should I do when guinea pig bonding is not going well?
If a guinea pig introduction is not going well, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Instead, here’s what you should do:
- separate the guinea pigs immediately and give them a quick health check to see if there are any injuries
- do not reintroduce the guinea pigs for at least 24 hours. Sometimes letting them rest for a few days can really calm them down.
- Repeat the same steps to introduce the guinea pigs but remember to remove any scent or markings.
- Be patient and don’t give up!
Why are my guinea pigs fighting all of a sudden?
Guinea pigs are like toddlers – they can fight over anything. For example, stealing food, one guinea pig’s in a grumpy mood, boredom, etc. You can minimize the number of times they fight by expanding their cage size, adding more hideouts, providing activities to keep them busy and entertained, and providing enough food.
On the other hand, sometimes fighting may also mean that your guinea pigs have been paired incorrectly, meaning their personalities do not suit each other.
What to do when your guinea pigs fight
As said above, use a towel to cover over your fighting guinea pigs to temporarily confuse them. Then, separate them in different habitats but their cages should still be as close to each other as possible.
During that time, here’s how I separated my guinea pigs and what my daily routine of taking care of them looked like.
If repeated bonding still doesn’t work or one of your guinea pigs keeps bullying one of the piggies, it might mean that they are not compatible with each other.
In that case, it’s better for them to live separately. You should contact your vet or animal shelter for advice on your choice of whether to keep them single, find another guinea pig to pair, or other options.
How to make sure your guinea pigs will bond well
When adopting another guinea pig to bond with your current potato(es), most animal shelters and rescues offer instant pairing.
That means they have a dedicated area for guinea pig bonding. Since there are quite a few single guinea pigs in animal shelters, when you’re adopting a new guinea pig, make sure to bring your current piggy with you as well. That way the rescue can introduce a new guinea pig friend and the other piggy in the bonding enclosure and see if they are compatible with each other.
This process only takes about 2-5 minutes for every pig, and in my experience, this is the best way to almost guarantee your guinea pigs will be bonded eventually. Moreover, having an expert on this topic can ensure both guinea pigs are safe and determine if the guinea pigs are the right match for each other.
Introducing and bonding guinea pigs is not an easy task, especially with male guinea pigs. However, with the right environment, patience, time and hard work, nothing is impossible – you got this!