When introducing male guinea pigs, it’s best to offer each of them a towel that has been in the other’s enclosure. They will become familiar with each other’s scent before they are introduced. After that, move both guinea pigs to a neutral room (where neither has been before). Introducing on neutral territory is crucial.
If you’re thinking of adding a guinea pig to your family, there are a few things you need to know first. Guinea pigs are very social animals and should not be kept alone. They should always be kept in pairs or groups.
This post will explain the best way to introduce two male guinea pigs and what behaviors constitute “normal” during the process.
Boars Are Best in Pairs
Guinea pigs are social animals and need to be with other guinea pigs. If you’re not able to keep a herd, you should at least keep them in pairs.
Guinea pig males (boars) are usually best in bonded pairs. Although occasionally, they will successfully live as bonded trios.
Common Myths About Boars
There is some misinformation about the suitability of two male guinea pigs living together. You may have read that male guinea pigs don’t do well together and should always be kept alone or in larger groups with sows.
The myth is that they are too territorial and will always fight–which isn’t true. As herd animals, they need the company of their kind, or they experience severe social and psychological issues.
Regardless of how much your cavy loves you, you are not a substitute for other guinea pigs. As we’ve already mentioned, two male guinea pigs can live together in a common enclosure as long as they’re bonded. In fact, they can even become best friends!
Another myth that many people believe is that if you neuter a boar guinea pig, he will become less aggressive. This is not true. With housing boars together, surgical neutering is an unnecessary cost and unwarranted risk to your piggy’s life.
Make Sure Both Cavies Are Male
If you are getting a second piggy to provide company for your current boar, shelters and rescues are a fantastic resource. If you can find a guinea pig rescue, they can often help you find a boar that naturally clicks with your piggy.
Rescue employees will bring out suitable boars until everyone is happy with the situation. This is the ideal scenario for finding a second guinea pig.
If you are getting your second boar from a shelter or a pet store, it’s unlikely they will allow any contact between your pet and their cavy. So you’ll have to ease the transition for both pigs on your own.
It’s best to have a veterinarian sex the new guinea pig when you get him. Employees at shelters and pet stores are not as proficient in identifying the sex of a guinea pig. You don’t want to end up with a pregnant sow and all the costs and hazards that will bring!
Introducing Boars On Your Own
When you get a new boar guinea pig, it’s necessary to quarantine him for at least two weeks before introducing him to your other guinea pig. If he carries parasites or diseases, they could harm your first cavy.
During the quarantine period, it’s best to keep the new boar in a separate room from your other pig and monitor his health closely.
At the very least, keep your boars in separate enclosures. If your new pig shows any signs of illness, take him to the vet immediately.
Once you’ve determined that the new piggy is healthy, you can begin the bonding process.
Setting The Stage
One way to begin the process of helping the boars get to know each other is to provide each with a towel that has been in the other’s enclosure. They can then become familiar with each other’s smells over a few days.
Then set up a large, safe, neutral area for them to explore. Both pigs should have plenty of room to explore.
Put both piggies into the neutral space simultaneously, so neither has a territorial advantage. Having a towel and a dustpan on hand is helpful if you need to separate them.
Wheeking, humping, rumble strutting, hair pulling, nipping, and head butting are all part of normal guinea pig behavior while establishing a hierarchy.
Don’t interrupt them unless blood is drawn. If blood is drawn, use the towel or dustpan to separate the boars. Don’t reach between them with a bare hand!
Once the boars have made their initial introduction, put down plenty of hay, veggies, and treats. Ensure they’ve each got water access. Put two or more of everything in the neutral space to defuse competition.
Supervise the Piggies For Their Safety
It Takes Time
Bonding can happen quickly, but it’s perfectly normal for it to take a while. Don’t despair if it’s not an immediate success.
Leave the boars in the neutral area together unless a fight results in bleeding. Partition the enclosure so the boars can see, hear, and smell each other, and try again later.
Once the piggies are calm and relaxed around one another, you can prepare their permanent home.
Ensure their shared cage is large enough for both piggies, and it has been wholly scrubbed clean before putting the boars into it.
Old scents can reignite their territorial nature and undo all the work you’ve done up to now. Also, by making sure there are at least two of everything before placing the boys into their shared home, you will reduce competition for resources.
They’re Just Not Getting Along
You may have to partition their cage if nothing is working to bond your pair. Such an arrangement might not be the situation you’d hoped for, but it’s not a bust. Your piggies will benefit from the guinea pig companionship that all guinea pigs need, without the danger that they’ll seriously hurt each other. And you’ll still have double the cuddles.
Their Best Life
If you’re like most guinea pig owners, you want your little piggies to have the best life possible. That means you need to provide your boar with companionship and not just a cage and food.
By following this simple process, I hope you can bring guinea pig friendship into your piggy’s life.