When you’re putting guinea pigs together, it’s important to get the balance right so these social animals can live together happily in a group.
Although there are no fixed rules, you should take into account not only the sex of the guinea pigs but also their individual characters. However, the most important factor is the kind of habitat you provide for them. If they are kept in an unsuitable environment, and there is too little to keep them occupied, even the most mild-mannered guinea pigs will develop aggressive behaviours.
The minimum size for a group of guinea pigs is two. However, there are good reasons why should consider acquiring three or more at the same time and keeping them together:
- Several guinea pigs will stimulate each other and encourage active behaviour.
- If one of the animals dies – or needs to be quarantined for a while – the remaining guinea pigs won’t be left alone, even temporarily.
- As guinea pigs are territorial animals, it is easier to put a group together all at once, rather than trying to introduce others later on.
- One neutered male and two to three females
- One to two neutered males and two to four females
- Neutered males in small groups
Female-only groups are not ideal. A male will tend to balance things out and will neutralise the conflicts that will sometimes break out between females. Furthermore, animals in an all-female group won’t be able to live according to their instincts, as such groupings are not found in nature.
- Neutering of males: Whatever the grouping, male guinea pigs should always be neutered. This prevents uncontrolled breeding, as well as aggression caused by a build-up of sexual tension.
- Age: It is important that the guinea pigs are of a similar age, as this will help to determine their activity levels.
- New arrivals: If you want to add more guinea pigs to an existing pair, we recommend introducing two more in order to prevent the newcomer from becoming an outsider. When adding new animals to a larger group, the addition of a pair rather than just one is a proven way of ensuring that the original group members give their attention to both the new animals, rather than concentrating too much on one.
- Keeping guinea pigs and rabbits: It’s possible to keep guinea pigs and rabbits together, if their enclosure is large enough, but there should be more than one of each species. The enclosure must meet the different needs of the rabbits and the guinea pigs.