Bonding and Introducing a New Guinea Pig


We recommend you watch these bonding videos from SkinnyPigs1 and Scotty’s Animals prior to bonding your pets.

Bonding—it’s such an intimidating topic. While it can be quite stressful and at times dangerous, bonding guinea pigs doesn’t have to be a daunting thing.

Bonding—it’s such an intimidating topic. While it can be quite stressful and at times dangerous, bonding guinea pigs doesn’t have to be a daunting thing.

AREA: You want to introduce them in a neutral area, having washed any bedding, hideys (even plastic ones—you can wash them with a bit of Dawn soap and water), food bowls, etc. Basically, you want everything to seem new to your current pigs. This helps cut down on the risk of a fight due to claiming something as their own.

Some people have recommended giving either “bonding baths”—bathing all pigs together, or simply bathing each pig separately prior to introductions.

To touch on the bathing all pigs together—DON’T! Pigs that are first

being introduced during a bath can lead to a HOST of problems. If they begin to fight, they are in a very small area, slippery, and stressed (pigs should rarely be bathed as it is, which you can read about here.

Now, while I strongly discourage bathing pigs together, I have heard of giving them all a bath so they all smell “neutral” to each other. I’ve personally never done this, but I can understand why it’s said. However, guinea pigs should not be bathed unless absolutely necessary, and I don’t believe this will help with introductions.

SETTING UP THE AREA: Your best bet is introducing them in a very open space that they are not used to, but I personally have just deep cleaned the cage the current pigs are in when doing introductions. Again, making sure everything has been cleaned to remove their scent. You also want to rearrange any hideys so the environment seems new to the old pigs.

HIDEYS AND WHAT TO PUT IN WHEN INTRODUCING: I definitely would NOT have any closed things like snuggle sacks where a pig can become trapped or one way entrances like pigloos. Only use open hideys that have more than one way to escape if a pig tries to block them in. Basically, remove any single entrance hideys so a pig can’t get trapped by another pig.

INTRODUCING THE NEW PIG: You will learn pretty quickly whether or not they will get along.

Very IMPORTANT: It might start to get very rowdy and some pigs may likely go after a pig, but they should not be removed or disturbed unless blood is drawn. It is very important for them to work out the hierarchy and sort out dominance. It might get ugly, and as hard as it may be to want to “save” a pig, they really must be able to sort it out in their own piggy way. IF EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF FUR IS BEING PULLED OUT OR ANY BLOOD IS DRAWN, THEY MUST BE SEPARATED. IF YOU HAVE TO INTERVENE AND SEPARATE A PIG, USE OVEN MITTS OR A TOWEL SO YOU DO NOT GET BITTEN AS THEY WILL UNINTENTIONALLY BITE YOU IN ALL THE MADNESS. They don’t mean to, but if they’re at the point of really fighting, they won’t realize what’s going on and you’ll get hurt.

MORE TIPS: A very helpful tip is to keep them distracted with lots of hay and veggies. I set up a few big hay piles and when it begins to get rowdy, I distract them with veggies. They’d much rather eat than fight 😛

IF ALL IS GOING WELL… After a few hours, they typically finish and if they’re getting along, you can relax, but still keep an eye out for the next couple of days. I would wait up to a week at least before putting any single entrance hideys back into the cage.