10 Simple Ways To Keep Male Guinea Pigs Happy Together

So, you’re considering buying a pair of guinea pigs? Good for you. But, now you’re wondering if two male guinea pigs (boars) can live happily together in the same cage? After all, you’ve heard the stories that boars will fight to the death, and that boars are territorial. Well, let me put your mind at ease.

On average, male guinea pigs (boars) live together happily when they’re matched with other males they’re compatible with. The personalities of the individuals and mutual liking dictate whether or not they’re compatible. Additionally, the environment they live in must be boar-friendly to keep boars from fighting.

can male guinea pigs live in the same cage

Most of the tips in this post revolve around you respecting the needs of male guinea pigs. If you do that, you’ll keep your male guinea pigs happy together versus them fighting each other like serial killers in a slasher move.

1. Find Personality Matches

can male guinea pigs live in the same cage
Piggie. Fights. Are. The. Worst.

Some pet parents swoop into pet stores, see two cute little piggies, and bring them home. Then are shocked when their new pets are (sometimes quite literally) at each other’s throats.

Why the fighting?

The owner didn’t think about whether the guinea pigs like each other.

I mean, think about it.

Not all humans like each other. The same goes for piggies.

Even though they’re social animals, they don’t naturally like every other guinea pigs they come in contact with.  They all have individual personalities.  

Pair up male guinea pigs that are balanced in their temperament. I can’t stress how important this is.

Just doing that will decrease the chance that they’ll fight with each other.

A dominant piggie should be matched up with a subordinate one.

Or try to pair an easy-going male guinea pig with one that’s more high strung.

Remember a lot of the rumble-strutting and chattering at the beginning of bonding is just boars trying to sort out “who’s in charge”. It’s normal for guinea pigs to do this (sows – piggie females – do it, too).

But, you don’t want to bond two highly aggressive boars (disaster!) or bring together a pair of male guinea pigs where one will be bullied (also a hot mess).

This is when reputable guinea pig rescues are worth their weight in gold. They’re staffed with people who’ve been trained to pair up and stably bond piggie before you bring them home.

The video below will give you some tips on how to successfully bond guinea pigs:

This video gives some cool tips on bonding. But, I urge you to seek help from an experienced rescue whenever possible.

2. Accept The Rowdiness

Don’t break up perfectly happy boar pair because you misinterpret their behaviors.

Most bonded boars are like siblings…or rather like brothers.

So, like brothers, it’s normal for male guinea pigs get into a little tussle from time-to-time.

Most bonded boars are like siblings…or rather like brothers.

You’ll see them push or shove each other. There might be a few light nips exchanges. Sometimes the dominant piggie will chase around the subservient one to remind him who the “boss” is.

In between those times, you’ll notice your boars cozied up together enjoying some pellets or popcorning side-by-side.

As long as the there’s no bullying happening, such as one boar preventing another from eating food or annoying the other excessively, then it’s all good.

When one guinea pig does not let the other eat or bothers it all the time, this is called “guinea pig bullying.” As long as that isn’t happening, then it’s all good.

Light bickering is quite normal. And nothing to freak out about.

3. Go Big With Their Space

can male guinea pigs live in the same cage

Male guinea pigs need S-P-A-C-E. A lot more than female guinea pigs. So, the most important thing you can do is provide a massive space for your male guinea pigs.

If cage mates are put in a space that’s too small, they might fight with each other because there’s not enough space to get away from each other.

Yes, sometimes bonded boars need time away from each other – in their cage, of course.

When your piggies are feeling territorial and aggressive, they need to be able to go one way while their bonded buddy goes the other. This is normal behavior. And nothing to be concerned about…if they have enough space.

Do yourself (and your piggies!) a favor:

Invest in the biggest cage your budget and square footage in your home allows.

The table below give you some guidelines:

# of Guinea PigsSize Of CageNotes
1 piggie10.5 square feet If possible, bond your fur baby with a friend
2 piggies10.5 square feet Two is often the “magic number”
3 piggies13 square feetBonding a trio of boards isn’t recommended
4 piggies16 square feet3 sows or 1 neutered boar with 2 sows

Source

4. Have 2 Of Everything

Sometimes boars don’t like to share. Especially if they’re feeling territorial.

To keep your male guinea pigs living harmoniously in the same cage, make sure you have two of everything, including:

  • Water bottles or bowls
  • Guinea pig beds
  • Food bowls
  • Huts, tunnels, snuggle sacks, etc. need at least two exits
  • Hay piles: make sure you have two piles of hay for each piggie to enjoy

By having two of everything, you remove the possibility of aggression over resources.

5. Be Strategic With Food

can male guinea pigs live in the same cage

All guinea pigs are known to fight when there’s limited resources, so you want to make sure that you’re deliberate about your food arrangements. For example, you’ll want to:

  • Keep Food At Opposite Ends of the Cage: This is especially helpful when pigs are first meeting each other. After introductions, have hay at either end and food pellets at either end. Sometimes the dominant male will push the submissive pig out of the way from eating. If you put hay or food near one end, then the boss pig will not be able to get to both spots at once.
  • Make Sure You Have Enough Food: Piggies need unlimited, high-quality hay daily. As well as 1/8 cup of Vitamin C-enriched pellets and a cup of veggies each day. Make sure that you’ve providing enough for each of your male guinea pigs. Otherwise, chaos and fighting will ensue.

6. Keep Them Away From Girls

It’s true that some male guinea pigs live calmly and peacefully near female guinea pigs.

However:

Some male guinea pigs get REALLY hyped up when sows are nearby and you need to take precautions, so:

  • that the girls are safe (no babies, please!)
  • the boys don’t fight each other, competing for the sows

The situation is stressful for all parties involved.

If possible, it’s typically best for male and female piggies to be housed in separate rooms.

Or just plan to have a herd or or a pair of boars to enjoy.

No mixed gender groups.

Then you won’t have to worry about that male-female interaction.

7. Watch Out For Those Teenage Hormones

can male guinea pigs live in the same cage

When teenage years come, your cute little babies suddenly stop being cute and adorable. They turn into boars who are full of raging hormones.

So, why is this important?

Those hormones turn your sweet, little friends into rumble-strutting, nipping balls of fury.

The teenager years for guinea pigs begin when they’re around 3 to 4 months old. For boars, this is when their “manly parts” drop and their bodies produce an incredible amount of testosterone.

The testosterone spike is what causes the increased aggression. This is the time time is when it’s pairs can have fall-outs and fights.

Take a look at the table below:

AgeWhat To Expect
3 – 4 months“Manly parts” drop
6 monthsHormones are surging through your piggie’s body
8-10 monthsEncouraged by hormones, piggies will try to push the limits, challenge their partner for dominance, & basically be a royal pain in the butt
15 months to adulthoodHormones begin to settle and things start to calm down; there might be one or two last hormone spikes; nothing that a quick separation with a divider can’t fix for a day or so; then reunite them on neutral ground

Older boars tend to be as cuddly as sows, if not more so. And they make great TV companions.

It’s nerve-wracking, I know. But, you can keep your boars happy.

Just create an environment to help them get through this difficult period of time. There are two main things you want to

  • Try to bond pairs with a big age difference. Bottom line? You don’t want male guinea pigs who are going to enter through their teenage years at the same time. Those hormone spikes are awful!
  • Make sure you have a HUGE cage. That way your little friends have a lot of space to work out their problems and to stay away from each other if necessary. There might be a lot of chasing and squeaking and squawking, but having the extra space will help prevent fights.

And before you ask, neutering will not “calm down” your furry friend. Neutering does not change a guinea pig’s personality. It also doesn’t stop them from producing testosterone. A dominant boar is a dominant boar, whether he has his tests or not.

8. Provide Entertainment

Male guinea pigs (even female ones) have to live in a mentally stimulating environment. If they don’t, they becomes stressed out and cranky.

Even guinea pigs that are normally docile and gentle can develop aggressive behaviors when he doesn’t have anything else to do.

And we certainly don’t want grumpy piggies. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Instead, provide stimulation for your furry, little friends, by providing the following:

  • Daily floor time: Ideally this should happen early morning or evening when guinea pigs are most active
  • Obstacles courses: You can easily make them from PVC pipe, paper towel rolls, and random scraps of fabrics.
  • Fun food: Throw special treats into big piles of hay and let your boars forage. Or you can stuff hay into a paper towel or toilet paper roll. Then let your furry burritos try to get the hay out.

The possibilities are endless.

9.  Christen New Territory With Old Scents

can male guinea pigs live in the same cage

This tip should come in handy during two occasions:

  • the first time your bring your fur babies home.
  • whenever you need to introduce your boars to a new cage or extend their enclosure in some way.

When two male guinea pigs are introduced to new or enlarged spaces, they need to work out “who’s the boss” again.

This will often start a lot of bickering, rumble-strutting, nipping, etc. And of course, this aggressive behavior can lead to fall-outs.

To avoid this, wipe down the new housing and the cage with bedding that smells like them and toss it into the new cage. Just save the bedding from the carrier that has their mingled scents and rub it all over everything.

Bottom line?

You want the enclosure to scream to the piggies, “This place is ours!”

Guinea pigs have a better sense of smell than humans. They know if the area smells like them or not.

10. Three Is A Crowd

I’m sorry, but if you have a pair of happily matched boars, don’t add a third one into the mix.

Three pigs together almost never work out. So, I recommend you don’t try to make a trio. Many experienced people have tried this and it did not work out well.  

If you do try to add a third pig to the cage, there are a few things that you need to think about:

  • Adding a third boar means that it’s possible that the two pigs you already have when end up arguing and fighting. That’ll ruin their relationship.
  • All three piggies might end up as singletons without friends, because they don’t want to be housed with other pigs.
  • Do you know a rescue near you that might be able to help? A lot of rescues won’t, because it’s so difficult to do this sort of match up.
  • Ask yourself if your needs are more important to you than your guinea pigs’ needs?
  • All of the boars could end up injured.
  • Do you have enough space to properly house all three boars? Remember that male guinea pigs need A LOT of space. Much of their happiness together depends on it.

Male Guinea Pigs Can Live Together If It’s Done Right

If you’ve read this far and are convinced that two male guinea pigs in the same cage for life sounds like a good idea, congratulations!

Perseverance and planning is essential if you want to keep a pair of boars happy in the same cage.

It can be a little nerve-wracking at times (especially during the teenage months).

But, the pay off is oh, soooooo worth it.

You just have to see it through.

Be realistic with your expectations. Understand how boars instinctively see the word. And make sure you give them the biggest possible cage. Space is probably one of the most important factors to success.

Focus on the tips and suggestions from this post, and you’ll create an environment where boars can live and thrive together.

Good luck!

Care of Guinea Pigs. (n.d.). College of Veterinary Medicine – Purdue University. https://vet.purdue.edu/vth/sapc/documents/CareofGuineaPigs_001.pdf

Environmental enrichment for Guinea pigs: A discussion by the laboratory animal refinement & enrichment forum. (n.d.). Animal Welfare Institute. https://awionline.org/content/environmental-enrichment-guinea-pigs-discussion-laboratory-animal-refinement-enrichment-foru

Guinea pig bonding basics. (n.d.). Animal Humane Society. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/guinea-pig-bonding-basics

Guinea pig cages store. (n.d.). Guinea Pig Cages Store, Cagetopia C&C Guinea Pig Cages. https://www.guineapigcagesstore.com/about-candccages

Guinea pigs social life. (n.d.). Guinea Pig Education, Care, Rescue and Adoption at Cavy Spirit. https://www.cavyspirit.com/sociallife.htm

IACUC policy on animal housing and enrichment. (n.d.). UCI Office of Research. https://research.uci.edu/compliance/animalcare-use/research-policies-and-guidance/environmental-enrichment.html

Jackson, S. (2019, July/August). Gertie’s Guide to Successful Bonding. Guinea Pig Magazine, (51), 10-11.

Lockett, J. (2018, September/October). Match Pigs At April Lodge Guinea Pig Rescue. Guinea Pig Magazine, (46), 28 – 31.

Putting Guinea pigs together. (2019, July 29). FOUR PAWS International – Animal Welfare Organisation. https://www.four-paws.org/our-stories/publications-guides/putting-guinea-pigs-together-in-a-group

Spaying and neutering Guinea pigs. (n.d.). Companion Animals. https://companion-animals.extension.org/spaying-and-neutering-guinea-pigs/

Wiese-Thomas, W. (2019, May/June). A Closer Look At Couples. Guinea Pig Magazine, (50), 38 – 41.

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