Guinea Pigs/Fighting


I have two male pigs who have lived together for a number of months.
recently one of them suffered from a a fungal infection. Whilst i was treating him i separated them both. after about six days I reintroduced them. This did not go well and both were chattering their teeth. I left it for another couple of days before trying again, this time I put them in a new run to avoid a territory battle and I also applied vix to their noses to disguise the smell. All seemed to be going well so after a while I left them for a short time. On my return I could see that they had been fighting and the older one of the two had lost fur and his face was bleeding. I split them up and have not put them together since.

I know that Guinea Pigs are sociable creatures and would really like to keep them together. Do you have any other suggestions please

In general they are social animals, but they are herding animals. In any herd there is always an alpha male who maintains the position of the leadership and also holds the breeding rights to the females.

Horses, cattle, wolves, lions, hippos, chickens,  just to name a few, have that hard wired herding instinct. Guinea pigs are the same way. As the male babies come along they are allowed to stay as long as the don't challenge the leader. When they start to reach puberty they begin doing just that. Once they do that a fight begins and the winner maintains control while the loser is banished from the herd. If it's the older male who has been king he will be kicked out and will die. If the younger male is defeated he will leave to find his own harem.

When boars are housed together they will get along until there is a separation. Once separated a territorial fight will begin when they're put back together. They have no memory of liking one another. They're simply acting on instinct and hormones. The guy left in the cage has assumed the position of leadership and will fight to keep it.

I use my senior boars as 'nannies' to the baby boys that are weaned. They get along beautifully for awhile, but there comes a point when the young ones start showing their muscle and try to push Dad around.  At that point the party stops and the boys have to be separated.

I've had brothers that lived happily together, but taking one of them out of the cage when we traveled for a few days to a show caused that same behavior when they came home. It's animal instinct and there isn't much we can do to change that to fit our needs.

When you see hair pulled and bloodshed there is serious aggression and one or both of them will be injured, badly. At this point they are best left apart. To try to make them come to peaceful terms at this point is only going to cause more combat.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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