You are here:

Guinea Pigs/Guinea Pig behaviour


I have three brothers (not neutered) about 8 months old. Leadership seems to have changed suddenly and the former top pig now excludes himself from the others, settling for long periods as far away as possible. From being the alpha male he now appears withdrawn and disinterested.
I am feeding him separately which he eats.
My concern is that he may be lying out in the open all night, rather than join the others in their sleeping section, although I can't be sure.
The new leader expresses dominant signals and chases his predecessor around if he gets the chance but I can't see any bite injuries on either of them,

I would suggest putting some kind of shelter at the other end of the living quarters to allow the dethroned prince a place of his own to get shelter and peace. Watch his weight for signs of his not being able to get sufficient food to maintain his body weight.

As long as he is indifferent to his brother's takeover he should get along well. It sounds like you're saying they have an outside cage or living arrangement, which is fine but they each need a shelter to allow them to sleep comfortably and safely.

At the first sign of injury you should separate the one who is taking the beating. They are all sexually mature males now, and as such they are running on an overdose of testosterone. Being unneutered their personalities can take sudden changes. So be aware that you may need to arrange different circumstances to protect each of them from harm.

Guinea Pigs

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.