Why Do Guinea Pigs Fight?

Guinea pigs are social and adorable pets that are typically calm in most situations.

But no matter what type of species or gender we are dealing with, there is bound to be tension one way or another.

Whether it be humans, cats, rats, or birds, male, or female we all experience frustration now and then.

So the real question is, why do male and/or female guinea pigs fight? And what are the best ways to prevent future fights?

6. Reasons Why Your Guinea Pigs Might Be Fighting

A fight between two male guinea pigs can be fatal when one is physically superior to another according to size or age.

Guinea pigs usually get into a scuffle for one reason or another. Identifying the specific one will help you figure out the solution.

If you have two or more guinea pigs, the fighting could be because:

1. When Guinea Pig has Physical Pain/Illness

Guinea pigs that have stayed together for a long time and become aggressive all of a sudden might indicate an injury or an illness.

You will need to check on them for any signs of illness or a physical injury to ascertain why the cavies are fighting.

When you cannot find out why they became so irritable, you can call a vet who can help you and advise on taking care of them.

Guinea pigs’ health is very much connected to the food they eat and their environment’s cleanliness.

Always clean the piggies’ cages to prevent the spread of illnesses and provide fresh food daily and feed them properly.

Another way of cleaning them is by the use of a special sandbathe.

Use a knock-proof plastic sand bath dust-free container and put the special rodent bathing sand in it.

Set it up away from the litter box to confuse the guinea pigs and use the same sand bath again.

Make sure the food you give to the guinea pigs provides all the nutrients required.

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Change their bedding at least every two days and sanitize the cages once a week.

2. Your Guinea Pigs Are Paired Incorrectly By Sex

How you pair your guinea pigs will play a massive role in how well they get along. It isn’t a good idea to have two males and one female in a hutch.

As you would expect, the males will fight over the female, and she could get hurt in the brawl.

The best possible pairings for a harmonious hutch is to have two or three of the same sex together. Another good match is a female with a neutered male.

Or if you are looking to have more than two piggies as pets, then it is recommended to have one male in amongst the females.

Although neutering your male guinea pigs is an elective process, it is a good idea to have it done.

Females can have up to five litters a year, with between two and eight pups each time. That, we are sure you will agree, is a lot of guinea pigs for anyone to have to handle.

3. Personality

Personality is the usual way of behaving.

Guinea pigs tend to come in two personalities; they can either be submissive or dominant.

When guinea pigs aren’t correctly matched, neither will want to back down, leading to a fight.

Pairing an old guinea pig with a young one is recommended as the older guinea pig will be dominant, and the young one will be submissive.

As the young guinea pigs age, they will fight the old guinea pig to claim dominance.

This is normal.

You will need to check up on them not to hurt one another because the scratches and biting can be severe or fatal.

If you get the opportunity to choose between several guinea pigs, make sure you check on how they interact to make pairing an easy task.

4. Small Cage

When multiple piggies are set into a small, cramped space, they will obviously start having issues. With little space to roam, there is nowhere for one to get away from the other.

If they are stuck together for too long, they will start becoming annoyed at each other and start a fight.

This is completely normal for these fur babies to fight, for any type of animal, so this should be no surprise. 

Cages should provide plenty of space for all guinea pigs to hide in. If you only have one hidey, at least put down a pocket liner for the other to rest in.

This way they can have some privacy from each other.

5. Boredom/Unhappiness

When you aren’t stimulating your guinea pig with toys, vegetables, or something to do, they become bored and uneasy.

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This means there will be a higher chance of guinea pigs fighting. To avoid this, make sure they have something to do.

It can be something as simple as munching on hay or letting them out for floor time, just make sure there is plenty of fun to go around.

You can replicate some of the fun activities we made such as our DIY Cottage Hidey and Orange Bear Snack.

6.  Guinea Pig Establishing Dominance

Typically, in a herd of guinea pigs, there will be a dominant piggie and you can tell who it is by the way they fight. The last one to stand their ground is usually the more dominant.

Fighting over dominance is common in guinea pig herds and is fine as long as one guinea pig backs down and acts submissively toward the other.

The real problem is when neither piggie backs down and things reach a more aggressive nature.

When this happens, you need to stop the guinea pigs from fighting.

What Тo Do When Guinea Pigs Are Fighting?

When you see any of the fighting signs we have discussed, then that is high time to take action and prevent any more harm from your adorable cavies.

1. Clean Up The Cage Often

Use a special antibacterial spray to clean the cages thoroughly.

It will do away with the scent the guinea pigs have used to mark their territories and ease the tension between them and make them live as a family.

Cleaning also helps to make the cage clean and prevent illnesses that can lead to a fight.

After cleaning, make sure you place new hay and clean newspapers inside the cage.

2. Provide Enough Food For Them

Make sure there is enough food, and it’s in different feeding points.

This prevents the guinea pigs from eating from one point, leading to the cavies fighting over the little food available.

Don’t forget to provide enough water points, enough hay, and vitamin C foods to make them healthy and happy.

3. Divide Up The Cage

If your guinea pigs have been fighting and you have a large cage, consider using a divider to separate them for a while.

These dividers can be purchased or made at home.

This will make them smell each other’s scent, provide some time to calm down, and learn how they can live together peacefully.

When you feel the time is right, you can take out the divider and observe if they will get at each other again.

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4. Create Distractions In The Cage

Make the cage as enjoyable as possible.

Have tunnels, chew toys like wood, balls, and hay that they can hide under and play with.

The toys will distract them and reduce the risk of fighting by a considerable percentage.

You can create any other distraction that may have worked for you; make sure they don’t hurt lovely cavies.

5. Put The Guinea Pigs In Separate Cages

Your cage can be the type that can’t be divided, so for this case, you can separate the cavies and have them in different enclosures for some time.

After some time, they will calm down, and this is the point you reintroduce them again.

If they end up fighting, you can separate them and do this until you are comfortable.

They can permanently live together without fighting.

Why are male guinea pigs fighting all of a sudden?

The fight among the male guinea pigs for the right to breed with female guinea pigs is commonly seen in guinea pigs.

The increase in testosterone level and eagerness to mate with female counterparts results in the fight among the male guinea pigs. The winner is eligible to breed with a female guinea pig or a group of them.

These fights may result in the death of the guinea pig. Injuries are common in these fights to both the guinea pigs.

This fight to prove the right to breed is a natural way to promote healthy guinea pigs in the reproduction process. Those who are healthy and strong are allowed to participate in the reproduction process.

Why are my female guinea pigs fighting?

The introduction of a new female guinea pig in the cage also results in a fight with the other female guinea pigs.

To protect the guinea pigs, it is advised to separate them if they fight among themselves. Try to make them friendlier with each other.

The fight between two female guinea pigs is far less deadly than compared to the male guinea pigs.

It has been observed that the female guinea pigs do not fight for the dominance of territorial regions.

They are comfortable sharing the same space with other female guinea pigs. In rare cases, the female guinea pigs fight each other to the extent of death.

The presence of any advantage or any disadvantage results in the fight among the female guinea pigs.

The female guinea pig is at an advantage if it is older or of a larger breed, whereas it is at a disadvantage if it is weak and too old to dominate.

Why are my male and female guinea pigs fighting?

A fight between a male and a female guinea pig happens rarely.

When a male guinea pig is willing to mate with a female guinea pig, the female guinea pig does not give proper response or consent.

The female guinea pig may show little aggression against the breeding. That may result in fights among them. Such arguments are not so severe and don’t cause much damage.