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Introductions Fail...is this normal?


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Feb 13, 2010
My friend recently (like last night) introduced her guinea pigs to one another. She had some questions that neither of us could find the answers too, so I'm turning to the brilliant minds of guinea pig cages:

Last night she introduced her two pigs. Vin (named before discovered he was a she) was really excited and went over to sniff and nudge. But penelope started nipping and her hair was sticking up. she stuck her butt in the air like she was going to attack and hissed and (teeth chatter) growled. When penelope started chasing Vin my friend freaked and took penelope away. (the whole time, aside from chasing, Vin just sat their and squeaked like she was scared)
Today she reintroduced them (after reading that chasing and a few nips and chatters were normal). After a while (penelope showed teeth, chattered, nipped and chased. Vin just cried and chattered) they layed down next to each other. fifteen minutes of them laying down she went to pet penelope (fine) then vin (penelope nipped at vin when she pet vin).
So then she put them in the big cage together. Vin will not move from the carefresh side (its mostly fleece with a small carefresh area) and penelope is roaming around (and still occasionally chattering, nipping, and chasing Vin). Vin still cries whenever penelope comes near (it sounds like a scared "save me" cry). She is really scared that penelope will hurt Vin. So how long will this continue? Should she remove penelope after a certain amount of time if this keeps up? Is there anything else she can do?
It really seems like only penelope is fighting for dominance, Vin seems pretty passive/scared.

(they are 4 years different in age, Vin is the older one, but they are about the same size)

Thanks for all the help!!!
Sounds like a fairly ok introduction. If they werent going to get along then they would be flying death leaps at each other and fighting in a little rolling ball. It just sounds like Penelope is the dominant and Vin is the passive one. I think with a little time and TLC they will be ok. Just check each other over for bite marks twice a day. If they have small nips it will be ok. If they are large tears and one the face or neck then it might not work out. Depending on the ages if either of the guinea pigs is between 4 and 9 months then they are in adolescence and will be more aggressive. We would love to see pics and more info. Good luck
Neither is in adolences. Vin is 6-7 years old and Penelope is about 2-3 years old. She recently put Vin in the center of the cage, but (i dont know if it was Vin or Penelope who scared Vin) vin is now back in the corner of the freshcare side near the water bottle.
What is TLC? Oh and, do you have any pictures (or do you know where some are) of what bite marks or scratches look like?
Oh and one last thing: Will Vin forever be as timid? or will she roam and play more after they get more comfortable?
(I've been trying to get her to make an account but since she dosnt have internet she says there is no point. I'll try and get some pics from her and post them with my account)
Penelopes been mounting her lately too (from behind). Is that normal or is penelope a possble peter?
It is normal for females to mount. Mine do it all the time.
It sounds pretty normal. They could do this for a few weeks. Heck, my Lola still nips and mounts the other pigs. Usually the neutered male, but sometimes another female. Some pigs are just more "assertive" than others.

Once Vin submits then things should quiet down. I wouldn't separate them unless they draw blood (not just a little speck on the nose, but bloodshed) or else they'll just have start all over again. It'll be more stressful for the pigs and the humans. It's hard for us humans to listen to and watch, but it's how animals decide who's going to be the boss.
Oh...It just seems like Vin has already submitted but Penelope just keeps at it.
I'll let her know then. Thanks
I just dread introducing Skamp and Pepper now. I'll hate listening to it and not being able to interfere.

But what is TLC?
Tender Loving Care.
Oh..That makes sense.
lol I feel silly now.

Thanks again! I feel better knowing that this is somthing to expect.
When i first put my two boars in a cage together, Lil Fella was roaming and Poquito was stuck in the kitchen. I wasn't sure if Fella was trapping him or if it was Poquito's choice.

In any case, I figured, he is in the kitchen so he has everything he needs. I kept a close eye on feeding times to make sure they would let each other eat. There was tons of angry squeals, rumbles, nips, and mounting at first. It took them about a week to settle down.

Today, Poquito wins the game of nose in the air. Lil Fella might try some rumbling and mock challenges, but as soon as Poquito puts his little nose up, Lil Fella will nuzzle his head under his chin. Fella goes where Poquito goes and they are both happy in their roles.
The insainly loud squeaking Vin does when Penelope mounts, chases, or comes near her is normal as well right? Will that stop eventually too?
I would think it is normal. She is telling Penelope to leave her alone. It will slow down as they both figure out who is the boss.

Since Vin is kinda old already, has she had a cage mate before? If not, take into consideration that she has lived alone so long. This might be extra scary for her.

Unless there is serious bloodshed, please tell your friend to leave them together. Every time she separates the two, it makes a successful introduction less likely. It is a lot of stress for the pigs to be put together and taken apart again.
My sows are always making that "please go away sound to my boar". My sows are alot more vocal.

I would keep them together but I would also watch for bullying. Weigh Pigs weekly to make sure neither is losing weight.

I would separate if one was bullying the other, my Idea of bullying in pigs. Continuously asserting dominance (inflicting wounds) even when the other pig is backing down, stopping a pig from moving in there home,eating or drinking. Pig becoming withdrawn and losing weight.
Flying balls of fur over a period of time causing wounds, the last straw really in my opinion.

I also think there is a difference to a nip or a bite. My pigs nip, but never inflict wounds on one another.

It does sound like it is all going well though introductions can be very stressful :).
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It sounds to me like Vin is what we call a 'scaredy pig' in my house. We have one that the second someone starts acting dominant she sits in the corner and screams. Now that they are all comfortable and bonded ( they've been together nearly a year) I take her out if she gets too upset and cuddle her. She's usually not the one who the other two girls are bothering but she gets very upset when their bickering gets a little heated. When they weren't yet bonded they always came out together and got equal loving. The other thing that may help vin is a hidey with two exits where she is staying now. Something like a towel tent that she cannot be trapped in, but gives her the extra feeling of security. It all sounds pretty normal. Tell your friend to just keep in mind that this will be better for the pigs. They will both benefit from having a friend once things settle down.
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