Can Guinea Pigs Live with Chickens? | Potential Problems

Can Guinea Pigs Live With Chickens_

Most of the time, guinea pig owners prefer to keep guinea pigs in a pair or simply own just one guinea pig. Guinea pigs are very social animals and they don’t love to live alone. So it’s very important that your guinea pig has a companion in your home because they can even get sick or develop diseases due to the stress caused by loneliness.

You can make different living accommodations, two or more female guinea pigs, two or more males or females and males (the last is not advised if you don’t want to breed them). The number of guinea pigs is just your personal preference, but please don’t keep just one guinea pig alone in the cage.

Guinea pigs can definitely live with each other, but what’s about other animal species, more precisely chicken?

Can guinea pigs live with chicken? Guinea pigs can survive in the same cage with chickens, but it’s not recommended that they live together. Even other pets, such as rabbits don’t go well with guinea pigs. However, some owners have reported that they’re keeping guinea pigs and chicken together, without any problems. That’s probably possible to achieve if you put them together when they’re just babies. Also, the possibility of them living together depends on their personalities. On the other hand, many owners have also reported that chickens have abused their guinea pigs. Generally, guinea pigs and chicken have different diets, eating schedules, different behavior and they need different treatment and living conditions. Also, chicken’s poop can contain some bacterias that can be bad for guinea pig’s health. Having your chicken and guinea pigs in the same cage or space isn’t a good idea, although it may sound practical.

Many owners want to save some space by merging guinea pigs with other animals, but it’s always better to let your guinea pigs enjoy their own peace and lifestyle.

In the following section, we have given you some reasons why you could theoretically put your guinea pigs and chickens together, but also many more reasons why that isn’t such a good idea. Let’s start!

Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Could Potentially Live With Chickens

Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Could Potentially Live With Chickens

Let’s start by examining why in theory guinea pigs could live with chicken. One of the main points is that both guinea pigs and chicken aren’t predatory animals and they aren’t prone to attacking each other.

Sure, a guinea pig eats a bit different food, but they aren’t carnivores. When looking at the things from that angle, we could assume that a guinea pig and a chicken would go pretty well.

If you pair a newborn guinea pig with a newborn chicken, this could function very well in terms of peace and relationship between each other. But, as chicken have a very sharp beak, they are most likely going to injure a guinea pig accidentally at some point. Young chickens tend to go around and poke everything that looks interesting to them, this includes insects, some plants, and similar.

When it comes to the size, a small chicken isn’t that much bigger than an average guinea pig. Depending on the behavior, a guinea pig is more likely to behave more wildly than the young chicken. They can be loud and have high energy levels. Still, this wouldn’t represent a problem for a guinea pig and chicken, if the cage or the space they live in is big enough.


Guinea Pigs Living With Chickens: List of Serious Problems

Guinea Pigs Living With Chickens List of Serious Problems

Guinea pigs can’t live with chicken because of various bacterias that can be found in chicken poop. As you’ve probably known, salmonella is a pretty common bacteria that can be found not only in poop but also in raw chicken eggs. That’s why it’s recommended that you boil or fry your eggs before you eat them.

A bacteria like salmonella can do some serious damage to your guinea pig, such as vomiting, fever and they can even die if not treated well and on time.

What about food, then? Well, guinea pigs have quite different needs. Guinea pigs eat several times a day and they require lots of vitamin C. Chicken doesn’t eat the same food. If you try to feed both your chicken and a guinea pig with the same food, it will result in vitamin C deficiency for the guinea pig and an unbalanced diet for one of your animals in the cage.

It’s logical that every animal is different and that every animal needs different treatment and nutrition to live a healthy life.

Chicken belongs to fowls and while guinea pigs are mammals (rodents). On top of that, a guinea pig is still a half-wild animal that can show some of the primal instincts and sometimes get in conflict with your chicken.

Also, some owners even reported that guinea pigs got bullied by chickens, as they grew bigger and were more dangerous, especially male chickens. Roosters are very dangerous and are even keen on attacking people. A guinea pig wouldn’t even be a match!


Can Guinea Pigs Live With Any Other Animals?

Can Guinea Pigs Live With Any Other Animals

If you’ve never seen any guinea pig owner keeping his/her guinea pig with other animals, well that’s because it’s not recommended. Rodents are the type of animals that aren’t going to attack other animals in order to defend themselves. Instead, they’ll just freeze in fear and wait for the predatory animal to kill them.

As such, rodents usually go well with each other, but not guinea pigs. Some owners even tried pairing rabbits with guinea pigs and that didn’t go well.

There were numerous cases in which rabbits attacked guinea pigs and even killed them. As you probably know, rabbits can grow very large, even twice the size of a single guinea pig, and in some cases even more!

However, there is an exception and that’s a mellow dwarf rabbit. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s one of the smallest breeds of rabbit, weighing from 0.5 to 1.13 kg and it’s definitely one of the cutest rabbits you’ll ever see!


Mellow Dwarf Rabbit and a Guinea Pig

Since we’re still talking about two different animals, a mellow dwarf rabbit and guinea pigs have different nutritional needs, although they are almost equal in size. As we mentioned earlier, guinea pigs require a lot of vitamin C, while rabbits don’t require any special vitamin treatment. However, these animals eat hay, so you can keep the hay rack full at all times.

The only exception is the vitamin C which you can supplement to your guinea pig’s nutrition in the form of a tablet or lozenge.

Related: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rabbit Food?

The main reason why guinea pigs can’t live with other animals is usually the size of other animals and different habits. Although rabbits seem small, they are far larger than any guinea pig out there and even a slight kick from its hind leg can cause great damage to a guinea pig.

Guinea pigs already play rough with other guinea pigs, but they can’t pose a significant threat like bigger animals. That’s why constant monitoring is advised and if you don’t have a lot of time to do that, it’s better that you don’t put any other animal with a guinea pig.


Can They Live With Cats or Dogs?

Can They Live With Cats or Dogs

As long as your guinea pig is in its cage, having a predatory animal like a dog or cat is safe. But, not all cages are dog or cat proof and that’s something to take into an account. While the cat can easily access the cage with its paws, dogs can take down the whole cage and injure the guinea pig while it’s in it.

It also depends on the dog’s personality, but dogs are much more friendly with guinea pigs than cats. Cats will, in most cases, simply chase the guinea pig and fatally injure it. A well-trained dog can indeed live with a guinea pig, even when it’s outside the cage.


How to Introduce a Guinea Pig to Other Pets (Dog or Cat)

The introduction should consist of you holding a guinea pig in your hand and holding a dog or a cat with the other hand. For bigger dogs, a leash is a necessity.

Now, try to pay attention to the initial reaction of your dog or a cat. If you can see that it isn’t going well, you can try to socialize the dog to react better, although we don’t recommend that you go for it, unless you’re an experienced dog owner.

As for the cats, they are really clever and at first, they will not seem interested, this is why it is important to keep track of them when they are near guinea pigs for longer periods.

All in all, you should definitely prevent any physical contact between your predatory (or any other animal) animal and your guinea pig. It is just important to note that some dogs have been quite friendly to guinea pigs but it all depends on the character as it is really hard to predict their behaviors.

Related: Do Guinea Pigs and Hamsters Get Along?


How to Protect Guinea Pigs from Other Animals?

Whether it’s a big or a small animal, guinea pigs need to be safe and protected. Not only in a way that physical contact is forbidden, but also any kind of contact. As we mentioned earlier, most animals carry some bacterias that can negatively impact a guinea pig’s health life.

Let’s use chicken as an example. Although they aren’t stinky, they carry some bacterias like salmonella. Salmonella is very easily manifested in every living being including guinea pigs and humans. This bacteria can also be found in places with low hygiene.

That’s why regularly cleaning the guinea pig’s cage is a must. If you decide to keep chickens and guinea pigs in the same room, be sure to clean their cage every two or three days. If you have a bit more space in your household, try to create a bigger distance between your chickens and guinea pigs.

You can also isolate the guinea pigs and chicken even if they are in the same room. Keeping your chicken away from your guinea pigs can be done by elevating the cage a bit and leaving chickens on the ground of the room.

Don’t go too high, though. Placing a cage on the table is always a good idea and in most cases, the chickens will not be able to get a hold of it. Don’t try to save cash by buying a cage a small cage for guinea pigs with low-quality materials. Instead, buy a quality cage for your guinea pig, with quality material and lots of protection from the chickens and other animals.


Related:Guinea Pigs Vs. Gerbils: Which One Is Better to Have as A Pet?


Summary

To digress, let’s pack all we just said in a few sentences. Guinea pigs can survive in the same room with chickens, but if possible these living conditions should be avoided.

Your guinea pig should only live with other guinea pigs and not other animals such as rabbits, chicken or any predatory animals. Not only that a guinea pig can get severely injured but also get dangerous bacteria and suffer from food and vitamin deficiency.

Guinea pigs are afraid of many things and they love to hide, because of their previous life in the wild with predators. So, it’s also very important to follow their hide-behavior when they’re with other animals.

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Related: Guinea Pigs vs. Rats: Which One Is Better to Have as a Pet?


List of Sources

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NC State Veterinary Hospital, Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig, Exotic Animal Medicine Department.

RSPCA, Guinea pigs: Good practice for housing and care, Research Animals Department, RSPCA, 3rd edition, 2011.

Cooper, G., Schiller, L.A., Anatomy of the Guinea Pig, Harvard University Press, 1975.

Musser, G., Guinea pig, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2019.

Quesenberry, K. E., Donnelly, T. M., Description and Physical Characteristics of Guinea Pigs, Merck Manual, Veterinary Manual.

Quesenberry, K. E., Donnelly, T. M., Introduction to Guinea Pigs, Merck Manual, Veterinary Manual.

Wey, T., Blumstein, D. T., Shen, W., Jordan, F., Social network analysis of animal behaviour: a promising tool for the study of sociality, Animal Behaviour, 2008.

White, W. J., Balk, M. W., Lang, C. M., Use of cage space by guineapigs, Charles River Laboratories, Wilmington, 1989.

How can you prevent rabies in animals?, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019.

What companionship do my guinea pigs need?, RSPCA Knowledgebase, 2019.

Hart, E. B., Steenbock, H., Lepkovsky, S., The Nutritional Requirement of the Chicken, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1925.

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.