Can Chickens Live With Guinea Pigs? Dangers to Know About

Chickens need an appropriate amount of space to live in, especially when they live in flocks. Similarly, guinea pigs prefer a bigger size cage if they live in a herd or they need space to sprawl out and sleep.

Can Chickens Live With Guinea Pigs?

Although chickens and guinea pigs can live together, it can be dangerous. Chickens can be abusive towards guinea pigs and could potentially injure or kill them. It can work if acquainted at a young age, and there is no other option.

Below is a video on chickens, rabbits, and guinea pigs sharing the same living space. Notice how large the cages are, the cleanliness and how calm all the animals are. This living arrangement can work, as seen in this video.

However, precautions should be taken in terms of how large the space is, preventing diseases, or if they met when they were younger.

Now, let’s examine some common questions regarding chickens and guinea pigs living together and the dangers and implementing the best living situation for both animals.

If you have to put them together, here are some tips on how to do it without disrupting the animal’s flow of living according to their specific needs.

Can Guinea pigs live in a Chicken coop? 

Chickens and Guinea pigs need space. A standard size chicken coop should provide at least three feet of space between each animal. However, it may be beneficial to build fences in between each animal breed, so it protects against any diseases or potential threats.

Oregon state university suggests how to build a chicken coop to protect the poultry, as the design is important to raise chickens with enough space for guinea pigs to live alongside them.

Guinea pigs have specific groupings to balance out the behavioral energy according to habitual gender divisions, including:

  • Two to three females with one neutered male 
  • Two to four females with one to two neutered males 
  • Small groups of neutered males 
  • Avoid female-only groups 

Chicken coops should be easy to clean weekly to benefit both guinea pigs and chickens, as guinea pigs need a clean area to live in. To clean, easily assemble the coop by:

  • Building a door that opens to the outside to access hard to reach corners 
  • Create a sloped floor that drains when you hose out the coop 
  • Electric lights to see at night 

Can Guinea Pigs live outside?

Guinea pigs can live outside with the help of a type of hovering object to hide in, such as a plastic house for protection against cold weather.

You can also include a light as a heat provider for guinea pigs to benefit in extremely cold weather.

Other than that, they are fine to live outside and are actually encouraged to. They need enough space to run, as their running ability can be impeded if they live indoors in a smaller space.

Related: Can Chickens Live With Alpacas?

Can Guinea Pigs Die from a Dirty cage?

They won’t die from a dirty cage, but most likely, a filthy cage can grow fungi, where the guinea pig can catch a fungal infection that can infect their lungs and cause respiratory infections – leading to pneumonia.

Ensure to clean the guinea pigs’ urine, such as using a specified area for urinary bedding because they can develop urinary tract infections if they sit in it. 

They can also pick up diseases from the chickens if not cleaned or assembled properly. Sensible precautions should be made to avoid parasites by placing the animals farther away from each other or in a whole separate cage.

If they are kept in the wrong kind of habitat, they can develop aggressive behaviors. A case study showed a female guinea pig rescue from a neglectful, dirty home and developed a bad mental state where she acted out nervously towards any animal that came near her.

Do Chickens and Guinea Pigs Get Along?

Guinea pigs and most chicken breeds are generally friendly creatures but can cause some problems when put together. Guinea pigs need to live with other guinea pigs, but bonding them with chickens can cause safety and behavioral issues.

An owner observed that guinea pigs and chickens were happily habituated with one another, without touching. However, chickens repeatedly peck and their beak can potentially harm the guinea pig. 

This is another reason why to separate the animals for the protection of their physical health.

Guinea pigs can get scared easily due to their sensitive and guarded nature, so the chickens could run after the guinea pig and cause nervous behaviors. Chickens aren’t scared of the guinea pigs but are rather more curious about them.

Further precautions observed were watching the guinea pigs try and steal carrots back from the chickens and runoff. Also, chickens wanted to lay eggs in the guinea pig pen and eat their food.

Are Chicken’s Needs Compatible with Guinea Pigs?

Chickens and guinea pigs aren’t the first combinations you would think of to be compatible with one another living wise. However, they have some living preferences in common. Including:

  • A large enough area for living (spaced out water, food, and sleeping)
  • Hovered shelter (pen for chickens, plastic house for guinea pigs)
  • Platforms to sit or lay in (nesting boxes, a hutch)

Their living preferences differ, including:

  • Chickens can walk on bumpy grounds. Guinea pigs need a flat surface (sensitive feet)
  • Chickens don’t need a super large area as opposed to guinea pigs
  • Chickens need elevation from the ground

Dangers To Guinea Pigs

Chickens can pose a lot of threats to the well-being of your guinea pigs. Many people think that because chickens can live with pigs, it’s fine to house them with smaller rodents.

Chickens’ intestines and feces contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. These bacteria hardly ever bother your flock but can pose a huge threat to your guinea pigs if they are around them, and there is a chance your guinea pigs could contract salmonellas from your chickens. 

Salmonellas’ symptoms in guinea pigs include vomiting, fever, diarrhea, lethargy, general unwellness, and even death. If your guinea pig is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should immediately contact your veterinarian for the best treatment plan.

Chickens have been known to abuse guinea pigs. Chickens have what’s called a pecking order. This order decides which chicken is the leader, who eats first, eats last, and just the general privileges of chicken life. 

Chickens view any animals smaller than them as lower on the pecking order and try to dominate them. Your chickens could relentlessly peck at your guinea pigs, causing serious injury or even death.

Guinea pigs enjoy very clean environments. They also usually prefer indoor enclosures. Guinea pigs can become very annoyed or stressed if their environment is dirty all the time. 

Chickens produce a lot of feces, so their coop is hardly ever clean. In a guinea pig enclosure, their feces should be removed twice a day, so unless you’re willing to clean out your chicken coop twice a day you shouldn’t pair these two animals.

Guinea pigs fare better in indoor enclosures, with soft fabric and lots of hideouts. The rough hay or chicken wire in the chicken coop could irritate your guinea pigs’ delicate skin. Guinea pigs also need supervised time to run around and shouldn’t be allowed to free roam outside like your chickens. It could be hard to keep your guinea pigs from wandering around the coop.

Dangers To Chickens

Although it might not seem like it’s possible, guinea pigs can be dangerous to your chickens as well. Guinea pigs can be very territorial and attack your chickens. 

Guinea pigs like their homes to have tons of hideouts where they can enjoy quiet and seclusion. If your chickens come close to your guinea pigs’ hideouts, they might become territorial or annoyed and lash out. Signs your guinea pig is about to attack include teeth chattering, grunting, and hair fluffing.

Guinea pigs could also possibly damage your chickens’ eggs. Guinea pigs are inquisitive animals and will check out anything new or unfamiliar. They might nudge or roll around your chickens’ egg causing them to crack or break. 

This behavior can anger or stress out your flock and cause other stress-related illnesses.

When To Separate Chickens And Guinea Pigs

Animals, like humans, are prone to stress, anxiety, and even depression. If you’re guinea pigs or chickens are showing any signs of stress, you should remove them from each other as soon as possible and find alternative housing separate from each other. 

Being stressed or having anxiety can reduce your animals’ immune system’s strength, making them susceptible to many other diseases and sicknesses.

Signs of stress or anxiety include one species running after the other, aggression towards the other species, aggression towards humans, excessive grooming, dullness, lethargy, depression, or general unwellness.

How To Safely Keep Chickens And Guinea Pigs

The safest way to keep chickens and guinea pigs is separately in their own enclosures, but if you absolutely must keep them together, there are ways to make sure they live together peacefully.

Make sure your guinea pigs have a few hideouts that they can escape to if they need quiet or are being bullied by your chickens.

If you raise your chickens and guinea pigs together from babies, they will not know what life is like without them and will have the least number of injuries or problems.

Since guinea pigs prefer clean homes, you will have to clean your chicken coop at least once a day or provide the guinea pigs with their own separate area that the chickens cannot get to.

The Takeaway 

Guinea pigs and chickens can live together, but it can introduce many health concerns, cause aggression or violence, and is not recommended.

Remember that chickens and guinea pigs have different needs and preferences so build your cage or coop in a specific way to meet all of their needs. 

Chickens’ feces contain salmonella that can easily be transferred to your guinea pigs. Chickens produce a lot of feces, so their coop will never be truly clean. 

As soon as you clean it, they will poop in it again a moment later. This is hard on guinea pigs as they prefer a very clean environment. When keeping guinea pigs, all of their feces should be removed twice a day or at least once.

Chickens and guinea pigs can be aggressive towards each other and cause serious injury or death. Guinea pigs are very territorial, and chickens are aggressive animals naturally towards creatures that are smaller than them. 

They should not be kept together in the same enclosure unless you absolutely have no other option, as it’s not fair to put the animals through this.