"Chirping" In Guinea Pigs

Some guinea pig females will sing like a bird...literally!
Some guinea pig females will sing like a bird...literally!

One day, I was in the living room watching television when I heard weird, piercing chirps from the guinea pig's room (my bedroom). I raced into hear ear-splitting cries that sounded exactly like a bird. I looked for the bird, but could not find one. It took a few minutes, but it finally sunk in that one of my female guinea pigs was making the incredible bird noises. It was Foot Foot sitting back and head raised, very still, chirping for all she was worth. The other guinea pigs were quiet and kept back from her. She kept this up for nearly an hour, and then went back to making more normal guinea pig noises.

What Was That?

One of the great things about living with animals is that you can never learn all there is to know about them. Each day brings up more questions to pursue answers to. One of these mysteries yet to be discovered is just why guinea pigs sometimes chirp or sing like a bird. It is not one of the usual guinea pig noises.

It literally sounds like CH-CH-CHIRP CHIRP! CH-CH-CHIRP CHIRP! Guinea pigs who do chirp seem to do it at different speeds, volume and length of "performance". This behavior only seems to happen to female guinea pigs (usually called sows), but only some of them. There have been a few males (called boars) reported to chirp. There is no predictable time when they chirp. It almost like a seizure of sound.

Not even the great guinea pig maestro Peter Gurney was ever able to figure this bit of guinea pig behavior out. Perhaps as guinea pigs live with more and more people and they share information more and more on the Internet, then maybe we can figure this out.

My Guinea Pig Chirps. What Can Be Done To Stop It?

So far, chirping does not seem to be any indication of poor health or even distress for a guinea pig. And when they start, there is no way of stopping them until they are done. When Foot Foot would chirp, it was as if she was in a kind of trance, very reminiscent to how people act when they are "speaking in tongues".

When Foot Foot would start chirping, sometimes she was so loud that I had to put her temporarily in another room just so I could get some sleep. She didn't complain about it. Although the sound can be annoying and unpredictable, it does eventually go away. All in all, chirping in guinea pigs is a minor inconvenient mystery at most.

Comments 54 comments

Sue Harper 8 years ago

One of my female guinea pigs is very verbal overall. She does chirp as well. However, If I enter the room and it is dark and I turn the light on she will stop. Also, if it is day and I come near her cage and pet her she will stop. One thing I have noticed is that when she is Chirping she faces another guinea pig, not the wall or a window.


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RenaSherwood 8 years ago Author

Thanks for the information, Sue! When FootFoot chirped, she faced anything and chirped in darkness or light. The mysteries of the gp mind!


Nick 8 years ago

My piggie, Delilah, chirped for a bit yesterday. it wasn't extremely loud, but it was something she'd never done before. I was confused, because it is winter, and birds don't usually sing or come near during the winter months. When I noticed it was her, she was sitting in the middle of the bottom floor of her cage looking at me. head high, chirping away. Nothing I did made her move, stop, or even twitch. Then my girlfriend tripped on a bottle of water and knocked it over. That's when Delilah stopped.

I haven't noticed any strange behavior in her recently, but she is getting somewhat large around the middle. Since my family is trying to breed several of our piggies, my initial thought was a sign of pregnancy? She chirped again this evening. I'm at a loss for what she means.


Jimmer 8 years ago

My guinea pig Daisy is a mega-chirper, but its not a mystery to me why she does it at all. Daisy will chirp whenever I talk to her directly, she knows her name... my friends are astounded when I call to her from the other room and she responds back with her chirps. She also gets vocal whenever somebody rustles plastic bags lol. Something else interesting is that when she chirps her ears jump up and down, its very cute. She's very vocal over all though, and has a ton of other sounds in her usual repertoire.


Energi 8 years ago

I have a male guinea pig and he chirps! He only chirps early in the morning between 2-4am and does so very loudly. He does it so loudly that it sometimes wakes me up! The first time I heard him I thought it was a bird! His chirping, although loud is very melodic! I am curious as to why he does it, but I feel lucky since I've read that it is not common!


jeffrey 8 years ago

my guinea pig named dixie chirped for the fist time yesterday when i took her out side and let her search for her food around my big house


Meredith  8 years ago

I just got a guinea pig and I am a first time owner. I'm wondering if it's okay to use cedar chips in his bed. I'm also wondering where I can get a bigger cage and what sorts of toys I can get for him. I have a corner litter pan for him but he's having trouble learning to use it. Any ideas?


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iloveshawnndjesse 8 years ago from nj

i used to have a guinea pig but he never did that, but I do have four hamsters and 3 out of four make the noise.

sometimes they do it when one hamster is too close, i don't think that is the case here because you said that the others were staying away

sometimes they do it if they just were annoyed, i am leaning toward this one because you weren't in the room when she just started.

and sometimes they do it in their sleep because of (im guessing) bad dreams, or they might just be uncomfertable. I don't think it was this one because you said she was awake.-jacinda


Stephanie 8 years ago

Meredith,

I know for sure that pine bedding is harmful to gp, and I think cedar might be too. The kind of bedding that I use is called aspen bedding. Make sure that your bedding doesn't have smells. They can be harmful to your pig. Also, for a cage, you can make cages out of advertising plastic for the indide, and metal organizing cubes to make the out side. This type is much bigger than store bought cages, and half the price. Remember, one guinea pig needs a minimum of 2 square feet of cage space. Hope this helps. Have fun with your guinea pig! :)


eddie_boy 8 years ago

I was out in the garden and noticed a bumble bee heading towards the guinea pig hutch, i tried to shew the bee off but it kept crawing closer. In the end i put a mug over the bee a walked back into the house, withing seconds i heard Eddie chirping louder and louder from the kitchen. I rushed out and bought him in the house. This only tends to happen when he either wants attention or if something is threatening him. I think its some kind of defence!! I think its so cute, He then gets all relaxed when i pick him up, kind of like a crying baby.


johnnymotha 8 years ago

1.5 y/o male guinea pig. chirps seemingly randomly. first time, we were sleeping, and woke up to "bird" sounds, but coming from inside the apartment. found out it was ponnie. 2nd time we were playing video games, about 3 weeks later. then about once every month or so, he would chirp, until about 2months ago. we thought he had stopped or grown out of it, but today, after their salad, ponnie started chirping again. we have another male who has never chirped. it seems like he gets really jumpy when the chirping is going on. oh, the mysteries of guinea pigs.


eddie_boy 8 years ago

Changed eddies bedding this eve, bought some shredded white paper stuff from a pet shop, he loves hiding inside it. Anyways the chirping started again, this time he was chirping for ages until i picked him up for cuddles. Cant work out if hes happy or if hes sad!


Cheshire 7 years ago

My boy, Zephyr, started Chirping last night.

It was right after I changed his cage and gave him his veggies, he just chirped and chirped.

My other boy, Xombie, was freaked out


Kyle 7 years ago

My male cavy Radley has recently been making a very light chirping noise. I'm not sure if it is the same as what everyone else hears but it sounds distinctly like a bird chirp but he only makes one quick soft chirp now and again usually when he is lying down or resting.


Nicole M 7 years ago

I have two females, Halloween (or Weenie) and Pumpkin, but only the younger one, Weenie, will chirp. I have never heard her doing it during the day time. The first time I heard it was around 3am and I was so startled I ran to her cage and picked her up. She didn't stop chirping until I touched her. I was up about five other times that night trying to quiet her so my fiancee could get some sleep. I tried uncovering the cage (I keep it covered at night with a towel), turning the light on, removing her house (they only get the house during the night to prevent territory battles during the day), and even feeding her. I was so worried I even took her to the vet, who had no idea why she was doing it but said she was perfectly healthy.

It had been about two months without any chirping and she just started up again two nights ago, and then again last night. Pumpkin just sits there and stares at her, apparently unconcerned. Pumpkin doesn't even try to hide when Weenie is chirping, and she's usually the first to run for cover.

I read on one website that they can be "inspired" to chirp if they hear another piggy or a recording of chirping enough times. We got a cricket stuck in the house a few days ago, so I'm thinking maybe the cricket (who is incredibly loud for a cricket) is inspiring her to chirp back. Now all I have to do is catch the cricket and put it outside....


Nicole M 7 years ago

I have two females, Halloween (or Weenie) and Pumpkin, but only the younger one, Weenie, will chirp. I have never heard her doing it during the day time. The first time I heard it was around 3am and I was so startled I ran to her cage and picked her up. She didn't stop chirping until I touched her. I was up about five other times that night trying to quiet her so my fiancée could get some sleep. I tried uncovering the cage (I keep it covered at night with a towel), turning the light on, removing her house (they only get the house during the night to prevent territory battles during the day), and even feeding her. I was so worried I even took her to the vet, who had no idea why she was doing it but said she was perfectly healthy.

It had been about two months without any chirping and she just started up again two nights ago, and then again last night. Pumpkin just sits there and stares at her, apparently unconcerned. Pumpkin doesn't even try to hide when Weenie is chirping, and she's usually the first to run for cover.

I read on one website that they can be "inspired" to chirp if they hear another piggy or a recording of chirping enough times. We got a cricket stuck in the house a few days ago, so I'm thinking maybe the cricket (who is incredibly loud for a cricket) is inspiring her to chirp back. Now all I have to do is catch the cricket and put it outside....


misty 7 years ago

Different subject on the pigs, I have noticed that the pee or wetness in my male pigs cage is like a white film. Does anyone know what this could be, I am asking because we had 2 pigs and one died 2 days ago, and I have no clue why.


scott 7 years ago

i have no idea y the guinea pigs chirp or wat it sounds like but just by reading other ppl's commments it sound like a way for them to get your attention obviously enough everyone who had a gp that chirpped noticed it right away and went to go see what was wrong. Maybe its a way for them to tell u they want your attention because they might be lonely, something is threatining them, their happy,or maybe they just do it at random. I would like to know that of all the ppl who tried to stop the chirpping was picking them up most succesful at stopping the noise. in That case it maybe because of attention. Somebody also said that when their GP chirpped it was facing the other GP's and also that the other GP's would not go near it. Maybe it could be an establishment of authority or control. I honestly cannot say that wat i have just said is true. but maybe my ideas will help other ppl.and they can make their own ideas and hypothesis's.


hh 7 years ago

my gineapigs never ever chirp


hh 7 years ago

Sorry my gineapigs do chirp but why?


Erik 7 years ago

My little piggy meg. Aka megatron she chips late at night and faces the other two ladies in the cage. Peter and worf in the other cage are always out of the pigloo watching her. She stops if I touch her or if she sees or hears me come in the room. I can't figure out if it's a mating call or a dominance thing or if she is lonely (she is my baby and gets all the attention most one on one time). None of the other 6 do it


Sophipd07 6 years ago

My Guinea pig chirped last night. It was kinda spookying me out, so i hesitated to turn on the light. he chiredfor a minuite or few secounds, but when i turned on the light he stopped! i said to my dad he might be singing~


Lenore 6 years ago

Glad to see it's not uncommon, or mean they are unhappy. My Butterscotch chirps very loudly .. usually in the early AM. I fell asleep on the couch one night and woke to hear bird sounds... I literally thought... is there a bird in my house???


Aisha 6 years ago

My guinea pig William Shakespeare chirps quite regularly. He gets excited about the prospect of a carrot and chirps, or if I am too busy to give him attention he chirps.


Taylor 6 years ago

Hi,

I found this forum because my little Jenny just chriped for the first time ever!!!she's about 9 months old, I've ahd her since 5 and she's never done it before. It's like this amazing bird singing noise and it was loud. Something I noticed is that today she was really close to me when I held her and not squirmy at all. Adn I kept telling her what a good girl she is (lately I've been scolding her b/c she's not using her litter box and having accidencts). I was reall sweet to her and held for a long time, then gave her some play time in a new place b/c she likes exploring. I could tell that she had to go, so I took her back to the cage and put her in her litter box and then gave her some food and left. Then she started singing.

I think it's because I was meeting all of her needs and understand her- held her so she felt secure like she likes, gave her new territory to explore which she likes, then noticed her needing to go to the bathroom and took her to the litterbox to meet that need, and overall I was reading her mind in everything that she wanted so she felt very close to me. Then when I walked away, she wanted me to come back and started singing.

It was amazing I gotta tell you. I think she do it when you have a really close relationship with them and they want you to spend some more time with them.


Jordan 6 years ago

My sow has been chirping lately. She came from a home with almost no attention, only that of a 3 year old who was abusive to her....... and she was very shy when I first got her and wouldn't let me handle her at all. But now she has finally come out of her shell! So now lately she has been craving the attention of my boar, which has to be separated from her for obvious reasons. She also has been craving my attention. Also, whenever she hears me take out my boar, she starts chirping. She chirps at night and early morning when I am in bed. She chirps if I don't give her attention when she wants it. So my guess is that guinea pigs chirp when they want attention.


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ticklebug82 6 years ago from Oneida, NY

I have several guinea pigs as I run a rescue at http://cnypiggies.blogspot.com and I have yet to hear one chirp. I know it can happen, as you've stated, but it would great to witness it myself. I love how individual my piggies are and appreciate finding others who do too. If you get a chance please take a look at my guinea pig bedding hub http://hubpages.com/animals/Guinea-Pig-Bedding


Millie 6 years ago

When my guinea pig started chirpping at 2:30 am i just reached in the cage and started petting her and she stopped then i put a towel over their cage and she stopped for good


Christine 6 years ago

My daughter's 2 month old female piggy, Juniper, started chirping tonight! It is

Such a surprising sound! Juniper sounded like a cross between a song bird & a human

With a really melodious whistle. It is so sweet. My daughter had cleaned her cage, given fresh

Food and water and treats. She had also brushed Juniper a lot, while cuddling.

I think it is a pretty sound, but for some reason

It gave my daughter and I a fit of giggles to to her that whistle

Coming from our little Juniper! Sigh. We're so blessed. How fun that God made critters

In such fascinating ways.


KittyTandino 5 years ago

Chirping is a way of the piggie asking for attention/snacks and or cuddle time..

We have four piggies and all of them chirp and at or for the same things.. I honestly thought it was because they were mad at something or another piggie but they did their song no matter who was around.. the song gets louder when we would stand near the cage with snacks or reached in to pick them up.. once in our arms the chirping stopped.

So, there is no REAL meaning to their song.. but much like humans we have to learn to love the sounds they make and enjoy the time we have with them.. even if they tend to keep us awake at night. lol


Jose 5 years ago

I sware if my GP chirps again I am letting it out in the street, I don care its NY and winter, its made annoyin at 3am yo.


Jaye 5 years ago

I have a family of guinea pigs, three males and three females (one is the mom, the dad passed away 7 months ago). Tonight one of the males, Midnight, started chirping. I'm not sure what's wrong with him but I feel that something is wrong because his chirping has gotten extremely loud. The other males won't eat. Midnight won't eat a thing either.

When I try to pick him up, he runs around and around the cage refusing to let me pick him up. This is not like him and I've stopped trying because I think I am only making him more upset. Everyone has made the chirping sound seem like a happy thing and maybe it can be, but I am worried because I feel like something is wrong with my piggy right now. It's been going on for nearly an hour now.


Markster 5 years ago

One of our males was picked up last night He looked up at me and started chirping like a bird for 2-3 minutes. It took everyone by surprise. He seemed happy as he is used to being handled.


piggyperson 5 years ago

We have two male pigs that actually live with their bunny rabbit best friend. It is very cool to see the interspecies bonding, and how close hey are. The pigs like to throw themselves ontop of the rabbit (like wearing a piggy scarf), then popcorn around, our rabbit is the biggest love bunny and spends his days grooming his piggys.

As for chirping, they live with my boyfriend, he called a bit frantic tonight, thinking something was really wrong with one of them. Frist we thought a bird got in the house somehow... after a bit we figured out it was actually on of the pigs! (They are always very vocal, though the chirper is our pig that is much more quiet than his brother). It is actually freaking out his brother, who will actually stare and shake while Hampton(the chirper) is doing this. Hampton also seems to be very "amorous" this evening (more than ever he is about a year old) mounting both his brother and the rabbit every few seconds, then sort of slinking around for a few mins and doing it again. He was even pulling fur out of the back of the rabbit (while trying to get a good grip). So thinking that his chirping like a bird is some sort of mating/love song/teritorial type thing. Or as other's have said, he is trying to call his mother ship....? It is very interesting, very loud, and hopefully as much as we appreciate having a unique GP experience, 3am chirping doesn't sound like something I really need to hear....


Ilse 5 years ago

Quite a lot of people clearly haven't heard a real chirping piggy before.

It's NOT like the sound they make while you cuddle them, or the sound they make when they hear you open a bag or fridge.

It's completely different, and out of the thirty guinea pigs I've had, only one is a chirper.

She only does it a few times a year, between midnight and 2 am, when it's dark or with candlelight. Usually after feeding.

This night it was SO loud it woke me up (i'm upstairs in bed, they are downstairs). It used to be a lot softer like a little bird, today it was so loud I thought it was a car alarm!


Pamela 5 years ago

I know how rare it is to have a chirper, my sow Buttercup does it but what I wanted to know is does anyone have any experience of having TWO sows who genuinely chirp? Buttercup chirps often. It is very loud like an alarm, eyes wide forcing the sound out her lips but her mate Bossy occasionally does it almost in response but it is not as piercing and loud. It's bizarre enough one doing it but two? Very odd. And I don't find it at all cute. It sounds alarming and the pig doing it looks alarmed, stuck to the spot...


Pamela 5 years ago

I know how rare it is to have a chirper, my sow Buttercup does it but what I wanted to know is does anyone have any experience of having TWO sows who genuinely chirp? Buttercup chirps often. It is very loud like an alarm, eyes wide forcing the sound out her lips but her mate Bossy occasionally does it almost in response but it is not as piercing and loud. It's bizarre enough one doing it but two? Very odd. And I don't find it at all cute. It sounds alarming and the pig doing it looks alarmed, stuck to the spot...


5 years ago

Loads of you have no clue what chirping realy is, my guinia pigs make loiad squeecking sounds when i rustle a bag or chop up a carrot for them , but when they sart chiurping its completely different they genuinely sound like a bird.

He started chirping once and i went into the room they were in and tured the light on and he stopped, and i picked him up , held him for a while and he diodnt chiro at all , then as soon as i sat him in his cage he flared up again then i went to pick him up again he backed away but iu still picked him up, and he stopped for a few seconds and then started up again whilst i eas holding him. It realy is a mistery why he was doing it though because one time he stoped and the next he cared on when i interfeered.


5 years ago

i realise my spelling is appualling in the last comment. I blame my keyboard , haha


Erin 4 years ago

My boyfriend & I got 2 male guinea pigs in June. So far we have both heard chirping on two separate occasions. The first time was quite late at night about a month ago...maybe around 1am. I came back to the room where the guinea pigs are kept after getting a glass of water and there was a chirpy/tweety noise - I thought it was a bird but it was coming from the direction of the pig's cage! Being the pure weirdo that I am, I slowly walked over saying "hello?" cautiously (lack of sleep haha). They stopped quite abruptly after that and as 1 was in his space pod and the other under the hidey-hole shelter I couldn't tell who made the noise. A few weeks later while I was out with my friends, my boyfriend encountered the same noise coming from Nebula - our satin-coated short hair cavy, again quite late at night. I have to assume, as it is so rare, that it was Nebula that made the noise when I heard it too. Unless Sputnik (our tri-colour Sheltie) is also a wee chirper! I really hope I hear it again!!


Carm 4 years ago

My guinea pig riley judt choprd fot the ffirst time. This hsppened right after I sang softly to her. She difnt move or mske a sound. I asumed she loved the attention. Then she gave a purr n I took it she had to go pee so I put her in the cage with her parents n sister. She then started chirpping. I took it she was happy I gav her attention n put her down when she asked. It was like we were connected.


donna 4 years ago

my male guinea pig chirped at 2am - for about 5 mins. don't know which boy it was but it was loud and sounded amazing..


Caroline 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice!I was getting worried when my guinea pig wouldn't stop chirping,but you helped me out Thank you!


MN 4 years ago

I've two sows about 5 months old, sisters. One chirps at least once a week and has done since she was about 2 months - the other never has. It sounds exactly like birds chirping. The cage is right beside the back door / bird table, but I don't really think it's an imitation thing or surely both of them would be at it?


Lindsay 4 years ago

My question is why is my guinea pig Leah chirping when I touch her and start shaking, my mom and dad bought her for my birthday this November 28 well before my birthday well anyway if you can give me some answers I would be very grateful. Thank You


CC 4 years ago

Our male guinea pig chirps (we call it squealing) to talk to us. When he is wanting veggies, he will squeal when he hears the fridge open. He also will go up by his food bowl and squeal to let us know he wants veggies, or to tell us if his water is out.


Guineapiggle 4 years ago

Thanks that is really useful! :) night I heard a bird in my bedroom and after a couple seconds I'm like "oh my gosh, that's my guinea pig!" so I got out of bed at 1:00 in the morning to go see what happened. I thought she was in pain so I looked it up to make sure and I saw this!!!


Chels 4 years ago

I use to own a Guinea Pig but sadly passed away. During the time I had her I also had two rats who lived above her cage (they all had huge cages). They only saw each other once in a while and never interacted. My one rat, Neider, was becoming ill and one night I heard this slow and beautiful eerie song. In the morning Neider passed away.

Several months later I heard the same song and I thought to myself "Hirschi (my other rat) must of died" sure enough the next day he was died.

The song was like a good bye song. Very very eerie.


chaz 4 years ago

one of my female guinnies sing she stops if she hears me coming but i reallly want to know why she does it. Is she happy or sad i hope shes happy thoughh. xx


Kirst 4 years ago

I have four piggies who all live in a big pen in my front room. I have the eldest one for three years, two more for two years, and my youngest boar for about 6 months. Tonight, out of nowhere, the youngest one (who's about 8mnts old) just started chirping. I thought it was one of them chewing a plastic house at first, because it sounded like rubber or plastic - like when your trainers rub on a plastic floor. It was just the odd chirp at first, and then he really started chirping like a bird! I wondered if he'd heard my boyfriend's car arrive home because they do sometimes wheek if they hear someone outside the house that they think has treats (they must have excellent hearing). Anyway, that's the only time any of them has ever chirped. I tried to catch it on my phone but he stopped when he saw me stand up!


Sarah 4 years ago

My guinea pig, Butterfinger, was chirping once and my dad and I were running around the house trying to find the bird. When we realized it was Butter, I picked her up and petted her, and she kept on going for another hour.


Tam 4 years ago

One of my Guinea Pigs started chirping around 1 or 2 am last night. I have three piggies, a 4 yr old, an 8 month old and her baby who must be about a month by now. As beautiful as it was it was 1 am so I walked over in the dark and plonked some lettuce in their bowl. Chirping over.

Upon waking up this morning I'm much more excited about it. I wish I'd flicked on the light to see who the diva was!


Dan 4 years ago

My one guinea pig chirps - the first time it happened it was during the middle of the night. I thought I'd left a window open and a bird had got in. She recently did it while staying at my parents because I was sick - they thought an alarm was going off in the house and were searching the house until they realised it was the guinea pig! It's annoying not to know what it means, if she's happy or sad. The pigs are very happy as far as I'm aware, they are spoilt and popcorn daily. A couple times she has chirped after being in the run or having the cage cleaned out so I think it may be over excitement/happiness? No idea though really! Would be great to be able to find out.


Katherine Corral 2 years ago

My guinea pig did this last night. He is the only one that we have at the moment. It was about 4-5am. he has never made the noise before. we have had him since sept.

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Typical example of guinea pig chirping. Film by zoeperzazke.

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