In some rare cases, guinea pigs may eat their babies. There are a few different reasons for this, some of which are speculative.
Nevertheless, if you know these reasons, you’re better equipped to prevent it if you have a pet guinea pig.
Also, with effective care, the chances of this happening are close to zero. So, here’s what you should know.
More Common Reasons Why a Guinea Pig May Eat its Babies
Even though it’s improbable to happen, it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures regarding guinea pigs eating their babies.
The preventative measures are fairly simple and won’t harm your pets.
One way is to educate yourself on the topic. So, below are some of the more common and plausible reasons that may lead a guinea pig to eat its babies.
You should also note that the sex of the guinea pig can also affect the reason for eating.
A Female Guinea May Eat a Baby Guinea Pig Due to Malnutrition
Like with many mammals, pregnancy and childbirth among guinea pigs can greatly exert their bodies.
Therefore, they will need adequate food and water to sustain themselves.
In some cases, female guinea pigs may not be getting adequate nutrition after childbirth to return to health.
So, they may try to consume whatever they can find to mitigate their hunger.
Sometimes, that can be their own babies.
Make Sure Your Female Guinea Pig Has Access to Food and Water
So, it’s crucial that you ensure that your female guinea pig has access to enough food and water before, during, and after childbirth.
After childbirth, make sure that there’s a bowl of hay in the hutch at all times. It‘s usually a good idea to refill the bowl every time it’s starting to empty.
That said, consult your vet first. You don’t want to risk overfeeding your pet, which could harm it in the long term.
Consult Your Vet about an Appropriate Diet Plan to Prevent the Guinea Pig from Eating Its Babies
It’s typically a good idea to consult your vet to learn about how to manage their diet.
Moreover, they will know the unique characteristics of your guinea pig.
As a result, they’ll be able to give you a detailed diet plan.
A Male Guinea Pig May Eat another Guinea Pig’s Babies
In some rare cases, a male guinea pig may eat a baby guinea pig if it’s not the father of the baby.
Therefore, it’s best to keep a male guinea pig away from the mother and children after birth.
Keep Your Male Guinea Pigs Away from the Babies When They Are Young
You can place it in another hutch. However, it’s in your best interest to have at least one other guinea pig in the hutch with it.
Guinea pigs are social animals and may start to feel depressed when isolated.
If you’re placing it with another female, it’s best to neuter the male first if you don’t want it to procreate.
Don’t Introduce the Babies to the Male Adult Too Quickly
You can keep your male guinea pig in a separate hutch for a few weeks.
It’s typically a good idea to give the babies enough time to grow before they interact with a male adult that may potentially harm them.
A Female Guinea Pig May Eat Its Baby by Accident
Female guinea pigs typically eat the placentas of the babies after they are born. The guinea pig may also consume the wet bloodstained bedding after the babies’ birth as well.
The reason for consuming the placenta is to counteract any malnourishment it may face after delivery.
In doing so, it may accidentally consume one of its babies as well.
While this situation is rare, it can happen. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the mother after birth.
Identify any signs of malnourishment. Also, ensure that there is enough food and water in the hutch.
In addition to that, try to stop the mother if she’s about to eat the babies instead of the placenta.
Don’t Prevent the Mother Guinea Pig from Consuming the Placenta
It’s best not to try and remove the placenta from the hutch yourself.
There is some understanding that a mother may remove the placenta from the pups to remove anything that could attract a predator.
In addition to that, there’s also some speculation that consuming the placenta helps the mother with producing milk.
Therefore, it’s best not to interfere too much with the natural process.
However, it’s a good idea to monitor the mother and children carefully after their birth.
A Female Guinea Pig May Eat Its Baby Because It Was Stillborn
Guinea pigs may also deliver a stillborn baby in some cases.
If that happens, the mother may begin to start eating the stillborn baby.
If you notice that your female guinea delivered a stillborn baby, remove it from the hutch.
You can also consult your vet to determine if it is indeed dead.
Some Rare Reasons Why a Guinea Pig May Eat its Babies
There are, of course, a few unlikely but possible reasons why a guinea pig may eat its babies. Take a look at them below.
A Female Guinea Pig Feels That There Are Inadequate Resources for the Babies’ Wellbeing
There’s a slight chance that a female guinea pig may feel there are inadequate resources for the babies.
So, so to protect the well-being of the other (stronger) pups, it may eat a weaker pup.
As a result, there will be more resources for the remaining pups than before.
So, always make sure that you continue to provide enough food resources to a pregnant guinea pig. There should also be enough food and water in the hutch after the babies are born.
You may also need to increase the amount of food and water the guinea pig consumes during pregnancy.
It’s best to speak to your vet about your pet’s diet during pregnancy to prevent overfeeding.
This way, you won’t create the impression of scarcity among your guinea pigs.
While it’s more likely for a guinea pig to eat the pup by accident, this reason is possible. So, don’t take any chances.
A Male Guinea Pig May Eat a Baby Because Its Territorial
If more male baby guinea pigs are born, a male adult pig may feel threatened by its presence.
Therefore, to protect its territory, it may choose to eat the baby.
Male guinea pigs may also become more territorial if they live with other adult males. While there’s nothing wrong with having many guinea pigs, it’s something to keep in mind during childbirth.
So, as mentioned above, it’s best to keep male guinea pigs away from the pups while they’re very young.
Even if the male adult is the father, it may be worth considering doing that.
Make Sure to Give Your Male and Female Guinea Pigs Enough Care
At the same time, try not to limit your care and attention toward your adult guinea pigs.
Your guinea pigs may feel jealous or upset if they feel like they are being replaced.
Mental stress could also have physical implications. So, be careful to practice proper care techniques, such as playtime, and so on.
A Female Guinea Pig May Eat a Pup When Stressed
There’s a very low chance that a female guinea pig may eat a pup due to excessive stress or anxiety.
There is still not enough evidence to confirm this. However, it’s something to note.
In general, it’s best to reduce stress among guinea pigs because it can start causing health problems. Try to eliminate stressors such as loud noises, cramped hutches, or potential lurking predators.
To limit stress, it’s best to keep other large pets, such as cats and dogs, away from your guinea pigs.
Important Breeding Factor to Reduce Chances of Guinea Pig Eating Its Babies
It’s important to be careful about following appropriate breeding practices to limit the chances of such things from happening.
Therefore, one vital factor is that you shouldn’t breed guinea pigs when they aren’t mature enough.
You should wait for the mother to reach adulthood (about 3 months of age).
The Appropriate Age Helps Ensure a Healthy Mother and Healthy Babies
Waiting for the correct age ensures that the guinea pigs are physically capable of childbirth.
Therefore, they will be able to manage to maintain healthy energy levels in their bodies despite pregnancy.
As a result, they are less likely to be exhausted and malnourished after delivery than if they were pregnant at a young age.
In addition to that, they can deliver babies that are healthy. This also means that the chances of delivering stillborn babies are relatively lower than otherwise.
Last Few Words
You only need to monitor the newborn guinea pigs for a few days to prevent them from being eaten.
So, during those initial days, make sure not to leave the mother out of your sight until it looks calm.
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