When you keep guinea pigs of opposite genders together, you will soon end up with little piglets.
These animals mate early and frequently. Luckily, their pregnancies don’t last too long either.
On average, a guinea pig is pregnant for a couple of weeks, particularly 63-68 days.
Keep reading this guide if you think your furry pet might be pregnant.
Breeding Guinea Pigs
These furry animals are inherently social creatures. Many people recommend having a pair of guinea pigs if you plan to keep them as pets.
However, you should keep a pair of the same gender if you don’t want any guinea piglets.
When kept together, Guinea pigs of opposite genders can breed within three weeks. This is especially true if both the creatures are around the same age.
This is mainly because of the female guinea pigs. They tend to enter estrus pretty early, such as within sixteen days.
If you plan to breed your guinea pigs, you should ensure that the sows are at least three to seven months old.
This is because, by that age, their pelvis tends to grow to sufficient size and can easily give birth.
If you breed them earlier than that or much later, it might lead to pregnancy complications.
How to Tell If Your Guinea Pig is Pregnant
If you have kept guinea pigs of opposite genders in the same cage, you may have led them to get pregnant.
However, it might be difficult to tell whether or not your guinea pig is actually pregnant with all of that fur.
Moreover, it can also be challenging to tell if they are pregnant because their habits predominantly stay the same.
However, here are some signs you can closely watch out for:
Close Contact with a Male Guinea Pig
The most obvious sign that your guinea pig is pregnant is if she’s been in close contact with a male, unneutered one.
The male guinea pigs tend to become sexually active by the time they are three weeks old.
Hence, if you have noticed the two together and in close contact lately, the female guinea pig might be pregnant.
Another sign is if your female guinea pig has gained weight.
It might be difficult to tell initially whether your guinea pig has gained any weight, though.
However, if you have been weighing your guinea pig frequently, you can check to see if they have gained a few grams.
By the time female guinea pigs are ready to give birth, they double in size.
Hence, their weight gain is one of the most obvious signs of becoming pregnant.
Eating and Drinking More
When your guinea pig starts gaining more weight, it will also begin eating and drinking more.
You might also notice your guinea pig eating more Vitamin C-rich foods.
This is because she needs more of that nutrient during this time. Additionally, your female guinea pig might also be drinking more water than usual.
Ensure that your guinea pig does not eat or drink too much during pregnancy. This could lead them to become overweight, resulting in pregnancy complications.
Initially, you will not be able to tell if your guinea pigs’ abdomen has grown.
However, later on in her pregnancy, you will notice a considerable difference.
As the babies are growing and she is eating more, her abdomen will have succeeded.
How to Care for a Pregnant Guinea Pig
If your guinea pig is pregnant, you will need to take specific steps to care for her. Improper care and stress can have negative impacts on her health and pregnancy.
One way to reduce the stress around the guinea pig is to separate her cage and keep it in a quiet place.
The peace and quiet will also ensure that the guinea pig gets enough rest and sleep.
The guinea pig will not get plentiful rest and may get stressed out if her cage is in a noisy and busy room.
Additionally, the lights will not be frequently switched on or off in a quiet room, so she will not get that disturbed.
Moreover, you should also ensure that the guinea pigs’ diet consists of more vegetables.
This way, she will consume more nutrients and vitamins, which she needs during pregnancy.
The more vitamins and nutrients she takes, the healthier the babies. Some examples of vegetables to incorporate include lettuce, romaine lettuce, kale, and parsley.
Additionally, ensure that this food you provide is fresh and in its natural form. Food stored in the fridge or cut into pieces will lose its nutrients.
Keep the guinea pigs’ bedding fresh and clean at all times. This is because ammonia may emerge from unclean bedding. This can be harmful to pregnant sows and unborn piglets.
As her due date approaches, avoid holding and carrying the guinea pig.
She might become more vulnerable to injuries and issues if she is frequently picked up.
It is essential to provide your guinea pig with lots of nourishment and care. This is especially necessary when her due date approaches. It will keep her stress levels low.
You might also consider separating the pregnant guinea pig from others. This will be necessary if the male guinea pig is bothering the sow.
You should separate the pregnant sow in this case, increasing her stress levels. However, try to remove the male guinea pig instead of the female one.
The female guinea pig should stay in familiar surroundings since she is sensitive to change and stress at this time.
Moreover, it is best to remove the female guinea pigs from the pregnant sow’s cage.
They might end up fighting, which is harmful to the pregnant sow.
How to Tell If Guinea Pig Is Ready to Give Birth
Now that you know how long a sow remains pregnant, it’s essential to consider when close to giving birth.
There are some signs to look out for in order to identify whether your guinea pig is ready.
A sow close to giving birth might seem out of energy and lethargic. She will likely not respond to your calls or want to play.
This is because she is storing her energy for childbirth and nursing. If you notice her lying down and keeping to herself, she might be close to giving birth.
Nesting is something that some guinea pigs do before giving birth. Many animals do this in preparation to give birth. However, not many pregnant sows do this.
When a pregnant sow goes into labor, she will make a hiccupping motion. This is done because she has contractions and is about to give birth.
It is important that you don’t touch or hold the female guinea pig during this time. In fact, it is best to give her space.
If the guinea pig sees your hand nearby while giving birth, she might see it as a threat and risk for her babies. Hence, let her give birth on her own.
Guinea pigs tend to give birth to three to four litters. Immediately after delivery, you should not do anything to the guinea pig or litter.
The mother will handle nursing and caring for the little piglets. However, you will need to start caring for them after a few days.
After birth, don’t forget to give your sow plenty of water and nutritious food. This will help her regain energy and provide milk to her babies.
You must also keep the male guinea pig away and separate right after birth. While it may not cause any harm to the piglets, he can be pretty disruptive.
The female guinea pig can get pregnant immediately after birth. Hence, it is best to separate the male guinea pig right away.
How to Care for Newborn Guinea Piglets
The guinea pig will be doing everything to take care of her babies for the first few days. Hence, you will not need to do much except provide her with nourishment.
You must wait at least two weeks before holding the piglets. Before that, you should avoid doing so no matter how much you are tempted to.
Guinea piglets are extremely delicate after birth, which is why they can get hurt easily. Handling and holding them can easily cause severe injuries to them.
Not to mention, the new mom will get stressed out and fearful if you hold her piglets.
You can clean her cage and change the bedding after birth. However, be extremely careful. You don’t want to disturb the litter or mother so do as much as possible.
If you suspect pregnancy in your guinea pig, the first thing to do is take her to the vet. They can perform an ultrasound to check if she is pregnant.
Moreover, the vet can also check your sow’s health and rule out any risks. They can provide you with the best instructions on what to do next. Good luck!
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