Is your guinea pig Pregnant? Guinea pigs are notorious early developers, reaching sexual maturity at a very young age. Typically females are ready to start having babies when they are around two months old, while males become sexually active by three months. Throw in the fact that these furballs are also particularly frisky, and it is no wonder you could be a guinea grandparent before you even know it.
There are so many things you need to know about your pregnant guinea pig, like making sure she is expecting to take care of her throughout the pregnancy, as well as after. Today we’re looking at all your preggy piggy related concerns.
How Do You Know if Your Guinea Pig is Pregnant?
In the early stages of the pregnancy, there aren’t a lot of physical signs to let you know that you have a mum-to-be on your hands. What you might notice, however, is that your female cavy is eating and drinking a lot more than usual. Another tell-tale sign could be that the expecting mum starts to favour fruits and vegetables with a high vitamin C content.
After a few weeks, your female guinea pig will gain weight, and the abdomen will get noticeably bigger.
Make sure your guinea pig is healthy during its pregnancy, by feeding the following foods:
- Grass hay or grass
- Fresh, green leafy vegetables
- Small servings of fruits rich in vitamin C
- High-quality commercial pellets
- Although it isn’t essential, lucerne hay will provide extra protein and calcium
How Long Are Guinea Pigs Pregnant For?
A guinea pig’s gestation period is anywhere between 59 and 72 days. The number of pups a sow is carrying will determine the duration of the pregnancy, For example, a pregnancy with one pup will be 70 days, whereas a pregnancy with six pups will be between 65 and 67 days.
What Should I Do If My Guinea Pig is Pregnant?
If you suspect your female guinea pig is pregnant, it is essential to get it to the vet as soon as possible. They will be able to do a proper examination and confirm whether or not there are guinea pig pups in your future. There are various methods vets use to establish a pregnancy, including:
- An ultrasound
- An X-ray
- Feeling the babies move
- Listening to the pups’ heartbeat
While some mommies-to-be give birth naturally and without any help, pregnancy in guinea pigs can be dangerous, regardless of their weight and their age. Talking to your vet about possible care throughout the pregnancy and after the birthing process is vital. For complicated pregnancies, your vet might suggest a caesarean section or medication.
It is also crucial that you know how many babies are in the womb. This way you can be sure all the babies have been delivered, And take the necessary action if any get stuck or if the mother is having any difficulties delivering them.
How Easy is it For a Guinea Pig to Give birth?
Unfortunately, there is a high mortality rate when it comes to a guinea pig pregnancy for both mum and the pups. It’s a good idea to determine when your pregnant guinea pig will give birth, and the type of care she will need during and after delivery
Because a pregnant guinea pig is at risk of toxaemia, you must look for any symptoms associated with this often fatal condition. Typical symptoms include:
- Depression – tired, quiet or weak
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
Something else to be aware of in older female guinea pigs is dystocia or difficult birth. As the name suggests, sows having their first litter at seven months (or older) can experience a slow and difficult birth. This, unfortunately, could mean the loss of the mum and her pups.
With all the risks involved in breeding guinea pigs, especially as they get older, we recommend that you have your guinea pig neutered or spayed as soon as possible.
5 Interesting Piggy Pregnancy Facts
1. Guinea pigs can fall pregnant straight after giving birth
So here’s the thing. A female guinea pig can fall pregnant immediately after giving birth. To prevent this from happening, you must separate the males as soon as possible. Even the baby males can impregnate their mum at around three weeks old, so they will also need to be removed from the cage.
2. A neutered male guinea pig can still impregnate a female
Okay, so a three-week-old male guinea pig can impregnate a female, but it is recommended that they are only neutered at around four months. During this time, you must keep the boars away from the sows. And remember, even a neutered male can get a female pregnant. This is because it takes a few weeks for the procedure to take effect.
3. Guinea pig pups need to stay with their mum until they are fully weaned
As far as nutrition goes, nothing beats mother’s milk. Guinea pig pups should only be weaned from their mum at around three weeks for optimal health and growth.
4. Guinea pigs sometimes eat their babies
Yes, guinea pigs will sometimes eat their babies. However, it doesn’t happen often, and it is usually out of necessity. Female cavies will eat their babies if food is scarce, or if the pup has a life-threatening deformity. Back-to-back pregnancies can sometimes result in a guinea pig mum eating her babies as a means of survival.
5. Keep females babies away from their dad
It is a good idea to keep female pups away from their dad (and other males) as soon as possible. This is because the female can fall pregnant at around 21 weeks. And we are guessing that’s the last thing you need or want.
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