Whether you want to breed guinea pigs or simply be a conscientious pet parent, you should be aware of how to tell if a guinea pig is pregnant. Moreover, you should be equipped with the knowledge to care for your pet guinea pig in the best manner possible.
This article extensively discusses all the important aspects of pregnancy in guinea pigs. Hopefully, you will be in a better position to care for your pregnant guinea pig by the end of it!
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How To Tell If a Guinea Pig Is Pregnant? The 6 Signs of Pregnancy in Girl Guinea Pigs
If you’re having doubts about your pet guinea pig being pregnant, watching out for these tell-tale signs can help either confirm or reject your suspicions.
Contact between male guinea pigs and female guinea pigs
To begin with, you should first ascertain when your female guinea pig spent time together with a male guinea pig.
If your female guinea pig hasn’t come into contact with a male guinea pig or a boar, the chances are that your suspicions about your female guinea pig’s pregnancy are unfounded.
It helps to know that if you house multiple guinea pigs together, you should keep the boars separate from the female guinea until they are about four months of age. Why? Well, boars become biologically prepared and fertile for procreation at the age of 3 weeks.
However, they can only be neutered when they are over four months old. Therefore, the time period till they can get neutered can result in your boar mating with your female guinea pig.
The increasing appetite of your female guinea pig
There is, quite literally, new life inside of her if your female guinea pig is pregnant. Therefore, it is a given fact that she will need and want more food. If you notice a drastic change in her appetite, it could be a strong indicator of your female guinea pig’s pregnancy.
Additionally, she’ll also want to drink more water during the day. Now, even though your guinea pig does need more food when pregnant, it is your responsibility to ensure that she does not overeat. Therefore, it would help to be mindful of the quantities your pet guinea pig consumes.
Weight gain during pregnancy in guinea pigs
To put this delicately, new life along with an increased appetite will naturally result in your female guinea pig putting on some grams of weight on her body.
While this weight gain is subtle at first, it can be a drastic change by the time she’s biologically ready to deliver the baby. One helpful manner to check for pregnancy using this pointer is to note her weight on a regular basis simply.
Bigger abdomen in female guinea pigs
No, we don’t mean food babies, although we understand why you’d think that. The fact is that like her weight gain, your female guinea pig’s bigger abdomen will also grow subtly at first till it becomes noticeable.
Increase in the size of the guinea pig’s pelvis
If your guinea pig is younger than seven months old, her pelvis will enlarge hours before birth in order to give birth to the kids. It should grow to be at least an inch wide, if not more.
If your sow is older than seven months, you should be extremely careful about your guinea pig’s birthing process. Ideally, you should consult your vet and proceed with a cesarean section birth.
You can feel the guinea pig’s babies in her womb.
This is probably the most convenient way to determine whether your female guinea pig or your sow is pregnant. All you need to do to check for pregnancy in your guinea pig is very gently run your fingers along the abdomen of your sow and check for tiny lumps.
You should be very careful about not applying an excessive amount of pressure and follow your checkup with an actual veterinary visit to ensure that it is, in fact, pregnancy bumps that you are feeling and not any other health issue.
When is the Best Age to Breed Guinea Pigs?
While male guinea pigs or boars become sexually active and mature by the age of 3 weeks, female guinea pigs or sows become sexually mature by the age of 2 weeks.
Typically, if your intention is actually ethical breeding using healthy and sustainable breeding practices, you should breed your sows before they turn seven months of age.
This is because your female guinea pigs will lose the ability to widen their pelvis before giving birth after the age of 7 months.
It is vital for guinea pigs to give birth when they widen their pelvises because otherwise, their pregnancy can culminate in stillbirth or severe complications. The only way to bypass this issue of the inability to widen her pelvis is to opt for a Cesarian delivery.
Guinea Pig Mating Rituals
The two lovebirds, rather love pigs, must mate before getting pregnant. To make that happen, the male guinea pigs, or the boar, will try to woo the female guinea pig by coming close to the female guinea pig, or sow, and showing off his masculine characteristics.
He will stand tall and rumble while also showing his submission to the sow by bowing his head down for her.
If the boar is lucky and the sow accepts his proposal, she will consent by letting out a loud squeal. However, in the event that the boar does not get lucky and the sow simply does not wish to procreate at that time, she will not shy away from aggressively snapping at him.
Another method to discourage the boar from pursuing the mating ritual is for the sow to urinate all over him.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Pregnant Early and Easily?
Yes, guinea pigs can get pregnant early and easily. But this is essential because both male and female guinea pigs become sexually mature and active by the age of 3 months.
However, you must remember that along with sexual maturity, guinea pigs also mature at most other things, much faster than most other animals or even humans do.
The fact is, a large part of their physical development takes place in their mothers’ wombs. Therefore, it is perfectly normal for sows to get pregnant before the age of 7 months. In fact, pregnancy after this age is not even recommended due to its complications.
Further, due to the fact that sows give birth and almost immediately experience heat, it is highly possible for her to give birth to another litter of baby guinea pigs almost immediately after the first birth.
How Easy is it For a Guinea Pig to Give birth?
The fact is that there are many complications associated with giving birth to baby guinea pigs for sows. To begin with, many baby guinea pigs or guinea pig pups don’t survive.
To add to that, there is also a high chance of the pregnant sow dying as a result of the birth. Therefore, it is not a particularly easy task for a pregnant guinea pig to give birth.
Here are two of the health issues to watch out for in pregnant sows which are yet to give birth or are already new mothers –
Toxaemia refers to a bacterial infection that leads to blood poisoning. This is a condition that is almost always fatal and extremely difficult to treat or cure.
The most commonly associated symptom of toxemia is a sudden drop in appetite, labored or strained respiration, and lethargy, along with depression.
Dystocia is typically a condition that only affects female guinea pigs that have gotten pregnant for the first time after the age of 7 months.
At this age, it is very difficult for a female guinea pig to give birth to a litter of puppies and make it through, alive. Quite literally, dystocia means a slow and difficult birth.
What to Include in My Guinea Pig’s Diet During Pregnancy?
Since your guinea pig is pregnant, she is going to want to eat more than she usually does. Further, you have to ensure that her diet is the pinnacle of nutrition since that would go a long way in helping your pet female guinea pig have a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Having said that, you should try and include some food items into your pet female guinea pig’s diet without fail.
These are green leafy veggies, vitamin C-rich meals, such as citrus or kiwi fruit, in carefully restricted amounts, a modest quantity of commercially available guinea pig feed, and of course, their staple diet of hay.
It’s natural for your pet sow’s appetite to increase when she’s pregnant. Therefore, one particular macronutrient that you will have to increase in her diet mindfully is protein. You should replace her Timothy hay with alfalfa as soon as you feel she has mated successfully.
Alfalfa provides more calcium and protein, which she requires. These nutrients will nourish both her and the fetuses, as well as prevent hair loss.
She also requires additional vitamin C, which you can provide orally in doses of at least 10 mg if natural foods aren’t making the cut. Give her other green peppers, broccoli, and kale.
Should I Separate My Pregnant Guinea Pig?
Separating your pregnant guinea pig from other females isn’t a necessity, but you should still keep your pregnant guinea pig separate from sexually mature male guinea pigs.
Since it is possible for your female to become pregnant again within hours after giving birth, you’ll want to be sure you get rid of any males.
It would be best to make sure your sow or female guinea pig is not being bullied and is getting adequate food, along with any other resources she needs.
How Should You Care For a Pregnant Guinea Pig?
Regardless of whether you’re caring for a pregnant guinea pig in the capacity of a breeder or a pet parent, here are some pointers on how to care properly for your pregnant guinea pig.
Keep your pet guinea pig in a stress-free environment.
When your guinea pig is pregnant, it is vital to keep her in an environment devoid of stress. Being overly stressed can result in an unhealthy pregnancy or fetus health. In fact, stress is often touted as one of the main causes of pregnancy death in guinea pigs.
Therefore, you must keep them away from the hustle-bustle and loud noises, feed them proper meal quantities and keep them in a cool place. Further, avoid initiating unnecessary contact and give them as much space as they need.
Keep a watch on the pregnant guinea pig.
The fact is that you need to understand certain body language cues and hints regarding what your pregnant guinea pig needs. Whether it is a refill of her water bowl, more hay, or something else, you should be able to notice that cue and accordingly act on it.
Test for every possible issue
Pregnancy in guinea pigs is a risky affair. Therefore, you must consult your vet and have your pregnant sow tested for any and every risk factor. This can play a crucial role in taking the necessary precautions to keep your pet guinea pig alive and healthy.
Things to Remember About Guinea Pig Pregnancy and Breeding
Some basic things to remember about your girl guinea pig’s pregnancy and breeding process are –
- You must breed your female guinea pig before she crosses the age of 7 months.
- Unless you plan on actively breeding your pet guinea pigs, it is best to keep your male and female guinea pigs in separate enclosures until the male is neutered.
- Your guinea pig will undergo visible physical changes once she is pregnant. This includes weight gain and an increased appetite. However, you should be careful about feeding too much food to your pregnant sow.
- You must consult the vet about your female guinea pig’s pregnancy health as regularly as possible.
How to Tell When a Guinea Pig is Ready to Give Birth?
A guinea pig on the verge of giving birth will most likely isolate herself. She may remain still in her cage, oblivious to your voice or attempts to engage her in play. The female is conserving her energy in anticipation of giving birth and caring for her young.
This little animal’s body may generate a hiccupping action when it goes into labor. This indicates that the woman is having contractions and that the childbirth process is progressing.
Caring for your pregnant guinea pig is certainly a tricky affair. However, you can make it a comfortable experience for your pet guinea pig by simply following what we’ve discussed in this article!
How long is a guinea pig pregnancy?
A guinea pig pregnancy generally lasts about 60 days to 72 days.
How Many Pups Can a Guinea Pig Have in One Litter?
A guinea pig can have as many as six guinea pig pups in a litter.
How can I tell how many weeks pregnant my guinea pig is?
Even though you can’t accurately tell how many weeks pregnant guinea pig is at home, observing your pet sow’s abdomen should give you a fair estimate of how far along she is!
When does a guinea pig become sexually mature?
Female guinea pigs become mature to reproduce by about two months of age sexually, and male guinea pigs at about three months of age.