Breeding guinea pigs can be a very confusing subject. Is it safe? is it best for them? How to stop unwanted pregnancies? The more guinea pigs the merrier is the motto in our house however we always purchase our piggies through rescue centres as opposed to breeding them ourselves. This article contains everything you need to know about breeding guinea pigs however it’s important to note that most vets advise against individual owners from breeding their guinea pigs. Please seek professional advice. The information contained in this post is for information only and should not be taken as veterinary advice.
Find Out More:
- Reproduction Information
- Breeding Basics
- Are Guinea Pigs Easy To Breed?
- How To Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Pregnant
- How Many Babies Do Guinea Pigs Have?
Guinea pigs can breed naturally from a young age so it’s important to separate any males from your female’s cage to avoid any unsafe pregnancies from happening. Guinea pigs can breed from 8 weeks old. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is the correct time to do so.
The ideal age for a first-time mother is between 6 months to 1 year old. This means the window of opportunity is relatively short. The male should be around 34 months old for his first breeding.
Below are some very interesting basic breeding information:
The Best Time To Breed
As mentioned above, the window of opportunity for the female guinea pig to breed is relatively small. Whilst she needs to be over 6 months, she also can not be too old to give birth. C sections on guinea pigs are very dangerous and can be easily avoided.
Guinea Pig Gestation
Female guinea pigs are pregnant for between 59 – 72 days.
A Guinea Pigs Heat Cycle
Female guinea pigs come into heat every 16 days throughout the year. It lasts typically for 12 hours each time.
A guinea pig that has just given birth comes back into heat just 15 hours after giving birth! This is why it is essential to remove the male after birth.
There is No Health Need to Breed
It’s important to note here that there is no health requirement for your guinea pigs to reproduce. It does not medically enhance their lives one way or the other. This generally means that if an owner chooses to breed their guinea pigs, it is essentially the owners choice and therefore must take full responsibility. Safeguarding the mother, father and babies, along with ensuring the new piglets are cared for and rehoused if required.
Are Guinea Pigs Easy To Breed?
Guinea pigs can be very easy to breed if you catch both the male and female at the optimal time. Naturally, males and females will breed if they are cage mates, however, the health of both guinea pigs along with their young should always come first before attempting to breed guinea pigs.
How To Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Pregnant
It can be easy to tell if your guinea pig is pregnant the further along in the pregnancy they are. In the later stages of pregnancy, they have enlarged abdomens and their body weight typically doubles!
Estimating the time of delivery can be very tricky since the gestation period correlates with the size of the litter. Obviously, you won’t know this till after the event! Guinea pigs also don’t build nests so will just birth their babies anyway in the cage or hutch.
Care for Your Pregnant Guinea Pig
A pregnant guinea pig needs to be kept warm and ideally housed indoors. Ensure you are not overfeeding her dried guinea pig pellets as these can create harder to pass large pups. Do supplement her food with extra calcium and vitamin c for the growing pups.
Continue to feed the mother guinea pig plenty of unlimed hay and ensure they eat a wide selection of fruit and vegetables daily. Ensure you never give your guinea pigs straw as it is too sharp and can poke their eyes. Provide plenty of hay racks and trays filled with hay to keep the mother comfortable.
The male guinea pig needs to be removed from the cage well before the delivery of the babies to stop him from attempting to mate with the female guinea pig once she comes back into heat.
If your guinea pig has a female cage mate, they are fine to remain and often help out when the baby piggie arrive!
How Many Babies Do Guinea Pigs Have?
Guinea pig typically has between three and five pups. The biggest amount of baby guinea pigs born at once is 17! The babies are born with teeth and fur. They are also able to squeak and run around from birth. Piglets eat hay shortly after birth along with feeding on their mother.
Caring For Newborn Guinea Pigs
Specialised advice should be sought in the first instance. The baby guinea pigs (pups) often appear cylinder and similar to a small ball – this is completely normal!
Baby guinea pigs will start to eat just like their mother within just a few hours of being born! They will happily nibble on hay, grass and dried pellets. There will also be nursing around every 2 or so hours.
Handling Baby Guinea Pigs
Baby guinea pigs are fine to be held after a week but ensure you allow them plenty of bonding time with their mother and brothers and sisters. If you are constantly handling them, it can cause the mother to reject the baby.
Picking up a baby guinea pig is similar to holding an adult guinea pig however ensure you are slower and gentler than the babies.
Adorable At Any Age
Breeding guinea pigs correctly takes a lot of knowledge, preparation and planning. Your vet will be able to advise you on whether it is right for you and your guinea pigs. Don’t forget that guinea pigs are social creates and love to have a cage mate or two. They also love human interaction and playtime enriches their lives as well as yours.