Guinea Pig Offspring: What is Important Before, During and After the Birth

Have you acquired a pregnant animal or would you like your guinea pig to have offspring? There are a few things to consider when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and rearing. Here you can read at what age the small rodents become sexually mature and how long the gestation period lasts. You will learn interesting facts about the birth and the time after it and when you should separate the offspring.

The Ideal Conditions for Young Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are among those who flee from the nest. In contrast to nestlings such as rabbits, those who flee from the nest can already follow their parents after birth. In addition to her hair, her sensory organs and motor skills are also fully developed. For this reason, the gestation time for those who flee from the nest is comparatively longer.

Female guinea pigs become sexually mature at three to four weeks of age, males at three weeks or a weight of 250 grams. Pregnancy is only visible from the sixth week; therefore it happens that pregnant young animals are bought. If you plan to breed offspring, please note the age of the animals at the time of mating in order to create the best conditions for mother and offspring. Females should be at least six months old at the time of mating. However, they should not be more than a year old when they are first born, as calcium deposits on the pelvis make childbirth difficult and can drastically increase mortality.

If there are more than four months between two litters, the pelvis also ossifies and the tendons lose their elasticity. Another important criterion is the weight of the guinea pigs when mating: male rams must have a minimum weight of 500 grams, females should weigh at least 800, but not more than 1000 grams. Both animals must be perfectly healthy; Guinea pigs that have already been sick or have had a stillbirth are not allowed to father or give birth.

For health reasons, please do not have more than three litters for any guinea pigs. Because of the so-called lethal factor, there is a breeding ban when crossing some breeds. Dalmatians and gray horses must not be paired with one another or with each other, as these offspring of guinea pigs would die. Mating with Himalayan and colored guinea pigs is also not recommended for both species, as these could have dalmatians or mold in their breeding lines.

Your Guinea Pig Is Pregnant – What Now?

The oestrus cycle of female guinea pigs is 13 to 19 days, the readiness for conception around ten hours; Ovulation only takes place after the female and male goat copulation, which lasts only a few seconds and therefore often goes unnoticed. The gestation period for guinea pigs is around ten weeks at 62 to 72 days. From the third to fourth week of pregnancy, you can feel the offspring in the form of small balls on the mother’s stomach. In the seventh week, this begins to bulge, and at the same time, there is a development spurt in the young.

These are fully developed at birth and are one-tenth the weight of their mother. The latter increases – depending on the size of the litter – by up to 50 percent. If you find that your guinea pig is pregnant, you should avoid any stress. This also includes separating the animal from its group or changing the diet. By giving fresh food such as meadow herbs, you cover the increased need for proteins and vitamin C during pregnancy.

Guinea Pig Offspring: the Birth

The familiar environment in his group contributes to the stress-free birth of your guinea pig. Females show no signs of nest-building behavior; however, since they give birth sitting down, a “trial sitting” can often be observed in several places. If, on the other hand, a guinea pig lies on its side during labor, this can indicate an illness or complications. A few days before the birth, the pubic symphysis opens and you can feel the ends of the bones of the pubic bone. When the opening has reached a finger’s width, the birth is imminent. Until labor begins, the female eats and moves as usual within the group.

The birth of a guinea pig is usually straightforward and takes a few minutes per cub; around ten minutes pass between births. On average, a litter consists of two to three young animals. These are born head first, with the mother helping this process by pulling them out. The other group members withdraw in the meantime and often help the mother with rearing and care afterward. After each birth, the female eats the membranes, the afterbirth, and often the bloody litter. She cleans her offspring, who are usually on their feet right away, and cuddles up to their siblings.

Guinea Pigs: the Offspring are Here

Weigh the pups daily, preferably at the same time, to control development. During the first three days of life, the little ones lose up to ten percent of their birth weight, because the mother does not produce milk until after the afterbirths have been eaten. If the weight loss is higher or if you notice significant differences in size between the young animals, additional feeding is necessary. Abundant vitamin-rich fresh food supplies the female with the nutrients it needs for milk production. A special rearing feed for the young is not necessary with normal development. Examine the guinea pig and its offspring for injuries after birth; the rest of the umbilical cord dries up and falls off on its own.

Female guinea pigs return to heat immediately after birth. For health reasons, we strongly advise against mating at this early stage. The sexual organs of the young animals are easy to see so that you can distinguish between female and male animals and separate them after four weeks. If you are considering early castration, this should be carried out between the third and fourth week of the life of the male lugs with a weight of 200 to 250 grams. Female offspring and neutered goats stay with their mother and her group for six to eight weeks. Maintaining this time is important for the development of social behavior and the immune system.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *