Most times, a new addition to pets always calls for celebration. For example, if your cats, dogs, or cavies give birth to babies, you’ll possibly be very happy. Speaking of guinea pigs, how many babies can they have at a time? You’ll have been thinking about it.
A guinea pig usually gives birth to 3 to 4 babies at once. However, there are times when a pregnant guinea pig can give birth to 1 or 8 young ones at a time. This means a female guinea pig may have between 10 and 40 babies in a year.
If you’re a cavy owner or planning to get a few of them soon, don’t be surprised when the females start to give birth regularly. Under normal situations, reproduction is not a big deal to your little furry friends.
Come to think of it, how many times can your guinea pigs get pregnant?
Read on as we answer this question and also provide other useful information about guinea pigs’ breeding.
How Many Times Can a Guinea Pig Get Pregnant?
Due to their nature, a guinea pig can get pregnant at least 18 times in her lifetime. Usually, it is difficult to come up with the exact number of times female cavies can give birth in a lifetime. Nevertheless, we considered the average number of litters (guinea pig babies per birth) the females produce yearly.
Normally, female guinea pigs are always in the heat for between 13 to 20 days and can only get pregnant when ovulating (release fertile eggs). During this period, a female cavy has a high chance of becoming pregnant after mating.
One surprising thing about guinea pigs’ breeding is that they can get pregnant between 2 to 15 hours after delivering their babies. This simply means that while breastfeeding her young, a female cavy can still get pregnant.
But it is better to prevent this from happening by allowing the mother guinea pig to take care of her young for about a month. Constant breeding in guinea pigs reduces their lifespan.
Note that cavies can reproduce between 3 months to 2 years and can give birth to an average of 5 litters yearly. With a simple calculation, you will agree that your small pets may become pregnant about 18 times in a lifetime.
How to Tell if a Guinea Pig is Pregnant
During the first few days after your guinea pig is pregnant, you may not notice any changes. But if you’ve always spent time with them, it won’t take time to see differences.
Here are the common signs of pregnancy in guinea pigs;
Although a lot of things can make your guinea pigs eat and drink more, pregnancy is the most common reason. And this is understandable as the pregnant cavy now has babies using up her energy. Just ensure you provide healthy diets only, especially the ones that are rich in vitamin C.
Sudden Weight Gain
With the increase in diet intake, it is not possible to prevent weight gain in your tiny pet. Moreover, as the babies continue to grow, the mother’s body will start to increase to contain them. To be sure pregnancy is the reason for the sudden weight gain, consider reaching out to your vet.
Even though your cavies are small, you will know if it’s pregnant by feeling its stomach. Gently touch the belly sides of the seemingly pregnant sow and you’ll feel tiny lumps there. These are the babies gradually growing.
Another sign of pregnancy you’ll notice in your pregnant cavy is a bigger abdomen. But you may not notice this until after a month and 20 days or 2 months. Delivery day is nearby this time and the babies are adding more weight to the mother guinea pigs. As a result of this, the abdomen will increase in size.
Do not hesitate to call the vet’s attention if you notice the signs above. They’ll confirm pregnancy in the small pet by running a test, and tell you the next step to take.
Are Guinea Pigs Easy to Breed?
Yes, guinea pigs are easy to breed. Reproduction among the males and females is not difficult as the cavies mature sexually early and mate frequently. At around 5 weeks, a female guinea pig can get pregnant after mating.
Apart from the fact that the females give birth to an average of 3 to 4 babies at a time, delivery doesn’t usually take time. And if you’ve been feeding the pregnant guinea pig a highly nutritious diet, there won’t be complications.
All in all, breeding your cavies is naturally an amazing and rewarding experience. If you sell guinea pigs, then breeding is a bonus for you!
How Old Do Guinea Pigs Have to be to Breed?
It is better to allow the female guinea pigs to breed at 5 to 6 months old and the males should breed at 34 months.
Age is important in breeding guinea pigs, most importantly the females, since the males don’t get pregnant or give birth. While it is good to prevent them from getting pregnant early, it is not advisable to let the females become too old before giving birth. There will likely be a problem on the day of delivery.
At 10 months, a female guinea pig’s pubic area becomes so tight that giving birth naturally may be nearly impossible. When this happens, a cesarean section is often recommended by the veterinarian. And like other operations, serious complications may happen.
So, it is best to prevent this situation in your female cavies because they may not be so lucky.
How to Take Care of a Pregnant Guinea Pig?
Taking care of a pregnant guinea pig requires patience and hard work. Since their pregnancy period doesn’t last long, you may not feel too tired during that time. Besides, the care is always worth it in the long run, especially when the babies finally arrive.
With that said, here are ways to take care of your pregnant guinea pig.
Step 1: Provide Clean Water and Healthy Diets Only
Remember that your pregnant guinea pigs now have babies depending on their diet, it will be best to feed them well. Always provide quality hay, fresh vegetables, pellets, and clean water for them but in moderate amounts. Also feed them with fruits that are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and calcium.
This is because, during pregnancy, your cavies are at risk of vitamin C and calcium deficiency. Besides, they cannot produce the vitamin by themselves. To be on the safe side, it is better to always give them diets that contain these nutrients.
Step 2: Prevent Anything that Can Cause Stress
Loud noises, direct sunlight, sudden handling, change in environment, and other factors can cause stress in guinea pigs with babies. Keep in mind that the pregnancy period is already hard for them, stress can make the condition worse. As much as possible, reduce or remove stressors in your pregnant cavy’s environment.
Step 3: Always Check for Signs of Illness or Diseases
It is important to monitor the cavy every day so that you can quickly know when things go wrong. Check the nose, ears, eyes, furs, and other parts of the body for strange signs. Whenever you notice one or more, contact the vet as soon as possible.
Step 4: Reduce Grooming Period
Even though grooming is good for your pregnant pet, it should be reduced for their health’s sake. Handling pregnant sows for grooming can be stressful for them. For the long-haired cavies, consider trimming their hair short so that it won’t attract dirt and other harmful things. Also, ensure you reduce their bath time or don’t bathe them at all.
Step 5: Make the Cage Comfortable
Clean the cage regularly as it helps prevent sickness and diseases. Ensure there is enough space for the guinea pig to move around freely. In addition, the temperature of the cage should not be too hot or cold.
All these factors will contribute to the general health of your pregnant guinea pig.
Step 6: Place the Boars (Male Guinea Pig) in Separate Cages
Remove the male guinea pigs from the cage, especially when the delivery day is near. There’s a chance that the males will keep mounting the pregnant cavy, which can be very painful. Even 2 hours after delivery, the mother guinea pig can still get pregnant.
Issues like this can lead to serious health issues in female cavies or worse, death.
How Long is a Guinea Pig Pregnancy?
A guinea pig pregnancy lasts for 59 to 72 days, with an average of 65 days. If the litter size is small, maybe 2 or 3, the pregnancy period will be longer. On the other hand, if the guinea pig babies are large in number, like 6, the pregnancy duration will decrease.
What Should I Feed My Pregnant Guinea Pig?
Giving your pregnant cavies healthy diets is important for their health and that of their unborn babies. So, you need to make it a habit to nourish them with the right food and water.
These diets will not only help your cavies during the pregnancy period but will be useful for fast and easy delivery.
Below is the list of diets you can feed your pregnant guinea pig;
- A regular supply of hay such as timothy hay, barley hay, grassy hay, and more.
- Healthy fruits that are rich in vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and other important nutrients. (Examples are Oranges, banana, blueberries, Watermelon, grapes, pineapple, apple, raspberry
, and more.)
- Raw, fresh vegetables that include lettuce, cabbage, carrots, kale, cucumbers, and broccoli. Others are celery, spinach, zucchini, green beans, and asparagus.
- Commercial guinea pig pellets only in small amounts.
- Fresh, and clean water
In this article, we have learned the following:
Your female guinea pigs can have an average of 3 to 4 babies at a time but it can be lesser or more. Also, breeding your small pets is easy but ensure they are at least 5 to 6 months old, not more.
Finally, always provide clean water, healthy diets, a good living environment, and enough care for your cavies during their pregnancy period.
I hope you find this article helpful? Kindly share with your friends!